If your Yorkie is suffering from a wave of diarrhea you’ll want to know why and how to help.
This article will highlight the most common causes of diarrhea in yorkies and explain how you can best help them get back on track.
Sometimes it will be appropriate to call a vet right away, and we’ll discuss that too.
7 Causes of Diarrhea In Yorkies
Let’s run through the seven most common causes of diarrhea in Yorkies. Knowing which of these related to your Yorkie will involve considering recent events, routine, and any unusual changes to your Yorkies day to day activities or habits.
Firstly, you should consider if your Yorkie has consumed anything out of the ordinary.
General dietary indiscretions are the leading causes of upset stomachs and most diarrhea cases in dogs. Obvious items that could cause problems include leftovers from the trash, decomposed food, foreign objects, or something unsavory they may have discovered while playing outside.
However, there could also be less evident factors at play. It might simply be a new treat that doesn’t agree with your Yorkie’s stomach, or perhaps they’ve managed to sneak some human food when no one was looking. Yorkies, like many small breed dogs, are known to have sensitive stomachs, so anything outside of their regular diet could lead to diarrhea.
Changing Food Too Fast or Using Low-Quality Food
Have you recently switched your Yorkie’s food?
If so, this could be the cause of their diarrhea. Each dog is unique, so even if a particular type of food suits your friend’s Yorkie, it may not sit well with yours. This might indicate that the food is of low quality, or perhaps the transition was made too quickly.
It’s generally recommended to change a dog’s food over a gradual period of 1-2 weeks. This allows your Yorkie’s digestive system to adjust to the new ingredients and nutrient composition. This is especially crucial if your Yorkie already has a sensitive stomach. Change too rapidly, and it could trigger diarrhea, even if the new food is high-quality and well-suited to their long-term diet.
Also, keep an eye out for common allergens contained in the food, such as chicken, beef, pork, dairy, wheat, soy, and fish. If your Yorkie has had frequent diarrhea for a while, it might suggest an ongoing food allergy.
Bacterial infections might not be commonplace, but they can happen. Bacteria can accumulate on everyday items your Yorkie uses, from their food and water bowls to their beloved toys and bedding.
We must remember that countless bacteria pervade our homes and yards, and your Yorkie could come into contact with these microorganisms. While most of the time, this is natural and nearly inescapable, excessive bacterial build-up can sometimes overwhelm your Yorkie’s immune system, resulting in an infection, often in their digestive tract.
A vet would need to examine a sample of your Yorkie’s stool to diagnose a bacterial infection. In most cases, medication will be necessary to help your dog overcome the infection.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can manifest in many ways in dogs, one of them being diarrhea. Many different factors can stress your Yorkie, and these aren’t always apparent.
Causes of stress could range from being left alone for extended periods, insufficient exercise or mental stimulation, to less obvious triggers like moving to a new home, getting new neighbors, or changes in household noise levels.
Intestinal parasites, though not frequent, are another known cause of diarrhea. Your Yorkie could contract parasites by ingesting an infected flea or their eggs from soil or feces. Mother dogs can also pass parasites to their puppies if they are infected.
With parasites, you might be able to spot visible worms in your Yorkie’s stool. Additional symptoms could include bloody stools, vomiting, changes in appetite, discomfort, and restlessness. If you observe these signs along with diarrhea, consult your vet immediately.
Dehydration & Heatstroke
Dehydration is a common issue in dogs and can exacerbate problems like diarrhea.
The issue with dehydration and diarrhea is that they reinforce each other negatively – dehydration can lead to diarrhea, and diarrhea can further dehydrate your dog. This can create a dangerous downward spiral.
Heatstroke, on the other hand, typically takes longer to occur. It generally happens if your Yorkie spends a prolonged period in direct sunlight or in hot temperatures. Both dehydration and heatstroke can cause diarrhea and other severe symptoms, including dizziness, vomiting, disorientation, fatigue, and seizures.
Underlying Health Problems or Medication
Finally, any existing health conditions or necessary medication could also be causing diarrhea. Many common health issues can impact the digestive system and increase stress, both of which can contribute to episodes of diarrhea.
If your Yorkie has pre-existing health issues or is currently on any medication, it’s crucial to discuss this with your vet. They can help determine if these factors are contributing to the diarrhea and suggest appropriate interventions.
When To See a Vet
So, when should you contact your vet?
● If there are additional symptoms: If your Yorkie has diarrhea accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, refusal to eat, lethargy, weakness, or bloody stools, get in touch with your vet immediately.
● When it’s just diarrhea: If it’s only diarrhea, but there’s no sign of improvement after a 24-hour fast or switching to a bland diet, it’s time to consult your vet.
● When it’s a puppy or senior: Yorkies that are under six months or over eight years of age require immediate medical attention for diarrhea. Puppies and older dogs are more vulnerable and need prompt help.
Remember, it’s never wrong to reach out to your vet. If you’re uncertain or suspect a serious issue, don’t hesitate to make the call.
Helping Yorkies With Diarrhea At Home
Assuming you don’t need to rush to the vet, there are a few measures you can take at home.
But remember, if there’s no improvement in the diarrhea within 24 hours after trying these steps, it’s time to contact your vet.
The most common initial approach for treating diarrhea is to withhold food for 12-24 hours. This gives the digestive system a break and allows it to reset and recover. Fasting is safe for healthy adult Yorkies, but isn’t recommended for puppies, seniors, or dogs with health issues.
Bland food diet:
After a fasting period, or if fasting isn’t suitable, the next step is a bland food diet. This typically involves foods like boiled chicken breast and cooked white rice, which are gentle on your Yorkie’s digestive system. Maintain this diet until the diarrhea stops, then gradually reintroduce their regular food over 7-10 days.
Since diarrhea often originates from a gut imbalance, probiotics can be beneficial. These are supplements containing healthy gut bacteria that can help restore balance in your Yorkie’s digestive system. Make sure to choose a trusted brand and follow the dosage instructions.
If the above measures aren’t working, you might consider an over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication. However, it’s advisable to consult your vet before starting any new medication.
Preventing Diarrhea in Yorkies
To help prevent future diarrhea episodes, consider the following healthy habits:
● Avoid feeding your Yorkie table scraps or tidbits.
● Introduce new foods or treats gradually.
● Keep trash cans and garbage securely out of your dog’s reach.
● Monitor your Yorkie closely during walks.
● Regularly clean your Yorkie’s toys, bed, and bowls.
● Regularly inspect your yard for other animal feces & anything unusual.
● Maintain a calm and peaceful environment for your Yorkie.
● Avoid letting your Yorkie play with unvaccinated dogs.
● Keep up with your Yorkie’s vaccinations, and regular deworming treatments.
Although it’s impossible to prevent every instance of diarrhea, these tips can certainly help minimize its occurrence and keep your Yorkie happier and healthier.