Nobody likes an upset stomach. Just like us, our furry friends can ingest things that cause unpleasant effects such as diarrhea. Luckily, there are several safe home remedies for dog diarrhea. How many times have you seen your pup with something in his or her mouth that they should not have gotten hold of? Because pups put many things in their mouth, dog diarrhea is a common occurrence for owners across the world.
Although most cases of dog diarrhea can be attributed to dietary indiscretion, there may be other factors that could cause your pet to have loose stools. Infrequent bouts of diarrhea are normal, but some cases require special care. Below you will find the best home remedies for dog diarrhea, as well as an informative breakdown about what could be causing your pup’s upset stomach and how to prevent it from occurring again.
What Is Dog Diarrhea?
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, dog diarrhea is unformed or loose stools occurring in larger amounts. While dog diarrhea is not a disease, it can be a sign of several different diseases. Because it can be linked to many minor conditions, there are some simple and safe home remedies for dog diarrhea.
While many cases aren't serious, dog diarrhea can be a sign of severe or life-threatening ailments such as organ failure or cancer. Owners with pups that show signs of frequent diarrhea should be cautious because it can cause severe dehydration and electrolyte irregularity that leads to worse health issues in the future.
Causes Of Diarrhea In Dogs
There are two types of dog diarrhea. Acute diarrhea, which appears suddenly, and chronic diarrhea. For healthy dogs, acute diarrhea usually coincides with a diet change. There is a range of dietary indiscretions that may have upset your pup's stomach, such as stress, a change in diet such as switching dog foods, viral or bacterial parasitic infections, and scavenging for food outside of their regular diet.
Chronic dog diarrhea is a much more serious concern that should not be ignored. It can be caused by allergies to food, stress, pancreatic disease, some types of cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, bacterial infections, inflammatory bowel disease, several types of parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms, and diseases outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as liver failure.
Below is a list of the most common reasons for both chronic and acute dog diarrhea:
- Stress or emotional upset
- Dietary indiscretion
- Change in diet
- Antibiotics and other medications
- Bacterial infections
- Poisonous substances or plants
- Swallowing an indigestible object
Symptoms of Dog Diarrhea
Of course, loose stools are typically the first sign of diarrhea from your dog. However, there are many other symptoms to look for before, during, and after an episode, such as:
- appetite reduction or refusing to eat
- decreased weight
- stomach pain
- overall discomfort
- loss of energy
- reduced or lack of urination
- bloody stool
- vomiting or retching
Causes for Concern
Pups that are very old or young, small in size, or facing other medical issues have an increased risk of health concerns if their diarrhea persists unabated. Notify your vet immediately if your pup’s diarrhea is frequent, very watery, dark, tarry, or contains more than just a streak of blood. Your vet should also be notified quickly if your dog is vomiting profusely, showing signs of pain, depressed, or lethargic.
If your pup’s stool is also changing colors, that may raise a few red flags. Brown hard stool means your dog is good to go. Green stool can suggest your pup is eating too much grass due to an upset stomach. Tar-like black stool can be caused by bleeding in the stomach or small intestines.
Red stool, or stool with more than a streak of blood, can indicate bleeding in the GI tract. Yellow stool signals an issue with your pup’s liver, pancreas, or gallbladder. Lastly, if owners see white spots in their pup’s stool, your pet may have worms.
Home Remedies to Prevent Dog Diarrhea
There are many ways for owners to prevent dog diarrhea from occurring. Try to avoid sudden changes in your dog's diet. That includes feeding your pup scraps from the table. If you have a dog that likes to scavenge and go through the trash, purchase a dog proof trash bin or store the garbage in an area where your pup cannot reach it. Many owners find that placing the trash under the kitchen cabinet or in a small closet works very well.
Although it may seem troublesome, owners should also steer clear of dog bones. Providing your dog with rubber chew toys is a much healthier alternative. Keep small objects that can be easily ingested out of reach and always stay up to date with all your pup’s vaccinations.
If you suspect your dog experiences diarrhea due to emotional upset or general nervousness you may want to try introducing some calming elements into their diet. Many pet owners give their pets natural calming treats with Chamomile, L-Theanine, or CBD to promote overall calmness and relaxation.
Home Remedies for Dog Diarrhea
Luckily, there are several home remedies for dog diarrhea that may save you a trip to the vet. Remember though, that diarrhea can either be a brief problem or a cause for concern. If your dog's symptoms do not start to improve after 24 hours it is best to seek professional attention.
Rest the Stomach by Fasting
For dogs with mild or infrequent bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, most veterinarians recommend removing all food for 8-12 hours. This brief moment of fasting will give your pup's stomach time to cleanse the issue itself if the matter is just a dietary indiscretion.
Rehydrate with Fluids
A bout of diarrhea can result in excess water loss. This can lead to dehydration. To avoid this offer your dog moderate amounts of water throughout the day. Pedialyte in addition to water, or low sodium chicken or beef broth can also be used as a substitute while your pup is fasting.
Slowly Reintroduce Nutrition
If you notice your pup's stool is more solid, or if vomiting has ceased, give your dog a small amount of boiled white meat chicken with no bones, skin, or spices mixed with white rice.
This bland diet should help your pup's stomach, and owners can continue the rice and boiled white meat chicken regimen for 24-72 hours. Progressively increase the serving sizes and lengthen the time between each meal until your pup's stool returns to solid. Owners will need to gradually transition back to their dog's original diet to avoid another episode of gastrointestinal issues.
Pumpkin Provides Fiber
Another amazing home remedy for dog diarrhea comes in the form of pure pumpkin. Owners can add up to four tablespoons of pure pumpkin to their pup's food. Pumpkin provides a healthy dose of fiber that can help your dog's upset stomach fairly quickly. Owners should begin with smaller quantities of pumpkin to avoid adding too much fiber to their pup's diet.
Yogurt Provides Healthy Gut Bacteria
Feeding your dog some plain yogurt can also help. Just like humans, dogs can benefit from the good bacteria found in yogurt. Stay away from sugary products, you will want to use plain yogurt. You can also try adding a pet-friendly probiotic supplement to your dog's daily diet.
Imodium has also been suggested by many pet owners and vets as a good remedy for dog diarrhea. However, owners need to be careful when giving their dog over the counter drugs. Veterinarians suggest giving 0.1 mg/kg of Imodium twice a day to your dog to provide relief, but owners must be wary.
While some dogs with certain types of diarrhea can take Imodium, in various cases giving a dog Immodium can lead to serious side effects like bloating, constipation, severe sedation, and pancreatitis.
If your pup is a herding breed such as a Sheltie or Collie, Imodium should be avoided. Herding breeds often carry a gene that restricts their ability to break down certain drugs, including Imodium. If you are not sure about your dog’s breed, follow the old veterinary proverb, “White feet means don’t treat.”
Owners should also evade Imodium if your pup is vomiting extensively, is very old or very young, or is showing signs of abdominal pain. It is safest to call your veterinarian before giving your pup Imodium.
Use Your Best Judgment
Dog diarrhea may be as simple as your pup eating the wrong piece of trash, but it can also hint at much more dangerous complications. Luckily, home remedies for dog diarrhea are available and many owners are able to help their pup return to a healthy state without veterinary intervention.
If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, putting your pup on a brief fast is the quickest way to discern whether it’s a dietary indiscretion, or something more. Always keep track of time and the severity of diarrhea. If diarrhea is extensive, overly bloody, or it does not seem to be getting better after using home remedies for 24 hours, please take your dog to the vet immediately.