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Dogs are omnivores with scavenging tendencies; this means they are open to eating almost anything that appears edible, and that can lead to bouts of diarrhea.
Diarrhea is defined as loose or watery stools; it is the system's attempt to quickly eliminate something distressing from the intestinal tract that is poisoning the system.
Causes of Acute Diarrhea in Dogs
Acute or sudden onset diarrhea
- The dog may have picked up a bug or virus
- The dog has eaten something that does not agree with him
- Internal Parasites
- Change in Diet
Causes of Chronic Diarrhea in Dogs
- Food allergies such as gluten or main protein ingredient allergy
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Kidney, Liver or Thyroid Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
In most instances, diarrhea does not necessarily warrant a trip to the vet. If the dog appears to be in good health otherwise, then you can treat his symptoms at home with some simple remedies.
Foul smelling diarrhea indicates the presence of an intestinal virus or internal parasites.
If your dog is showing 2 or more of these symptoms, you should make a trip to your vet. If your dog is dehydrated and refusing water, this is potentially a life threatening condition:
- Blood in Stool
What to Feed Your Dog After Having Diarrhea
You will want to withhold food from your dog for at least 12 hours, to allow the digestive tract to calm down. Feeding before the intestines have settled will only start the process of rapid elimination again.
Be sure he has access to plenty of fresh water. If he has eliminated large quantities of liquid, you can safely give him Pedialyte mixed with fresh water. Pedialyte will help return the electrolytes back to normal levels.
Begin by boiling a large pot of rice; make at least 3 cups of boiled rice.
Once the dog has not had diarrhea for 12 hours, you may begin by giving him boiled rice with a little canned pumpkin mixed in. (Don't use the microwave bagged rice from Uncle Bens, it has oil added to it to keep the grains from sticking together).
For a 40 pound dog 1/2 cup rice and 2 tablespoons pumpkin for the first meal. (Use only canned pumpkin and not the pie filling with spices in it).
Pumpkin helps stop diarrhea and adds bulk as well as nutrients to the rice. It is also a good source of Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Copper, and an excellent source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron and Manganese.
If you have access to Purina FortiFlora, you may sprinkle a sachet of powder on the rice as directed. This will improve the palatability of the rice and help put beneficial bacteria back in the tract. Purina FortiFlora is good to have on hand for those dogs who frequently like to rummage through questionable food sources.
See how you dog tolerates his first snack. If after 2-3 hours there has been no further diarrhea, and your dog's appetite is strong, you may give him another cup of rice with 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin mixed in.
If your dog has tolerated his first two snack well, you can add shredded boiled chicken or grilled hamburger meat, with the fat drained off, to the rice and pumpkin mixture. If you don't have access to Purina's ForiFlora, you may add a dollop of yogurt to the meal to help balance the bacteria in the intestinal tract.
If your dog has not had diarrhea following the second meal, you may add half of his normal dog food to the a cup of rice and 3 tablespoons pumpkin. If all goes well after that meal, you may return to his normally feeding routine.
Probiotics for Dogs with Chronic Diarrhea
If your dog has chronic diarrhea, and your vet has not been able to isolate the cause of it, probiotics given on a daily basis may resolve the issue. Dog Probiotics improve immune system health as well as adding beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract.
Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs
Dogs with food allergies may exhibit a variety of the following symptoms:
- Licking paws or front legs until the fur turns dark red or is worn away
- Chronic yeasty ear infections
- Weeping eyes or red stains under the eyes
- Bad Breath
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Excessive Gas
Switching to foods that are grain free may help alleviate the allergy. Chicken is frequently a cause of food allergies, as most chicken used in dog food is raised with antibiotics and growth hormones. Switching to a main protein such as lamb, salmon or venison may help isolate the cause of the food allergy.
When to Contact the Vet
You should contact the vet under any of the following circumstances:
- Diarrhea persist for 2 or more days
- Blood in the Feces
- Refusal to Eat or Drink after one day
- Pale or tacky gums
- Depression or lethargy