What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is essentially a digestive disorder resulting in loose stools and dehydration. Although, this may not be a chosen topic of discussion for many, but dog owners really show a keen interest in such topics so as to keep themselves updated about the facts and findings of diarrhea, in case their dogs face any such issues. Diarrhea is quite common in the canine family. An easy way to detect this problem is by observing the dog stool. When the stool output is more than usual and is of abnormal color and odor, it indicates diarrhea. A canine digestive tract is similar to that of humans with the basic difference that in human digestion begins at mouth itself but in dogs it begins in the stomach. However, the digestive juices and enzymes secreted in dog’s body are much stronger than that of humans. This explains why dogs can digest many complex food substances that humans cannot. There are many agents and causes that may disturb the well poised digestive system of dogs resulting in diarrhea or constipation.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
The most distinct visible symptoms of diarrhea in dogs is the change in color, quality and smell of dog stool. According to veterinary experts, a perfect dog poop must be brown in color. Any variations in color may suggest abnormality in digestion. For an instance, orange color suggests liver malfunctioning; green might signify gall-bladder issue; grey symbolizes pancreatic disorders. Moreover, if the stool is passed in very small or large quantity or if stool is passed with a squirt multiple times with abnormal shape, size and odor then the dog owner must become cautious. Other warning signals comprise mucus or jelly like discharge or traces of blood in stool. Weakness, fever and lethargy are some of the early signals of diarrhea.
Cause of Diarrhea
Diarrhea can occur due to a number of reasons. The most common reasons may be as under: –
- Wrong Diet Selection: – Diarrhea may result from the consumption of filthy stuff, unhygienic food, spoiled food or even by overeating.
- Diet Switching: – The digestive system of dog requires time to adjust to a change in diet. The system may not be able to digest nutrients, especially proteins when a dog starts consuming a new food. Dog food manufacturers issue a caution requiring the owners to switch diet in small doses and not suddenly.
- Food intolerance: – This may include the intake of substance that is indigestible or some poisonous substance such as toxic plants and things like toys, pebbles, fabric etc.
- Infections: – Infections can develop from various parasites, viruses and bacteria etc.
- Illness or medications: – Diarrhea may occur if the dog suffers from any ailment related to kidneys, liver etc. It may also result from an improper dose of medicines such as antibiotics.
- Allergies, Stress or emotional imbalance: – If a dog has a weak immune system, especially in puppies, it may result in a disruption of digestive mechanism. Similarly, any kind of stress or mental fatigue may also hinder the proper functioning of a dog’s digestive mechanism.
Home Remedies of Diarrhea
There can’t be a single set of causes that can be attributed to diarrhea. Consequently, its treatment pattern may also be determined accordingly. Vet’s discretion is needed only when home remedies fail to lend any solution. In most of the cases home remedies resolve the issue within a reasonable time and diarrhea subsides. The most common home remedy for diarrhea includes 2 vital steps: –
A dog suffering from diarrhea must be immediately put on a strict diet following a strict exclusion of food for a day or so. No food must be administered to the dog for one complete day subject to his health, age and capacity to endure hunger. However, small doses of water must be given for drinking at regular and frequent intervals.
A balanced and dedicated diet prepared with utmost care must be given to the dog immediately after the fasting period so as to maintain stool consistency. The diet may contain:
- White rice or rice-water for energy.
- A carbohydrate rich diet may also be obtained from boiled skin free potatoes.
- Canned pumpkin is believed to be a diarrhea resistant food.
- Yogurt and probiotics contain bacteria that promote digestion and help the system combat diarrhea.
- Boiled egg or boiled chicken sans skin can be given as a source of plain protein.
- Certain herbs too have medicinal properties.
- Certain dog foods contain ingredients that soothe the digestive system and can help recovering from diarrhea. Even some diarrhea medicines prescribed for humans are known to produce favorable results in dogs.
It is practically impossible to completely prevent the occurrence of diarrhea in dogs. Some dogs have such a body constitution that they are more prone to such ailments in comparison to the others with stronger immunity. Hence, the knowledge of pros and cons helps a dog owner limit the chances of such awkward situations from arising. Apart from this the owner must analyze carefully on the basis of his dog’s normal behavior to ascertain the gravity of the case. Any abnormality arising due to consumption of grass or any such harmless item may not be so dangerous as could be the one arising from gulping of an indigestible object such as a pebble etc. He must make instant decision to approach the vet when home remedies fail to make considerable impact in coping with diarrhea.