11 steps to treat acute or bloody diarrhea naturally

by Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM
First Aid, natural treatments and diet tips

Some time ago, I said that love is when you get up in the middle of the night and clean diarrhea up after your dog without being mad. Over the years, my dog Skai gave me a few opportunities to express my love for him. Dogs are scavengers by nature and they have a tendency to cleanse when what they ate doesn’t fit.

Diarrhea can be caused by many factors, but it is also a sign that the body needs to cleanse or is in a state of deeper imbalance. Parasites or bacterial pathogens like to settle in the weakened body and the underlying causes should be addressed. One of the main reasons for digestive disturbances is feeding heavily processed, dried or canned food of poor quality. The best food for your dog is as nature intended.

I see people often panic when their dog happens to have blood in stool. If your dog has blood in stool (fresh blood), this may be a sign of hemorrhagic colitis which usually resolves with the above recipe. In other words, in most cases, there is no need to panic.

However, if you have a puppy or a young dog and diarrhea is followed by signs of severe lethargy and loss of appetite, this may be a sign of parvovirus infection and you must see your veterinarian. The difference is that a dog with colitis is usually bright and alert with no other signs.

To speed up the recovery process and soothe the irritated digestive tract I have prepared the following 11 step diarrhea plan. While this doesn’t sound exactly appealing, I reassure you that if you have a dog in your house,  sooner or later the following info will be handy.

The purpose of this article is not to diagnose or treat dogs that have suffered with diarrhea for longer than 48 hours and appear to be listless and otherwise unwell.  However if your dog seems to be otherwise as usual here is what you can do.
  1. Fast your dog for 12 to 24 hours before feeding the next meal. When the fast is completed, start feeding  pumpkin and chicken broth for 24 - 48  hours (1 to 2 meals a day), then transition to lean meat and veggie blend (poultry, fish or rabbit is ideal) for one to two more days before you transition to regular food.
  2. Ensure proper hydration. If you pinch the skin on the top of the head, it should go back to position in one second.  If the skin fold persists for longer than that and hydration does not improve in 24 hours, see a veterinarian. 
  3. Boil or steam a butternut squash until soft and peel when it cools down ( yams or pumpkin is also ok). Add chicken broth or vegetable broth to make a mashed potato consistency.
  4. If your dog is picky, you can add some “flavour agents” such as small amount of salmon, sardines or meat but  only a small amount because it is only to entice your dog to eat squash. If your dog is listless, see your veterinarian.
  5. Add a good quality non-dairy probiotic such as GutSense to replenish the intestinal flora.
  6. In severe cases of diarrhea,  you can use activated charcoal tablets to aid toxin bacteria neutralization.

  7. Beware of using any anti-diarrheal medication or antibiotics which are unnecessary in most cases of brief episode of diarrhea.  Adding chemical toxins when the body needs to cleanse is like purifying drinking water by adding sewage in it.  Plus, I have seen drugs such as Metronidazole or Flagyl  often being overused, causing side-effects and even leaving a long term imprint or digestive in the body that can last for months or years.
  8. If diarrhea continues for longer than 48 hours or your dog is lethargic, see your veterinarian immediately.
  9. Many "diarrhea recipes call for rice and chicken broth but I do not recommend it.  Based on my clinical experience, rice is not as soothing as squash, pumpkin or yams. These appear to be ideal to get your dog back to normal.

  10. It is recommended to gradually transition back to regular diet after 48 hours. 
  11. If diarrhea continues, consult your veterinarian. 

Additional recommended reading:


Diarrhea and back injuries may be related.

PS:  If you would like to learn how to feed a natural diet, you can register for updates here. We will send you a complimentary link to a lecture recording on how to feed natural diet. 

If your dog is not getting any essential supplements, the cause of recurrent diarrhea may be mineral, amino-acid and vitamin deficiencies.  Here is a list of essential supplements that every dog should get!

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

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Dr. Dobias is a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine and lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He has more than 20 years of practical experience in conventional and holistic veterinary medicine and his big passions are natural healing, dogs and living a healthy lifestyle...

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