Hereโ€™s What Long-Term Diarrhea in Dogs Could Mean

BY | February 15 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Hereโ€™s What Long-Term Diarrhea in Dogs Could Mean

Image source: Pixabay.com

Dogs can have short-term loose stools or diarrhea due to many causes, ranging from parasitic, bacterial or viral infection, change in diet, stress or anxiety, certain medications or other health conditions.

Long-term diarrhea or chronic diarrhea in dogs refers to change in the consistency, frequency, and volume of feces that lasts for longer than three weeks. Diarrhea originates from either the large or the small intestine and can be watery or non-watery.

When the diarrhea originates from the small intestine, these are the symptoms that are found:

Symptoms found when it originates in the small intestine may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Abnormally huge feces volume
  • Vomiting
  • Increased frequency of stools that could be anywhere between two to four times in a day
  • Flatulence or gaseous sounds in the gut
  • Black and tarry stools
  • Poor digestion or absorption can lead to an increase in appetite

The following are the symptoms of long-term diarrhea that begin in the large intestine:

  • An unusually small volume of feces
  • Increased frequency of stools of more than four times in a day
  • Bright, red blood and mucus in the stools
  • Straining to defecate
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Pain during defecation
  • Gaseous sounds in the gut

Causes of long-term diarrhea
If you have noticed any of these symptoms in your dog for more than two weeks, it is important to consult a vet immediately. Apart from noting down changes in your dog’s diet if any, food allergies, medications and if the stools contain blood or mucus, the vet might also perform various diagnostic tests. These can include electrolyte panel, complete blood count, stool and urinalysis. These tests can indicate the presence of fungal, viral or bacterial infection which can then be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Radiographs and barium contrast test can show up any abnormalities in the gastrointestinal system. The vet may also perform diagnostic imaging such as endoscopy or ultrasound that can show any signs of damage like ulcers, cancers, polyps or obstruction if any. A biopsy can also be taken to determine if growth or tumor is cancerous.

Some of the causes of chronic diarrhea include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections
  • Parasites or worms
  • Cancer
  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Partial blockage
  • Short small intestine
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Liver or gallbladder disease
  • Gluten allergy or sensitivity
  • Changes in diet, low fiber in diet

Managing the diarrhea
The most important factor in chronic diarrhea is preventing dehydration. If your dog is very ill and dehydrated, intravenous fluids are given at the vet’s clinic. A bland, low-fat diet that is easy to digest such as rice, potato, cottage cheese or chicken along with plenty of water along with the prescribed medication or treatment can help your dog recover faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is too long for a dog to have diarrhea?

While occasional bouts of diarrhea are not uncommon and usually resolve within a day or two, a dog experiencing diarrhea for an extended period of time should be a cause for concern. Generally, if a dog has diarrhea for more than two days, it is considered too long, and veterinary intervention is recommended. Persistent diarrhea can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss, which can be detrimental to a dog's overall health and well-being. It is crucial to determine the underlying cause of prolonged diarrhea, as there are numerous potential factors, including dietary indiscretion, food allergies or intolerances, bacterial or viral infections, parasites, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, or even more serious conditions such as organ dysfunction or cancer.

Why won't my dog's diarrhea go away?

If your dog's diarrhea persists despite your efforts, it can be quite frustrating and concerning. There are several reasons why your dog's diarrhea may not be going on its own. First and foremost, the specific cause of the diarrhea may not have been properly pinpointed. Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including nutritional indiscretion, food allergies or intolerances, bacterial or viral infections, parasites, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and others. It might be difficult to put an effective treatment plan in place without an accurate diagnosis. Additionally, if the initial course of therapy is ineffective or insufficient, the diarrhea may return. If any medicine is recommended, it's probable that it won't specifically target the problem or take care of the dog's particular needs. It is crucial to take into account additional potential contributing variables, such as toxic exposure, stress or anxiety, coexisting medical disorders, or negative reactions to drugs. In some circumstances, the initial cause of diarrhea may have been resolved, but secondary issues like intestinal inflammation or bacterial imbalances persist, prolonging diarrhea. It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian to reassess the situation, provide a comprehensive evaluation, and determine the best course of action.

How do you treat chronic diarrhea in dogs?

The first step is getting in touch with a veterinarian to discover the source of the chronic diarrhea. When necessary, the veterinarian may suggest diagnostic procedures such as blood testing, fecal analysis, imaging investigations, endoscopy, or biopsy in addition to performing a comprehensive physical examination and reviewing the dog's medical history. Targeted treatment can start once the underlying cause has been determined. For instance, a hypoallergenic diet or an elimination diet may be advised if food allergies or intolerances bring on the diarrhea. Antibiotics or antiparasitic treatments will be given in cases of bacterial or parasitic infections. Inflammatory bowel disease may require long-term management with medications like corticosteroids or immunosuppressants. Dietary changes, such as a prescription low-fat or high-fiber diet, may be recommended to address conditions like pancreatitis or gastrointestinal motility disorders. Probiotics or prebiotics can help restore the balance of beneficial gut bacteria.

What foods stop diarrhea in dogs?

When it comes to treating canine diarrhea, offering a correct diet might help to reduce symptoms and speed up recovery. Typically, bland, readily digested meals are advised to calm the digestive system. The "bland diet," which consists of boiling chicken (without flavor or skin) and plain white rice, is a popular strategy. This combo offers both quickly absorbed carbs and lean protein. Other options include cooked rice or pasta, lean ground beef, or turkey that has been boiled. These bland meal choices are easy on the stomach and may assist the stools to become firmer. Certain vets may also suggest a modest amount of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) for the dog's diet. Pumpkins have a lot of fiber and might help to keep the digestive system in check.

What if my dog has had diarrhea for 5 days but is acting normal?

Even if your dog is acting normally and has had diarrhea for five days, you should still take the problem seriously and seek advice from a professional. Even though your dog looks healthy otherwise, persistent diarrhea can result in dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and vitamin deficiencies, despite the fact that it may be comforting that your dog's behavior seems unaffected. It is critical to find and manage the underlying cause of diarrhea as soon as possible since it may be ongoing or getting worse. Although your dog may appear to be in good health, persistent diarrhea is a sign that something is wrong, and prompt treatment may help avoid problems and guarantee your dog's general well-being.

Was this article helpful?