Diarrhea may be a messy topic, but it’s an unfortunate part of life for humans and dogs alike. Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take at home to alleviate upset stomachs and get your dog’s digestive system back on track.
Common causes of canine diarrhea
Dogs develop diarrhea for any number of reasons. Often, it’s simply due to what veterinarians call “dietary indiscretion” (eating what dogs shouldn’t eat!). A change in diet can cause diarrhea and digestive issues in some dogs. Food allergies can also be a culprit.Diarrhea can also be a result of internal parasites (including worms as well as protozoal parasites such as giardia or coccidia), infection with a virus or a bacteria (such as Salmonella or Campylobacter), illness, and even poisoning. If you’ve ruled out food-related causes of your dog’s diarrhea, visit a veterinarian. A professional will be able to accurately diagnose the issue and prescribe proper treatment. (See “Dog Diarrhea Causes and Remedies“)
What to do if your dog has diarrhea
Many experts recommend witholding food from dogs who are experiencing diarrhea for 12 to 24 hours. A day-long fast often gives dogs’ digestive systems a chance to settle and reset. Fasting should only be attempted with healthy adult dogs, however, as it can be taxing on seniors, and cause low blood sugar in puppies. Small amounts of water should be given throughout the fast as diarrhea can cause dehydration.
What home remedy can I give my dog for diarrhea?
If fasting isn’t an option, there are several simple foods you can give your dog to help ease diarrhea symptoms. Bland and fiber-rich foods are especially effective at helping to ease digestive stress and firm up dogs’ stools. Some common at-home options include:
- Pureed pumpkin or pumpkin powder
- Plain white rice
- Boiled chicken
- Yogurt with probiotics
- Potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed, and cooled
When is dog diarrhea an emergency?
Many cases are mild and will subside with at-home treatment after a day or two. However, diarrhea can signal more serious underlying issues, and in these cases, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog’s diarrhea isn’t improving with dietary changes, or if he’s showing other signs like lethargy, vomiting, fever, or weakness, and/or has no appetite, it’s likely something else is wrong. The sooner you see a vet, the likelier they’ll be to catch any potential problems which may be causing the diarrhea.