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Vet Advice: Treating Your Dog's Diarrhea
Common canine ailment responds to home care and familiar remedies
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Question: Help! my dog has diarrhea—is there anything in my medicine cabinet or on my kitchen shelf that could be used to save both of us a visit to the vet?

Answer: As a veterinarian, this author sees many patients with minor problems (such as the dog in this story) who could be treated at home safely and effectively. At the same time, there are dogs whose problems, if not addressed early enough by a veterinary professional, suffer more than they need to.

Probably the most common complaint received by veterinarians is that of diarrhea. It’s such an easy condition to identify: The smell is unmistakable, as is its chocolate-pudding appearance. Most of the time, diarrhea is caused by a dietary indiscretion or stressful circumstances, and is self-limiting. Diarrhea is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of a dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). When associated with bad food or food-borne pathogens, diarrhea serves to rapidly remove pathogens from the GIT before they have a chance to be absorbed and cause more damage.

Warning Signs That Diarrhea Needs Medical Attention
• Black, tarry stool, or stool with copious amounts of fresh blood (bright red)

• Loss of appetite

• Marked lethargy

• Frequent vomiting

• Signs of abdominal pain (bloating, groaning, panting rapidly or avoidance response when belly is touched)

• Lasts longer than 48 hours (Since it can rapidly weaken puppies and geriatrics, or dogs with chronic diseases, they may need veterinary attention sooner.)

However, when your dog has mild diarrhea and doesn’t meet any of the above criteria, the best things to start with are a 24-hour rice-water fast; white rice balls that contain active probiotic cultures; and the oral administration of an intestinal protectant such as kaolin clay and pectin (KaoPectate™) or a suspension containing bismuth subsalicylate (PeptoBismol™). Loperamide (Imodium™) can be given if the diarrhea doesn’t resolve easily; caution is required when using this OTC medication in Collies, and don’t use it for more than five days. (Another caveat: While dogs can tolerate PeptoBismol or KaoPectate, these medications should never be given to cats, as they contain salicylates, which are potentially toxic for felines.)

Fasting your dog allows her GIT to rest and recover from whatever insult it has received. During the fast, make sure she has plenty of rice water to drink. Rice water is the creamy liquid that results from boiling white rice in water. It’s important to use a good quality white rice; “minute” rice does not work and brown rice has too much fiber in it, which does not help firm the stool because it speeds the transit of digested material through the colon.

To make rice water, boil one cup of white rice in four cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on your altitude) until the water turns creamy white. Decant the liquid and allow it to cool. You can serve the rice water to your dog as often as she will drink it. If she isn’t interested, mix a teaspoon of chicken baby food (or another flavor that your pet likes) in the rice water to increase its palatability. (Hint: One cup of white rice makes a lot of rice water!)

Probiotics—living bacterial cultures intended to assist the body’s naturally occurring gut flora in reestablishing themselves—may also help speed recovery. These live microorganisms are found in yogurt, for example, and are also available from your health food store or your veterinarian as high-potency powdered acidophilus cultures, which are more effective than yogurt for diarrhea. Mix these cultures into the rice water that you are serving your pet during its fast.

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Submitted by Sandra | July 12 2012 |

what if my dog has food allergies, is white rice water okay? my Pug take hypoallergenic food and treats.

Submitted by Daniela Lopez | July 17 2012 |

Hi Sandra,

I would seek advice from your Vet for any specific concerns.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 21 2012 |

Carrots are one of the best ways to keep your dogs stool normal. Ever since I've been feeding it to my boxer puppy he has had very normal & regular poo.
https://www.olewousa.com/categories.aspx?categoryID=100

Submitted by Anonymous | October 15 2012 |

Thank you for posting such a fabulous article! My dog has a sensitive stomach & this helped to calm me down in the middle of the night!

Submitted by Kevin | October 17 2012 |

This is a really great article. There are a lot of methods to getting rid of a dog's diarrhea. I have seen products, foods, and general things you can do to rid a dog of diarrhea. The warning signs are spot on! I have seen the most success with carrots for dogs and it's great because they are all natural.

Great read!
Kevin

Submitted by Adriana | November 22 2012 |

Great information. Thank you we just rescue a 2 yr old dog and she hes bad diarrhea, your advice should help!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 4 2012 |

Try one Imodium thats what my vet said for my doggy

Submitted by george | December 28 2013 |

should a 6 mo. old dog be given immodium for diareha

Submitted by David | March 30 2014 |

NEVER give an animal an OTC for urinary or fecal illness. ALWAYS see your vet as urinary or fecal illness can indicate serious illness.

Submitted by David | March 30 2014 |

NEVER use Immodium on an animal!

Submitted by Anonymous | April 5 2014 |

The article says to give Imodium if other methods aren't helping. Did you even read it?

Submitted by Gordon | December 19 2012 |

My Staffi has just given birth to 6 pups 3 weeks ago but has developed diarrhoea yesterday. She has lost weight due to the pups,the pups are being weaned at present but still feeding off mum, would it be advisable to starve her for 24 hours?

Submitted by Anonymous | December 30 2012 |

I've got the same problem though my pet constantly drinks water so dehydration is not a problem

Submitted by Hawk | August 27 2013 |

Your pet can still be dehydrated even though it drinks plenty of water. It can still lose electrolytes(sodium, potassium, and other ones by having diarrhea). In some cases the water may be harming it because it can cause diarrhea to be worse especially if no food is tolerated. Consult your vet on this matter.

Submitted by David | March 30 2014 |

Water does NOT replenish electrolytes. Your animal can die from loose stool no matter how much it drinks. ALWAYS ask a VETERINARIAN!!

Submitted by Julie | March 12 2014 |

Give your puppy/dog a tsp of pure pumkin in there food and it will help tons.

Submitted by Frances | March 22 2014 |

Not a good idea for diarrhea, pumpkin is a treatment for constipation and will make diarrhea worse.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 5 2014 |

Pumpkin does help with diarrhea. The plain kind, though, not the kind used to make pies.

Submitted by Miss Debs | December 21 2012 |

I am so grateful for an article that has provided the best idea for care of incontinent dogs. Unfortunately I'm suspicious that I actually gave my dog Salmonella since we both came down with severe cramps/diarrhea within hours. Tonight he's vomited everything he ate from noon on. I'm headed to pick up some baby food, white rice and pro-biotic. I'm just a bit worried, as I haven't had any vomiting. Of course if he's not better by tomorrow night or has any of the complications mentioned on PetMD I'll call the vet.

Thank you so much for such straight ahead advice.

Submitted by Anonymous | January 1 2013 |

Actually, although the rice water is okay for dogs, recommending chicken flavor baby food is NOT good for dogs since it contains onion powder which dogs cannot consume!!! Please remove that part of the recommendation from this article. We just gave our 5 lb Toy Chihuahua some of the rice water with chicken baby food and his eyes turned red and he Nearly Died!!!! Please Don't Help People to Kill Their Beloved PETS!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 12 2013 |

Thank you so much for your post. I had no idea that onion or garlic in any form can be lethal to dogs! My husband loves to give our dog a little bit of table food as a treat. I knew it wasn't healthy but I didn't realize it was/could be toxic. We have some form of onion or garlic in almost everything. Now I know. You might have saved our dog's life! Thank you.

Submitted by Linda | October 8 2013 |

Not only are onions & garlic "NO-NO's" for your dog but also any type
Of sugar substitute that are in sugar free gum , candy or cough drops.
Unsafe are also raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, & dough ( bc
of yeast in it)
Also, if you have a cat, place cat litter up away from dog. Some dogs
like to get into the litter to eat the cats feces & will get litter with it, which can
block up the intestinal tract.
Easter lilies are LETHAL to cats.

Submitted by Josh | November 14 2013 |

True, true. Dogs cannot have onions, chocolate, grapes, raisin's and certain kinds of nuts.

Submitted by Susie C. | March 22 2014 |

There is at least one brand of baby food that doesn't have additives... Just straight chicken, turkey, beef. Sorry I don't recall the brand offhand, but I keep a few on hand for my picky eaters just to add a bit of flavor occasionally.

Submitted by Anonymous | October 13 2013 |

Actually there is all CHICKEN baby food; labels indicate chicken and chicken broth and nothing else. :) But it is true that some do have onions and garlic and thats toxic !

Submitted by Amy | January 14 2014 |

We supplemented baby food with some canned after one of our dogs had a stroke just to get him to eat. The key is to look for stage 1 foods - stage 2 etc is when they add sugars and things like the onions and so forth. But it's so expensive anyway that you would be better if you can purée it yourself.

Submitted by Anonymous | February 18 2014 |

I gave my chihuahua only baby food when he was young because he was to tiny to eat regular dog food never had problem "something else happen to your puppy"nothing to do with the baby food

Submitted by Tina | February 27 2014 |

You can get the Gerber brand 2.5 oz chicken with chicken gravy baby food and the ingredient are just ground chicken, water, and cornstarch, but be sure and read the ingredients because some can contain other ingredients.

Submitted by Billie | January 4 2013 |

Thank you so much for your advice about canine diarrhea. You saved me a trip to the vet. All the tips worked wonderful to help my pet recover from my accidentally giving her diarrhea.

Submitted by Debbie | January 24 2013 |

Be CAREFUL giving Imodium to some breeds.
Collies, Shelties,Australian Shepherd and mixed breed with these breeds in the line. There are other breeds in this catergory also check out the MDR1 gene.

Submitted by Minda | February 24 2013 |

I was in a panic when my 13 yr old dog suddenly had an acute case of diarrhea. I immediately went to the store and purchased quality rice, baby food chicken, probiotics, and Kaopectate. She received immediate relief within 90 minutes and so did I! Since this is the weekend and my vet clinic is closed I will report my dog's incident to my vet in the morning. Thank you for this web site. Not only did it help us tremendously but saved me hundreds of dollars by avoiding an emergency clinic. I certainly would not hesitate to go to an emergency clinic had this not been such a success. Thank you very much!

Submitted by Anonymous | March 19 2013 |

My dog's diarrhea hasn't stopped as he's been having it for more than 5 weeks now. I've taken him to quite few vets already and none of them seem to be able to figure out the root cause and they can't stop it either! He's on a watery/ yellow greenish fluid diarrhea and despite my efforts of giving him only rice and dry chicken breast, yogure (probiotics gel even), and a variety of ant-biotics from pills to injections, nothing seem to be working!
I did a blood test, a urine test and a poo test and everything seems normal (there's no blood sign in the diahearra either). He has lost tremendous amount of weight, but he seems to happily continue to have a good appetite and he runs/ plays with other dogs, no issues! I'm helpless and don't know how to stop his diarrhea! :(

Submitted by Anonymous | March 22 2013 |

If after many different treatments your dog still has diarrhoea I would suggest food intolerance. Try different ways to avoid feeding your dog, I would suggested start from rice.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 23 2013 |

My 12 year old border collie is showing same same symptoms you describe. I have taken him to the vet, had him treated for campylobacter, which is now tested as clear, and then other treatments. He is currently on Prozyme but it is only helping a bit. If you receive any helpful advice, I would be grateful if you would share it with me. I am also at my wit's end.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 24 2013 |

Could be he is intolerant of his food due to particular ingredient...also a lot of treats have wreaked havoc with my Doug's stomach...glycerin is in some, and all sorts of weird additives that cause the runs!

Submitted by Anonymous | April 11 2013 |

Any chance you are feeding your dog chicken jerky treats?

Submitted by Tammy | May 6 2013 |

I'm having the same problem with my dog and yes, they do eat the chicken jerky treats as that's my dogs favorite snack. They have ate them for years now but never cause any problems. Is there a reason you asked that question? Did I miss something regarding them ? Thanks so much in advance.

Submitted by Wendy S. Baker | June 23 2013 |

I had two of my dogs poisoned by chicken jerky "treats" they are addictive to the dogs and most all are imported from China even if they say USA they don't say sourced from China- please do research! My dogs were fine for a long ime but one day something changed and each dog ended up in emergency hospital for 10 days- one with liver damage the other kidney! I now research any food products I buy for them and only make treats! I was killing them with kindness- also joined a facebook group animal parents against treats made in china-

Submitted by tanya | December 15 2013 |

my pom has been eating Dogswell duck and chicken treats for five and a half years, she loves them. could that be whats causing her diarria?

Submitted by Anonymous | April 23 2013 |

My Chihuahua had the same problem. We started taking him to a holistic Vet bcoz the the other vets couldn't figure out what was wrong despite numerous blood and fecal tests. She suspected severe food allergies. I have always fed him high quality food plus home cooked meals and nutritional supplements. So vet took blood and sent it to the lab for allergy testing and it turned out he was allergic to a few different foods including chicken! So we adjusted his,diet accordingly and also give him a powder called prozyme with every meal. They're enzymes that help break the food down in the stomach. The vet also gave us immune support supplements and after doing all this my dog has no more diarrhea! I know you already did a lot of testing and I had done the same thing with no results until I took my baby to a holistic vet. Usually these types of vets take extra courses in school and learn a lot about nutrion. I couldn't understand why the other vets didn't even consider allergies and didn't test for that. Maybe you should ask for more extensive testing such as allergies, pancreatic, etc. Do u know exactly what they're testing when they take blood? I hope you find out what's wrong with your furry one! I highly recommend a holistic vet. Saved my baby. And its very important to give dogs very nutritious high quality human grade food. Honest kitchen makes raw freeze dried food that really good. Sorry for rambling just hope your baby gets better if he/she isn't already!

Submitted by Rick | December 11 2013 |

what other foods was your baby allergic to? My friend is having the same problem with his Chihuahua and the vet says it probably to with the food. I want him to try a food without chicken. I paid for the treatment of this dog as my friend is unemployed and doesn't have the money. I don't have a lot of money myself but I can't watch this poor little thing like this. Did your dog loose weight? Zues is still playful and full of energy and has a hearty appetite. Any more suggestions I would be so grateful.

Submitted by rogers | May 16 2013 |

Our dog had the same problem and his vet couldn't find any problems. We took him to an old vet and they did a ultra sound and found a partial blockage that did not show up in the regular xray. We figured he had it in there for a month. Thank God we caught it. The blockage went from his stomach with a string 3 feet into his intestines. Surgery was done and he is still recovering going on three weeks. If you haven't had an ultrasound done I would have it done as soon as possible to eliminate this as a possible issue. Good Luck

Submitted by rogers | May 16 2013 |

Our dog had the same problem and his vet couldn't find any problems. We took him to an old vet and they did a ultra sound and found a partial blockage that did not show up in the regular xray. We figured he had it in there for a month. Thank God we caught it. The blockage went from his stomach with a string 3 feet into his intestines. Surgery was done and he is still recovering going on three weeks. If you haven't had an ultrasound done I would have it done as soon as possible to eliminate this as a possible issue. Good Luck

Submitted by Anonymous | July 1 2013 |

Your dog is probably allergic to chicken

Submitted by Bill | July 19 2013 |

I read that greenish color might suggest coccidia in the intestine. This can be treated by medicines. I have had several puppies get it by being around chickens in my backyard.

Submitted by ging takahashi | July 23 2013 |

it might be amoeba?perhaps?

Submitted by Marcia | August 22 2013 |

Same problem, my vet said to get dog food w/o corn, did this and he is fine, he cannot eat table food of any kind also cannot tolerate rawhide chew toys. - gives him diarrhea

Submitted by Diane | August 24 2013 |

My boxer had diahhrea as a pup n lost a lot of weight rapidly we found kaolin which u get from local chemists esp for animals was great and also removed any foods that contained chicken. Careful label reading of all dog foods n treats. Is fine now. He is a boxer. Hope this helps. Oh all products n specialist foods from the vet made him worse. We spent a week giving him boiled potatoes n boiled carrots in small amounts 3 times a day. This seem to stabalise his weight loss.

Submitted by Anonymous | October 26 2013 |

Fast your dog for 24 hrs, give yr dog 100% pure pumpkin 2 hrs before and after there meal
After the fast give yr dog food in small amounts gradually increase over time be patient or yr dog will get diarrhea again, limited ingredient diets would be best..

Submitted by V.S. | December 8 2013 |

Pumpkin is supposed to be good for dogs with diarrhea. Probiotics should also help his GI get back to normal

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