When your chihuahua has diarrhea, it can be very distressing for everyone. Diarrhea can range from loose stools for a couple of days to complete explosions of watery feces. It can be very worrying for you, the guardian, and distressing for your chihuahua.
Diarrhea is caused by the gut becoming inflamed and over-sensitive. It then starts over-contracting, pushing the food through too fast.
Changes in diet
The most common reason your chihuahua has diarrhea is a change of diet.
If you are making severe amendments to your chihuahua’s food regime, then introduce the changes slowly. If changing from kibble to raw, you must give your dog’s gut time to grow the required flora to digest it. You could support the change by adding probiotics to the food and following the advice given by the manufacturers.
Even though dogs’ stomachs are more able to cope with bacteria than humans, they can still get sick when they eat spoilt food. Make sure food is always fresh. Even dry food can go off and get spoilt and moldy. Store it in an airtight container, and keep raw and fresh food in the fridge.
If your chihuahua is anything like Minnie, then anything is fair game to be eaten. Please don’t assume your chihuahua is a delicate little flower. They still have the same disgusting habits as bigger dogs. A variety of everyday foods are poisonous to dogs. Are you putting bread out for the birds? Moldy bread is highly toxic and can kill your chi.
If you suspect your dog has ingested contaminated food, take him to the vet immediately. Here is a list of toxic foods.
Bacterial & Viral infection
If your dog has a bacterial or viral infection, diarrhea: may be accompanied by vomiting, pale gums, no appetite, very lethargy, and possibly blood in his stool. These infections can be caused by salmonella or parvovirus, among others.
Parvovirus is life-threatening, so seek medical attention urgently, especially if your chi is a new puppy. Puppies can pick up these infections from poor breeding conditions, which is a sure sign that your chi is a mill or farm puppy.
The side effect of medication or flea treatments
Some medications may cause mild diarrhea, which should ease off when the drug is finished. Antibiotics can upset the flora balance in your dog’s gut and kill off good bacteria that your dog needs.
Flea treatments and worming tablets can also cause an upset tummy. Stop using them if they make your chihuahua sick, and find more natural alternatives. Read our spot-on flea treatments inadequate for your dog.
Allergies to food, like grains and rice, found in dry food can cause food intolerances, which trigger IBS and similar symptoms. Also, if you are cooking your food, too many veggies can make your dog have loose stools. Stick with the 10% rule.
Too much fat
Food loaded with fat will go straight through. Lamb is typical, and I stick to lean white meats when I cook Team Chi’s dinner. Turkey is a staple for us, as pork, chicken, and fish. Occasionally rabbit. I have learned the hard way that Lamb is a no, especially for Mika.
If you are giving your raw dog bones to chew on (and you should, as they help keep teeth clean), scoop out some of the marrow. Although your chi will love it, marrow is rich and fatty. You could get it back from either end. Too much fat can also cause pancreatitis, so keep your food lean.
Monitor your chi regularly for worms by doing a worm count test. If it comes back positive, then administer a chemical dewormer. Once he is clear, move on to a regular herbal routine like Verm X to keep him clear.
Persistent diarrhea can be a sign of kidney disease. If the diarrhea is accompanied by bad breath, vomiting, and loss of appetite, take your chi to the vet.
How serious is it, and when to go to the vet?
Any terrible diarrhea that lasts more than a day needs investigation. A tiny chihuahua can get dehydrated very quickly and may need to be put on fluids. If there is blood in the poop, don’t hesitate.
If your chi has loose stools, you can analyze what they have eaten. Have you changed their food or introduced new ones, or has your chi just been a bit piggy and overindulged?
How to treat it
Treating an inflamed gut is to ‘fast it and let it heal. Start with 6 hours of no food. (Not puppies). But if your chi is hypoglycemia, you must take advice on this. It’s a tricky one, so speak to the vet.
Don’t restrict fluids, as you don’t want your chihuahua to become dehydrated.
When you re-introduce food, keep it bland. We often get told to feed chicken and rice, and dogs don’t need rice and grains in their diet. If you are ok with chicken, mix it with some pumpkin.
Here is a recipe for a super-healing broth to help build up a recovering chihuahua. I make a batch and then freeze it.
Slippery elm is known for its gut-soothing properties. You only need a tiny amount for your chihuahua; follow the instructions.
Probiotics can help replace the lost good bacteria that keep your chihuahua’s gut balanced.
Fermented veggies and kefir
This is becoming increasingly popular, especially for keeping your dog’s gut balanced. Try and find a none dairy kefir, as most dogs are lactose intolerant.
Remember that any bout of diarrhea is going to make your dog sore. If his back end is dirty and his fur matted, this is going to make him very uncomfortable and depressed. Keep him clean but without harsh scrubbing. A sitting bath of Epsom salts will be soothing, or you could dab him instead. You could also put a dab of Vaseline on his anus to try and protect the skin.
Please note we have used the American spelling of diarrhea for search engine reasons.