We’ve all been there – your dog is suffering from an upset digestive system, i.e. diarrhea or soft stools, and you’re not quite sure what to do. You don’t want to rush to the vet’s office if you don’t have to and prefer to give your dog something natural, a home remedy.
Dog diarrhea can be a common issue, and while it’s essential to consult your veterinarian for severe or persistent cases, there are several home remedies you can try to provide some relief and comfort to your dog. Let’s explore some safe and natural home remedies for your dog with diarrhea.
If your dog has diarrhea and/or vomiting for more than a few days, call your vet. If your dog is normally healthy, then you can treat their diarrhea at home with a few home remedies, such as:
- Band food
- Plain yogurt
- Slippery elm
- Marshmallow root
- Coptis herbal remedy
- Chamomile tea
- Human OTC medicines
What to give a dog with diarrhea
If your dog has had diarrhea for more than a few days or has any signs of bloody stools, then talk with your vet right away and ask for their recommendations on what to give a dog for diarrhea.
Most cases of diarrhea are not an emergency and can be treated at home with these natural remedies. Here are 10 proven ways to help your dog with diarrhea or loose stools:
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 their water.
When your dog experiences diarrhea, it’s a good idea to give their digestive system a break. You can start by fasting your dog for 12 to 24 hours, allowing their stomach to settle and their digestive system to recover. During this fasting period, ensure they have access to clean water to prevent dehydration. Once the fasting period is over, you can reintroduce a bland diet.
3. Bland Food
Feeding your dog chicken and white rice is an outdated theory. Dr. Katie with The Natural Pet Doctor (my favorite holistic vet) says the best food for your dog with diarrhea is something bland like white fish, turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and bone broth.
Feed your dog small amounts at a time to make sure they can keep the food down. If so, then slowly feed them more and more until they are feeling better.
4. Pure Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a super food, a great source of fiber and other vitamins and nutrients, and can help improve your dog’s digestive system quickly. Use only plain pumpkin, no pumpkin pie filling.
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!
Native Pet’s organic air-dried pumpkin is great to have in your pantry all year long. Just add water and it turns into a delicious pumpkin puree. We use it to make dog treats and the dogs love them!
Read why pumpkin is a super food for your dog and can be good for diarrhea or constipation!
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore balance in your dog’s gut. You can find probiotic supplements designed for dogs at your local pet store or online.
I have tried all the top probiotic brands, searching to find the best one… but they all claim to be the best. A friend recommended Daily Dog by FullBucket. And wow! It has given us the best results in terms of overall health in all three of our dogs. I can see their coats getting shiner, more consistent stool, and more energy in our 9-year-old lab.
Adding a probiotic supplement to your dog’s daily food can help keep their gut health in check every day.
6. Plain Yogurt
Alternatively to a probiotic, you can add plain, unsweetened yogurt to your dog’s food to introduce good bacteria. Probiotics can promote healthy digestion and reduce the duration of diarrhea.
7. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm is an herbal remedy that can soothe the digestive tract and alleviate diarrhea in dogs. You can find slippery elm supplements online or at some health food stores or pet stores. Follow the recommended dosage for your dog’s size, or consult your veterinarian for guidance.
Dr. Katie recommends trying Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Root. She recommends giving your dog “slippery elm in capsule form or mixing the powder with water to create a paste. Start with 1/4 tbsp mixed in 1/4 cup broth or water and give 2-3 times a day to help soothe the inflamed digestive tract.”
8. Coptis Herbal Remedy
Dr. Katie also recommends Coptis Herbal Remedy, a herbal remedy from Chinese medicine. “You can give your pet one tea pill per 10 pounds of body weight for 5-10 days at most, depending on the severity of their symptoms. This is a very cooling remedy meant only to be used short term.”
9. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea can have soothing effects on a dog’s upset stomach. Brew a weak chamomile tea, let it cool, and offer a small amount to your dog. Make sure it’s free of caffeine or any added ingredients. Chamomile tea can help reduce inflammation and calm your dog’s digestive system.
As more and more dog owners become conscious of the potential downsides of antibiotics and prescription medications, they’re looking into natural herbal supplements. Here are a couple that I recommend checking out:
Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?
Diarrhea in dogs can have various causes, and it’s important to determine the underlying reason to provide appropriate treatment. Some common reasons for a dog to have diarrhea include:
- Dietary changes: A sudden change in your dog’s diet, such as switching to a new brand of dog food or feeding them human food, can upset their digestive system and lead to diarrhea.
- Food intolerance or allergies: Dogs can be sensitive to certain ingredients in their food or even sudden changes in diet. If your dog has a food allergy or intolerance, consuming the problematic ingredient can result in diarrhea.
- Infections: Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections, such as parvovirus, giardia, or worms, can cause diarrhea in dogs. These infections are often accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
- Stress or anxiety: Dogs can experience diarrhea as a response to stress or anxiety. This could be triggered by changes in their environment, routine, or social interactions.
- Dietary indiscretion: Dogs are known for eating things they shouldn’t, like garbage, spoiled food, or foreign objects. Ingesting something inappropriate can lead to gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): IBD is a chronic condition in which a dog’s immune system attacks its own digestive tract, leading to chronic diarrhea and other digestive issues.
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas can result in diarrhea, along with symptoms like vomiting, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
- Medication side effects: Some medications can cause gastrointestinal side effects, including diarrhea. If your dog is on any new medications, consult your vet about potential side effects.
- Poisoning: Ingesting toxic substances can lead to diarrhea, as well as other serious symptoms. If you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic, contact a veterinarian immediately.
- Chronic conditions: Certain chronic conditions like colitis, kidney disease, or liver disease can result in persistent diarrhea.
- Allergic reactions: Dogs can have allergic reactions to various environmental factors, such as pollen, certain plants, or insect bites. Allergic reactions may include diarrhea, along with other symptoms like itching and skin problems.
If your dog has diarrhea, it’s important to monitor their condition and consult with a veterinarian. Your vet can perform a physical examination, conduct tests if necessary, and provide guidance on the most appropriate treatment or dietary changes to address the underlying cause of the diarrhea.
Dehydration is a concern with diarrhea, so make sure your dog has access to clean water, and in severe cases, your vet may recommend intravenous fluids to address dehydration.
As long as your dog is normally healthy, 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.
IMPORTANT: If you notice blood in your dog’s diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or 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.
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 them home.
Warning About OTC & Prescription Medicines
Human over-the-counter diarrhea medications such as Imodium may also be effective for your dog but isn’t really a natural remedy. There are some restrictions and possible side effects, so before you give it to your dog, read this article by PetMD Imodium for Dogs: Is it a Good Idea?
If you call your vet, they may prescribe an antibiotic such as Metronidazole. Dr. Katie with The Natural Pet Doctor wants us to be informed of the side effects before giving our dogs any antibiotics. You can read more about that in her article: Metronidazole for Dogs & Cats: Exploring Natural Alternatives and Safer Options for Diarrhea.
When is it Time to Take Your Dog to the Vet?
If your dog has had diarrhea for more than a few days, has any signs of red or blood, mucus in his poop, vomiting, lethargy, 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.
Allergies and Diarrhea
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 to, stay away from the yogurt, chicken, and broth. Food allergies can also be a cause of diarrhea.
A note about Parasites and 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, and likely have changed foods a lot, but they’ve also been exposed to some terrible environments.
Recommended reading: My dog has Worms
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.
In Conclusion, Doggy Diarrhea Stinks
There’s nothing worse then trying to pick up watery, runny poop! 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 a bout 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.
While home remedies can provide temporary relief for your dog’s diarrhea, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian if the condition persists or worsens. Diarrhea can be a symptom of underlying health issues, and professional guidance may be necessary. These home remedies are intended for short-term relief and should not replace proper veterinary care when needed. Always prioritize your pet’s well-being and consult with a veterinarian for any health concerns.
If your dog has diarrhea and/or vomiting for more than a few days, call your vet. If your dog is normally healthy, then you can treat their diarrhea at home with a few home remedies, such as fasting, bland food, pumpkin, probiotics, plain yogurt, slippery elm, Marshmallow Root, Coptis herbal remedy, chamomile tea or over-the-counter medicines.
P.S. Remember to try Daily Dog by FullBucket, and use coupon code RescueDogs101 for a 20% discount. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. Plus, for everyFullBucket you buy, they give one to an animal in need.