You walk in from work only to notice that your pup has diarrhea
1. Assess the situation
Determine what may have caused diarrhea in your pet. Diarrhea is a symptom of some sort of issue that your pup is having. Just like with humans, there can be a plethora of causes. Some of the most common include:
Switching to a new food too quickly
If you are thinking about switching to a new food for your pet you should read our article about how to do so safely here.
Parasites like worms, giardia, and other critters that your dog can easily pick up from outside can cause diarrhea. Many times this diarrhea will be more of a liquid and you may notice blood or worms in the stool.
Getting in the garbage
if you notice that your pup has gotten into the garbage, then that is a huge clue to what has caused diarrhea in your pet. Foreign foods can cause tremendous stomach upset in dogs and many times lead to vomiting and diarrhea, in severe cases it can lead to acute pancreatitis
Feeding table food
Similarly to getting into the garbage, if your pup was recently given some foods (especially fatty foods) that they were not used to getting, this can cause stomach upset and subsequent diarrhea.
2. Rest their stomachs
Your next step after assessing the situation is going to give your pets stomach a brief rest period. I usually advise 12-24 hours.
3. Replenish electrolytes
If the diarrhea seems to be severe you can choose to supplement lost electrolytes by adding a drop or two of clear, unflavored Pedialyte to your dogs water. The amount you give is based on the size of your dog so make sure you speak with your vet first.
There are very few side effects or chances of overdosage when using Pedialyte, although it is possible so as always speak with your vet prior to administering
4. Feed a bland diet
After a short rest period you can then introduce a very bland diet in an effort to see if your pet will eat and not have diarrhea.
Bland diets usually consist of boiled white rice, boiled chicken breast or boiled lean ground beef. You are boiling the meats to ensure all of the fat is removed, therefore if you notice any at the top of the water make sure you skim it off prior to serving to your dog.
Also, speak to your personal veterinarian to see which diet will most likely work best for your pup.
After a couple of days of the bland diet, you can then begin to slowly add in your pups regular diet again.
5. Keep a close eye on your dog
Keep a close eye on your pup when they go to the bathroom to make sure they do not have diarrhea and are not straining when going to the bathroom.
6. Introduce probiotics
Pre- and probiotics are great additions to your pet’s meals. Just like in humans, they help heal the gut by introducing canine beneficial bacteria.
Looking for more information on probiotics for dogs? Check out these three articles that I wrote about choosing probiotics for your dog.
- How to choose the best probiotic for your dog
- 4 all-natural probiotics that I love
- Probiotics and pancreatitis in dogs
How do you know it is time to see a veterinarian?
There are a couple of reasons I would say you should make an appointment to see your vet if your dog has diarrhea
- If you have tried all of the above and it has been a couple of days (I wouldn’t let it go for any more than 2-3 days) since your dogs’ bout with diarrhea which doesn’t seem to be going away
- If you notice blood in the stool
- If you notice worms in the stool
When you do visit the veterinarian take a sample of the feces with you for testing. Your veterinarian may want to do a fecal test that looks for worms in the sample.