Love is getting up in the middle of the night to clean up your dog’s diarrhea.
If your dog suffers from occasional or frequent bouts of diarrhea, don’t miss the information below as it contains natural and inexpensive methods of treating your dog without antibiotics, special diets, or chemicals. These methods are based on my 30 years in practice and are not published anywhere other than my website.
Dogs are scavengers by nature, and they have a tendency to cleanse when they eat food that doesn’t fit or contains bacteria and pathogens. It is important to acknowledge that the primary purpose of diarrhea, from a physiological point of view, is to eliminate the cause of the upset and using drugs to stop this process is often contraindicated.
A much better approach is to support your dog and ensure that the diarrhea episode is as short as possible.
Causes of Diarrhea
Diarrhea has many causes such as parasites, bacteria, toxins in food, deficiencies, hormonal issues and a species inappropriate diet (kibble or canned food). Diarrhea may also be a sign that the body is in a deeper state of imbalance.
Parasites or bacterial pathogens like to settle in the weakened body, and therefore if diarrhea is chronic underlying causes must be addressed.
First-aid for Diarrhea
There are many different kinds of diarrhea, but dog lovers often panic when there is blood in the stool. The good news is that, unlike in people, undigested blood in the stool, while not completely normal, is common and often not serious.
How to recognize if your dog’s condition is serious or not
If you see fresh blood in the stool, this may be due to hemorrhagic colitis. This is a large bowel inflammatory condition that usually resolves with diet adjustment and the addition of high-quality dog-specific probiotics. Dogs with colitis are usually bright and alert, without being otherwise affected.
Partially digested blood (darker brown) mixed in stool
If you have a puppy or a young dog and you notice that the diarrhea has partially digested blood in it (darker brown) and it is followed by signs of lethargy and loss of appetite, this may be a sign of parvovirus infection, and you must see your veterinarian.
How to address simple diarrhea at home and when to see a veterinarian
If your dog has had diarrhea for longer than 48 hours or appears to be listless and sick, contact your veterinarian immediately.
If your dog is bright, alert and energetic, it is usually safe to give them 24 – 48 hours before consulting your veterinarian, and you can apply the steps below.
How to Stop Diarrhea in Dogs: 8 Steps
- Fast your dog for 12 to 24 hours before feeding the next meal. Dogs can go without food for many days, and this step will allow the digestive tract to rest.
- Give your dog high potency canine-specific probiotics, such as GutSense®. You can add these into water or give your dog the whole capsule. Use a double dose for 5 days, then transition to normal dosing as per label.
- When the fast is completed, start feeding cooked pumpkin or squash blended with broth for 24 hours. Feeding your dog once a day is ideal. You can give two meals, but this puts more strain on the inflamed gut. Use chicken broth if your dog tends to be chilly and beef broth if they tend to overheat.
Note: Boil or steam a squash (I like butternut squash) until soft and peel it when cooled down. If you do not have squash, yams or pumpkin are also ok. Fresh cooked is better than canned, if possible. Add broth to make a mashed potato consistency, or blend the mixture in a blender.
- Feed the second meal 24 hours later. It should consist of cooked lean meat and blended squash or pumpkin. Once again, if your dog is chilly feed chicken or other poultry, or if your dog gets hot feed red meat such as beef and venison. Transition to their regular food, ideally raw or cooked, after 48 hours. Refer to the Healthy Dog Food Recipe Maker if you are new to feeding non-processed food.
- Test your dog’s hydration by pinching the skin on the top of their head, it should go back to its original position in one second. If the skin test exceeds 1 second and hydration does not improve in 24 hours, see your veterinarian.
- Continue using non-dairy probiotic GutSense® to replenish the intestinal flora. Please note that dogs have a different intestinal microbiome than people, and human probiotics will not provide them with the same support.
- If you suspect that your dog got into bad or spoiled food, you can use activated charcoal tablets. (1 tablet for small, 2 for medium, and 3 for large dogs). Activated charcoal will help absorb and eliminate toxins and pathogenic bacteria.
- If your dog is not getting essential supplements such as minerals, vitamins, and Omega-3 oils, watch the video below to see why I give them to my dog or click here for recommendations.
Other common remedies
Are antibiotics necessary for diarrhea?
Antibiotics are unnecessary and sometimes contraindicated, for diarrhea. In my practice, I only used them as a last resort if a pathogen was confirmed, and diarrhea didn’t improve within 48 – 72 hours.
The administration of toxic chemicals during a time when the body needs to cleanse doesn’t make much sense.
Research has also confirmed that one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics, metronidazole (Flagyl), causes long-lasting disturbances of the bacterial flora and diarrhea in a healthy dog trial.
How about anti-diarrheal drugs?
As I mentioned above, slowing down intestinal movement can hinder the body’s natural cleansing, rebalancing, and healing process. It is much better to support your dog using the above diet, give probiotics, and ensure good hydration, than to go against the body’s defences.
Excessive use of anti-diarrheal drugs and antibiotics often leads to chronic diarrhea, leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease, poor general health, and immune disease.
Additional Recommended Reading
Register for a brief raw or cooked diet course for dogs here.