Sooner or later, your dog likely will experience a bout with diarrhea. It could result from getting into the garbage, eating table scraps or consuming food that disagrees with him. You usually can stop diarrhea by giving your pet anti-diarrheal medications and feeding him a bland diet for a day or two. If his diarrhea doesn't improve within 24 hours, call your vet. Diarrhea can indicate an underlying disease or condition.
While it's not possible to prevent all cases of acute diarrhea, you can reduce the odds considerably with a few simple steps. Deworm your dog regularly. If he's on a monthly heartworm medication, that usually eradicates roundworms and hookworms, a potential cause of canine diarrhea. Keep him current on his vaccinations, as diseases such as parvovirus cause severe diarrhea. Make any dietary changes gradually, mixing some of his former food into his new food so the transition takes a few days. Secure garbage cans so he can't scavenge, and keep him away from the feces of other animals.
You can give your dog certain anti-diarrheal medications you might have in your medicine cabinet, but always check with your vet first. If she agrees that this medication is appropriate, she will give you dosing information for your dog, based on size. Products containing bismuth subsalicylate, such as Pepto-Bismol, and kaolin pectate, marketed as Kaopectate, can be used for dogs.
Keep canned plain pumpkin on hand to combat occasional canine diarrhea. If your dog has diarrhea, give him some pumpkin to firm up his feces. Your vet can advise you on the appropriate amount for your pet.
You can get your dog's gastrointestinal system back on track after a bout of diarrhea by feeding a bland diet for a few days. Don't feed your dog anything for approximately 12 hours or more after you first notice the diarrhea, although he should have water available at all times. His bowels need to rest. When you start feeding him again, give him a mix of 3 parts cooked rice -- either white or brown -- to 1 part of either cottage cheese, boiled chicken or boiled hamburger. Remove any fat from the meat and skin from the chicken. Don't fry the meat. Give him the same amount of the bland diet as his normal food ration. Start adding his regular food to the bland diet after the second day. He should eat his normal ration by day three or four.
Diarrhea in Puppies
If your puppy experiences diarrhea, it's a good idea to take him to the vet if his stools are liquid rather than just soft. The immune system of puppies isn't as strong as that of adult dogs, and he is more likely to be infested with worms or other parasites causing diarrhea. Puppies also dehydrate rapidly, so even a brief bout of diarrhea can prove serious.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Diarrhea
- Today's Veterinary Practice: GI Intervention Approach to Diagnosis and Therapy of the Patient with Acute Diarrhea
- Adams Marquette Veterinary Service: Bland Diet Feeding Instructions
- Lakeside Animal Clinic: Home Treatments
- ASPCA: Diarrhea
- Animal Family Veterinary Care Center: Pumpkin