First Aid, natural treatments and diet tips
Some time ago, I said 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 has given 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 eat 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 poor-quality canned food. The best food for your dog is as nature intended.
I often see people panic when their dog has blood in their stool, but it isn't always a serious problem. If your dog has blood in his/her stool (fresh blood), this may be a sign of hemorrhagic colitis, which usually can be resolved with the recomended diet below. 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 appears to be listless and otherwise unwell. However, if your dog is acting the same as usual, but has diarrhea here is what you can do.
STEP BY STEP HOLISTIC APPROACH FOR DIARRHEA IN DOGS
- 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 to 48 hours (one to two meals a day), then transition to a lean meat and veggie blend (poultry, fish or rabbit is ideal) for one to two more days before you transition to regular food.
- Ensure proper hydration. If you pinch the skin on the top of the head, it should go back to its original position in one second. If the skin fold persists for longer than that and hydration does not improve in 24 hours, see a veterinarian.
- Boil or steam a butternut squash until soft and peel when it cools down (yams or pumpkin are also ok). Add chicken broth or vegetable broth to make a mashed potato consistency.
- If your dog is picky, you can add some flavour by adding a small amount of salmon, sardines or meat, but only a small amount because it is only there to entice your dog to eat squash. If your dog is listless, see your veterinarian.
- Add a good quality non-dairy probiotic such as GutSense to replenish the intestinal flora.
In severe cases of diarrhea, you can use activated charcoal tablets to aid toxin bacteria neutralization.
Beware of using any anti-diarrheal medication or antibiotics. They are unnecessary in most brief diarrhea episodes. Adding chemical toxins when the body needs to cleanse is like purifying drinking water by adding sewage to 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.
- If diarrhea continues for longer than 48 hours or your dog is lethargic, see your veterinarian immediately.
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, which appear to be ideal in getting your dog back to normal.
- Gradually transition back to a regular diet after 48 hours.
- If diarrhea continues, consult your veterinarian.
Additional recommended reading:
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