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Help! My Senior Dog Has Diarrhea

Boxer squated out in a field to take a poop

Diarrhea in senior dogs may be a normal occurrence that happens once in a while. They may have eaten something that did not sit right with their digestive system and this ailment is the result.

When this happens, it is nothing to be worried about. Just try to find what he or she ate and make sure your pet does not eat it again. For senior dogs, diarrhea may be a sign of something a bit more severe.

To find out how severe, just continue reading our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can take the right action.

My Senior Dog Has Diarrhea and Vomiting

When your senior dog has both of these medical conditions, the best thing to do is stay calm. Simply bring your pet to your vet and let them diagnosis what is wrong. The issue may be so simple that it can be cleared up with a few antibiotics.

The key is not to panic but to remain level-headed, so your pet is not put at more risk by an over-reaction. When you let your vet handle the diagnosis and treatment, chances are your senior pet will return to normal and be healthy again. Depending on the source of the problem.

Types of Diarrhea in Senior Dogs

Yellow labrador squated behind a tree

There are three types of diarrhea that occur in your senior pet. One is the small intestine or small bowel variation, the next is the large intestine or large bowel diarrhea and the third is a combination of the two.

Both types may or may not have blood mixed in with their stool. Then there are variations of how that diarrhea is classified:

  1. Acute- lasts less than 2 weeks
  2. Chronic- if it lasts more than two weeks
  3. Intermittent- when it comes and goes

Each of these variations has similar sources.

The Source of Vomiting and Diarrhea in Your Senior Dog

An illustration of bacteria

Some of the problems come from your pet eating the wrong things. If they eat garbage, spoiled food, or you did not break in new food properly, then you may see them having diarrhea.

Other causes are more severe and may need medical attention to cure your pet of the problem. These more serious causes include but are not limited to the following sources:

  • Whipworms or other parasites
  • Given the wrong medication or ate something toxic
  • Bacteria
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Infectious diseases and viral infections
  • Small intestinal dysbiosis
  • Cancer or other serious illnesses

Treatment for Senior Dog Diarrhea

Golden retriever recieving a pill from a daily pill case

Often, you can help your pet overcome their problem with loose stool by changing their diet to something bland. But if this change does not help and your dog continues to have diarrhea, then you should consult your vet and see what the underlying cause of the problem is.

Sometimes your vet will need to conduct different tests so do not forget to bring along some fresh stool for some of those tests. These tests are important as they help discover the source of the problem.

Treatment includes the following steps:

1. Monitoring

Knowing what is normal for your dog, including what their normal stool looks like, is essential. That knowledge helps you see when something is not normal. Also, you have to make sure your pet is eating the right foods, drinking the right amount of water, and so on.

2. Medication

Your vet may prescribe some medication and it is vital you give it to your dog as instructed. Then continue to administer that medication until it is gone. This is done even if the problem has been resolved.

Beagle drinking water from a stainless steel water bowl

3. Maintain Hydration

Diarrhea drains your pet’s body of water and keeps it dehydrated. Make sure your pet drinks more water during this difficult time. Also, keep the water in their dish fresh and clean at all times.

4. Change Their Diet

Your pet’s stomach is irritated when it has diarrhea and one way to help them heal is by changing their diet. Instead of their regular food, give your pet something that is easier to digest. You want something that is going to be gentle on their system and not harsh. The latter type of food may make things worse.

Bloody Stool or Vomit in Your Senior Pet

Hand on the head of a golden retriever with its eyes closed

This can happen and it is called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or HGE. Here are some of the sources for this condition:

  1. Stomach ulcers
  2. Intestinal ulcers
  3. Viral infection
  4. Parasites
  5. Bacteria

Smaller senior dogs seem to be more vulnerable to HGE than bigger pets.

Some Final Words

Portrait of a healthy golden retriever, panting.

The key to helping your pet overcome these issues is to see your vet as soon as you can. The faster your pet gets treatment, the faster it will feel better. Making sure your pet does not eat garbage is one way to prevent diarrhea from taking place.

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