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Vet Advice: Treating Your Dog's Diarrhea


After the fast is over, start your dog back on a bland diet of white rice cooked with extra water and mixed with small amounts of baby food for protein and flavor; for each cup of dry rice, use two to three cups of water. Continue to add probiotics to her food, using at least 2 to10 billion viable bacterial organisms in each meal you serve; to determine the level of “viable organisms” or “colony forming units” (CFUs) present in a probiotic such as acidophilus, look on the label—a reputable manufacturer will list that number.

Dosages for the two intestinal protectants mentioned above are approximate. Use the liquid medication, not the tablets, and give about 1cc of liquid for each 10 pounds of body weight up to three times daily. The bismuth subsalicylate has more anti-inflammatory activity, so may work better on patients with abdominal cramping.

If the diarrhea is very severe, you may want to also give your dog some loperamide (Imodium AD™), which can help to reduce fluid loss until the rice-water fast, white rice and acidophilus, and the dog’s own healing system can overcome the diarrhea. The published dose for loperamide in dogs is 2 mg (the standard-size capsule) for each 40 pounds of body weight, two to three times daily (this translates into 0.1 mg per pound).



This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 45: Nov/Dec 2007
Robert Silver, DVM, founder of Boulder's Natural Animal: A Holistic Wellness Center, is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist. He received his DVM from Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. bouldersnaturalanimal.com

Photograph by Jonathon Lim Yong Hian

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Submitted by Susan | November 10 2013 |

It has been my experience if Metronidizol has an effect, the diarrhea is caused by parasites. Giardia has become very common in N. America, and unfortunately Flagyl is not working as well as it used to. And parasites may not be present in all dogs in a household - I keep multiple dogs and have had one out of the lot be affected. The Giardia causes intermittent diarrhea that is slimey.

Submitted by Berynice | June 28 2014 |

Metronidizole is Flagyl.

Submitted by rmpbkly | October 28 2013 |

all those that say chicken baby food, come on don't be lazy.
Buy Chicken legs and boil , you have broth and healthy meat for later. that the advice from my Vet.

Submitted by Jessica | November 11 2013 |

I lost my little Erik the hound dog mix on October 15th, 2013, he was 9.5 years old. He had on-and-off bouts of diarrhea or inconsistent stools for quite a while. He had been doing well on probiotics and was being weened from prednisone. I honestly thought that after 2 months of probiotics it would be okay to stop them because he was on low-fat I/D dog food and still tapering off the prednisone. Two weeks after stopping the probiotics (September 30th) he had explosive liquid diarrhea. I immediately started him back on the probiotics, upped his prednisone, gave him immodium, and gave him a bland chicken and rice diet. His bowel movements weren't "normal" per se, they would be small but I thought that was due to the small diet.

I had been instructed by my veterinarian in August -- the last time he had a bowel upset -- to use Tylan (it's some strange horse medication that helps upset doggy bellies). I was afraid to use it because our Labrador had gotten a terrible dermatitis from it [I regret that fear terribly now. Who cares about dermatitis if your stomach feels better???].

After about 1 week I considered taking him to the vet but, although the stools were a little off they seemed to be starting to improve -- except for the mucous that was developing (again, something he had had before on occasion). On Thursday, October 10th, his dog sitter suggested pumpkin (he was always a picky eater, but I was ready to try anything that would be a more "natural" approach). He never got to try the pumpkin approach...

October 11th (about 12 days since his first incident), though, he started shaking and whining. We went to the emergency veterinarian at 3am and she couldn't find anything so gave him pain meds, a subcutaneous water pack because he was dehydrated, and let us go home (I thought he would be better at home). We couldn't get in to see the regular veterinarian on Saturday, so we went back to the emergency vet and they began seeing fluid in his chest cavity. They didn't know what it was and assumed cancer in the abdomen but the veterinarian who did ultrasounds wouldn't be in until Sunday morning. Sunday morning he was in respiratory distress by 7am and we rushed back the emergency veterinarian. They diagnosed him with pyothorax and thought he'd be home in a couple of days. Monday morning he went into cardiac arrest and was saved. Tuesday morning he collapsed outside of the veterinarians and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

I don't know for certain what ended his life. This last month I've searched high and low for an answer. Scouring the internet for sources.

I think I just got lulled into complacency and what I thought would be a battle I could fight without direct veterinary care. The predniosone and probiotics had worked before - I told myself ... then I look back before August, back in January or even December, and see he had been on Metronizadole (an antibiotic) before and done well ...

Now, I read these boards and I ask myself, why didn't I take his change bowel movements more seriously? In all the years I rushed to the veterinarian, why did I not rush this time? I rushed when it was too late. I rushed to an emergency veterinarian, but by then, whatever ailed him had overtaken him.

It's better to be safe than sorry. Now, I'm very, very, very sorry and I'm without my doggy soulmate and cry tears of guilt and feel sick with pain and sadness.

Submitted by Em | January 13 2014 |

Hope you don't mind me commenting here. Sounds like there was an underlying problem that wasn't picked up in the first place, you really did everything you could and sometimes that seems afterwards like it wasn't enough, as a bystander though it reads much different. Don't be so hard on yourself xx

Submitted by Puppyowner | July 10 2014 |

Hey there, thanks so much for sharing this story. I was so sorry to hear to lost Erik and while I know a little time has passed I bet you still miss him.

Our four month old puppy has diarrhea which is why I was looking at hte stie, and your story has made me think not to leave it too long before I go to the vet in case it is something serious.

It's so hard to know what to do for the best, it sounds like you were an amazingly caring owner and Erik couldn't have hoped for a better home.

But sometimes there's no point people telling you not to blame yourself although I hope time has eased your guilt a little - because it wasn't your fault. I hope that if you haven't already, you'll feel able to give some of your love to another pet, I bet you meant to world to Erik as he did to you. Take care and thanks xx

Submitted by Pat | November 13 2013 |

I have a 8 1/2 week Shithzu. she is just 2 1/2 lbs. She has had diarrhoea for 2 days. She was pretty lethargic the first day and wasn't eating or drinking, but better the 2nd day, however she still has diarrhoea. She is eating today and drinking. I cooked up some chicken breast, carrots and rice and she just love it. Hopefully it will help. Should I be taking her to the vets?

Submitted by Jessica | November 18 2013 |

Hi Pat,

Considering the age of your puppy I'd say, from experience now, better to be safe than sorry. I hope she feels better.

Submitted by Jessica | November 18 2013 |

Can a dog's death be caused by stopping probiotics? My dog had off-and-on GI problems. For over a year, the veterinarian would occasionally prescribe probiotics. For two months my basset hound mix was doing well on the probiotics but I thought since he was on I/D low fat dog food that I could remove the supplement from his diet. Two weeks after I stopped, he started to have diarrhea again. I immediately restarted the probiotics, increased his prednisone to 10mg/day, provided immodium, and put him on a chicken and rice diet. 10 days after the diarrhea started, he was in so much pain I took him to the Emergency Veterinarian. Within 2 days they diagnosed him with pyothorax. Two days after that he died from cardiac arrest when taken out to go to the bathroom. What happened?

Submitted by Jacqui | November 24 2013 |

I'm afraid I have no idea but I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. I can see how raw and painful it is from your posts and I can imagine how frustrating it is to now know what happened. It sounds like you did a lot to care for your dog and try to find the problem, please don't blame yourself.
Take care

Submitted by DANITA | November 30 2013 |

thank you our little cupcake is 9 weeks old and some of the children from our child care gave her human food and she has had diarrhea since then. I will try the rice water and the carrot, are the carrots raw or cooked?

Submitted by Berynice | June 28 2014 |

All food is human food - that's goofy. Dogs have always eaten what we eat - (and more). Meat and scavangeable fruits and veggies.

Submitted by Rhianna | July 9 2014 |

I'm sorry, but not all human food is acceptable for dogs. Candy, sweets, processed snacks like potato chips etc, and foods like pizza. are not okay for dogs, just like they really aren't okay for us. You are right that they eat a meat and sometimes vegetable diet, but the majority of human food now is not natural and not suitable for a dog and can cause stomach upset and other potential problems.

Submitted by Jamie Cevallos | July 21 2014 |

Puppies shouldn't be eating human food unless otherwise told by a vet and all they truly recommend is boiled rice and boiled chicken with no salt. The reason being is puppies have a sensitive stomach until about a year old which is when their enzymes begin to get stronger and are able to break down practically anything and almost everything they eat. But even then your dog shouldn't be eating real human food it can cause obesity in your canine companion and even cause them to live a shorter life span. Especially since you have such a young puppy keep a close eye on her especially when children are around. Also I hope your puppy is doing better.

Submitted by Diane Corwin | December 7 2013 |

This worked great! However, just a note that 1 cup of rice and 4 cups of water boils down very quickly, so put it on a low boil...and there is actually only about 1 cup of rice water that is distilled from that. It doesn't make a LOT of rice water. I mixed the rice with 1 tsp of baby food and then added a little rice water to make it soupy and she lapped it up. I also have digestive enzymes that is powder form (for my cat, but there also good for dogs from my local pet store) and added a small amount of that to the rice. She has stabilized after a horrible day yesterday. I also gave her a tablet of acidophilus. I may give her some plain chicken tonight with rice. Thank you for the great article!

Submitted by TerriJL | December 11 2013 |

Thank you for the excellent remarks and advice! I board little dogs, and sometimes they get diarrea when they visit me, because they're out of their normal environment and maybe nervous or scared. I'll try the rice water and the recommended amount of immodium if needed. THANKS!

Submitted by Justin Brannon | December 23 2013 |

My 5 year old boxer recently developed Diarrhea. I took him outside and it came out brown then as he kept squatting it was mixing with blood. He did go in the house while I was sleep it was all over his room floor. I saw the food he was fed the day before in the stool. It was a dark brown color, ALMOST black. I rubbed his belly and he seems fine with it. He's still energetic (to an extent). He is sleeping a little more than he usually does. Shall I try the rice and peptobismol???

Submitted by Ezmereka | December 28 2013 |

If blood is mixing in the stool, it is usually very important you get with a vet A.S.A.P.

Same as if your stool was bloody. This is almost always a sign of some serious internal problems.
Sorry your puppy is sick.

Submitted by jhalsey | December 24 2013 |

my friends scotty was on rice and chicken for ages and still had diarhea vet food and check ups didnt help much seemed he reacted to the rice, chicken pots ,veg, gravy seems to work so long as he does not eat street rubish.

Submitted by Kimberly Fraley | December 26 2013 |

Jasmine has had this a couple of times so I need to keep this info handy

Submitted by CA | December 27 2013 |

My 10 lb Maltese mix has had diarrhea for 16 hours now. She does not feel bad or have a belly ache and still has a good appetite. I had an allergy swab test done on her 6 months ago as she had a limited diet then and still was itching. It turned out she was allergic to so many things I was feeding her thinking they were healthy foods including rice, carrots, pumpkin and more. Once I stopped those, her severe itching was TOTALLY gone. So now due to her diarrhea, I don't know what to give her. I gave her Imodium a year ago and she threw it up so that's not an option either. Help...

Submitted by Judith ramirez | June 16 2014 |

I brought home a 14 month old husky from a friend and since the first day he is been having diarrhea He's stool is mustard color. I been feeding rice and chiken and giving one tablet of pecto bismol He is energetic and hungry all the time. I'm worry be couse he is verry thin my friend said that he was healthy. That probably is stress for the change. Il will apreciate any advice.

Submitted by Jamie Cevallos | July 21 2014 |

Hope your husky is doing better. I know from experience with huskies with a change or a move of home they tend to get diarrhea from anxiety or stress from the new change. Also a change in food may cause problems Blue Buffalo is not a dog food that is recommended for huskies because it contains oatmeal and huskies have a very delicate stomach I know from experience with my husky. But, if your dog has had diarrhea over 5 days it's time to seek answers from a veterinarian.

Submitted by Airah Agustin | December 29 2013 |

My 3-month old puppy is having diarrhea and it has blood in it. He just started this morning and he already vomitted 3 times. We took him to the vet and put him on meds. He doesn't have a problem with eating and he seems to be fine. He's not dehydrated too. Will he be okay?

Submitted by Kaitland | January 1 2014 |

I am worried about my 7 month old jack Russell I have read the page but I'm still stuck. He is eating fine not lethargic acting his usual self. He hasn't got firm stools but there is a slight bit of fresh red blood I have just give him white rice and also he keeps dragging his bum along the ground is there anything serious to worry about can you tell me anything I must do thank you

Submitted by Samantha Graham | January 17 2014 |

If he's rubbing his bum along the ground it sounds like worms

Submitted by mhitesman | March 4 2014 |

Quite possible that the anal glands are full and need to be expressed. You can do this yourself. A firm stool causes them to be released when defecating.

Submitted by Diane | January 2 2014 |

I have a husky, malamute, wolf mix dog that has terrible anxiety when ANY type of change occurs. The result of her anxiety manifests itself as diarrhea quite frequently. We have tried grain-free diets, roasted chicken, hamburger meat, meds of all types given by our vet, etc. She also often has fowl-smelling gas prior to the diarrhea. We have tried giving her all natural dog food with pumpkin and sweet potatoes to no avail. She is also a very picky eater. HELP

Submitted by Eva | February 3 2014 |

for anxiety there are some natural/homeopathic options:
1) Griffonia capsules 2x a day one.
2) Bach remedies "rescue"
3) a nest scent diffuser, available in larger pet stores. You plug them in in the electrical outlet in the room he/she spends most of their time.
As for behavioral changes. Try and ignore paying obvious attention to it when it occurs. "feeling" with the dog reinforces the idea that there s a reason to be anxious. Be steady and calm.

Submitted by Theresa | January 15 2014 |

I just did some rice water, following the directions above. Once boiling, I turned the heat down to simmer - after just 15 minutes the rice had absorbed nearly all the water. There was probably no more than about half a cupful! So I filled the pan up with water again and am continuing to simmer. One cup of white rice doesn't make 'a lot of rice water', I'm afraid! But I will keep trying...

Submitted by UncleBob | January 15 2014 |

I'm dealing with a dog that gets diarrhea with a sudden change in diet. Slow gradual introduction is important. Trying different , non-cheapo , kibbles and supplementing with never cooked chicken guts , drumsticks , and eggs. All are one third the cost of quality kibbles at $1/pound.

Submitted by tanya | January 22 2014 |

I have come home to find my dog outside trying to go poo but nothing will come out, he has alot of poo stuck to his hair around his bum and has recrntly had the diarrhea, what could be wrong

Submitted by Cathy | January 23 2014 |

My one yr. Old mini Schnauzer ate a whole dental stick yesterday and has had diarraah ever since this morning. She threw up once. I have been doing the rice water and a little bit of yogurt. I gave her a quarter of an Imodiem also just a few minutes. We are on vacation so trying to decide if I should find a Vet in the morning. Any thoughts?

Submitted by Jessica | January 27 2014 |

I just got a puppy and switched her food.... I was unaware that it should be done in a process because I got the same food the breeder told me to get. She has been eating the new food for 3 days now and her poop slowly started turning into diarrhea yesterday and she still has it. Should I just wait for it to pass or switch her to boiled rice and chicken until her digestive system settles

Submitted by Caleb | January 30 2014 |

I recently got a 6 month old puppy from a local shelter to be a companion to my 4 year old. A few days after the guy's arrival, I noticed that both the dogs now have diarrhea. It has lasted about a week now. But it's sporadic. Sometimes their stools are normal and sometimes they are very runny. The odor is horrible, but I don't notice any discoloration or blood in the stool. Also this is the only symptom they present, so I don't think it would be anything more serious (ie. Parvo) but it's odd to me that as soon as a new dog comes home, both he and my other dog now have this diarrhea. I'm still giving both dogs the same food (Blue Buffalo) that I have been giving them all along. Any tips/advice is greatly appreciated.

Submitted by Florence Gumagay | February 3 2014 |

I have a 6 years old west highland white terrier and he's having a diarrhea. I give him kaopectate last night and this morning it's not helping can somebody give me a good advice to prevent him having diarrhea? Florence of Reno, Nevada

Submitted by Doreen | February 14 2014 |

My dog is 15. She is on multiple medications which has caused gas. Up to this point she has not had any change in her bowl movement. This morning she was constipated; it took a long time with a lot of struggle to have a bowl movement. She seemed fine after and I kept a close eye on her. This evening she is very uncomfortable with diarrhea. It is late Friday evening so I am boiling rice to see if it will help. I am hesitant about giving her pepto or Imodium. Of course I will contact her vet if persists but I'm looking for ideas to help her not have the belly ache. It's going to be a long night. She is a small poodle mix.

Submitted by jeevan | February 16 2014 |

From 1year iam feeding rice to my pug ,bcoz he doesnt eat his food and i want to know that if there is no problem by feeding rice to him ,plsss can any suggest me.

Submitted by Debbie | February 23 2014 |

I have a british bull dog age 2 over the last few days he's bringing his food up,and today he has diahorea which is black in colour and he's looking depressed.taking him to vet in morning should I feed him today something light ?

Submitted by Val | March 1 2014 |

When my dogs both had diarrhoea I was advised by a breeder of great danes who is a facebook friend to give them condensed pumpkin soup solid right out of the can.It cleared the diarrhoea with a day.

Submitted by Fiona | March 5 2014 |

Hi, can I give my 7 year old Husky x Galpharm diarrhoea releif (UK product)? He has a runny stomach from change of diet.

Submitted by Jhoanamarie | March 5 2014 |

Help,,my dog have a diarrhea and she don't want to eat .

Submitted by Krista | April 15 2014 |

Hi there, love your magazine! I'm a researcher in dog cognition, and also a collie breeder...your article mentions that caution should be used when giving collies immodium. In fact, collies should NEVER be given immodium, unless they have received genetic testing to determine that they are not ivermectin sensitive (this testing is relatively new and so most dogs have not been tested). If a collie is homozygous for the deletion mutation in the MDR1 gene (which makes them sensitive to ivermectin as well several other medications, including immodium), the animal can become very sick or die. Other breeds (Australian Shepherds, Shelties, Border Collies, and Old English Sheepdogs) have similar sensitivities. I just thought this deserved to be clarified, as pet dog owners with these breeds don't always know that the sensitivity extends beyond just ivermectin, and they should be aware that a collie or any other ivermectin sensitive breed can have very serious reactions to immodium. I've seen it happen, but fortunately the dog was only given a low dose, and she was ok.

Just a thought--maybe you could do an article on ivermectin sensitivity in dogs?

Krista Macpherson, MSC
Phd Candidate, Psychology
Coordinator, UWO Dog Cognition Lab
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
Email: kmacphe3@uwo.ca

Submitted by Erin | April 28 2014 |

My 9-month-old puppy just got over a nasty case of diarrhea. This method worked like a charm. It was pretty fast too; he started having watery diarrhea on a Saturday morning and by Monday morning he was back to normal! I hope it works just as well for others:

1. Withhold food for 12 hours, but still allow your dog access to water. This is important because you don't want your dog to get dehydrated.
2. For the next 12 hours, feed your dog a 50-50 mixture of pumpkin and uncooked oats. You can cook fresh pumpkin at home if you desire or the simpler route is canned pumpkin. Just make sure that you DO NOT buy pumpkin pie mix or filling, the kind with the sugar and spices in it. The can should say 100% pumpkin or something along those lines. As for the oats, again, no sugar or spices. Don't get the instant oatmeal either, just plain 100% oats. Remember not to cook the oats.
3. Then, feed your dog equal parts pumpkin, oats, and their normal dog food. Keep feeding your dog this pumpkin/oats/dog food mixture until their stool firms up. It should take about a day to take a noticeable effect.
4. Gradually decrease the amount of pumpkin and oats you put in your dogs food until you are back to feeding them just their regular diet.
5. During this process, try to keep your dog from licking his bum or dragging it on the ground as this could irritate his bottom even more and worsen things. Your dog will probably have less control of his bowels so make sure that you take him out frequently to avoid messy accidents in the house.

This may seem strange, but my friend (who is also my vet) suggested it it. When my dog had a bad case of the runs, I dampened a paper towel with cold water and gently wiped his bum with it after he went potty. It would help soothe his irritation and discomfort, and not to mention clean off his bottom so if he did drag it across the ground he wouldn't leave a poop streak on my carpet.

Submitted by Kathy | May 20 2014 |

Hello, I have a 9 year old beautiful boxer girl name Bree. We took her with us out of town this past weekend to the lake and when we got back she was not her self, she stayed inside most of the time at the lake, but now she has diarrhea that is black and will not eat unless I rub it on her lips or squirt the water in her mouth with a syringe. She still gets up and moves around, but for the most part just lays there. I did give her some pepto to help settle her stomach. Should I let this run its course or take her on into the vet. Thank you.

Submitted by Carol | May 26 2014 |

If it happened after the weekend at the lake you should really get her checked by the vet. There could be something in the water/she could have eaten something - which could result in parasites

Submitted by Katy Garrett | May 21 2014 |

we go a puppy from are local rescue centre about 2 months ago. she's had diarrhea since we got her, we thought that it was being cause by the stress of being in a new home but she is now well settled but the diarrhea still hasn't got any better. we have been given pro-kolin by the rescue centre but didn't seem to help.

please feel free to comment.

Submitted by debbie | May 31 2014 |

just got this beautiful boy boxer to be about 1yr to 18 mos old vet thinks, but has severe diarrhea still after vet gave him an injection and 2 bottles of meds. one for the diarrhea and the other one for possible parasite, had him on chicken and sticky rice, ate it up but stool was still runny and still is and a dk brwn color. money is way tight cuz I had recently put down my golden of 11yrs and still trying to catch up with that, now yesterday Ranger will not eat and threw up twice yesterday. gave him kaopectate today, drinking very little, ate a tiny bit of cheese, won't touch anything else,Now he is acting lethargic and is walking sideways, if he gets up I am really scared, he is already 20 lbs under weight , cuz we found him roaming streets. what do I do now? he is so sweet, sooo skinny I am just so worried.don.t wanna loose him too? will he be ok after kaopectate? he tried going to bathroom and this is the first time nothing came out, please help..thank you

Submitted by ogates | June 2 2014 |

my 5 pound Chihuahua has had diarrhea for a couple of days--he seems okay otherwise--eating, playing, running but his stools are soft and wet--he doesn't seem to be in any distress so am at a loss of where to begin to help him because of his size...

Submitted by maria | June 3 2014 |

Thank you so much! My 6 lb Chi puppy (15 weeks old) had vey loose stools and diarrhea for almost 2 weeks. I had a fecal run and there were no worms or parasites. I finally realized it was that I was feeding him too much and it was going right through him. I finally did the 24 hour fast and then did the rice/water/baby food meals and he is back to normal in one day! Thank you so much! Great article!

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