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Top 5 Facts about Pet Diarrhea

How to Help Your Cat or Dog with Diarrhea

By Madeleine Burry. August 12, 2012 | See Comments

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Top 5 Facts about Pet Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be upsetting and gross for you and your pet. Learn the 5 things you need to know to keep diarrhea away from your best friend.

Diarrhea is unpleasant to think about, experience, and witness. Despite this, it’s important for pet owners to be aware of the basics facts about the causes, prevention, and treatment of diarrhea, including when pets need to visit the vet. As much as you, and your pet, would like to avoid diarrhea, it’s unlikely that it won’t strike at least a few times during your cat or dog’s life.

1. Black or Red, Visit the Vet

Diarrhea can be the result of your pet’s fairly commonplace eating misadventures -- ingesting garbage, plants, or other tummy-unfriendly substances in his vicinity. So being alarmed when your cat or dog experiences diarrhea isn’t necessarily merited. But if your pet’s stool is red or a tar-like black in color, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible since this indicates apotentially major illness that needs attention.

2. Cats & Dogs: “Don’t Eat That!”

It’s gross and unappetizing (for you, at least) when your dog starts eating garbage, rotten food, plants, or grass. Even though your dog delights in eating strange things from the ground, be consistent about discouraging this behavior. This kind of eating is one of the main causes of diarrhea for dogs.

While there’s something so adorable about the image of a cat lapping away at a saucer of cream, the reality is that cats don’t all digest dairy products well. They may love milk, cheese, and ice cream, but it doesn’t always agree with a cat’s stomach; avoid giving cats dairy as a treat.

3. Parasites, Again

There’s nothing good that happens when your cat or dog gets a parasite. But amongst other problems that parasites can cause your pet is diarrhea. The most common parasites to cause this symptom are whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, and giardia.

4. Bring on the Water; Hold the Food

If your cat or dog has diarrhea, there are some easy at-home ways you can potentially resolve the situation. Start by removing food for a 12-24 hour period. While food won’t help your pet during a bout of diarrhea, it’s important to always keep water available. It’s easy for pets to get dehydrated when they are suffering from diarrhea. 

5. Timing & Vet Visits

Generally, if your cat or dog’s diarrhea lasts for more than a day or two, that’s an indication that you should get in touch with your vet to see about next steps. Basic problems, like eating something funky or having a minor food intolerance, generally clear up fairly quickly. A more extended bout of diarrhea could indicate a more serious concern, and a visit to the vet can help determine the cause of the intestinal distress as well as the best treatment method.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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