why does my dog have diarrhea at night?

Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea at Night?

Why does my dog have diarrhea at night? Change in food – have you thought of that? 

There are a handful of reasons dogs suffer from diarrhea at night, and they are usually not far-fetched. Ranging from food allergies/intolerance, illness, medication, anxiety, or emotional distress, you can trace the source of the problem.

Doggy diarrhea is typically something not to worry about. However, in some cases, it could be mean a visit to the vet. Whether your pup’s case is severe or not, let’s show you how to find out and what you can do about it.  

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

What is the Most Common Cause of Diarrhea in Dogs?

If your dog suffers from a loose bowel, the first suspicion is what has been going through her mouth. Yes, what goes through your dog’s mouth is most likely the cause of her diarrhea. But there are more common causes of diarrhea in dogs.

1. Food Allergies/Intolerance 

Your dog can be allergic or intolerable to food rich in fat, dairy, or gluten irrespective of breed. And their allergies can lead to diarrhea. 

Nevertheless, specific breeds are more hypersensitive in their genetics. For instance, the Schnauzer breed is more sensitive to food with excess fat. So, researching your dog’s breed diet can stop you from feeding her meals rich in ingredients her digestive system does not appreciate.

Although, it’s not always easy to avoid common ingredients your dog is allergic to due to long-term digestive complications. But you can include food supplements containing probiotics or fiber to ease her digestive system. 

Common signs of food allergies in dogs are excessive scratching of paws and licking their selves. This behavior is common at night when the stomach is settled. You can contact your vet to recommend what your dog should avoid until the source of the problem is identified. Common food intolerances for dogs include rabbit, pork, wheat, egg, chicken, soy lamb, fish, and dairy.

2. Changes in Dietary

Recent changes in diet are the leading cause of doggy diarrhea at night. While it’s not always easy to keep feeding your dog the same diet her entire life, you can observe her reactions to new meals. Like humans, diet is important in dogs, so the safest route is to keep using the same meal product from one company.

Sudden changes from puppy food to dry meals can also harm your dog’s digestive system. But if you want to transition your dog to a new diet, you can do that with recommendations from the vet to avoid her suffering diarrhea at night. The transition has to be slow, and you should start by mixing the new food with the old food, so she can get used to it.

3. Disease or Illness 

Various underlying diseases or illnesses could be the source of your pup’s diarrhea, with some being more severe than others. It could be colitis or the more bothersome alternative, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. 

In some cases, it could also be something as extreme as tumors or cancer in the intestinal tract. If you see blood in your dog’s diarrhea, you need to inform the vet as soon as possible. Also, if diarrhea lasts for a long time, you have to contact the vet for help.

4. Stress or Anxiety 

Emotional distress is also a big issue for dogs, and it can lead to different ailments, including diarrhea. Like humans, dogs body reacts to stress and anxiety in numerous ways. If your dog is highly anxious, you can bet that her digestive system would give her a hard time. 

This is also the case when your dog feels neglected. That’s why it’s important that you shower your pooch with excess love. Pay more attention to her and keep an eye on sudden changes to her mood before diarrhea.

5. Medication or Antibiotics

An attempt to help your dog could also be the cause of her diarrhea at night. When dog owners ask, “why does my dog have diarrhea at night?” they don’t consider this possibility. If your pup has been ill and taking antibiotics, it can easily develop a loose bowel. Gastrointestinal issues are a typical side effect of antibiotics.

Medications often attack infections by killing any harmful bacteria in your dog’s body. Only they can also kill some of the good bacteria that help the digestive system. 

Antibiotics can’t always identify the good and bad bacteria. When this happens, the balance between bad and good bacteria in your doggy’s digestive system is dismantled, causing stomach issues, abdominal pain, nighttime diarrhea. 

Always follow the vet’s advice when giving your dog antibiotics. Medications are best administered with food to reduce the negative impact on the digestive system. Stick to directions from the vet and the label – and if there are contradictions, do as the vet says.

6. Parasites 

When your dog is suffering from diarrhea at night, it could also be caused by intestinal parasites. If your pup has been drinking contaminated water, she may have taken in a parasite like a roundworm, coccidia, giardia, or hookworm. 

Young pups and adults with weak immune systems are more vulnerable. Parasites exist in contaminated soil or stool. That is why you have to prevent your pet from consuming another animal’s stool or drinking from water gathered in strange places.

If your dog starts having diarrhea at night hours or a couple of days after drinking or eating from an unhealthy place, you can check her stool for worm-like parasites. They are usually visible. Take your dog, including her stool sample, to your vet for examination. Your vet can give her deworming medication that purges parasites from your pup’s digestive system.

7. Blockages 

Another less likely cause could be a physical block in your dog’s intestines. If your dog plays with small toys or chews on bones, there’s a strong possibility that something has blocked her system. However, swallowed items pass right back out, but that’s not always the case.

This is less likely if you’re certain of what your dog eats and where she’s been. Also, if this were the case, your dog would be in greater discomfort than usual. If you have the tiniest suspicion that your dog has a blockage in her digestive system, you have to reach out to the vet for certainty.

When should I be concerned about my dogs diarrhea?
Image by Simon Kadula from Pixabay

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Diarrhea?

Most times, diarrhea doesn’t require your vet’s attention – they mostly pass on their own. Even acute diarrhea does pass on its own within a day or two with enough home care. If your dog’s stool is soft, but she remains playful with her appetite intact, you can wait to observe her next bowel movement before doing anything.

If your pup is very young or has issues like kidney disease, diabetes, or Addison’s disease, you don’t want to wait for days before taking her to the vet. Also, if your dog has a toy body or is a senior dog, she can easily succumb to dehydration, so you’ll have to notify your vet immediately. 

You’ll need to have your pup examined by the vet if her diarrhea stays longer than two days or if she shows other ailment signs along with diarrhea. Dehydration and a ton of other complications linked with diarrhea can take place quickly.

Also, keep in mind that intestinal obstruction from ingestion of bones or toys can be linked with vomiting, intense pain, straining to defecate with only a little amount of watery stool, sometimes with blood. An obstruction is a critical emergency that needs immediate treatment.

Whatever signs you notice or unsure of, tell it to the vet. And do so immediately, you notice, especially if your dog seems to be in serious discomfort. However, like mentioned earlier, diarrhea can easily pass on its own if it’s not chronic. 

The Difference Between Chronic and Acute Diarrhea

First, you have to consider how often your pooch experiences diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is when you notice symptoms out of thin air. Usually, these complications are a result of something disturbing your pet’s gut directly.

Depending on the cause, the vet’s care may be needed even though most cases work themselves out. As soon as the root cause is identified and handled, acute diarrhea will stop, and your dog’s stool will return to normal. 

On the other hand, chronic diarrhea is a regularly occurring ailment. Dogs with chronic diarrhea suffer from frequent bouts regardless of what you do to offer relief. Typically, chronic diarrhea is a result of an underlying medical issue. Therefore, it is vital to take your dog to the vet if her diarrhea persists. 

What Do You Give a God for Diarrhea?

Whether your furry buddy is suffering from acute or chronic diarrhea, there is a range of things you can do to offer relief. And of course, you should contact your vet before taking any action, especially changing her diet. 

If your pet has a medical condition that’s the cause of diarrhea, your vet can recommend a unique treatment approach. That said, with the following tips, you can restore your pet’s digestive system back to normal.

1. Fiber and Probiotics

Adding some healthy dietary fiber and probiotics into your pup’s daily meals can make a huge difference. For several cases of acute diarrhea, bacteria in the gut are the underlying cause. Healthy bacteria are needed for digestion, but digestion becomes an issue when things start to go south.

You can give your furry companion probiotics via supplements. The vet can as well provide you with products for healthy bacteria. These products are typically flavored pastes designed to spread flora throughout your pup’s system. 

Fiber is also crucial. It works to keep your pup’s digestive system in check. Fiber helps in diarrhea cases by absorbing liquids to keep your pup’s stool solid. 

Like probiotics, fiber supplements are in abundance on the market. Alternatively, you can feed your pup natural high-fiber treats, like sweet potato and pumpkin.

2. Bland Diets

A bland diet is what it sounds like; it’s food devoid of any possibly upsetting ingredients. This can be very helpful, but reintroducing your dog’s usual food in a short time could bring back diarrhea, especially if specific content in the food is the problem. Even after diarrhea goes, keep feeding your pet the bland diets for a little longer.

You can get bland foods from the market. They usually contain only the basics and limited in ingredients. Your vet might also have bland kibbles available.

That said, you can choose to make your own dog food. You can boil some beef, turkey, or chicken. Boiling the meat removes most of its grease and fat to ensure that your dog’s stool hardens a little more. Then mix the boiled meat with some steamed brown or white rice. 

Although, you should start that slowly. Feed her little portions like four times a day, so she doesn’t get stomach upsets from too much eating. Then pay close attention to her stool for any improvement. If they are none after a few bland meals, you can try fasting.

3. Fasting 

Fasting works faster than the first two approaches. It’s an effective solution for dogs with sudden diarrhea from something they ate. The goal is to allow your pup’s stomach to rest a little and eliminate all the bad stuff causing the discomfort.

You can keep your dog off food or treats for 12 to 24 hours. During that time, she shouldn’t consume anything except water. Your dog will bark and disturb for food, but the subsequent relief will be worth it.

Nevertheless, constant intake of fresh water is crucial during this fasting period. Diarrhea mostly causes dehydration, so you’ll want to give your dog as much water as she’s willing to drink. The water also helps with the hunger pains she might be feeling.

What do you give a dog for diarrhea?
Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

Final Thoughts 

Each time the question “why does my dog have diarrhea at night” comes up, the first thing to think of is a sudden change in diet, parasite infection, or allergies. Start with these possibilities first, then if the home care recommended in this post doesn’t work in a day or two, contact your vet.

Most importantly, watch what your dog eats and drinks. Her source of food and water is most likely why your dog has diarrhea at night. 

Also, don’t panic; it’ll pass!

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