As a dog owner, you probably monitor your dog’s poop! Normal poop makes you happy … but what if your dog has frequent diarrhea and it keeps on coming back?
Have you been struggling to get to the bottom of it? The things that can cause diarrhea are varied and often mysterious … and that can mean misery for both of you.
Your dog doesn’t feel good, and you have to do the clean-up. Not just the unpleasant task of picking up sloppy poop, but washing off a furry butt isn’t fun either.
So what can you do to help your dog feel better?
Well, there are a few routes you can take to stop dog diarrhea quick. But you may need to do a bit more digging to find out why your dog’s diarrhea that comes back.
Some of the time you and your holistic vet can find the cause and get your dog back on track. But other times it’s for reasons you may not think of.
So what causes other diarrhea cases?
At the 2015 Natural Canine Health Symposium, Dr Peter Dobias shared his thoughts.
Keep reading to learn more about how body energy and exercise may be the missing link to your dog’s diarrhea.
A good place to start is our ultimate guide to diarrhea, to stop your dog’s diarrhea quickly.
Common Triggers That Can Cause Diarrhea In Your Dog
Below is a quick list of the most common causes of dog diarrhea in most cases:
- Dietary indiscretion
- Hormonal imbalances
These issues cause inflammation of the bowel and stop it working properly.
- Dietary indiscretion
- Toxic materials
- Toxic materials
- Wrong diet
- Digestive Insufficiency (which I’ll talk about next)
How Digestive Insufficiency Can Cause Diarrhea In Your Dog
Digestive insufficiency can cause diarrhea in your dog, but sometimes vets miss it. Knowing more can help you rule out this reason for chronic diarrhea.
There are a few main causes of digestive insufficiency including:
#1 Breed tendency
Some dogs seem to have a natural tendency to have inefficient digestive systems. This often seems to be in working breeds like Border Collies or German Shepherds.
This could be due to working stress. (I’ll cover more on activity soon.) Or it can be because breeders focus more on working ability rather than digestive health.
#2 Pancreatic Stress
The pancreas can get stressed by an inappropriate diet and become inflamed. This inflammation creates antibodies that destroy the pancreatic cells and cause pancreatitis.
#3 Liver Weakness
Liver weakness or liver dysfunction are common causes of digestive problems. Toxicity building up in the liver causes weakness or dysfunction. Liver toxicity can come from over-vaccination. And your dog lives in an environment that’s not what nature intended.
Energy flow to the liver and the pancreas is also hugely important, which I’ll explain more soon.
How To Test For Pancreatic Stress
There are two ways you can test for pancreatic stress. One is a test you can do at home. The other is a test your vet can run.Energy Testing At Home:
- Feel your dog’s body at the stomach point, which is behind the last rib.
- Then move your hands up to his spine.
- Notice if he is very sensitive or twitchy in that part of his back.
- This can mean there’s insufficient energy flow to the pancreas and stomach.
Testing With Your Vet:
The second way you can assess your dog’s pancreatic function is by asking your vet for a Trypsin (TLI) test. A TLI is a blood test that measures the enzymatic function of the pancreas.
Supporting Digestive Insufficiency In Your Dog
Dogs with digestive insufficiency often have large bowel movements, even if they’re on a raw diet. This means they’re not digesting their food well. This doesn’t apply to kibble fed dogs, who have large bowel movements from fillers in the food.
Adding apple cider vinegar to the food can help relieve digestive insufficiency.
Dosing Apple Cider Vinegar: Start with 1/4 tsp and work up to 1/2 tsp per day, depending on how your dog is doing.
You can also add digestive enzymes like papain and bromelain. But rule out other causes first before giving enzyme supplements. You want your dog’s body to produce its own digestive enzymes if it can.
Adrenal Function Can Cause Diarrhea In Your Dog
If none of the above diarrhea causes apply, you and your vet should consider adrenal function. Some breeds are prone to Addison’s disease. This leaves them with low-functioning adrenal glands.
When the adrenals aren’t working right, the whole body suffers. This means Addison’s can mimic a lot of conditions. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to test for Addison’s.
Often, with Addison’s, blood work will show high potassium and low sodium. Other dogs are adrenal deficient but potassium and sodium are normal. In these cases glandular supplements can resolve the problem.
The Other Cause Of Diarrhea
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for. Dr Dobias discovered a link between the type of activity your dog does and chronic diarrhea.
He learned about this when his own dog Skai developed diarrhea in certain situations. A young, very active (human) friend would come to play with Skai.
Dr Dobias noticed that Skai’s diarrhea was worse after these play sessions. Skai’s diarrhea was also worse when Dr Dobias played with him using the Chuck-It ball thrower.
So he realized that Skai’s spinal energy flow affected his digestion. When Skai played hard, his lumbar area would get congested. This congestion would then change his digestive system.
How Energy Flow In The Back Can Cause Diarrhea In Your Dog
A dog’s energy flow runs from his head to his tail. It also extends out to the extremities. But if it’s interrupted it can affect organ function in the body.
Skai had sensitivity and heat in the mid lumbar area (around the L5 vertebra), which is the area of the colon. He also had discomfort around the L7 vertebra. This is the beginning of the cecal region where the small and large intestines meet.
Excessive activity can cause back injuries. This trauma often leads to tightening of the lumbar muscles. The lumbar area relates to colon and the small intestine. So this means less energy flows to the internal organs.
Here are some activities that can cause back injuries:
- Slipping and sliding
- Lumbar muscle overuse
- Jumping or leaping
- Excessive sprinting
- Long swimming sessions
- Sporting injuries in general
Dogs love to play but domestic dogs have different activities than a wild dog. They tend to be much more repetitive. You wouldn’t see a wolf run after a ball over and over again for half an hour. You might see him run after a rabbit for a minute or two. But if he didn’t catch it he’d stop.
Like a tennis player with tennis elbow, your dog’s repetitive activities can create an imbalance.
The Right Amount Of Exercise
Inactivity can also be a serious problem. When muscles aren’t fit they are weaker and more unstable. This means its easier to injure them during hard or repetitive activities.
So the right amount of activity is really important to your dog’s health.
And so is the type of activity. Make sure your dog does a wide variety of activities to keep his body balanced.
Examining Your Dog At Home
If your dog does a lot of repetitive activities like …
… It’s a good idea to examine him and watch for some of these symptoms:
- Lumbar area arching
- Muscle tightness or bulging
- Big lumps on either side of the lumbar spine
- Sensitivity and skin twitching (flinching or looking back when you touch the area)
- Groin and hind foot licking (look for saliva-stained skin)
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s a very good idea to stop some of the activities that can cause these problems.
Take some of these precautions:
- Adjust your dog’s exercise
- Stop sprinting
- No jumping over large obstacles
- Minimize jumping on and off beds or couches
- No leaping into the water
- No biking
- Do more steady endurance exercise
- Jog with your dog
Yes, it’s really hard, because your dog loves these activities and you hate to disappoint him. But at least stop doing them for a while. That will help you find out whether they’re causing your dog’s diarrhea.
Management Of Back And Energy Flow Issues
The good news is that this type of back injury is treatable, and treating it can cure your dog’s diarrhea. Here are Dr Dobias’s recommendations:
#1 Adjust And Treat The Lumbar Region
You can use some or all of these treatments:
- Chiropractic adjustments or physical therapy, once or twice a month.
- Massage, two to four times a month.
- Intramuscular stimulation or acupuncture, once or twice a month.
#2 Homeopathic Remedies
The best path is to consult a classical homeopathic vet. She will prescribe constitutional remedies that fit your dog’s whole symptom picture.
One remedy is especially helpful in addressing muscle fatigue … especially in the lumbar region.
That remedy is Phosphoric acid, in a 200C potency. Give your dog one dose and then repeat it in two weeks. This remedy has a strong affinity for spastic muscles so it reduces the tendency for diarrhea.
To dose homeopathic remedies:
- Pop 2 or 3 pellets straight out of the container into his cheek. Try not to touch the pellets with your hands. It can interfere with the remedy.
- Or stir the pellets into a little spring or filtered water and use a dropper to put some in his mouth.
- As long as the remedy or water solution makes contact with your dog’s mucous membranes, you’ve dosed him.
#3 Feed A Healthy Diet
Always think about going back to nature when choosing your dog’s diet. What would a wild dog eat?
- Avoid mono diets and feed lots of variety.
- Don’t feed dairy and grains.
- Avoid beef, bison, and buffalo. Dr Dobias finds that these meats aggravate many dogs’ diarrhea. They also contain arachidonic acid which can be inflammatory.
- Feed rabbit, chicken, turkey, lamb. Most dogs in nature would eat smaller animals.
- Choose healthy treats – avoid wheat and other grains, rice, dairy.
- When choosing pre-made food, research the country of origin. You should also know the company’s philosophy, and quality control standards.
#4 Add Essential Supplements
Our soils are depleted of nutrients and the food supply is not as nutritious as it should be. Here are some suggestions for things you should add to your dog’s food.
- Whole Food Vitamins: Give a multivitamin supplement made from whole foods, not synthetic sources.
- Minerals: Look for natural food sources. Spirulina, organ meats, eggs, coconut, sprouted seeds, fermented foods, bone broth are all good.
- Amino acids: Give your dog a wide variety of proteins to provide a full range of amino acids.
- Probiotics: Probiotics help balance gut bacteria for a healthier digestive system. Again, non-dairy is best. You can also give fermented vegetables for a great source of natural probiotics. Kefir is another good option but use coconut or water kefir to avoid dairy.
- Omega-3s: Use oils that are low in contaminants like mercury such as krill and microalgae. When using krill, make sure your supplier is using a sustainable source of krill. A safer and healthier choice is phytoplankton.
#5 Be Smart About Exercise
Exercise your dog the way he would in nature. Dogs naturally run and trot but they wouldn’t do repetitive activities. Choose endurance exercises like hiking over high-intensity chasing …even if he loves it.
Be on the lookout for potential injuries. If your dog’s slowing down, it might not just be due to age … he could have an injury you haven’t recognized. Address injuries right away.
If your dog has chronic diarrhea, follow the steps below as a guide.
- Test for bacteria and parasites.
- Adjust your dog’s diet and treats.
- Add essential supplements to optimize your dog’s digestion, immune system, and metabolism.
- Check for toxins and track their origin.
- Practice mindful exercise with your dog.
- Treat back injuries.
And always follow the basic rule: Any time you’re unsure about anything, go back to nature and let it guide you!