How to Treat Dog Diarrhea

By Melodie Anne

Your pooch likely will experience diarrhea at some point, no matter how diligent you are at keeping him healthy. Anything from bacteria in his water, to a bug bite, and everything in between, can cause episodes of diarrhea. Always take your dog in for a checkup when he has diarrhea. It can be a sign of something more serious. Once you get an otherwise clean bill of health, you can treat the diarrhea at home. Plenty of fluids, a mild diet, probiotics and medications are all things you can offer to nurse him back to health.

Keep Him Hydrated

Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Diarrhea can leave your pooch dehydrated quickly, since he’s losing excessive amounts of fluid. Ideally you’d just leave a bowl of water by his bed and he’d drink it. But when he’s not feeling well, he might not be inclined to drink. Entice him to get fluids into his system by filling a second bowl with 50 percent water and 50 percent of an electrolyte drink, such as Pedialyte or water supplemented with electrolytes. As an alternative, use low-sodium chicken or beef broth in the mixture. During recovery, he should have one bowl of fresh water and one bowl of the solution available at all times.

Give Him Mild Foods

Kris Robertson/Demand Media

It’ll take about a day for acute diarrhea to subside, WebMD explains. Even if your barking buddy seems fine the next day, you don’t want to put him back on his normal diet. His bowels need time to rest and get back on track. While he’s recovering, feed him mild foods. Things like hamburger meat or boiled skinless chicken are ideal proteins. Mix one part of cooked meat with two parts of cooked white rice, macaroni noodles or plain oatmeal. Feed him three or four mini meals throughout the day for a couple days, then gradually start adding his kibble or canned food into the mix. As long as he continues to improve and the diarrhea subsides, continue giving him higher amounts of his regular doggy diet and less amounts of the mild food, until he’s back to normal.

Offer Probiotics

Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your pooch’s gut. They’re responsible for breaking down waste and allowing it to pass through. Unfortunately when he has diarrhea, some of those good bacteria get flushed out and his natural probiotic levels drop. This can make it even more difficult for his bowels to recover. You can purchase over-the-counter probiotic powders from your vet’s office or health food store -- just check with your vet to get the right dosage if you buy them at a retail outlet. The alternative is to give your pup a spoonful of yogurt a few times a day. Look for yogurt that is plain or unflavored, low-fat and made with acidophilus and lactobacillus probiotic cultures.

Provide Medications

Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-diarrheal medication for your furry comrade if his symptoms don’t improve after a day or two. These medications, which often contain kaolin and pectin, absorb the excess fluid in his gut and help slow down transit time. This helps him get back to having regular solid bowel movements. Don’t attempt to give your canine human-grade anti-diarrheal medications without your veterinarian’s guidance. The dosage is much smaller for dogs -- around one-half to 1 milliliter per pound of body weight, four to six times a day, PetMD reports. Your vet will have to determine the right amount for your dog’s specific needs.