Every dog suffers from diarrhea at some point in his life … so it’s no wonder why pet parents are often on the hunt for a cure to dog diarrhea.
It is distressing and messy, to say the least!
Read on to learn about how you can stop your dog’s diarrhea with 4 simple steps …
but first, let’s review what is normal and when we need to intervene.
Dog Poop- What Does ‘Normal’ Mean?
Your dog should be having 1-2 ‘normal’ bowel movements each day … and usually around the same times of the day.
But what is ‘normal’ for poop?
Normal types of stool
- Crumbly poop is normal for dogs on a raw diet who eat plenty of bone. Don’t confuse it with constipation.
- Formed but malleable is the more common consistency of poop- think Play Dough
Abnormal types of stool
- Soft stool- think soft serve icecream ( sorry!)
- Loose stool- watery or thin stools
- Either of the above with the presence of blood or mucus also
If your dog is having any abnormal stools on a regular basis -it would be considered chronic diarrhea … and you need to get to the bottom of the root cause.
Reasons Why Your Dog May Have Diarrhea
For the most part, diarrhea and vomiting are nature’s way of allowing the body to cleanse and remove a toxin.
Here are a few reasons why your dog will have episodes of diarrhea:
- Bacterial infection- when the good and bad bugs in the gut are out of balance
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Dietary Indiscretions
- Exercise Intolerance
If your dog is lethargic, feverish, bloated, vomiting or has a large amount of blood in this stool or in his vomit- you need to consult your veterinarian for holistic guidance.
But for dogs with simple diarrhea symptoms, lasting less than 24 hours, there are 4 simple steps you can take to help get them back on track.
[Related: Food Allergies In Dogs – A Man-Made Problem]
4 Simple Steps For Stopping Dog Diarrhea
1. Fasting: An Important First Step
Most animals will fast themselves when they have digestive disease and it’s a good idea to stop feeding your dog if he doesn’t fast himself. You can start with 6 to 12 hours of no food or water with most dogs.
If your dog is very small, or prone to hypoglycemia, you should give him tiny licks of honey or karo syrup each hour, or as needed, if he appears weak and trembly.
IMPORTANT: Don’t fast a puppy! Feed a bland diet as step 1.
After the fast, if there is no further vomiting and
Be certain to use filtered or spring water. After 6 hours of water only, you may start some broth or small amounts of food. Gradually increase the amounts of food over the next 4 to 5 days.
2. Feed Bland Food: Prevent The Recurrence Of Dog Diarrhea
Once your dog is reintroduced to food, a bland diet will help prevent a recurrence of diarrhea.
Often in traditional veterinary medicine, they will recommend feeding white rice and a boiled protein source …
But starting with soup is a more gentle way to smooth your dog’s transition back to his regular diet without the added starch. You can find a soothing recipe here.
Bone broth is another nutritious bland option. It provides a hearty mix of vitamins and nutrients, but it’s easy on your dog’s stomach. It’s easy to make, just follow this recipe here.
3. Feed Probiotics & Prebiotics: To Rebalance The Gut
These will help repopulate the intestine with healthy bacteria and there is a growing research base showing they boost the immune system to support the whole body.
And probiotics also help maintain the mucosal barrier and enhance cellular repair.
An easy way to balance the bacteria in your dog’s gut, feed plain unsweetened kefir as a food source of probiotics. You can give kefir once your dog is eating solids again.
Side Note: Probiotics are not just for diarrhea! They should be given while a dog is on antibiotics; just be sure to give them at a different time than the antibiotic.
And they can also be used during stressful times, such as weaning, boarding, agility trials and when traveling.[Related: What Are The Best Probiotics For Dogs]
Prebiotics are indigestible food components that travel undigested to the colon where they ferment and are converted into short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).
The SCFA are involved in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, acting as a source of energy for colon cells and preserving electrolyte and fluid balance.
This helps the intestines to move properly. When present in the bowels, prebiotics can promote and support healthy digestive bacterial flora.
It’s recommended that prebiotics be used in combination with probiotics to support the growth of the good bacteria from the probiotic.
However, they can also potentially feed harmful intestinal bacteria. These harmful bacteria are often the cause of digestive disease – so their use may be controversial.
Besides FOS (fructo-oligosaccharide), beet pulp is another well known prebiotic. Some dogs, however, don’t always process beet pulp well and can suffer from bloating, nausea and flatulence.
4. Consider Natural Home Remedies: Offer Support And Prevent Dog Diarrhea
Ok, so steps 1-3 will help you to stop dog diarrhea when it starts … but we also need to help the body heal.
So this is where natural home remedies come into play.
This a great herb to consider with digestive upset. Because you can imagine how angry your dog’s digestive tract is after just one episode of diarrhea.
And you can find it in both capsule and powder forms to suit your needs.
Slippery Elm Capsule Dosing For Dogs:
- ¼ capsule twice daily to small dogs
- ½ capsule twice daily to medium dogs
- 1 capsule once or twice daily for large dogs
Slippery Elm Powder Dosing For Dogs:
- give a ¼ tsp powder for every 10 lbs body weight
- Mix the powder or capsules into food or some yogurt.
You Can Prepare A Slippery Elm Syrup
- Mix 1 rounded tsp slippery elm powder in 1 cup cold water, bring to boil while stirring, turn down the
heat, stir and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add 1 tbsp of honey and let it cool.
Dose 4 times a day with the syrup according to your dog’s weight:
- under 25 lbs, give 1 to 2 tbsp
- 25-50 lb, give 2 to 4 tbsp
- 50 lbs and over, give ¼ to ½ cup
There’s a huge range of safety and effectiveness with this syrup.
And Slippery Elm Syrup is safer and more effective than Kaopectate and Pepto Bismol, both of which contain salicylates and are unsafe for dogs.
Create A Slippery Elm Healing Mixture
This is made by using equal parts slippery elm powder, FOS (fructo-oligosaccharide) powder and L-Glutamine powder.
- 1 tsp twice daily for small dogs
- 2 tsp twice daily for medium dogs
- 3 tsp twice daily for large dogs
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that heals intestinal cells.
The dose for L-Glutamine for dogs is: 500 mg per 25 lbs of body weight per day (When given alone)
[Related: The Soothing Qualities of Slippery Elm]
This is a very useful herb for soothing the gastrointestinal tract … especially for dogs who have had diarrhea.
You can find it in tincture form or ready-made products such as Gut Soothe.
The dose for Marshmallow Root tincture is 0.5-1.5 ml per 20 lbs, 2-3 times per day.
Digestive Enzymes are great for dogs that are not eating a raw/fresh diet. It provides them with the enzymes they’re missing from a natural raw food source.
Some animals have improved digestion and do well on digestive enzymes, while some dogs react with intolerable abdominal bloating and gas. It’s best to observe your dog and start at a reduced dose at first.
And most digestive support products for dogs contain digestive enzymes- so be sure to read the labels.
Dogs with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) require additional pancreatic enzymes (which include proteolytic enzymes, lipases, and amylases) in order to digest their food properly. Check with your holistic vet to discuss the best option if your dog has EPI
Bach Flower Remedies
We discussed stress as a trigger for diarrhea earlier. If your dog is showing signs of emotional stress you will want to consider Bach Flower remedies.
You can add a few drops to his water bowl or place them directly in his mouth several times a day
Dog Diarrhea: When To Consider Additional Care
If your dog is generally healthy with a strong immune system, diarrhea will resolve itself in a few days with these simple steps.
Should your dog still show signs of illness and the diarrhea continues- you will want to work with your holistic vet to find out why.
Your veterinarian’s suggestions may include:
- Fecal exams to rule out parasites
- Blood work to rule out concerns with his organ functions
- X-rays or abdominal ultrasound to rule out foreign objects, obstructions,
- Endoscopy to visualize the stomach and intestinal mucosa.
Most cases, however, are self-limiting and, with a little help from you, your dog can get back to form quickly.