Dog owners will have to manage a case of canine diarrhea at one point or another. Diarrhea is somewhat common in dogs and is usually a result of your dog eating something that disagrees with its stomach.
However, diarrhea can be dangerous to your dog’s health if it does not stop quickly—dehydration is a real threat in these cases. For this reason—and because you don’t want to deal with stinky messes—you’ll want to try and put a stop to the problem as quickly as you can.
Home remedies for treating canine gastrointestinal issues
Giving your dog diarrhea medication intended for humans can be very dangerous and may even make the problem worse. Instead, you can use a number of home remedies to help soothe your dog’s upset stomach and ensure it recovers from its gastrointestinal distress.
First, you’ll want to give your dog lots of water to prevent dehydration. It may not be interested in its food and water bowls, so encourage it to drink often. You may need to entice it to drink by adding a small amount of broth to the water.
After a short while, feed your dog a small, special meal of white rice and skinless chicken to help firm up its stools. Bland foods without lots of salt and seasonings are best to not irritate the gastrointestinal tract even more. At first, some dogs will need to fast for a few hours to stop producing loose stools, after which they can eat meals in small increments. Pay attention to whether your dog continues to have diarrhea and hold off on providing more food for a little while.
You can also provide your dog with herbal “astringents,” which work to tighten up the colon and form solid feces again. Red raspberry leaf, bayberry root and marshmallow root are common herbs used in diarrhea remedies. These herbs help astringe the colon and improve the mucosal lining.
Slippery elm is another useful herb and can be found in capsule or powder form. Some diarrhea supplements combine many of these natural plants into one convenient formula.
If your dog suffers from routine or chronic diarrhea, you may want to consider giving your dog probiotic supplements to help rebalance the good and bad bacteria in its colon. An overgrowth o harmful bacteria or viruses can throw the gut microbiome out of sorts and cause symptoms like bloating, diarrhea and inflammation. Probiotics can also help bolster your dog’s immune system and are a good choice for daily supplementation.
Keep an eye on your dog for the next day to see if its diarrhea stops or continues. Home remedies may not provide instant relief, but they should work within a day.
Know when diarrhea is dangerous
Diarrhea is pretty common, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. Certain situations will require the help of a veterinarian to prevent more severe effects.
If you have a young puppy, a senior dog or a dog with severe medical conditions, do not try to solve their diarrhea with home remedies. Call your vet as soon as possible, since these dogs could be at a higher risk for health issues if diarrhea occurs.
If your adult dog has diarrhea that contains blood or looks black like tar, contact your vet as this can indicate a medical emergency. Additionally, if your adult dog has diarrhea for longer than 24 hours, discontinue home remedy treatments and call your vet to prevent further health problems.
Causes of diarrhea in dogs
Although rectifying diarrhea in dogs isn’t very difficult, it is definitely not normal and could be cause for concern. It’s important to examine your pup’s symptoms and try to find the underlying cause of its gastrointestinal upset.
If the diarrhea occurred suddenly, your dog may be dealing with food or toxic poisoning from scavenging through the garbage can, gastrointestinal upset from sudden changes in diet or heightened stress from a traumatic event or sudden change.
However, if diarrhea is chronic, more serious problems may be at play. Food allergies or intolerances are a common cause of routine diarrhea, but so are parasitic intestinal worms, bacterial or viral infections and gastrointestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.
Numerous serious illness like kidney and liver disease or cancer can cause chronic diarrhea, as well.
Because of the breadth of potential causes, you should watch your dog for other symptoms of illness, including vomiting, lethargy, inappetence and abdominal pain, and contact your vet immediately if you notice signs of a larger health problem.