When to See a Vet About Your Dog’s Diarrhea


Diarrhea is a symptom of gastrointestinal tract (GIT) dysfunction and it isn’t a disease. It’s a natural body mechanism in removing unwanted organisms before it goes beyond the entire system and causes damage. It’s commonly associated with food-borne pathogens or toxins.

Normal diarrhea among dogs is self-limiting and resolves on its own.

However, unusual episodes of bowel movement for more than 24 hours can be alarming. As a pet owner, you should be cautious about warning signs and be ready to take your dog to the veterinarian.

In this article, you’ll learn more of the warning signs that will tell you to see a vet immediately when your dog is having diarrhea.

1. Severity

The gravity of the situation depends on the duration of diarrhea and the other signs it accompanies. The cause of the condition may be serious when severe, bloody diarrhea or signs of illness like lethargy, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and dehydration are observed.

Some of the causes of dogs diarrhea (see list) includes food poisoning, parasites, worms, or viruses, and underlying health conditions. For instance, diarrhea is one of the notable symptoms of parvovirus, an infection that causes death in vulnerable dogs.

Certainly, you’ll want your pet in perfect condition, and unusual signs of illness shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re giving time to know your pet, take the time to understand them better. Knowing their breed, history, and likes or dislikes will guide you in parenting them.

2. Vomiting

Occasional vomiting is normal for dogs and they do it to get rid of something that contradicts with them. However, some vomiting will concern you and needs urgent medical attention. These include:

  • Frequent vomits or several times in a row
  • Has a fever
  • Vomits blood
  • Loss of appetite

Take note that diarrhea with severe vomiting can cause dehydration, so seek early treatment.

3. Unusual Stool

A dog’s stool can be an indicator of their overall health. Usually, a healthy dog will have firm, small, and moist stools. On the other hand, dry and hard stools can be a sign of a health disorder, dehydration, or dietary problems.

It’s important to determine the normal state of your dog’s stool to easily identify unusual behavior. There are various kinds of diarrhea that you should be concerned about:

  • Soft Stool: Your dog may have eaten some food that isn’t fit for consumption. Nevertheless, soft feces may also be a sign of stress or parasites in the gut system. It’s essential to monitor the dog and seek immediate attention if the symptoms persist or worsen.
  • Black Stool With A Tarry Type: It’s a sign of blood in the dog’s internal system. There’s a possibility that the dog has eaten something that caused internal damage or an indication of a serious illness like cancer or tumor.
  • Liquid Diarrhea: A liquid poop discharge is an indicator of viral or intestinal infection. It can increase the risk of dehydration and it’s important to seek immediate medical attention before it worsens.
  • Presence of Worms: If your dog hasn’t been dewormed, then the dog's stool with worms or other microorganisms is a possible sign of parasites infestation or bacterial infection. To verify the cause, it’s better to get a sample and submit for laboratory analysis.
  • Stool With Mucus: Discharged stool with mucus is a warning sign for serious risk for diseases like Parvovirus and presence of parasites.
  • Soft Stool With Blood or Blood Clots: Bloody diarrhea is a strong evidence of a serious health problem. The dog might have been poisoned or enduring an underlying, severe medical condition. When the dog has eaten something unhealthy, it may pass within a day or two. But if it’s a case of Parvovirus, it can lead to severe dehydration and eventually death in two days.
  • Stool With Fresh Blood: It’s a sign of internal hemorrhage or current bleeding inside their body, around the large intestine or within the anal glands. The dog might have ingested something that penetrated the intestinal walls. Bleeding can also be a sign of ulcer or erupted tumor.


4. Abdominal Pain

When diarrhea is accompanied by excessive pain and increased sensitivity in the abdominal region, it may be a warning sign for immediate medical attention. Dogs in pain usually exhibit panting, whining, a distended abdomen, or excessive drooling.

Also, bloating is an emergency sign and needs quick intervention because it can be potentially life-threatening.

5. Lethargy

A lack of enthusiasm and unresponsiveness by your dog while having diarrhea is another concerning sign that you must see your veterinarian immediately. These conditions may be brought by extreme dehydration and intense pain experienced by the pet.

Consequently, your pet’s gums might be turning bluish, pale, white, or gray in color. Certainly, you don’t want them to experience prolonged agony and ensure they get treatment as soon as possible.

6. Prolonged Diarrhea

Diarrhea in dogs for more than 24 hours is considered one of the key factors for medical emergencies.

Frequent episodes of diarrhea for several hours can increase the risk of dehydration.

The severity of dehydration should prompt you to seek immediate treatment because it can affect the balance of electrolytes or essential ions needed by the body for normal function.

7. Known Exposure To Dangerous Poisons

Your dog’s exposure to dangerous poisons can be lethal when not treated immediately. To counteract food poisoning, diarrhea occurs to get rid of contamination inside your pet’s body. Be careful with the poisons that include:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Rodent bait
  • Human food
  • Garbage Wastes
  • Toy or clothing
  • Human medications
  • Overdoses of canine medications

If you’ve caught your pet eating these materials and substances, don’t wait for diarrhea or any adverse health effects to happen. Seek immediate treatment to prevent undesirable outcomes.

Bottom Line:

As a pet owner, it’s important to be observant and conscious of the subtlest changes in your dog. If you know your dog better, you’ll be able to prevent unwanted circumstances.

The warning signs in this article will help you identify any health problems immediately.

Diarrhea for more than 24 hours, accompanied by vomiting and unusual stool discharge, is alarming and needs urgent medical attention.

These symptoms may be caused by eating unhealthy food or toxins, parasites, viral infection, and underlying health problems.

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