Almost all dogs have bouts of diarrhea throughout their lives. In many cases, home supportive treatment can help a dog resolve the intestinal issues he is facing. In cases where the diarrhea lasts for more than 48 hours, blood is visible in the stool, or the diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting and lethargy, a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.
Keeping the dog hydrated is one of the most important factors in treating diarrhea at home. Dogs can become dehydrated much quicker than humans, and even moderate dehydration can lead to life-threatening complications. Signs of dehydration in dogs include dully, pale gums and a loss of elasticity in the skin. In order to encourage dehydrated dogs to drink, give him ice cubes or mix a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth in the water. A few teaspoons of Pedialyte can also help replace electrolytes lost as a result of the diarrhea. If a dog has limited water intake for more than 24 hours, he should be taken to a veterinarian for evaluation and fluids.
Often, diarrhea is caused by inflammation or irritation in the digestive system. Spoiled food, chemicals and preservatives in dog food, and digested non-food items such as trash or yard waste can cause an stomach upset. Many times, these bouts of diarrhea can be cleared up by calming down the digestive tract. According to veterinarian Holly Nash, a simple diet of boiled chicken or lean hamburger mixed with rice or plain oatmeal is easily digested and often helps to settle the stomach and intestines. Low-sodium chicken broth can also be mixed with the meal to encourage eating and assist with rehydration.
To assist the dog's intestinal tract in realigning itself, you can supplement your dog's diet with specific food products or non-prescription dietary supplements. One of the most effective dietary supplements for pets with intestinal issues is pureed pumpkin. Pumpkin is high in fiber and easily digested. Be sure to use plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. You might also consider using a probiotic supplement for longer term support. One of the most highly recommended products is Purina Fortiflora Canine Probiotic, which helps to promote healthy and balanced intestines.