Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Big D Post: How To Care for Your Pets When They're Irregular



Today's not the most glamorous of  topics, I know. But if you have a baby, you have poop; and pets are nothing more than babies that poop (for you to clean up) their entire lives. And while they gain more control over these internal systems, and schedules, as they grow up, only to degenerate again with old age; pet owners will forever be tossing waste as an act of love.

So, it is quite understandable how one of the most frustrating circumstances, for a pet parent, involves an uncontrollable lack of precisely that; control. Even worse if you are trying to potty train a puppy, removing their control can cause increased frustration for owner and pet. When your pet exhibits diarrhea, the frequent passing of runny or loose stool resulting in bowl movements up to every 30 minutes, for over 6 hours, there can be many causes. Unfortunately, only the most patient of us have the talent to overlook the initial, inevitable, accident, and identify the circumstances as out of the animal's control. Many times pet owners will mistake the beginning stages as traditional 'accidents' or misbehavior. While loose or liquid stool is the most common sign of bowl disruption, the first signs can still be fairly solid; simply more frequent, discolored, or especially foul in smell.

As nauseating as the topic may be for many, it is an occurrence that every dog will face at least once within their lifetime. This can be brought on by a sudden change of diet (or likewise ingesting a foreign object or substance), parasitic infection and intestinal illness, or other health related issue. Note that not all cases of diarrhea involve worms or parasites; in our most recent encounter it was triggered by extreme overeating on Nora's part (and boy did she pay). If you are concerned about parasitic infection, or contracted disease, monitor your pet's stool closely for rapid changes in color, black stool, or blood. If you see any of the above, seek help immediately. One thing that is always sure to go hand in hand with this event is dehydration. Contrary to popular belief, giving your pet plenty of water will not increase the cause, but replace the drastic amount of water/fluid being lost. Denying your pet water during these occasions can be life threatening!

So what can you do to help your pet in this frustrating, and embarrassing time? Realize that the pet will likely not be able to make it 'out' or to the potty, despite trying, and having close access. They will have accidents, so it is best to limit their area and line floor/bedding appropriately with pee pads or towels. You should also be prepared for many 'half' baths, as I call them, and forgo grooming until the episodes have ceased. It's not going to be glamorous so be sure to properly clean your pet, but forgo the frills of brushing and styling. It's likely that your pet will feel shame, or regret, for accidents and their lack of control (even messes left behind on themselves). Be sure to give your pet extra affection, but keep them calm and minimize playtime (over exertion will add to dehydration rapidly).

When it comes to food cease food immediately for a minimum of 12 hours (some veterinarians suggest 24, it will vary on the size of your dog, and how long it takes for them to flush their systems). Remember, lots of water! After the pet has fasted you should be sure to introduce only bland, flavorless food. A natural mixture of steamed rice and plain chicken is best to replenish nutrients. If you have a small breed, like Nora, and are concerned about forgoing calories for any period of time, you can supplement with some probiotics, or yogurt, in minimal quantities. This, and freshly cooked (or canned, but NOT pie filling) pumpkin will do wonders to improve the stool conditions within hours. If your pet's symptoms don't begin to improve within 32 hours or if you notice lethargy, lack of returned appetite, or abdominal pain, consult a vet immediately. Best wishes!






***Note: I am not a licensed physician or veterinarian. All advice contained inside is from the knowledge and experiences as a pet owner, with other pet owners and professional guidance. It is always suggested you seek a professional's advice if concerned for the health of your pet.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips, I know for sure that when I get my own puppy he'll be living indoors so I gotta be prepared for when this poop situation arise. My parents' pitbull is a messy pooper lol, I think she eats the plants that are in the backyard.

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