Sometimes diarrhea is actually normal. In both dogs and humans, diarrhea can be an effective way for the body to purge itself of a toxin or pathogen. But do you know whether your dog’s loose poop is a normal reaction or an emergency? Figuring out the true cause of dog diarrhea can be tricky, even for a specialist. Fortunately, a gut health analysis can often uncover vital clues.
Dog Diarrhea: Quick Tips
Why Does Your Dog Have Diarrhea?
Loose stool can be a minor event or a serious condition. Diarrhea can be acute (meaning that it begins rather suddenly and lasts more than 48 hours) or chronic (lasting more than three weeks, sometimes varying in intensity from day to day).
Here are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:
- Something your dog ate
- Vigorous Exercise
- Parasites and Pathogens
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
What Else Is Your Dog’s Poop Telling You?
Your dog’s poop can provide a lot of useful clues. What’s “normal” will depend in part on diet, age, and other factors, but in general, a healthy dog’s poop should be medium brown in color and should not be too hard or too soft.
Ideally, your dog’s stool should be firm in consistency and have a segmented appearance. (If it’s hard and dry, your dog might have constipation.) You may think of diarrhea as watery puddles, but completely liquid poop is really just one end of the scale.
When to See a Veterinarian
Seek veterinary care immediately if your dog’s diarrhea is accompanied by any of the following factors:
- Loss of appetite
- Apparent abdominal pain
- Repeated vomiting
- Unproductive retching
- Large amounts of blood in the stool
- Ingestion of rat poison (or any other poison)
Gut Health Testing
A Gut Health Test can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your dog’s digestive system and even how to correct certain problems. By identifying all the different kinds of bacteria in your dog’s gut, microbiome testing can determine whether those different bacterial populations are present in balanced amounts when compared to the gut bacteria of healthy dogs. Those correct proportions are the key to a thriving, well-balanced microbiome.