Top 10 tips to prevent diarrhoea in dogs
Top 10 tips to prevent diarrhoea in dogs
Written by Dr. Nandita Mirajkar, BVSc & AH, PhD, Scientific Affairs Lead at ilume
If your dog has diarrhoea, you’re not alone. Diarrhoea is one of the most common conditions veterinarians encounter in dogs, and almost 29% of dogs may have experienced diarrhoea within the previous month.1, 2
Diarrhoea can be caused by a range of factors, most commonly related to something your dog ate. Check out Part 1 of this series on diarrhoea - What causes diarrhoea in dogs? to understand more.
If you’re looking for tips on at-home care of doggy diarrhoea, head to Part 2 of this series on diarrhoea - Top 10 vet-approved tips for at-home care of diarrhoea in dogs.
Top 10 tips to prevent diarrhoea in your dog
While you may not always be able to prevent it, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of your dog developing diarrhoea.
- Prevent scavenging.
Try to prevent your dog from eating things off the road and ensure that food waste, leftovers, and garbage are inaccessible to them. This will reduce the risk of them eating something that may cause diarrhoea due to an infection or gut inflammation.3, 4
- Avoid feeding table scraps.
Resist begging and avoid sharing your food with your dog as many human foods are not easily digested by dogs, and may even be toxic for them.5
- Provide appropriately portioned meals on a regular schedule.
Help prevent overeating in your dog by maintaining scheduled mealtimes with accurately weighed portions.6-8
- Eliminate household hazards.
Dog-proof your house to prevent access to potentially hazardous materials or objects, as mistaken swallowing can damage the gut.6, 8, 9
- Avoid feeding raw food and instead provide nutritionally complete and balanced cooked foods.
Avoid raw dog foods, especially raw meat or offal, as they have a higher risk of carrying food-borne
infections, and bones may additionally also cause damage to the digestive tract.8, 10 Cooking kills harmful food-borne microbes, and providing lightly cooked fresh food is safer for both, you, and your dog. A gentle word of caution for home chefs - home-prepared dog food may be deficient in many nutrients 11, and is associated with a higher risk of diarrhoea3.
- Transition diets slowly.
Avoid sudden changes in diet, as the gut and microbiome require time to adjust to the change.7-9
- Identify and eliminate ingredients that your dog is intolerant or allergic to.
If your dog is diagnosed with intolerance or allergy to a particular ingredient, eliminating it from their diet is the best approach to soothe the gut and prevent future reactions.7-9
- Reduce stress and anxiety.
Change in the environment, family, travel, boarding and severe weather may all be significant stressors for your dog that may cause diarrhoea. Ask your veterinarian about probiotics or other measures to combat stress-related diarrhoea, especially if your dog has an anxious temperament or you’re aware of upcoming stress triggers.6-8
- Stay up to date with your dog’s immunisations and deworming schedule.
Ensure they get their doses and boosters as per their schedule to provide protection against infectious agents and worms.3, 7
- Ensure early intervention for any medical condition.
Always keep an eye out for common signs that your dog is unwell and don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian if something seems amiss. While you may not be able to prevent many diseases from occurring, providing early medical treatment may reduce complications of other diseases, and in turn, related symptoms such as diarrhoea.
Pro Tip: Select fresh, nutritionally balanced, whole, high-quality, gently cooked dog food without artificial preservatives, flavours, and colours.
If you’ve looked at the above tips to prevent diarrhoea in your dog, you’ve probably realised that in terms of dog food, you’re better off serving cooked food that suits your dog’s gut. Even amongst cooked foods, different processing methods not only impact the nutritional content and digestibility of the food, but may also have potential health impacts.12-16
That’s the reason that gently cooked fresh foods using natural, whole, and high-quality ingredients have risen in popularity. They inherently overcome potential issues associated with kibble, canned wet food, and raw food by mildly cooking foods at lower temperatures, and by avoiding the use of artificial additives.
Fresh, gently cooked foods may reduce the risk of foodborne infections, inflammation-associated harmful compounds (e.g., Maillard Reaction Products, Advanced Glycation End-products), some adverse food reactions (associated with artificial food additives or increased allergenicity of some proteins), and in turn, potentially also diarrhoea in dogs.15-18 High-quality commercial products often also have the benefit of being formulated by nutritionists to be complete and balanced.
Compared to kibble, fresh and mildly cooked food is more digestible and may have some favourable effects on your dog’s poop such as maintaining the quality, while reducing how much and how often they defecate.19-22 Eating gently cooked fresh food using whole ingredients may also be associated with significant gut microbiome changes, immunomodulatory effects, and general health maintenance in dogs.19, 20, 22-25
Think fresh, high-quality, gently cooked dog food – think ilume!
We know it can be overwhelming selecting your dog’s food with the endless options in the pet food aisle. Why not try ilume’s nutritionally balanced, fresh, and gently cooked food that uses whole, high-quality ingredients? Your dog may be just one meal away from a happy and healthy gut. Make the switch to ilume today!
- O’Neill DG, James H, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, Pegram C. Prevalence of commonly diagnosed disorders in UK dogs under primary veterinary care: results and applications. BMC Veterinary Research. 2021/02/17 2021;17(1):69. doi:10.1186/s12917-021-02775-3
- Stavisky J, Pinchbeck GL, German AJ, et al. Prevalence of canine enteric coronavirus in a cross-sectional survey of dogs presenting at veterinary practices. Vet Microbiol. Jan 6 2010;140(1-2):18-24. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.07.012
- Stavisky J, Radford AD, Gaskell R, et al. A case-control study of pathogen and lifestyle risk factors for diarrhoea in dogs. Prev Vet Med. May 1 2011;99(2-4):185-92. doi:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2011.02.009
- Hall E. Canine diarrhoea: a rational approach to diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas. In Practice. 2009;31(1):8-16. doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/inpract.31.1.8
- Turner DB. Your Dog Has Diarrhea: What to Do and NOT Do. Preventive Vet. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/your-dog-has-diarrhea-what-to-do
- Armstrong J, Intervention G. Approach to diagnosis and therapy of the patient with acute diarrhea. Todays Vet Prac. 2013:20-56.
- Marks SL. Diarrhea. Canine and feline gastroenterology. 2013:99.
- Sherding RG, Johnson SE. Diseases of the intestines. Saunders manual of small animal practice. 2006:702.
- Battersby I, Harvey A. Differential diagnosis and treatment of acute diarrhoea in the dog and cat. In Practice. 2006;28(8):480-488. doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/inpract.28.8.480
- Viegas FM, Ramos CP, Xavier RGC, et al. Fecal shedding of Salmonella spp., Clostridium perfringens, and Clostridioides difficile in dogs fed raw meat-based diets in Brazil and their owners’ motivation. PLOS ONE. 2020;15(4):e0231275. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0231275
- Streiff EL, Zwischenberger B, Butterwick RF, Wagner E, Iben C, Bauer JE. A Comparison of the Nutritional Adequacy of Home-Prepared and Commercial Diets for Dogs. The Journal of Nutrition. 2002;132(6):1698S-1700S. doi:10.1093/jn/132.6.1698S
- Cai X, Liao R, Chen G, Lu Y, Zhao Y, Chen Y. The influence of food processing methods on serum parameters, apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility, fecal microbiota and SCFA content in adult beagles. PLoS One. 2022;17(1):e0262284. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0262284
- Tran Q. Extrusion processing: effects on dry canine diets. 2008.
- Tran QD, Hendriks WH, van der Poel AF. Effects of extrusion processing on nutrients in dry pet food. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2008;88(9):1487-1493. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.3247
- Bridglalsingh S. Influence of Four Differently Processed Diets on Plasma Levels of Advanced Glycation End Products (Ages), Serum Levels of Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products (Rage), Serum and Urine Metabolome, and Fecal Microbiome in Healthy Dogs. University of Georgia; 2020.
- Raditic DM. Insights into Commercial Pet Foods. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. May 2021;51(3):551-562. doi:10.1016/j.cvsm.2021.01.013
- Cave NJ. Hydrolyzed protein diets for dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. Nov 2006;36(6):1251-68, vi. doi:10.1016/j.cvsm.2006.08.008
- Gaschen FP, Merchant SR. Adverse food reactions in dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. Mar 2011;41(2):361-79. doi:10.1016/j.cvsm.2011.02.005
- Do S, Phungviwatnikul T, de Godoy MRC, Swanson KS. Nutrient digestibility and fecal characteristics, microbiota, and metabolites in dogs fed human-grade foods. Journal of Animal Science. 2021;99(2)doi:10.1093/jas/skab028
- Tanprasertsuk J, Shmalberg J, Maughan H, et al. Heterogeneity of gut microbial responses in healthy household dogs transitioning from an extruded to a mildly cooked diet. PeerJ. 2021;9:e11648.
- Tanprasertsuk J, Perry LM, Tate DE, Honaker RW, Shmalberg J. Apparent total tract nutrient digestibility and metabolizable energy estimation in commercial fresh and extruded dry kibble dog foods. Translational Animal Science. 2021;5(3)doi:10.1093/tas/txab071
- Algya KM, Cross TL, Leuck KN, et al. Apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility, serum chemistry, urinalysis, and fecal characteristics, metabolites and microbiota of adult dogs fed extruded, mildly cooked, and raw diets1. J Anim Sci. Sep 7 2018;96(9):3670-3683. doi:10.1093/jas/sky235
- Jaffey JA, Su D, Monasky R, Hanratty B, Flannery E, Horman M. Effects of a whole food diet on immune function and inflammatory phenotype in healthy dogs: A randomized, open-labeled, cross-over clinical trial. Front Vet Sci. 2022;9:898056. doi:10.3389/fvets.2022.898056
- John Tegzes V. Effects Of Fresh Prepared, Whole Food Canine Maintenance Diets On Clinically Measurable Blood Parameters In Healthy Dogs
- Geary EL, Oba PM, Applegate CC, Clark LV, Fields CJ, Swanson KS. Effects of a mildly-cooked human-grade dog diet on gene expression, skin and coat health measures, and fecal microbiota of healthy adult dogs. Journal of Animal Science. 2022;doi:10.1093/jas/skac265