Diarrhea is a common canine affliction and it varies in frequency, duration, and intensity from dog to dog.
Diarrhea is a common problem in dogs, often because they will put almost anything in their mouth. But it can also be caused by more serious health problems, some of which require close attention, especially if the diarrhea is severe or occurs frequently.
For the most part, diarrhea and vomiting are nature’s way of allowing the body to cleanse and remove a toxin. A small amount of blood or mucus can sometimes be seen in the stool when the intestinal bacteria are out of balance but this isn’t necessarily cause for alarm.
A great many cases are mild and, with your vet’s advice, may be treated without a trip to the office.But if your dog is an otherwise healthy adult and, it is reasonable to try some home treatment.
An Important First Step
The most important thing to remember when it comes to treating the diarrhea is that your primary goal should be to let the body do what it must while preventing any further damage.
Most animals will fast themselves when they have digestive disease and it’s a good idea to stop feeding your dog if he doesn’t fast himself. You can start with 6 to 12 hours of no food or water with most dogs. If your dog is very small and prone to hypoglycemia, you should give him tiny licks of honey or karo syrup each hour, or as needed, if he appears weak and trembly.
After the fast, if there is no further vomiting and the diarrhea has stopped or slowed, offer small sips of water every few hours.After six hours of water only, you may start some broth or small amounts of food. Gradually increase the amounts of food over the next four to five days.
Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so make sure to give your dog access to water at all times.
After a fast, food is usually introduced slowly and many people start with binders, which can normalize stool consistency. Once your dog is reintroduced to food, a bland diet will help prevent a recurrence of diarrhea. Starting with soup is a gentle way to smooth your dog’s transition back to his regular diet.
Other bland diets include:
- White rice
- Rice water: Boil high-quality rice in a lot of water, remove the grains, and offer the dog the creamy white soup that’s left. A splash of broth or a bit baby food will make it more palatable.
- Herbs, such as fennel, have gut-soothing properties
- Canned pumpkin has the odd distinction of being effective for diarrhea and constipation.
- Plain protein sources such as egg (prepared with no butter or oil) or chicken (without skin)
- Probiotics, live bacteria that aid digestion- these are also found in yogurt
- Yogurt, which has beneficial bacteria, can help in dogs who can tolerate milk and milk products.
- Cottage cheese
- Boiled potatoes, without skin
- Specially-formulated dog foods: Some manufacturers offer foods that can sooth stomach problems. You may need to obtain these from your vet.
- Over-the-counter medications for humans may also be effective for doggie diarrhea, but should be given with caution and you should talk to your vet before using them.
If the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours or your dog’s condition worsens at any time, call your vet immediately.
If your dog’s digestive disease is severe or persistent, your veterinarian’s suggestions may include: fecal exams to rule out parasites; blood work to rule out liver, kidney, endocrine or other problems; x-rays or abdominal ultrasound to rule out foreign objects, obstructions, and cancer; and endoscopy to visualize the stomach and intestinal mucosa.
Prevention of Dog Diarrhea
The best thing that you can do to prevent diarrhea in your dog is to treat it as you would a human. Keep your dog away from stray dogs as much as possible and administer vaccines as scheduled. Be sure to take your dog to the vet for a wellness visit to stave off any issues as soon as possible.
And be sure to stay with food your dog and stick with it. Change brands if your pet develops allergies, but try to stick with a quality dog food and do not feed your dog table scraps.