According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds in the United States. The German Shepherd is ideal for families, as it is a loyal, fun loving and energetic dog. Unfortunately, like many other purebred dogs, the German Shepherd isn’t without it’s health problems. Diarrhea is a common signal that a health issue has emerged. Fortunately, there are many options for treating diarrhea in a German Shepherd.
The Veterinary Services Department at Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc. recommend withholding food for 24 hours following the onset of diarrhea in any dog. Water should also be withheld during this period; however, small amounts of water should be given throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
A bland diet is a diet that consists of foods such as boiled hamburger, rice, cottage cheese, pure pumpkin, plain yogurt, potatoes or boiled chicken. The German Shepherd should be fed the chosen bland diet following the 24 hour withholding period. For most dogs, this often helps to resolve the diarrhea. If diarrhea does not resolve, the canine should be taken to a veterinarian and a permanent change of diet may be required.
Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
Some German Shepherds may develop Irritable Bowel Disease, or IBD. Irritable Bowel Disease is more difficult to treat in comparison to the occasional bout of diarrhea. Treatments for IBD in canines include steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, immune suppression medications and a change in diet, such as a hypoallergenic diet or a diet high in fiber.
Pancreatic Enzyme Insufficiency
German Shepherds may also suffer from Pancreatic Enzyme Insufficiency. When this occurs, the pancreas is unable to produce the enzymes necessary for digesting food?thus resulting in symptoms such as diarrhea. To treat this condition, the affected German Shepherd will require dietary supplements that contain digestive enzymes. Additional treatment options include feeding raw beef or lamb pancreas?which contains the necessary dietary enzymes?and vitamin supplementation. With Pancreatic Enzyme Insufficiency, treatment is often for the life of the affected dog.
When To See a Veterinarian
If diarrhea has been persistent over several days, contains fresh blood or is dark and tarry in appearance, it is time to seek veterinary medical attention. If diarrhea is present with other symptoms such as pale gums, pain, vomiting or the dog appears to be depressed, then the dog should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.