When your dog has the runs, some basic home remedies for dog diarrhea may be helpful. However, owners must be aware of the fact that there may more serious issues going on, and the below guidelines may not help. If your dog is acting lethargic, not getting any better or exhibiting other symptoms along with the diarrhea, do not hesitate having him seen. The below remedies are mostly only for minor cases.
- Fast the dog. This will give his gastro-intestinal tract some rest and time to recover. With food out of the way, there should be less diarrhea. Usually, a 24 hour fast is necessary for adult dogs while puppies should not be fasted for more than 12 hours.
- Keep the dog hydrated. In severe diarrhea, were the dog has uncontrollable squirts you need to provide as much hydration as possible. You can give unflavored Pedialyte to help replace lost electrolytes or mix Gatorade 50/50 with his water. However, if diarrhea is just mild, the dog is better off if prevented from drinking too much water.
- Give some plain yogurt or cottage cheese to add some good bacteria to his bowels, you may add a dollop to his bland diet, which is explained in detail below.
- After the fasting period, take away his normal food and replace with boiled chicken and rice or boiled hamburger and rice. If you use chicken make sure it is skinless, if you use burger make sure the fat is drained off. Make the rice the bulky part of the meal. Keep giving this diet until the stools seem better formed. Then, re-introduce gradually the regular food. This should be done slowly over a few days.
- Provide some unflavored Pedialyte or Gatorade to help replenish lost electrolytes.
- Do a hydration check. Try to lift the dog’s shoulder blade or back skin in a tent. If the skin returns back promptly he is well hydrated, if it takes a few seconds or worse remains lifted it means the dog needs immediate vet attention and fluids given under the skin or intravenously.
- Check his gums. Have him seen immediately if his gums turn pale, whitish, grayish or purple. Normal gums should be a healthy bubble gum pink. Try as well to press your finger on his gum. The gum should become whitish and return promptly pink. If it takes a few seconds the dog again needs to be seen ASAP.
- Ask your vet if you can try to give over the counter Pepto Bismol or Immodium. He will give you dosing instructions if he thinks it may be helpful. As with any medications there may be side effects.
- Have him seen by a vet if the dog becomes lethargic, the diarrhea continues regardless of diet change or stops and then returns, other symptoms develop such as vomiting, inappetance, or fever. The dog may have parasites, gastro-enteritis, pancreatits, a foreign body ingestion (usually along with vomiting), parvo, and many other serious conditions that need prompt vet attention.
Diarrhea may be the simple result of the dog getting into your trash can and getting an upset tummy. He may have roundworms especially if he is a puppy. It may be due to a recent abrupt diet change. These are usually mild cases of diarrhea. However, if any worrisome or out of the ordinary symptoms arise along with the diarrhea, do not hesitate to have him seen by a vet promptly. Chances are that it may be just a minor issue, but as with most issues, if caught promptly it likely will not evolve into a more serious and costly issue.
For further reading: When to De-worm your Puppy
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.