If your dog is like most, it's probably had diarrhea at least once. In most cases, diarrhea is caused by the foods your dog has eaten, specifically over-eating or consuming foods it shouldn't have. However, there are times when canine diarrhea has more ominous causes, such as illnesses or diseases. Diarrhea can also be caused by consuming toxic substances. If your dog has developed diarrhea, you'll need to take action to identify the problem and get it under control. Here are four important steps you should take if your dog has diarrhea.
Quarantine Your Dog
As soon as your dog develops diarrhea, you need to quarantine it, especially if you have other dogs. This is particularly important if you're not sure why your dog has diarrhea. Keeping your dog quarantined will prevent it from spreading an infection to other dogs. Plus, it will make it easier for you to clean up the messes. While your dog has active diarrhea, be sure to use gloves when cleaning up the messes. You should also keep the area properly sanitized while your dog is sick.
Collect a Stool Sample
If your dog has diarrhea, you'll need to collect a stool sample. Collecting a sample will let you get a closer look at the stool. Not only that, but if it turns out to be something more than simply over-eating, your veterinarian will want a sample to examine. You'll need to grab some rubber gloves and a ziplock baggie before beginning your sample retrieval. Put your rubber gloves on, and carefully pick up a portion of the stool. Place the stool inside the ziplock baggie and seal it. Remove your rubber gloves, toss them in the trash, and wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Once you have the sample collected, look for signs of worms or black, tarry stool. If you see either of those, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. The black stool could indicate that your dog came in contact with a poison.
Give Extra Fluids
If you didn't see any worms in your dog's stool, and it wasn't a black, tarry consistency, you should start offering extra fluids. Your dog has probably eaten something it shouldn't, or has a stomach virus that will pass. Offering additional fluids will help prevent dehydration.
Call Your Veterinarian
If your dog has diarrhea, you need to keep a close eye on it. In most cases, the diarrhea will pass in a few days. However, diarrhea can lead to more serious health issues. If your dog appears to be in pain, or its gums have turned white or gray, you'll need to contact a veterinarian at a local animal hospital immediately. Be sure to bring a sample of your dogs stool with you.