Most Yorkies will experience diarrhea or bloody stool at one time or another. It’s not uncommon and it can vary from mild to serious depending on what’s causing it. In this guide, we’ll help you analyze and address the issue.
In this guide:
- My Yorkie Has Diarrhea! What Can I Do?
- Yorkie diarrhea treatment
- How to prevent Yorkie diarrhea
- When in doubt, talk to a vet
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My Yorkie has diarrhea! What can I do?
If your Yorkshire Terrier is experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, shaking, or is pooping blood, it can be disconcerting. Yorkie diarrhea usually resolves itself in a day or two, but it can also be an indicator of a serious issue. Therefore, it’s not something you want to dismiss or take lightly.
The first thing you’ll want to do is identify possible causes of your dog’s digestive problems and look for signs and symptoms of other issues that sometimes accompany Yorkie diarrhea.
While you can deal with diarrhea with the treatments provided in this guide, ultimately determining the underlying cause behind the diarrhea and treating that issue will help prevent it from recurring.
Since Yorkies have such tiny bodies and consume so few calories per day, they’re at risk for health problems like dehydration and hypoglycemia. This means diarrhea can be a serious problem for this breed, especially in puppies and senior dogs.
As always, if your dog has been experiencing excessive diarrhea and vomiting for an extended period of time, or they won’t eat or drink, you should talk to a vet right away.
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Possible causes of Yorkie diarrhea
Experts state that the majority of diarrhea episodes are caused by eating spoiled food, overeating, eating the wrong kind of food, parasites (especially in puppies), or viral infections.1
>> Read more: What to Feed a Dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
As you can see, it’s highly likely that something in your dog’s diet is causing the diarrhea. In fact, the FDA started a recall on September 2, 2020, citing possible higher-than-safe levels of mold (aflatoxin) in certain dog foods.2
However, because diarrhea can be a symptom of many health issues, it’s important to consider other possible causes.
- Diet change: A change in foods, toxic food, or sometimes too much of one kind of food can upset a pup’s sensitive stomach.
- Infection: Viral infections, like the highly contagious parvovirus, can cause severe, even bloody diarrhea.
- Intestinal parasites: Parasites can inhabit your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, causing disease, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms. The most common parasites are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, Giardia, and coccidia. Puppies can be born with the parasites or get them when nursing. Parasites require medical attention.
- Stress: Stressful events like moving to a new home or boarding can cause the body to release hormones that affect the stomach and intestines.
- Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is caused by the spirochete bacteria found widely in the environment, particularly in damp areas with standing water or mud. An optional vaccination is available if your pup is at risk.
- Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. It is an extremely common and serious disease mostly brought on by a high-fat diet. It can be a very mild, slow-developing health problem or a sudden and life-threatening illness.
>> Read more: Yorkie Allergies: What Are Yorkies Allergic To?
Symptoms & side-effects of Yorkie diarrhea
- Vomiting: Sometimes vomiting accompanies diarrhea. When a dog is experiencing both of these symptoms, it greatly increases the chance of dehydration.
- Mucus and blood in stool: It may look like your Yorkie is pooping blood. The blood may appear bright red to a dark tarry black. You may also notice a small amount of mucus, a jelly-like substance coating the poop. This mucus lines the intestinal walls.
- Shaking: Shaking may be a result of being sick, weak, dehydrated, or not having recently eaten. Encourage your pup to drink water or broth to avoid dehydration and hypoglycemia.
- Gas: Gas may be the result of excess fermentation from poor digestion. Gas may come in the form of belching, a bloated abdomen, or flatulence.
- Dehydration: Small dogs, and especially young puppies, can quickly become dehydrated with even just a little watery stool. Even if they are not eating, it’s important that the dog is drinking to avoid dehydration. Some of the symptoms of dehydration include: lethargy, panting, sunken and dry-looking eyes, dry nose, dry and sticky gums, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
- Exhaustion and lethargy: Diarrhea can take a toll on a body, leaving it worn out.
- Fever: A fever is a sign that the body is fighting off an infection, and often diarrhea can accompany a fever. However, a fever is not normally present if the diarrhea is due to a food sensitivity. Temperatures can be taken with a pet thermometer. A normal temperature for a dog is 99.5° F–102.5° F and a temperature over 103.5° F (39.7° C) is considered a fever.
- Decreased appetite & weight loss: Feeling ill, whether due to a food sensitivity or an infection, can leave a pup without the desire to eat. This often results in body weight loss, especially if it occurs for several days.
>> Read more: Yorkies Eating Poop: Causes & Solutions
Location of inflammation
Knowing what to look for in your Yorkie’s stool may help you and your veterinarian determine the source of the problem.
Inflammation in the upper digestive tract
If you notice dark or black-looking blood in the stool, there’s most likely inflammation and bleeding in the upper part of the small intestine near the stomach.1 In this case, you may notice belching, flatulence, or a bloated stomach.
Inflammation in the lower digestive tract
If the inflammation is in the colon, or the lower part of the digestive tract, you will notice a different set of symptoms.1 There will not be any gas, but you will see more bowel movements. The dog will most likely strain and the diarrhea will shoot out of the rectum with force. If there is blood present, it will be bright red and mixed in with the stool. This may look like the dog is bleeding from the anus. You may also notice a clear, jelly-like mucus in the stool.
Yorkie diarrhea treatment
Treatment for puppies
Yorkshire Terrier puppies often experience diarrhea for one reason or another. These little guys can easily dehydrate, so pay close attention when treating their diarrhea and get professional help if symptoms get worse. Although fasting is a helpful practice for older Yorkies, it’s not commonly recommended for puppies under 6 months old due to the risk of hypoglycemia.
For puppies, contact a veterinarian and follow their protocol, which will most likely be feeding the pup a bland diet of broth, offering a bit of honey if they are avoiding food, and having the puppy examined if the symptoms worsen.
Treatment for non-critical issues
Consider what may have caused the diarrhea in the first place and be sure that the dog no longer has access to the culprit.
It’s best to avoid solid food for 24 to 48 hours to give the intestinal tract time to rest and flush the problem out. The primary issue with diarrhea is dehydration resulting from loss of water, sodium, and potassium in the stool. Be sure to always have filtered, clean water available for your dog. Clean their water dish and food bowl at least once a day to inhibit any germs from spreading.
If the diarrhea doesn’t seem overly critical or the issue is simply due to a dietary change or upset stomach, consider the following treatments recommended by Dr. Pitcairn in his book, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.
Make a broth by boiling vegetables in water. Use only the liquid portion and flavor with nutritional yeast or naturally brewed soy sauce to enhance flavor. Serve at room temperature several times a day during the time of fasting. Often, this treatment is all that is needed to treat the issue. Refrigerate the vegetables for use after treatment.
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Chamomile tea treatment
Dr. Pitcairn states this natural treatment is safe for puppies.
Add 2 cups of boiling water to 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile. Steep for 10 minutes. Pour the liquid through a sieve or cheesecloth to separate tea leaves. For every 2 cups of recovered liquid, add a ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Give a dose three times a day.
Ask your veterinarian about offering an electrolyte solution in between doses. Another option may be utilizing an oral gel with probiotics, which can firm up the stool and ease an upset stomach and intestinal issues.
Treatment for persistent issues
If the above treatments aren’t enough to resolve the diarrhea, you can choose one of the following treatments suggested by Dr. Pitcairn along with any of the above. If these remedies don’t resolve the issue within a few days, the dog is unwilling to take fluids, or if the conditions are severe, seek veterinary care sooner rather than later.
Slippery elm powder
Mix 1 slightly rounded teaspoon of slippery elm powder to 1 cup cold water. Boil and stir constantly. Turn down heat and simmer for two to three minutes until it thickens. Add 1 tablespoon honey and stir well. Completely cool and offer ½-to-1 teaspoon to your dog. Give a dose every four hours, four times a day. Cover extra and keep refrigerated.
This treatment is especially helpful if the cause of the diarrhea is food poisoning or a toxic substance, as activated charcoal has the ability to absorb toxins, poisons, drugs, or other irritating substances. Avoid using this method for more than 24 hours.
Mix a ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal with water to make a thin paste. Offer this mixture or one tablet (if using) by mouth every three to four hours during the 24 hour period.
Roasted carob powder
Mix a ½ teaspoon of roasted carob powder with water and honey (optional) and give three times a day for three days.
After the treatment and fasting time, ease your dog back into foods by offering the broth described above with the softened vegetables you boiled to make it. Do this for 24 hours followed by their regular diet. Adding in plain white rice for a few days may also help slow down the diarrhea.
Also, talk to a veterinarian about offering probiotics or digestive enzymes.
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How to prevent Yorkie diarrhea
Prevention of a health issue is always better than treatment. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent your Yorkie from having diarrhea.
- Avoid GMO foods. Dr. Picairn advises that GMO foods can be the culprit of some of the intestinal woes dogs experience. He suggests choosing organic dog food or at least non-GMO foods.
- Transition to new foods slowly. Yorkies tend to have sensitive stomachs, so start with small portions. Old and new foods should be mixed, gradually increasing the amount of new food every day for a week.
- Do not let your dog drink out puddles or stagnant water to avoid leptospirosis.
- Do not allow your dog to eat unknown plants or other suspicious substances on the ground.
- Have your dog routinely checked by a vet for deworming and recommended vaccinations.
- Avoid foods toxic to Yorkies or any food that is spoiled.
- Keep trash cans out of your dog’s reach.
When in doubt, talk to a vet
Many times diarrhea can be treated effectively at home. However, if you are unsure, symptoms seem to be getting worse, or your dog won’t take fluids, it’s best to talk to a vet and follow their advice. They may decide to perform blood work and fecal exams to diagnose the issue.
If you can’t get in touch with your regular veterinarian, you can chat with one immediately by clicking the chat bubble below.
- Richard Pitcairn, DVM. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.
- Sunshine Mills, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall of Certain Dog Food Products Due to Potentially Elevated Levels of Aflatoxin