how to treat a dog that has diarrhea

Why does diarrhea occur?

The rapid transit of feces causes diarrhea through the intestine and the impaired absorption of fluids, minerals, and electrolytes. If diarrhea is the primary symptom of disease in your dog, a very uncomplicated condition such as an intestinal infection caused by bacteria, coccidia, or intestinal worms (hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms) may be to blame. Common causes of acute (sudden) diarrhea in dogs include dietary indiscretion (eating garbage or other disagreeable or irritating things) or a change in diet. Stress can trigger severe diarrhea, particularly after travel, boarding, or other environmental changes.

Diarrhea can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as allergies, bacterial or viral infections, inflammatory bowel disease, organ failure, or other systemic diseases.

How dangerous is canine diarrhea?

The severity of diarrhea relies on its duration and the number of accompanying clinical symptoms. Urgent medical assistance should be sought if your dog exhibits severe bloody diarrhea or more general symptoms of illness, such as weakness, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, or dehydration. The underlying cause may be more serious. For instance, diarrhea is one of the initial symptoms of parvovirus, a virus that can cause life-threatening sickness in humans.

How is the cause of diarrhea diagnosed?

Important in establishing the cause of diarrhea are its color, consistency, odor, and frequency, among other characteristics. Typically, your veterinarian may require that you bring a sample of fresh feces to your appointment. You can also be required to answer a series of questions. To assist you in preparing this information for your veterinarian, consult the “Diarrhea Questionnaire for Dogs” handout.

In situations of mild diarrhea, additional diagnostic testing may be deferred unless the initial treatment fails or the illness worsens. Further tests may include bloodwork, stool and rectal swab samples for parasite inspection, DNA testing, bacterial culture, radiographs (X-rays), ultrasound, and endoscopic examination.

What treatment is available for diarrhea?

For gastrointestinal issues in otherwise healthy adult dogs, your veterinarian may recommend withholding meals for up to 24 hours or feeding modest amounts of a veterinary diet. These diets are specially prepared with a balance of fibers that nourish the beneficial bacteria in your dog’s intestines and antioxidants that help your dog’s immune system while he is recovering.

Anti-diarrheal medications, dewormers, and probiotics (intestinal-supporting bacteria) may be recommended. Several probiotic products may be beneficial for dogs with diarrhea. Consult your veterinarian before giving anything to your dog, as the quality and efficacy of these items cannot always be determined. Numerous cases of acute diarrhea react well to this conservative treatment, enabling the body’s healing systems to resolve the issue without identifying the underlying cause. As the feces return to normal, the prescription veterinary diet can typically be replaced with your dog’s regular diet within seven to ten days.

If your dog does not improve within two to four days, additional testing or more vigorous therapy may be required. Due to fluid loss, severe or continuous diarrhea can cause considerable dehydration and metabolic abnormalities, and your dog may require hospitalization for IV fluid therapy or other intensive therapies.

Prognosis of Diarrhea?

The prognosis is dependent on the severity of your dog’s diarrhea, the precise diagnosis, and their response to treatment. Most dogs with uncomplicated diarrhea will recover completely; however, dogs with chronic diarrhea may require nutritional management or medication to treat the illness.

When is dog diarrhea an emergency?

Dog diarrhea is not an emergency, but it can signify more serious health problems. If your dog has diarrhea for more than a day or two, you should take him to the veterinarian for a checkup. If your dog has bloody diarrhea, he may have intestinal parasites. He may have a bacterial infection in his intestines, or he could have a more severe problem with the lining of his intestines. Signs of an intestinal blockage include severe diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog has these symptoms, you should take him to the veterinarian.

Will my dog's diarrhea go away on its own?

If your dog has diarrhea, there is a good chance that diarrhea will go away. However, if your dog’s diarrhea is severe or persists for more than three days, it may be necessary to seek veterinary care. If you are unsure whether your dog needs to see a veterinarian, try these tips to help reduce the chances of diarrhea persisting: Give your dog plenty of water and food; keep his environment clean; give him medicines prescribed by a veterinarian if he seems to be experiencing an illness, and make sure he gets enough exercise.

What are some home remedies for dog diarrhea?

The following home cures are often beneficial, but they may not work for other dogs. In certain situations, medical care is essential to resolve the issue. Here are some fundamental rules:

1. Stop feeding normal foods.

This will allow his digestive system time to recuperate and rest. With food out of the way, diarrhea should decrease. Adult dogs must typically fast for 24 hours, while puppies should not fast for more than 12 hours. Consult your veterinarian if you have a toy breed dog or a diabetic dog.

2. Maintain the dog's hydration.

As much hydration is required for highly liquid diarrhea, where the dog produces uncontrollable squirts. To replenish lost electrolytes, you can give him unflavored Pedialyte or a 50/50 mixture of Gatorade and water. However, consult your veterinarian if diarrhea persists or if your dog is also vomiting. Monitor for the following indicators of dehydration:

3. Provide yogurt

You may add a spoonful of plain yogurt or cottage cheese to his bland diet, which is described in greater detail below.

4. Provide a bland diet

After the interval of fasting, replace his regular diet with cooked chicken and rice or boiled hamburger and rice. If you use chicken, ensure that it is skinless, and if you use a hamburger, ensure that the fat has been removed. Make rice the primary component of the dish. Continue administering this diet until the stools become more formed. Then, gradually reintroduce the regular food. This should be completed gradually over several days.

5. Do a hydration check

In a tent, attempt to elevate the dog’s shoulder blade or back skin. If the skin returns quickly, the dog is adequately hydrated; if it takes a few seconds or worse, it remains raised. The dog needs emergency veterinary attention and fluids administered subcutaneously or intravenously.

6. Examine the gums.

Consult a physician promptly if his gums become pale, white, gray, or purple. Normal gums should be the color of bubble gum. Try pressing your finger on his gums as well. The gum should become white and then quickly turn pink again. If it takes a few seconds, the dog must be seen immediately.

7. Pepto Bismol

Ask your veterinarian if you can administer Pepto Bismol or Immodium over-the-counter. If he believes that dosage instructions will be helpful, he will provide them. As with any drug, adverse effects may occur.

8. Vet appointment

Consult a veterinarian if the dog becomes lethargic, if diarrhea persists despite dietary changes or stops and then returns, or if additional symptoms such as bloody stools, vomiting, loss of appetite, or fever emerge. The dog may be suffering from parasites, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, ingestion of a foreign body (typically accompanied by vomiting), parvo, and numerous other serious illnesses requiring immediate veterinary intervention. The dog may get diarrhea due to ingesting garbage and an upset stomach. Especially if he’s a puppy, he might have roundworms. It may be the result of a recent dramatic change in nutrition. Typically, they are mild bouts of diarrhea. However, if any concerning or unusual symptoms appear alongside diarrhea, do not hesitate to get him evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. As is the case with most problems, it is unlikely to develop into a more significant and costly problem if it is detected early.


In conclusion, there are many ways to treat a dog’s diarrhea. If the diarrhea is mild, then a change in diet or over-the-counter medications may be all that is needed. However, if the diarrhea is severe or persistent, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary. Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of diarrhea. However, the dog can be treated and made to feel better very quickly in most cases.

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