Unfortunately, diarrhea can be common in dogs, usually arising from something they ate that they should not have or food sensitivity. This can be distressing to a lot of dog owners, and just like when you are feeling ill, it is common to wonder what the best course of action is when it comes to your dog’s diarrhea.
On the bright side though, most diarrhea is not a sign of anything serious, and it will often pass on its own. If this condition persists, there are some steps you can take before you run your dog to the vet, as much of the following is the kind of advice you will get from them before they will offer medication or other more radical solutions.
If your dog is experiencing a bout of diarrhea, try these treatments first.
Initiate a Fast
One of the ways you will often know that your dog is not feeling well apart from diarrhea is that they will not eat. Many dogs will fast on their own when they have stomach issues. But if for some reason your dog does not stop eating on their own, the first step in treatment is to initiate a fast for 12 or 24 hours.
Start with 12-hour fasts, and see if your dog is hungry and will eat normally at that time. If they still won’t, or they are still having diarrhea, go with a 24 hour fast. Water is okay, but be sure you are using filtered or purified water, not tap water. If you have a smaller dog or one prone to low blood sugar, you can offer them a tiny bit of honey every few hours.
A note here: don’t fast a small puppy. Skip to the next step. Puppies often don’t have enough reserve to make it through a fast without harm, and the resulting damage can be permanent.
Start with a Bland Diet
There are several opinions regarding how to start your dog back on food again. Some recommend starting with broth, which you can make yourself, and slowly adding small amounts of vegetables and protein.
Many vets will also recommend starting with rice water, and adding some rice as you go. To make rice water, boil rice with more water than you normally would need. Give your dog that water at first, and see how their stomach handles it. If their diarrhea has disappeared, you can move back to regular meals.
Pumpkin is also often recommended as a starter food that can give your dog some energy but is easy on their stomach.
Yogurt also works in dogs that can tolerate dairy, or things like boiled potatoes without the skins, egg (cooked without butter or oil), or cottage cheese.
After diarrhea and even on a regular basis in many dogs, it’s a good idea to add probiotics to their diet. This can be through various supplements or by feeding small amounts of Keifer yogurt.
Over the Counter Medicine
There are some over the counter medications like Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate that work for doggie diarrhea too, but use these with caution. Contact your vet first to help determine doses and if these solutions are right for your dog.
The key is to remember that not all dogs react in the same way to either dietary or medicine corrections, so you’ll need to experiment and find the right method for your dog. Once you have established a good recovery diet, write it down in case there is a next time.
When to Go to the Vet
Most of the time, you can take care of your dog’s diarrhea at home with some simple measures. However, there are times and illnesses that your dog cannot get through at home, and these may require professional attention. At the least, if your dog is experiencing any of the following, at least call your vet for advice.
- Fever, vomiting with diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, or tacky and pale gums.
- Diarrhea that your home remedies do not stop or slow.
- Long duration sickness even if your dog starts eating again. Any more than a few days, you will want to get them checked out.
- Use of medication, like anti-biotics or doggie pain meds. Your vet may suggest an alternative.
- Age or other existing medical conditions that might put your dog at risk.
The key is also to trust your gut. You know your dog. If things just seem off or their behavior is making you nervous, a trip to the vet may either set your mind at ease or it could turn out that something else is wrong, and catching it in time is vital.
In most cases, your dog’s diarrhea will resolve itself quickly and really is nothing to worry about. Try home remedies first, and find something that works well for your furry friend. However, don’t be afraid to call the pros if you can’t get it under control or you just don’t feel right.
Do these things, and your best friend will be back to their normal self in no time.