Is Diarrhea a Pet Emergency?

Diarrhea in Dogs: When Is Dog Diarrhea An Emergency?

No, dog diarrhea is not always a serious health issue – sometimes, it just indicates mild intestinal distress.

So, when is dog diarrhea an emergency? Diarrhea is an emergency if it lasts more than 48 hours or is accompanied by severe symptoms such as vomiting or bloody stool. In such cases, diarrhea is an emergency and requires veterinary attention.

Dogs can get diarrhea due to sudden food changes, dietary indiscretions (eating garbage or table scraps), food allergies, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, foreign objects, and intestinal blockages.

It can also be caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), bacterial infections (Salmonella), viral infections (parvovirus, coronavirus), and intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and Giardia).

Some of these common causes of diarrhea are life-threatening without proper veterinary care.

How do I Know if My Dog’s Diarrhea is Serious?

Here are some signs your dog has severe diarrhea and should be taken to an animal hospital:

  • Blood in the Stool. Bloody diarrhea indicates bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Based on the underlying cause, it can be red and speckled or black and tarry (like coffee grounds).
  • Mucus in the Stool. The presence of mucus in the dog’s stool is another red flag. Some of the common reasons for excess mucus production are IBD and intestinal parasites.
  • Vomiting and Appetite Loss. A serious episode of diarrhea is likely to be accompanied by nausea, appetite loss, and vomiting.
  • Dehydration. A dog with diarrhea rapidly loses water and electrolytes, which may lead to dehydration (dry tongue, sunken eyes, and sticky saliva).
  • Lethargy. Disinterest in everyday activities and decreased energy levels are concerning when paired with diarrhea.
Top Pick
Honest Paws Pre+ Probiotics for Dogs
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  • Specially formulated with both dog probiotics and prebiotics.
  • Avoid diarrhea, loss of appetite, constipation, and many other problems.
  • Helps promote the production of natural antibodies, fight free radicals, and support a healthy immune system in your dog.

Should I be Concerned if My Dog Has Had Diarrhea for 3 Days?

Yes, you should be concerned if your dog has had diarrhea for three days.

Most cases of diarrhea are not severe and resolve on their own. However, if your canine companion has been sick for more than three days, you must contact an emergency vet.

When Should I Take My Dog to the ER for Diarrhea?

You should take your dog to the emergency vet for diarrhea in the following situations:

  • The diarrhea lasts for more than three days
  • Frequent bouts of diarrhea (chronic diarrhea)
  • Home remedies (bland diet & supplements) do not work
  • There are accompanying signs & symptoms
  • Presence of blood or mucus in the dog poop
  • The dog is dehydrated or showing weight loss.
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PetLab Co. Digestive Support Bites - Turkey Flavor
9/10Our Score
  • Provides nutritional support for a healthy gut, skin, and coat
  • Made with powerful ingredients such as organic apple cider vinegar and pumpkin 
  • A hefty source of vitamins A, C, and E, hence strengthening your dog's natural defenses 

What do Vets Prescribe for Diarrhea?

Diarrhea in Dogs: When Is Dog Diarrhea An Emergency?

There are many prescription and over-the-counter supplements and medications for managing dog diarrhea.

Honest Paws Probiotics for Dogs. The probiotics in this supplement promote gut health, support the immune system, and help with overall pet health. The product is non-GMO and free from fillers and artificial additives. It comes as a chicken-flavored powder and is safe for dogs of all ages.

With an Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, pet owners love this supplement. They are happy with the quality of the ingredients and the fact it contains both probiotics and prebiotics.

PetLab Co. Digestive Support Bites. These soft treats provide dogs with nutritional support for a healthy gut, skin, and coat. Made with turkey meat, they are an effective and delectable way to strengthen your dog’s digestive system. Digestive Support Bites are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, containing sources of vitamins A, C, and E, hence strengthening your dog’s natural defenses with just one to two bites a day. 

With a 4.2 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, these digestive chews are well-favored by customers and they posited that their fur darlings loved this product.

Vets Preferred Anti Diarrhea Liquid for Dogs. This is an all-natural and vet-formulated product with a fast-acting formula. It is easy to use – just add one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for two days. The supplement is safe for pets over 12 weeks of age.

Dog parents love this anti-diarrhea product and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. They say it is easy to use and has a positive effect on their dog’s digestive tract. Plus, dogs seem to like it.

Vets Preferred Dog Probiotic Supplement. This organic supplement for dogs contains probiotics and keeps bowel movements in check. It also has prebiotics and is free from wheat, corn, or soy. It can be used in conjunction with other anti-diarrhea supplements and meds.

Customers love this product. They say it has improved their pets’ digestive health and helped with allergies, skin issues, and other problems. Pet owners rate it 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Nutramax Proviable Digestive Health Supplement Multi-Strain Probiotics and Prebiotics for Dogs. This dietary supplement contains a unique blend of probiotics and prebiotics that promote healthy digestion. It contains 5 billion CFUs of beneficial bacteria per serving.

With a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating, pet parents love this dog chew. They say it is easy to use, great for dogs with sensitive stomachs and helps prevent diarrhea.

Open Farm Probiotic Dog Supplement Chews. These chews are made with probiotics, prebiotics, and organic nutrients that support digestion and boost the immune system. They are gluten, grain, and soy-free, so they are safe even for sensitive dogs. First-time customers can also get 20% off their first auto-ship order using the code VET20!

Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, pet parents love this product because they say it’s easy to give to their dog. They also say their dogs love them and will eat them right out of their hands.