For the most part, dogs and cats who eat balanced diets and get good exercise generally stay in decently good health. However, some pets have irritable bowels and are always suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort.  If your dog or cat seems to be running to the litter box, potty patch, or out the doggy door many times during the day, it might be time to evaluate some aspects of their lifestyle to determine what may be causing the problem. Here are a few of the main reasons a cat or a dog might struggle with regular bouts of diarrhea.

According to Dr. Jules Benson, the VP of the Veterinary Services at a pet insurance company called Petplan, diarrhea happens to be the most common ailment people claim for their pets.  This is hardly surprising, since digestive issues are to be expected in animals (particularly those who like to snack on questionable objects).  Diarrhea can occur because of a vast variety of contributing factors such as:

  • allergic reactions
  • ingesting toxic or contaminated food
  • parasites
  • poisoning
  • medications
  • dehydration
  • emotional stress
  • cancer
  • auto-immune diseases

Disagreeing with food: Sometime dogs and cats eat food products that upset their stomachs either because there are poor quality ingredients in them, the food has gone bad, or there is an allergic reaction to an element in the product. Talk to your vet about the specific complications, the product, and see what he suggests could be a good solution (i.e. switching to hypoallergenic, high-quality pet food, or starch-free foods, etc.)  In the meantime, change the diet to something uncomplicated and bland so as to avoid giving your pet abdominal pains. Serving plain rice and boiled chicken or fish is an easily digestible option while your pet’s digestive system is stabilizing.

Toxins, waste, and poison: Ever heard the proverbial phrase about dogs returning to their own vomit? Some pets are not at all averse to licking, sniffing and even eating the feces of another animal. This not only puts them at risk of getting worms and other diseases, but it subjects them to diarrhea and vomiting, so keep them away from droppings! Some dogs and cats also have a tendency to forage through garbage cans to munch on things like coffee grounds, and food wrappers, etc. If any household items like cleaning supplies, anti-freeze, etc. are easily accessible to your pet, make sure to store these away in cabinets. Trash cans should have snap-on lids to help keep the fur-babies out of the garbage.

Medications: If your pet’s diarrhea coincides with the recent implementation of new medications or prescriptions drugs, let your vet know the side effects. He might be able to offer another solution that will not affect your pet negatively.  Let your vet know about any changes in schedule, environment, or recent contributing factors that might be affecting the dog or cat’s state of emotional wellbeing. He will be able to offer some valuable tips about how to lower an animals stress levels.

NOTE: If the symptoms occur for longer than 24 hours straight, there might be a great issue at stake. For dehydration and other possible diseases such as cancer, etc. schedule a physical examination for your pet so that he can be given a blood test to see what possible health problems the diarrhea might be an indication of.