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What Can I Give My Senior Dog For Diarrhea? (Causes & Treatments)

“We all get an upset stomach sometimes, both humans and dogs. While you can treat yours, I need your help to treat mine! No one knows the working of my bowels better than you, the one who feeds me, and the one who picks up after me – so don’t blame me when it all goes wrong.”

What Can I Give My Senior Dog For Diarrhea (Causes & Treatments)

If you ever need another reason to pick up after your dog, it’s because, whether you like it or not, it gives us the best idea of how our dog’s stomach is functioning.

When their stool is medium to hard their stomach is likely functioning fine, but if their stool is particularly runny and stinky then they likely have diarrhea and believe us when we say your dog won’t be having fun either.

In this article we will address the causes and treatments of diarrhea so that you can avoid any more awkward situations where a dog poop bag just doesn’t cut it.

Whether it’s something simple causing it, or a symptom of a more complex issue, you can find out here, today – just read below.

Understanding Canine Digestion

This might not be something you want to know the ins and outs of, but understanding how a dog’s digestive system is different to a human’s can really help understand why it occurs.

Put simply, the human jaw and salivary enzymes can break food down immediately when it enters the mouth. For dogs this operates differently, their jaw is made for tearing and crushing and food often goes straight down the esophagus, as you may have realized.

A dog’s salivary glands actually destroy bacteria rather than break down food, which is why a dog can bite into things that would send a human to hospital, such as another animal, etc.

They basically swallow food in chunks, and it reaches the stomach in a less broken down state than would occur in the human stomach.

Yet, a dog’s stomach has acid three times stronger than humans allowing them to digest more intact food. Food takes around 10 hours from entering the mouth to producing a stool for dogs.

“My stomach is unique but well-balanced, and there are lots of things that can affect it.”

Causes Of Diarrhea

Causes of Diarrhea

“I will eat anything, and by anything, I mean ANYTHING.”

You may have already noticed that dogs are indiscriminate when it comes to eating, and seldom does seniority bring wisdom with dogs. Put simply, your dog might eat garbage or dead things just because.

A dog doesn’t know when something is off, or why eating from the garbage is wrong. Their eating habits are similar to their hunting habits, if they see a squirrel they don’t think, and it can be the same with random bits of food.

This has a rather on-the-nose name in veterinary circles as ‘garbage toxicosis’, or ‘garbage gut’. Put simply your dog might just have eaten something that is off, dead, or just straight up garbage. “Sorry, I thought it was chicken!”

This indiscretion towards food is a big cause of diarrhea and simply requires time to pass, your dog might eat grass so they can pass a stool.

Change In Diet

Senior dogs often have their diet changed for the better, to help with certain issues that come with geriatric age.

As a dog’s immune systems get weaker as they get older their stomachs can take a little longer to get used to a dietary change.

In other words, if you have changed your dog’s diet they might have diarrhea as a result, but this should pass.

“I’ll eat anything, whether my stomach likes it or not…”

Allergies And Intolerances

Canine food intolerance or allergies can occur at any age, especially in seniority as their immune system weakens.

If the diarrhea is consistent and doesn’t go away, potentially occurring as the result of a new diet, your dog might be intolerant or allergic to a type of food. Like a human there are tests and exclusion diets that help.

Ingesting A Foreign Body

A dog’s indiscrimination towards food can lead to them ingesting some strange objects, such as a sock, a toy, or some indigestible piece of a plant.

Even though their stomach acid is strong, they might need some time to pass the foreign object, or if it’s clear this has occurred, they may need to go to the vet.

If they have already swallowed it, it should still be able to pass.

Bacterial Or Viral Infection

A bacterial infection, like salmonella, can occur in dogs from indiscriminate eating. A dog might come into contact with urine, stagnant water, or even undercooked meats, which could all provide a bacterial infection.

This will likely show itself in other ways such as through the skin.

Additionally, canines can also be susceptible to viruses, just like humans which can cause diarrhea. Common viruses can include parvovirus, distemper, and canine coronavirus.

Medication

Medication itself could cause diarrhea in dogs, if your dog has just started a new medication and they get diarrhea this might be why.

Stress And Emotional Causes

For certain dogs who get particularly anxious they can get stomach issues as a result, just like humans. Dogs have a brain to gut neuron link that humans don’t really get so this is more common than you think.

Parasites

Food indiscrimination causes a lot of issues for dogs, and as a result of eating things that are bad or even garbage, they can get parasites that cause illness and subsequently diarrhea.

A dog’s stool might have white grain-looking things in it, which is a sign of parasites like roundworms or hookworms, all of which can be treated.

Home Remedies For Diarrhea

Home Remedies For Diarrhea​

In most cases diarrhea isn’t necessarily cause to go to the vet’s unless it is a consistent or prolonged issue. There are a few at-home kitchen cures which can help, and if they don’t a trip to the vets will be necessary.

Rice – Rice can help dogs pass stool, whether it’s bland white rice, or simply the starchy water left behind, this can help stiffen their stool.

Pumpkin – This helps with both diarrhea and constipation in dogs, it’s best to opt for fresh and cooked, but canned is fine so long as it isn’t full of salt or other seasonings.

Yoghurt – Yogurt with probiotics and active cultures present in yogurt can help gut health in canines as it does in humans, so long as they can stand the milk.

Boiled Potatoes – Boiled potatoes without the skin are also effective at stiffening your dog’s stool and helping with digestion.

Plain protein – something like a bland chicken breast, or even an egg, can be beneficial to stiffening stool.

Final Thoughts

  • Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by an array of issues, but usually isn’t a cause for too much concern.
  • If diarrhea continues for more than a day or two, or if the diarrhea occurs regularly, this can be a sign to go to the vet.
  • In most cases, a stool will eventually pass over time.
  • Dogs often eat grass when they want to stiffen their stools on purpose.
  • In most cases diarrhea will be caused by a dog’s indiscriminate feeding, so keep an eye on what they are eating on walks.
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