Watery Diarrhea in Dogs

Watery diarrhea in dogs may be a sign of a serious condition. Diarrhea is the presence of soft or watery stool in your pet. Although diarrhea is common from time to time, it can also indicate a number of conditions that will need treatment promptly.

When to Contact the Vet about Watery Diarrhea

Even when your pet has mild diarrhea, it is best to contact a veterinarian. He will likely ask you a number of questions concerning the symptoms and other issues. Call a veterinarian right away if you notice the following symptoms, as these may indicate a serious illness in your pet:

It is also extremely important to contact the vet if you suspect your pet has consumed a poisonous or toxic material, or if he has not received all of his vaccinations. Never give your pet human medications unless told to do so by a veterinarian.

Common Causes of Watery Diarrhea

The exact cause for your pet's watery diarrhea can be due to a number of conditions. Some of these conditions include:

  • Roundworms, whipworms, hookworms or other intestinal parasites
  • Eating bad food, compost, rocks, sticks or other harmful materials; changes in diet may also cause diarrhea in certain dogs, especially those with sensitive stomachs
  • Pancreatitis, or the inflammation of the pancreas
  • Ingestion of toxins such as cleaning agents, insecticides, drugs, antibiotics or other poisonous liquids
  • Salmonella or Giardia
  • Viral infections, such as rotavirus or parvo
  • Various bacterial infections

As many of these conditions can be dangerous, or even fatal, it is very important to contact a veterinarian if you notice watery diarrhea in your pet. It may indicate a life-threatening condition, and detecting the cause early will help your pet recover faster.

Treating Watery Diarrhea in Your Dog

Your veterinarian will decide what treatment option is best for your pet. The underlying condition will also determine how the diarrhea should be treated. The most common way to treat diarrhea at home is to feed your pet a bland, easily digestible diet. This may include rice and boiled chicken, or other diets that are free of oils and fats. Your pet should be fed this diet for a couple of days following the bout of watery diarrhea. He should also be fed less than he usually eats. Some veterinarians may recommend not feeding the dog at all for 12 to 24 hours, or fasting the dog. This gives the intestinal tract a break and allows time to heal.

Professional treatments for watery diarrhea may include the following:

  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Fluid therapy, especially for dehydration
  • Drugs that coat and sooth the stomach and gastointestinal tract