No one likes diarrhea, people and dogs alike. Diarrhea is a sign that something isn’t right inside your dogs gut. There are so many causes of diarrhea in your dog, so let’s start there…
As long as your dog is normally healthy and does not have any other illnesses, and is not a young puppy or a senior dog, then it’s pretty safe to say you can attempt to treat his diarrhea at home for a couple of days before rushing to the vet.
If you’ve just adopted your puppy or dog, allow him a few days and even a few weeks to fully adjust to his new home. Read the 3-3-3 Rules of Bring Your New Dog Home to fully understand the stages a new dog goes through. It’s not uncommon for a dog to show signs of stress, one, two or even three weeks after bringing him home.
I am trying to remember back to each dog we’ve ever had in our home, resident dogs and foster dogs… and I think most of them have had an episode of diarrhea at one point or another. I think diarrhea is one of those nasty things dog parents just have to deal with, and we just need to be there to comfort our dogs until they feel better. This list should help your dog get over his diarrhea quickly:
1. Lots of Liquid
Make sure your dog is drinking a lot of water. Just like people diarrhea can quickly make your dog dehydrated. If your dog isn’t interested in drinking water, you can encourage him by adding some chicken or beef broth to his water or make rice water.
2. Pure Pumpkin
Give your dog some pure pumpkin. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and can help your pups upset belly quickly. A bonus tip: when we open a can of pumpkin, we take about half of it and freeze it into ice cube trays. This way you will always have pumpkin handy, they make great everyday treats too! Read why pumpkin is a super food for your dog and can be good for diarrhea or constipation! And make sure to buy 100% pure pumpkin, no pie filling.
3. Bland Diet
Change your dogs food to boiled chicken and rice. Stop feeding your dog his regular food and offer him a small amount of bland boiled chicken and white rice. Feed him small amounts at a time to make sure he can keep the food down. If so, then slowly feed him more and more until he is feeling better.
4. Good Bacteria
Feed your dog some plain yogurt. Just like humans, dogs can benefit from the good bacteria found in yogurt. Stay away from the sugary filled yogurts, you want to find just plain yogurt.
Over-the-counter diarrhea medications such as Imodium may also be effective for your dog. There are some restrictions, so before you give it to your dog, read this article by PetMD Imodium for Dogs: Is it a Good Idea?
If your dog has had diarrhea for more than 2 days, has any signs of red or blood in his poop, is lethargic, or shows any other signs of being in pain, call your vet right away. If your puppy is younger than 9 months old, call your vet right away. The vet may say you can wait a couple of days, but at least they can give you more details on what to watch for. A dog with diarrhea and/or vomiting can be as simple as stress or as serious as a life-threatening illness. If you have any worries, just call your vet! A phone call is free and can ease your mind.
If your dog has, or you think may have, any food allergies, be careful about feeding him any dairy, chicken or beef. Our dog Ginger is allergic to all three of these foods, so we need to be careful of feeding her anything with these ingredients. If your dog shows any signs of allergies, and you aren’t sure yet what he is allergic too, stay away from the yogurt, chicken, and broth. The food allergies can also be a cause of diarrhea.
The first thing I check when we get a new foster dog is their poop! It’s not uncommon for our foster dogs to have diarrhea, not only are they stressed, likely have changed foods a lot, but they’ve also been exposed to some terrible environments.
With the rescue I work with, we don’t release a dog to be adopted until he is 100% healthy. But some other rescues are all about getting the dogs adopted quickly to make room for the next dog. So if you just adopted a dog, watch him closely the first few weeks, check his poop daily. If you see any signs of white rice looking things in his poop, call your vet right away. If you see anything moving around in his poop, then he could very likely have worms or a parasite.
So to recap, if your dog has diarrhea and/or vomiting for more than two days, call your vet. If your dog is normally healthy, then you can treat his diarrhea at home with a few home remedies, such as rice water, pumpkin, yogurt, Imodium and a mild chicken and rice diet.
Our dogs are part of our family, so taking care of their health is a very important part of being a “pet parent”. If you are ever unsure, always err on the side of calling your vet.
Do you have any other home remedies for diarrhea that work for your dog? Comment below and help the rest of our Rescue Dogs 101 community. And I hope your pup feels better soon!
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Debi McKee is a life-long dog lover and owner, volunteers for Fetch WI, fostering rescue dogs, performing home visits and more. She also attends every dog training seminar available to her, and is continually looking for ways to build her knowledge of dog adoption, health and training. Her goal is to guide you through every step of your dog journey. Read her story and learn about the dogs behind Rescue Dogs 101. If you have a question, please feel free to send Debi a message here.