Treating Diarrhea in Dogs Holistically

Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools that are passed frequently. Sometimes there may even be blood in the stools. Diarrhea affects dogs of all ages and breeds. This page looks at some warning signs and symptoms, common causes, and how to use natural remedies such as herbs to treat dogs with diarrhea.

Puppy Diarrhea happens in dogs quite frequently. Just like humans, dogs suffer from upset tummy from time to time.

Acute diarrhea is rather normal and will usually pass in a day or two. It is a nature way for animals (including people) to get rid of unwanted irritants, such as bacteria, viruses, toxic food, or simply things that are indigestible. As such, acute diarrhea is a healthy, healing process, not a disease. We should not try to suppress the symptom.

However, having said that, it is important to keep an eye on our dog's behavior. If she is acting rather normal and looking happy, then there is nothing to feel particularly alarmed about. Just make the necessary precautionary arrangement, be prepared to let our dog go to the bathroom more often, and let nature take its course.

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Warning - Dangerous Signs & Symptoms in Dog Diarrhea

Take your dog to a veterinarian if she has diarrhea and is showing some of these signs and symptoms:

  • acts and looks very sick
  • is bloating
  • has a fever (Rectal temperatures above 103.5°F)
  • is passing bloody stool
  • is dehydrated
  • is vomiting

Diarrhea causes loss of fluids within the body, which can lead to dehydration, acid-base imbalance or electrolyte interference. In particular, if diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting, fever and your dog refuses to drink water, this is cause for concern and you need to take your dog to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Causes and Treatment of Diarrhea in Dogs

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Common Causes of Canine Diarrhea

Acute diarrhea:

  • Ingestion of something indigestible, e.g. grass, cords, rotten bones from garbage, etc.;
  • Ingestion of poisonous substance, e.g. antifreeze;
  • Sudden change of food
  • Virus infections (e.g. canine parvovirus, distemper)
  • Drug reaction (e.g. antibiotics can cause diarrhea in dogs)
  • Stress and anxiety, e.g. after spending a night in a kennel.

Chronic diarrhea:

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Treating Mild Acute Diarrhea in Dogs

If your dog has mild acute diarrhea but does not show any of the above listed dangerous signs and symptoms, a simple liquid fast for the first 24 to 48 hours will be sufficient treatment. To avoid dehydration, make sure that your dog drinks a lot of water. One way to ensure your dog has sufficient water intake is to feed her a vegetable broth. Make the broth using vegetables, meat, and rice, but feed only the liquid part to the dog several times a day.

When diarrhea stops, you can feed your dog a bland diet of ground turkey with plain canned pumpkin (50:50 ratio) in small amounts 3 to 6 times per day.

Many veterinarians recommend a "bland" diet of ground beef and rice for diarrhea in dogs. However, ground beef still has too much fat and may further cause digestive problems.

Although rice contains fiber, it is a grain rich in carbohydrate that tends to ferment - meaning "gas" inside the dog's GI tract. Also, dogs cannot digest grains too well, so it is not recommended to feed rice to dogs who are already suffering from digestive problems like diarrhea.

On the other hand, plain pumpkin (or sweet potato) is high in fiber and easier to be digested even by dogs with diarrhea.

If the condition is more severe, then try giving your dog slippery elm.

Slippery elm is THE herbal choice for diarrhea. It soothes and protects the mucuous membranes and contains precious nutrients. The powdered form of slippery elm is available in many health food stores and online (such as here), and it is advisable to keep some in our first-aid kit as it comes in handy for diarrhea treatment.

To prepare slippery elm herbal remedy:

  • mix 2 tablespoons of slippery elm powder and 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt with one cup of cold water;
  • stir to make a slippery syrup;
  • if you have acidophilus powder, add 2 tablespoons to the herbal remedy.

To use the remedy, feed 4 times a day:

  • one teaspoon to small dogs
  • one to two tablespoons to medium dogs
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons to large dogs

Note: If, after 2-3 days on a bland diet, your dog still has diarrhea, then it is time to visit the vet.

Treating Dogs with Chronic Diarrhea

Natural remedies, such as dietary supplements, herbs, and homeopathic remedies, are effective in treating chronic diarrhea in dogs. Please visit this page for more information.

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Preventing Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea is not pleasant for both you and your dog, to say the least. To prevent episodes of diarrhea occurring in your dog, here are a few suggestions:

  • Feed your dog a well-balanced all natural diet with all the essential natural supplements such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
  • Avoid overfeeding your dog, and avoid feeding him table scraps or snacks that contain excessive sugar, fat, and lactose.
  • If you plan to change your dog's food, do it gradually. Do not make any sudden changes to his diet. Introduce new foods gradually by adding it to old food. For example, 10% new food added to 90% old food for a few days, then 20% new food added to 80% old food for another few days, and so on.
  • Inspect your dog's stool daily for abnormalities such as loose stools, signs of worms, or blood or mucus in stools.
  • Put the garbage lid on - Keep your dog away from spoiled food and garbage cans.

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