One of the most popular and recognized dog breeds, German shepherds have a reputation for being very intelligent, loyal, and protective. They're also known to have sensitive stomachs that get upset from time to time. While you can treat an occasional bout of German shepherd diarrhea at home, it's important to know when to treat and when to call the vet. Causes of diarrhea range from benign to quite serious, so listen to your instincts if they tell you something isn't quite right with your pup.
Assess the situation
Though your dog's runny poop is unpleasant to deal with, it's generally not cause for alarm. Your dog may have eaten something he shouldn't have or caught a mild stomach bug. German shepherds have a high prey drive, so a dog left alone in the yard may treat himself to the occasional squirrel or rabbit, ingesting some bacteria along with his treat. Even with supervision, some dogs manage to gobble up things they shouldn't. Certain medications can also cause diarrhea, as can changing your dog's diet too quickly. Diarrhea triggered by any of these issues or a bit of stress will generally clear on its own and pass quickly.
If your dog's diarrhea lasts longer than 24 hours, it's time to call the vet. Get to the vet quickly if your dog's stool is black or red. Diarrhea accompanied by depression, lethargy, or vomiting also indicates that it's time to see the doggy doctor, as does green discharge from your dog's nose, ears, or genitals. Your vet should also intervene if you notice worms in your dog's feces or if her poop smells bad. Dog poop never smells good, of course, but there's a problem if the smell reminds you of the time that squirrel got into your house and died in the attic.
Know how to treat dog diarrhea at home
If your German shepherd has diarrhea, stop feeding her for 12 hours. This will allow whatever is in her system to work its way out. Provide plenty of water, however, as this may help flush her system and will prevent dehydration. You may also want to offer your dog ice cubes made from Pedialyte.
When the fast is over, feed your pet rice mixed with some boiled boneless, skinless chicken. Start with a small meal and wait two hours. If the diarrhea eases, feed her again at the two-hour mark. Continue doing this, gradually increasing the amount of food you give your dog and the length of time in between meals. If all goes well, start mixing her regular food in with the rice and chicken meals, slowly increasing the amount of kibble you give her until she is back on her regular diet.
Find easy ways to clean up the mess
If your dog has diarrhea in your yard, spraying the area with a hose is the easiest way to clean it up. If the mess is in a neighbor's yard or park, pick up as much of it as you can. If you need to take some grass with you, do so. Most people would rather deal with a divot in the yard than a pile of poop. Keep in mind that dogs with diarrhea don't always make it outside, so it's best to keep your pet confined to a room with easily cleaned flooring like linoleum until he gets better. To clean the diarrhea from floors, walkways, or landscaping stones, lay a paper towel over the area to absorb as much of the diarrhea as possible. Use a general-purpose cleaner and some warm water to mop up the rest of any indoor messes.
Use the same method for accidents on carpets, but blot gently at the stain with the paper towel. If you push too hard, you'll only force the mess deeper into the carpet. Keep dabbing and mopping up the waste until only the stain remains. Use some clean water and a carpet stain removal product to remove the stain and then sprinkle the carpet with baking powder or a carpet deodorizer to eliminate the odor.
Diarrhea prevention tips
There's no way to guarantee that your German shepherd will never get diarrhea, but there are ways to help minimize the risk. Keep your dog's diet consistent and make any changes slowly, introducing new food a little at a time. Don't give your pet table scraps and try to keep her from scavenging and eating things she shouldn't. Give your dog tough rubber chew toys instead of bones and keep small objects that she could swallow out of her reach. Make sure your pet is always up to date on her shots too.