When your Doberman suffers from a bout of diarrhea you’ll want to know why it happened, but more importantly, what to do next and how to help.
This article explains everything about Dobermans with diarrhea so you can safely help your Dobie get back to normal.
7 Reasons Why Dobermans Get Diarrhea
Let’s explain the most common reasons why your Doberman might get a bout of diarrhea.
To pinpoint the cause, it’s necessary to consider your Dobie’s routine, diet, recent behavior, and places your Doberman might have nosed around.
1. Eating something new, foul, rotten, or toxic.
Perhaps the most common cause of diarrhea in Dobies, and in fact all dogs, is digestive upset.
Simply put, digestive upset is when the digestive system struggles to handle something it isn’t used to.
Digestive upset can be caused by:
- New kibble/diet
- New treat
- Rotten food
- Toxic food/ingredients
- Table scraps
Additionally, many Dobies suffer from sensitive stomachs so it doesn’t take a lot of variances to cause them some issues.
Most cases of diarrhea in dogs come after they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have.
According to natures protection, 15% of dog owners worldwide constantly feed their dogs table scraps.
2. Switching kibbles too quickly
A common problem many owners face is deciding to switch their Dobies kibble, only for them to experience diarrhea shortly after.
The issue is that in many cases, the new kibble/diet might have actually worked out well… It’s just that it was introduced far too quickly.
New treats, kibbles, and diets should always be slowly introduced over the course of 7-10 days, while the old kibbles and treats and gradually phased out.
This way, the digestive system has time to adjust.
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3. Food allergies
It could be that your Doberman isn’t agreeing with an ingredient in a new kibble or treat… It can also be possible that a food allergy develops slowly over time.
If a dog is “overexposed” to a certain ingredient, they can slowly become intolerant of it.
There are a lot of common allergens to make note of:
- Gluten (from wheat)
- Chicken eggs
- Diary products
This could happen if you’ve been feeding your Dobie the same kibble for a long time.
Diagnosing an allergy is of course very hard for us to do. Trial and error along with careful observation are usually how we would detect an allergy. Veterinary help is also another option.
4. Stress & anxiety
Stress and anxiety usually aren’t the first things owners consider if their pooch has diarrhea, but it’s more common than many think.
Stress and anxiety can trigger a range of physical reactions in the body, diarrhea being just one of them.
As it happens, Dobermans in particular are a highly sensitive breed prone to getting stressed and anxious if something isn’t quite right.
Things that can cause stress and anxiety in Dobermans:
- Unexpected changes to their daily routine or environment
- Understimulation and boredom
- Lack of training
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of interaction and their owner’s attention
- Being left alone too long
- Noisy or busy environment
- Incorrect training methods or punishment
As you can see, many things can trigger a Dobie to become stressed or anxious.
Consider your Dobermans routine, environment, and recent events up to now…
It’s also key to observe your Dobie’s body language: are they otherwise happy, active, and energetic? are they unmotivated, lethargic, and not themselves? (before the diarrhea happened)
Study on dog stress & anxiety (Medical News Today)
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5. Bacterial infections
Dogs are exposed to a plethora of bacteria on a daily basis. While most of the time this is fine and completely normal, some bacteria can overwhelm your dog’s gut & immune system.
From their own bed, toys, water bowl, and food bowl, to things in the house, yard, and out on walks… Bacteria is everywhere and we can only do so much to keep things clean.
If your Dobie has a bacterial infection they’ll be feeling significantly ill. Diarrhea would usually be accompanied by vomiting, food refusal, a complete change in behavior, lethargy, and sometimes even whining (caused by abdominal pain).
In cases where symptoms are so pronounced, it’s always best to speak to your veterinarian as soon as possible for a check-up.
Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea in dogs although compared to other reasons, it is more unlikely.
Parasites like tapeworms and roundworms are the most common.
Tapeworms happen if your Dobie ingests an infected flea, the eggs from an infected flea, or even feces from an infected animal.
Roundworms are usually passed down from the mother during birth. This is why all puppies should receive worming medication.
If your Doberman has worms it’s likely you’ll see them in the diarrhea. Roundworms can grow to become quite large while tapeworms stay smaller and look like grains of rice.
Dogs with worms will display other symptoms including changes in appetite (a lack or increase), blood in the stool, as well as paying extra attention to their bum area.
7. Dehydration & heatstroke
Unless encouraged, most dogs remain dehydrated throughout summer. They just don’t drink as much as they should!
The issue with dehydration and diarrhea is that they are both the cause and symptoms of each other… Dehydration causes diarrhea, then the diarrhea makes the dehydration worse and vice versa. Once either one sets in, a nasty cycle quickly proceeds.
If you live in a hot state or country, it’s crucial to be proactive in keeping your Dobie cool and comfortable.
Symptoms of dehydration in dogs:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry nose
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs:
- Excessive panting
- Increased heart rate
- Bright red gums
- Stick saliva
- Dry nose
Heatstroke is a much more serious issue than dehydration. If your suspect your Dobie to have heatstroke it’s crucial to call your veterinarian right away and ask for further assistance.
Heatstroke can happen easier than many think. Simply being outside for too long in hot weather or direct sunshine could cause it.
Related: Keeping your Doberman cool in hot weather (top advice)
Further advice: Causes of dog diarrhea (Regional Veterinary Center)
Ruling Out Health Issues: When To See a Vet?
In addition to the typical causes above, it could be an underlying health issue that’s causing the diarrhea.
Official advice from veterinarians is to contact them if there’s no improvement of the diarrhea in after 24 hours. If we’re dealing with a puppy (under 1) or senior (over 8), then it’s best to contact them straight away.
As with any health issue, the earlier it’s detected the better chance your veterinarian has at helping resolve the situation.
If you notice additional symptoms with the diarrhea, or you simply just feel that something isn’t right, waste no time in calling your vet.
Helping Your Doberman With Diarrhea
There are a few tried and tested ways that you can safely help your Doberman with diarrhea at home.
However, as mentioned previously if no improvement is made after 24 hours of trying one of the following, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.
1. Withhold food
The first step to take is to stop all food and treats for at least 12-18 hours. Water must still be given and owners should encourage their Dobie to drink as much as possible.
Fasting is not appropriate for puppies, seniors, or those with existing health issues.
Fasting typically helps diarrhea immediately. By not giving any food, it allows the digestive system to rest and recover before being stressed again.
Most of the time, you should see improvement in the diarrhea before 24 hours after starting a fast.
Once again, this is a safe method that most veterinarians will recommend, providing your Dobie is an otherwise healthy adult.
2. Bland food diet
If your Doberman doesn’t qualify to do a fast, the next step is to put them on a bland food diet.
The most common bland food diet consists of feeding 3 small portions of white boiled rice with plain boiled chicken breast. No salt, no seasonings, just plain.
This allows your Dobie to keep receiving some basic nutrients while allowing their digestive system to recover.
Plain-boiled rice and chicken are super easy for the digestive to handle, which is why it’s recommended.
Veterinarians always recommend a bland food diet to help with bouts of diarrhea.
It’s safe to provide this diet for 5-7 days while your Dobie’s body fully recovers. Once their stool is firm, slowly being to reintroduce their regular diet (if that wasn’t to blame in the first place).
*Please note: The bland food diet is not appropriate for long-term consumption as it does not contain all necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Alongside feeding a bland food diet, you can introduce a simple probiotic to help with gut recovery.
Ensure the probiotic is made for dogs and is from a trusted brand. Although you can buy probiotics in pet stores, it’s best to speak to your veterinarian first.
Probiotics are full of healthy bacteria that aid the gut to recover. They restore balance and also help the immune system.
Probiotics are usually a good first step before considering antidiarrheal medication.
4. Antidiarrheal medication
Some situations may warrant giving your Doberman antidiarrheal medication right away.
Depending on their age, health, the cause, and the severity of their diarrhea, it may be the correct thing to do.
However, It’s important to speak to your veterinarian before giving your Dobie any kind of medication.
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Preventing Future Diarrhea In Dobermans
Of course, not all bouts of diarrhea can be prevented, but the following healthy habits and tips should reduce the frequency of this issue.
- Never give table scraps
- Keep garbage can secure and locked
- Keep food out of reach from your Dobie
- Observe them on walks and be ready to stop them from eating anything
- Keep yards in check and free from other animals and pests
- Avoid low quality kibbles/diets/treats
- Always make slow gradual changes to diets and treats
- Ensure basic needs are met (exercise, training, stimulation, diet, interaction)
- Keep their bed, toys, and bowls clean at all times
- Stay on top of regular vet check-ups, jabs and boosters
- Whenever possible, avoid letting your Dobie play with unvaccinated dogs
By keeping in the mind the above and putting them into practice, many bouts of diarrhea will be prevented.
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