Diarrhea in dogs is a normal thing for all dogs to experience at one point or another throughout their lives. Most bouts of dog diarrhea (diarrhoea) will only last a couple of days, but on rare occasions your dog's loose bowels might continue over a long period of time. This is when you should take action for the benefit of his health, especially if the diarrhea gets severe, and uncontrolled.
There a couple of different types of dog diarrhea you should know about. If your dog's soft stools started suddenly and then lasted for a few days to a week then he had a case of Acute Diarrhea. If he has frequent long-standing diarrhea that is constantly watery, mucus or blood coated, or often has normal stool followed by soft stool, then he has Chronic Diarrhea.
Simple things can also trigger Acute Canine Diarrhea, such as switching his food from one type to another too quickly. You should always wean him slowly from his previous food diet to his new food by mixing it in gradually. If you give your dog a new kind of treat that he has never had before, even that small bit could trigger his diarrhea. Food without enough fiber will not allow his feces to harden in his intestines so the type of diet you are feeding could be the cause.
If you see your dog scooting around on the floor dragging his backend, this means he is trying to release his anal glands. Every dog has two sacs on the inside of their anus that are filled with a fluid containing a distinct pungent odor. When hard stool passes out their bowels then the sacs release the fluid to create a type of lubricant for the feces. The odor of liquid is also how dogs identify each other. It serves as their "fingerprint of identification" for other dogs. This is why you often see them greeting one another by sniffing their backends. The scooting process is a commonly seen when your dog has diarrhea because he has not had a hard enough stool to release his anal sacs.
A good way to alleviate his discomfort at home is to make him a bland home cooked diet. Make him a bowl with 1/3 boiled chicken meat, and 2/3 white rice (or cottage cheese). Keep the meal very low in fat and oil. You can introduce 1-3 tablespoons of yogurt per meal if you like. Also 2-4 tablespoons of boiled sweet potato or canned pumpkin will give him fiber enough to harden his stool.
If your dog has Acute Diarrhea and has stopped eating and drinking then you should definitely call the vet. The vet will prescribe some Flagyl, which is a medicine that kills the growth of certain bacteria and single cell animals.
Having chronic diarrhea could also mean that your dog has intestinal parasites such as whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, heartworm, giardia or coccidia. Some dogs can be born with parasites passed on through their mother. Others get them through contact with infected feces, mosquitoes, fleas, or stagnant water. All are easily treated with Panacur or Paraguard. Flea prevention medications include Advantage, Frontline, Promeris, Revolution, and Capstar. Sentinal, and Interceptor are once-a-month heartworm prevention medications.
He could also have Inflammatory Bowel disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Leaky Gut Syndrome. There is no way to know which one he has for sure without a vet's guidance. The Chronic diarrhea may be from a severe food allergy, which means he needs to go on a food trial to identify the root food of his allergy.
Stool with red blood or mucus coating the waste is a sign of Colitis. Colitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the membrane lining the colon. Did he recently consume an indigestible object like a rock, stick, or chunk of bone? If the blood is more of a tar color then the issue must have happened in the upper intestines and this becomes more of an urgent matter. Seek Vet assistance immediately.
The worst-case scenario is if he has an organic disease such as liver disease, thyroid disease, or kidney disease. All can be tested through a simple blood test at the vet.
The vet should always see dogs with Chronic Diarrhea. If the case is really severe then the vet might consider it an emergency and put him on IV fluids right away to put liquids back into his body to hydrate him.
If you are feeding and exercising him appropriately he should have a stable energy level. A wet nose does not mean he is sick. The moisture on the nose is only sweat. If stress is prevalent in your dog, do what you can to spend more time with him. You can always provide him with other outlets to hold his attention, like new toys or hiking trails. At any case, diarrhea is very uncomfortable for your dog and the issue should not be neglected - especially as it is often very easy to remedy.
Read some other dog health care articles.
Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.