Diarrhoea: what is it, how to prevent it, and what to do if your pet has it

Home treatment or an emergency trip to the vet? We’re here to help.

Accidents don’t necessarily mean a broken bone, requiring an immediate trip to the vet – an ‘accident’ in the form of poop all over your house could be indicative of a more serious, underlying issue which could mean further attention is necessary. We take a look at how to tackle the rather messy business of diarrhoea.

What is diarrhoea:

According to Dr. Megan Kelly, “Diarrhoea is a loose or watery stool often presented with increased frequency. It may or may not be associated with vomiting. The majority of cases of diarrhoea are caused by scavenging old food and rubbish. We call this ‘garbage disease’ and it usually resolves within 24-48 hours.”

What to do when your poor pet is suffering:

Remove all access to food, limit water intake and simply observe your dog for 24 hours. Often, it’s just the digestive system that is irritated and it needs to settle down of its own accord. After 24 hours, if the diarrhoea has subsided, introduce bland food such as white rice mixed with boiled chicken.  A good probiotic and a natural diarrhoea treatment will also speed up recovery and will help restore a healthy balance of bacteria in your pet’s gut.

When you should take your pet to the vet:

  • If he’s a puppy or elderly dog – puppies or the elderly don’t have the immune system of healthy adult dogs so their systems often don’t have the ability to self-restore. Also, puppies (like babies) dehydrate very quickly and this can be fatal.
  • If it’s combined with persistent vomiting and a fever
  • If your pet is dehydrated
  • If it continues for more than 48 hours
  • If there’s blood in the stool
  • If your dog is lethargic, listless and has no appetite
  • If there’s dramatic weight loss
  • If you suspect poisoning

 

How to prevent diarrhoea:

  • Don’t let your pet eat other animals’ faeces
  • Prevent them from eating food, bones or other matter on your walks
  • When changing their food, do it gradually by mixing the new with the old, so their digestive systems can adjust to the change
  • Avoid letting them drink immediately after exercise
  • Don’t give your pets spoiled food or foods that are considered toxic for dogs

 

As with all advice on these pages, if you are able, consult your veterinarian first when it comes to any emergency.   

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