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HomeDear VetBabbleCan a Change in Diet Trigger Diarrhea in Dogs, Specifically Shih Tzus?

Can a Change in Diet Trigger Diarrhea in Dogs, Specifically Shih Tzus?

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Dear VetBabble: Understanding and Treating Diarrhea in Dogs

Question

One of my pet concerns involves my three Shih Tzus who have recently developed diarrhea. They appear to be fine otherwise but the change in their diet over the last three days might be the possible cause. Traditional wisdom suggests that some dogs have more sensitive stomachs than others. Could the modification in their daily meal plan — where I switched them to IAMS canned food twice a day — would have been enough to trigger this condition? And if so, should I have introduced the new food slowly?

Answer

Firstly, let me reassure you that your observations are correct. It’s common for dogs, especially those with sensitive stomachs, to experience digestive issues when introduced to a new diet suddenly. When changing a dog’s diet, gradual transition over a period of 7-10 days is the preferred approach. This method involves mixing a quarter of the new food with three quarters of the old for a few days, followed by a half-and-half mix for a few days, and so on. This phase-in process can help avert untoward reactions like diarrhea.

Understanding Dog Diarrhea

Though diarrhea in dogs is a widespread concern for pet owners, understanding why it happens can be quite challenging. A helpful resource you might want to check out is our article Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?, which provides a comprehensive take on the subject. From diet changes, as in your pups’ case, to infections or more severe health issues, varied factors can cause diarrhea in dogs. It’s, therefore, crucial to keenly spot any other changes in behavior or well-being of your furry friends.

Knowing When to Worry

Diarrhea can be an early warning sign of serious ailments. If it persists for more than a day or two without signs of improvement, it might warrant a vet visit. I recommend our detailed guide Diarrhea in Dogs: When to Worry. It presents a thorough checklist of when diarrhea in dogs should become a cause for concern.

Understanding Your Pet’s Digestive Health

Regular bowel movements are a positive indicator of your pet’s digestive health. Wondering ‘how often should my dog poop?’ is a common question. Our piece How Often Should My Dog Poop? provides useful insights into healthy bowel movement volumes and frequencies for dogs, helping ensure your pets’ digestive health is on track.

If your pets’ diarrhea persists even after diet readjustment, you might want to discuss possible treatments with your vet, such as probiotic pastes or medications like Metronidazole. You can learn more about this antibiotic in our article Metronidazole for Dogs and Cats.

In conclusion, changing your pet’s diet back to their original one, if they were doing perfectly fine on it, can be a safe bet. Always remember that every dog is unique, and what works best for one may not necessarily be ideal for all.

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