Dealing with a dog who has an upset stomach is never fun. It can cause a stressful toll for both you and your best friend.
When it comes to treatment, there are many different solutions you can turn to. One of the most common options is a prescribed medication called Metronidazole.
Known by many as Flagyl, this antibiotic can stop diarrhea. But there’s no need to rely on this drug when there are better natural options you can use!
Don’t treat your dog’s upset stomach with a medication that can cost a hefty price to his long-term health.
Why take that risk?
After all, there are many safer ways to nurse your dog back to good health.
In this article, I’ll cover what you need to know about Metronidazole for dogs. This includes how the medication works as well as how it can hurt your dog. I’ll also share better natural remedies you can use to heal your dog’s upset tummy.
The Problem With Using Metronidazole for Dogs With Diarrhea
When your dog has an upset stomach, parasites, like giardia or coccidia, are often to blame. They thrive and grow when your dog is sick, causing him to lose control of his bowels.
Metronidazole suppresses the DNA enzymes that encourage these parasites to multiply. In theory, your dog’s gut should stabilize and return to normal function as a result.
But the problem is that this relief is only temporary. Metronidazole doesn’t actually fix the fundamental issues causing your dog’s diarrhea.
Recent research has cast a cloud over the utility of Metronidazole for dogs. One clinical trial examined dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea. Dogs treated with Metronidazole, Amoxicillin, Clavulanic Acid, and supportive therapy showed little improvement.
Many acknowledge that the jury is still out on the potency of Metronidazole for dogs. As of today, the FDA hasn’t even approved the use of this medication with animals.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Metronidazole for Dogs With Upset Tummies
Prescribed medications often bring along some serious side effects. Metronidazole is no exception to the rule. These are some of the side effects of this drug:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Blood in urine
- Head tilt
- Nystagmus (rapid back and forth eye movements)
- Tremors and seizures
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle stiffness
- Dilated pupils
Veterinary journals say that most cases of toxicity involve very high doses or chronic use of smaller doses. But vets often prescribe it long-term for chronic diarrhea!
Because Metronidazole can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, veterinarians use it to treat central nervous system infections. But that also means it can affect your dog’s nervous system. This video shows one dog’s reaction to the drug.
There are also a handful of long-term risks associated with the use of Metronidazole. Although uncommon, dogs can develop a rare condition called Heinz body anemia. Metronidazole can also cause birth defects when given to pregnant dogs.
Remember, not all bacteria are bad. In fact, some are critical for healthy digestive and immune function. But the problem with Metronidazole is that it doesn’t know good bacteria from the bad.
As a result, this antibiotic can often do serious harm to your dog’s gut. Long-term use can increase the chances your dog develops gastrointestinal illnesses and allergies.
Instead of giving Metronidazole to your dog, take a holistic approach. There are plenty of natural solutions that can help, without risk to your dog’s future health.
Natural Remedies For Treating Your Dog’s Sour Stomach
Below are a few natural remedies that work well:
When it comes to treating a sick dog, you might think to add rather than subtract. But many times, subtraction can be a more useful approach.
Fasting is one of the best things you can do to relieve your dog’s upset stomach. Stop feeding him for a short period of time and let his gut work out its issues on its own.
Some dogs will fast themselves. If this happens, don’t encourage him to eat.
Even if he seems hungry, try fasting your dog for anywhere between 6 hours to as long as a day. It gives his digestive system a break and time to heal. When your dog’s symptoms start to improve, go slow as you reintroduce food and water back into his diet.
As he recovers, give your dog something simple, bland, and nutritious. Bone broth is one such solution. When feeding your dog, you can serve broth on its own or add light servings of meat and mashed vegetables.
You can also feed your dog pre- and probiotic foods to rebuild his gut health. Probiotics help balance good bacteria in the gut. And prebiotics feed the probiotics, making them more effective.
Foods like jive yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables are a great source of probiotics. Meanwhile turkey tail mushrooms, chicory root, garlic, and dandelion greens are some options full of prebiotics.
Or, you can give your dog pre- and probiotic supplements.
Supplements and Extracts
There are a variety of other supplements and herbs that can treat your dog’s upset stomach:
- Slippery Elm: Herbs from this tree can cause mucous secretion, which can relieve your dog’s stomach. Give a ¼ tsp of powder for every 10 lbs of body weight. Mix the powder into food or some yogurt.
- L-Glutamine: This is an amino acid that can heal the cells inside your dog’s intestines. Give 500 mg per 25 lbs of body weight per day.
- Marshmallow Root: Generations of societies have used this herb to treat digestive problems. In tincture form, 0.5-1.5 ml per 20 lbs, 2-3 times per day. Or give a supplement that contains marshmallow root.
- Digestive Enzymes: These can improve your dog’s digestive function by preventing malabsorption.
- Bach Flower Essences: Stress is often a cause of doggy diarrhea. Bach flower remedies can calm your dog’s emotional stress.
You can also treat your dog’s diarrhea with homeopathic remedies. Depending on your dog’s symptoms, choose from one of these six options:
- Arsenicum album: This is ideal if you know that food poisoning has caused your dog’s upset stomach.
- Phosphorous: Give this to your dog if his stool is both smelly and bloody.
- Mercurius vivus or Mercurius solubilis: Give either to your dog if you notice mucus and blood in his diarrhea.
- China: If you find your pooch exhausted from his bout with an upset stomach, give him this.
- Nux vomica: When your dog has eaten too much, this is an ideal solution against diarrhea.
- Sulphur: Is your dog running hot? If you notice he’s seeking cooler environments, give him this.
You can use these remedies in a 200C or 30C potency. They’re available at health food stores as well as online (including Amazon). For further guidelines on dosing, refer to this article.
Our Final Verdict on Metronidazole for Dogs
If your dog has diarrhea, don’t use Metronidazole. There are better natural solutions that can help his upset stomach.
Metronidazole only provides your dog a short-term fix. It suppresses the symptoms associated with your dog’s problematic gut. What Metronidazole doesn’t do is actually cure your dog’s underlying gut issues.
As a result, you may find yourself giving Metronidazole to your dog over the long haul. And long-term, chronic use can yield some scary, negative effects.
When it comes to your dog’s health, the best bet is to go with a natural approach. Your dog’s future self will thank you when you do.