My chihuahua has diarrhea, what to do next?
When your chihuahua has diarrhea it can be very distressing for everyone. Diarrhea can range from loose stools for a couple of days to full on explosions of watery faeces. It can be very worrying for you, the guardian, and very distressing for your chihuahua.
Diarrhea is caused by the gut becoming inflamed and over sensitive. It then starts over contracting, pushing the food through too fast.
Things that can trigger a bout of diarrhea
Changes in diet
The most common reasons your chihuahua has diarrhea is a change of diet.
If you are making serious amendments to your chihuahua’s food regime then introduce the changes slowly. If you are changing from kibble to raw then you need to give your dogs gut time to grow the required flora to digest it. You could support the change by adding probiotics to the food and follow the advice given by the manufactures.
Even though dog’s stomachs are more able to cope with bacteria than a human, they can still get sick when they eat spoilt food. Make sure food is always fresh. Even dry food can go off and get spoilt and mouldy. Store it in an airtight container, keep raw and fresh food in the fridge.
If your chihuahua is anything like Minnie, then anything is fair game to be eaten. Don’t assume your chihuahua is a delicate little flower, they still have the same disgusting habits of bigger dogs. A variety of everyday foods are poisonous to dogs. Are you putting bread out for the birds? Mouldy bread is highly toxic and can kill your chi.
If you suspect your dog has ingested poisonous food, then take him to the vet straight away. Here is a list of poisonous foods.
Bacterial & Viral infection
If your dog has a bacterial or viral infection the diarrhea: may be accompanied with vomiting, pale gums, no appetite, be very lethargic and possibly have blood in his stool. These infections can be caused by salmonella or parvovirus among others.
Parvovirus is life threatening so seek medical attention urgently especially if your chi is a new puppy. Puppies can pick up these infections from poor breeding conditions and is a sure sign your chi is a mill or farm puppy.
Side effect of medication or flea treatments
Some medications may cause mild diarrhea this should ease off when the medication is finished. Antibiotics can upset the flora balance in your dog’s gut and kill off good bacteria that your dog needs.
Flea treatments and worming tablets can also cause an upset tummy. Stop using them if they make your chihuahua sick and find more natural alternatives. Read are spot on flea treatments bad for your dog
Allergies to food, like grains and rice that are found in dry food can cause food intolerances, which trigger IBS and similar symptoms. Also, if you are cooking your own food, too many veggies can make your dog have loose stools. Stick with the 10% rule.
Too much fat
Food loaded with fat will go straight through, Lamb is typical. When I cook Team Chi’s dinner I stick to lean white meats, turkey is a staple for us, pork, chicken and fish. Occasionally rabbit. I have learnt the hard way that lamb is a no no especially for Mika.
If you are giving your dog raw bones to chew on (and you should as they help keep teeth clean) scoop out some of the marrow. Although your chi will love it, marrow is very rich and very fatty. You could get it back from either end. Too much fat can also cause pancreatitis, so keep your food lean.
Monitor your chi regularly for worms by doing a worm count test. If it comes back positive, then administer a chemical dewormer. Once he is clear move onto a regular herbal routine like Verm X to keep him clear.
Persistent diarrhea can be a sign of kidney disease, if the diarrhea is accompanied by bad breath, vomiting and loss of appetite take your chi to the vet.
How serious is it and when to go to the vet?
Any bouts of bad diarrhea that lasts more than a day, needs investigation. A tiny chihuahua can get very quickly dehydrated and may need to be put on fluids. If there is blood in the poop don’t hesitate.
If your chi just has loose stools you can analyse what they have eaten. Have you changed their food or introduced new ones, or has your chi just been a bit piggy and over indulged?
How to treat it
The way to treat an inflamed gut is to ‘fast it’ and let it heal. Start with 6 hours of no food. (Not puppies). But if your chi is hypoglycaemic you must take advice on this. It’s a tricky one, so speak to the vet.
Don’t restrict fluids as you don’t want your chihuahua to become dehydrated.
When you re-introduce food, keep it bland. We often get told to feed chicken and rice. Dogs don’t need rice and grains in their diet, if you are ok with chicken mix it with some pumpkin.
Here is a recipe for a super healing broth that can help build up a recovering chihuahua. I make a batch and then freeze it.
Slippery elm is known for its gut soothing properties, you only need a tiny amount for your chihuahua follow the instructions.
Probiotics can help replace the lost good bacteria that keeps your chihuahuas gut balanced.
Fermented veggies and kefir
This is becoming increasingly popular, especially for keeping your dog’s gut balanced. Try and find a none dairy kefir as most dogs are lactose intolerant.
Remember that any bout of diarrhea is going to make your dog sore. If his back end is dirty and his fur matted this is going to make him very uncomfortable and depressed. Keep him clean but without harsh scrubbing. A sitting bath of Epsom salts will be soothing, or you could dab him instead. You could also put a dab of Vaseline on his anus to try and protect the skin.
Please note we have used the American spelling of diarrhea for search engine reasons.