Diarrhea refers to soft or watery stools that occur with greater frequency than is normal. This is a condition that occurs frequently among pets, and is something that each dog owner should be prepared for. Most cases are not necessarily a cause for worry: they can be from any of a wide variety of things, such as food allergies, the inability of the dog to deal with changes in diet, stress, adverse effects of medications or supplements your pet is taking, or possibly, an ill stomach from eating out of table scraps or worse, eating food from the garbage can. You also cannot entirely discount a medical condition that may require antibiotic therapy. Here are some steps that you should keep in mind when treating your canine companion’s diarrhea.
- The first step you should do is to check the consistency of the stool. This will allow you to identify the possible causes of the diarrhea. The information you glean from examining the stool of your canine companion may be infinitely helpful when you describe the case to your veterinarian. Check the color, the consistency, the smell, and all possible details you can recall regarding the stool. There are things you have to watch out for: if you note any worms, mucus, blood or any strange or unidentified objects in the stool, these are warning signs that indicate treatment from a licensed and trained professional. You should know when to involve yourself in treatment and when to refer to a more competent and trained person.
- Hydration is also going to be key to survival for your pet. Dehydration leads to a wide variety of complications, which may become irreversible or fatal. Watch out for signs of dehydration from your dog. If your pet is listless, unresponsive, weak looking, or has extremely dry skin and gums, poor skin turgor and sunken eyeballs, he might have severe and worsening diarrhea. Provide supportive therapy until you can bring your pet to the vet. You can add oral rehydration solutions (unflavored, otherwise your dog might refuse to drink it) into your dog’s watering bowl. You can simply follow the proportions listed on the package. Providing these oral rehydration salts is important, because aside from losing water, diarrhea causes your dog to lose important electrolytes necessary for metabolism.
- Change your dog’s diet to a more bland one, which does not cause diarrhea. You can initiate feeding with minute portions of white rice with cottage or white cheese added. Ground beef may be added if your dog refuses to eat the food. Try to avoid fatty or oily foods in the diet, since these may further aggravate the diarrhea of your dog. Boiled chicken and turkey can serve as excellent sources of dietary protein while your pet is in recovery. Yogurt and zinc supplementation may be added to reduce the duration of symptoms and aid the recovery.
Your pet may require a lot of special care during this time. It is
important that you give supportive therapy, and know when you need to
refer the pet to the animal hospital.