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It’s not a topic anyone likes to discuss, but if you own a dog, chances are you have found yourself cleaning up a stinking brown puddle (or, politely put, doggie runs) more than you’d care to think about.

Diarrhea is a common canine affliction and it varies in frequency, duration, and intensity from dog to dog

You may not be able to totally prevent diarrhea, but knowing as much as possible about it might help limit the number times your dog has one of these unpleasant episodes and reduce the duration when the runs do come.

The Canine Digestive System

There are significant differences between the way dogs and people digest food.

Human jaw shape and salivary enzymes, for example, will start breaking down a morsel in the mouth. Dogs, on the other hand, have mouths and jaws made for tearing, crushing, and wolfing food down. Their salivary enzymes are mostly designed to kill bacteria, which is why they can tolerate items that would send their human companions to the hospital.

Food travels rapidly down the canine esophagus and enters the stomach in chunks, where most digestion takes place. Canine stomach acids are about three times stronger than those of humans, so they can digest food that is pretty much intact. Under normal circumstances, transit time from mouth through the small and large intestines should be under 10 hours, producing a firm, well-formed stool at the end.

Dirty Dozen—Top 12 Causes of Doggie Diarrhea

Many things can disrupt this well-balanced system, causing diarrhea or, less frequently, constipation. Some things, like eating too much grass, are not serious at all. Others can be a sign of a life-threatening problem, such as an indigestible object (like a rock) lodged in the stomach, or a disease like cancer.

There  are many reasons why a dog may develop loose stools, but most cases may be attributed to one of these 12 triggers: 

Dietary indiscretion: Eating too much, eating garbage, or spoiled food. There’s actually a name for it in veterinary circles—“garbage toxicosis” or “garbage gut.”

Change in diet: It may take a few days for a dog’s digestive system to adapt to new proteins. That’s why many dog-food manufacturers recommend that you go slow when you switch from one brand of food to another.

Food intolerance

Allergies

Parasites: Most of these will cause illness in puppies or in adults with weak immune systems: Roundworms Hookworms Whipworms Coccidia Giardia

Poisonous substances or plants

Swallowing an indigestible foreign body, like a toy or a dozen or more socks

Infections with common viruses such as: Parvovirus Distemper Coronavirus

Bacterial infections, such as salmonella Illnesses, such as kidney and liver disease, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer

Antibiotics and other medications

Stress or emotional upset

What Stools Can Tell You About Your Dog’s Health

The consistency and color of diarrhea reveals a lot about the cause of the problem and what is happening in your dog. Take very careful note of the color, consistency, and anything else that might help when you describe the symptoms to a vet. In many cases, diarrhea will resolve after a few days of home treatment, but it’s a good idea to give your vet a call if it continues for a long period or has any one of several signs that may point to a serious problem.

Color chart of different poop colors to indicate illness

 What Stools Can Tell You About Your Dog’s Health The consistency and color of diarrhea reveals a lot about the cause of the problem and what is happening in your dog. Take very careful note of the color, consistency, and anything else that might help when you describe the symptoms to a vet. In many cases, diarrhea will resolve after a few days of home treatment, but it’s a good idea to give your vet a call if it continues for a long period or has any one of several signs that may point to a serious problem.  This infographic from Just Right by Purina gives you an idea of a “perfect dog poop,” which is chocolate brown, shaped like logs, compact, and easy to scoop. Experts say it should feel like cookie dough or Play-Doh when pressed. Large volumes, pudding-like or watery consistency, or signs of mucus (looks like jelly), or blood streaks, are not normal.  poop infographic 1 Take Note of the Color of the Poop  Color can also indicate a lot about what is going on inside your dog’s gut. Chocolate brown is normal, while colors like orange, green, or gray may signify issues with such organs as liver, gall bladder, or pancreas. Black tarry stool is very serious, and may point to internal bleeding. If you see this, contact your vet as soon as possible. 

Purina has also provided a handy reference—a color wheel of dog poop.  dog pool chart  Color, shape, and consistency will all help you and your vet figure out what is wrong when your dog gets diarrhea. These factors will help your vet determine where the problem is originating along the dog’s digestive tract.  Other Ways to Decipher Dog Poop  Following are some common abnormalities, in addition to color, and what each might be telling you about why your dog has the runs:  Frequency: Small amounts with straining, several times in an hour, which some people call “the squirts,” can be a sign of inflammation of the large bowel. Three or four times, with large volume, suggest small bowel disorder. Oddly shaped or colored solid objects can tell you what your dog has gotten into. Several small white rice-like shapes, for example, may signify a tapeworm infestation. Grass, wood, or string could tell you that your dog has eaten something that he couldn’t digest. Consistency: Nestlé Purina developed this well-illustrated chart that shows how vets score canine fecal consistency on a scale of one to seven.

11.11.2019
 
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