When we welcomed our first furry family member into our home, he had diarrhea within a couple of weeks. He was still a teeny-tiny little kitten at 3 months old at that time. As a result of my worry, I searched the internet extensively. Watched videos, read articles from vet blogs about pets and diarrhea. While he had an upset stomach, he was playful, but my worries reached over the top of Mount Everest. In order to make sure he is okay and to ensure his health, I took him to two vets. Right, two veterinarians. To me, nothing is more important than keeping my cat healthy and happy. There was almost a 3-week period of diarrhea for him. He had a slow but steady recovery. My experience can hopefully help you, so let me share what I have learned.
Having a better understanding of what to expect with loose stools in your pet, and what to do when they happen, is important, preferably beforehand.
What causes diarrhea?
When your pet consumes something he shouldn’t, his body tries to get rid of it right away, leading to diarrhea. There are several reasons for dogs and cats to get diarrhea, but the most common is when he eats something he shouldn’t. There is a higher likelihood of dogs getting diarrhea more frequently than cats, because dogs mostly are less careful about what they put in their mouths. And Generally, cats are more selective about what they consume.
Due to this and other factors, cats are more likely to throw up when they suffer digestive problems, while dogs are more likely to suffer lower gastrointestinal problems.
Dogs can experience diarrhea after chewing their toys. Your food might cause diarrhea to your cat.
Changing diet unexpectedly can also cause diarrhea, especially in pets who eat the same food every day for a long time. Vets suggest giving a variety of food for your pets. In the same way that we can eat different foods regularly without getting diarrhea, animals with healthy, resilient gastrointestinal tracts can do the same.
It is also common for dogs and cats to experience diarrhea due to food sensitivities or allergies.
Inflammation of the pancreas, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and colitis (inflammation of the colon) can cause diarrhea. A bacterial infection of the digestive tract can cause diarrhea. Another possible cause is parasites, such as giardia.
If all of a sudden your happy and healthy cat or dog is having diarrhea. And you did not change her diet, she did not swallow anything strange. And she has been having diarrhea for more than 3 days. The best thing to do is to visit your vet.
Another cause of loose stools can be stress for some pets.
Your four legged friend´s diet
It is very important to prepare any changes to your pet’s diet slowly, offering tiny amounts of new foods, treats or snacks at a pace that will not cause their stomach upset. (I have heard a lot of pet parents throwing out their old pet food and switching their dog or cat immediately to a new food. And then panicked when their fur babies started to be lethargic or having extensive diarrhea as a result of a sudden change of diet.)
Changing your dog’s diet slowly can take days or weeks, and switching your cat’s diet can take weeks or months. The recommendations for transitioning your fur babies from their old food to their new one are on the packaging of every pet food. Plan and read carefully how to switch your pet’s diet to the new food.
Keep on observing the stool changes of your fur babies. In order to prevent bowel changes, the process should be slow.
If you have a picky dog or cat, To mask the new food’s flavor enough to be accepted by your fussy pet’s palate, remove 1/16th teaspoon of the old food and replace it with 1/16th teaspoon of the new food. It is important that the new flavor is thoroughly mixed into the old food (so that the palate of your discerning pet will not dislike the new food when combined).
Treats can also cause stomach upset, so start with one or two tiny, pea-sized portions of new treats a day until you know how your pet’s system will respond.
Signs and symptoms of diarrhea
Diarrhea can cause a variety of symptoms. Frequent bowel movements, urgency, and loose watery stools are the normal signs, as well as straining. Although a lot of pet parents misinterpret constipation for diarrhea. This is because when they see their cats curled up or arching their backs while they are in their litter trays, or dogs curled up outside and nothing is happening.
As this seems to be constipation but this is another sign that your fur baby is having diarrhea. The arching, straining is an act that your pet wants to eliminate the cause of her stomach upset.
If you have an indoor kitty, it’s easy to recognize. But with regards to outdoor cats and dogs, you will have to be very observant of slight changes from your four legged family member’s behavior. When you see them curled up outside, try to check for watery stools. As they might be having diarrhea.
Symptoms of diarrhea include lethargy, fever, dehydration and loss of appetite. If your fur baby appears to be alright, just observe how she is. However, if you see your fur baby having signs of being lethargic, a change in behavior, kindly call or visit your veterinarian.
In case your pet appears to be alright, yet going through constant diarrhea and it continues for more than 3 days, please get an appointment with your vet.
On the occasion that your cat or dog has blood on her stool and is weak, lethargic, and there are certain changes in her behavior, then it is crucial to get her to the vet at once.
On condition that your fur baby is not acting strange, and still playful you might want to refrain feeding (not water) at least 12 hours. When tissues are at rest, this is the only time it can heal itself. And within 12 hours, the gastrointestinal tract will be able to rest, mend and rebuild itself.
After the 12 hour fasting for food, prepare a bland diet. A great example is fat-free, turkey or chicken and pure pumpkin puree.
From my experience as my kitty was still 3 months old. I stopped giving him his dry and wet food. And I started feeding him with a boiled pumpkin. A cooked pure pumpkin puree contains around 80 calories and 7 grams of soluble fiber per cup.
Pumpkins have a lot of potassium, which pets need in case of having diarrhea as the probability is high that they might drop some essential electrolytes, as well as potassium. My kitty loved it.
I mixed the boiled chicken and pumpkin, 50/50, and fed it to my kitty. I also gave him probiotics. And as there was a slight inflammation on my little boy’s tummy our vet also recommended antibiotics. He did recover slowly.
But if in any circumstances after trying this, and your pet still has watery stools within three days on a bland diet, I strongly suggest that it is about time to dial your veterinarian´s phone.
Please be careful with the kinds of houseplants you have at home as it might be potentially toxic to your pet. Every now and then check each room in your homes and make sure there’s nothing potentially deadly to your pet. Young animals, just like little kids, are naturally curious about their surroundings, and they usually place things which they find interesting to their mouths.
It’s also important to pick up any food you drop on the floor. Choosing a pet friendly or a natural cleaning product at home can refrain your fur family members from risk of danger and the possibility of accidental ingestion.