If you’re anything like most pet owners, chances are you've already had your two or more bouts of cleaning up wet, loose stools that have unfortunately come from your pooch. And it’s highly likely that you’ve used over-the-counter medications once or twice to take care of your dog's diarrhea, too.
But the thing is that there are actually home remedies you can use to properly treat diarrhea in dogs. Make sure you follow along because I’m going to walk you through what these are in just a few moments.
Let’s kick off our discussion by finding out what exactly diarrhea in dogs is…
I'd just like to first point out that diarrhea in dogs is not a disease in itself. It is rather a symptom of an illness that may have affected the overall function of your dog's gut, which makes your pet's poop unformed and watery.
You can think of the whole thing as your dog's digestive tract being forced to work in overdrive due to some reason or another. And what's really alarming is that your pet can remain acting normal through this ordeal—even during chronic diarrhea!
The most significant attribute of diarrhea in dogs is it can cause anything from mild intestinal distress to something that can be potentially life-threatening if not immediately and properly taken care of. Some dogs won't even feel any abdominal pain even when they're experiencing repeated episodes of this health problem!
The biggest reason why I've put together this blog post is to educate pet owners that a dog's diarrhea should never be ignored. It can be a very serious health issue and may require dropping by the nearest emergency animal hospital if things get worse, especially in cases of acute diarrhea.
While your pup's diarrhea may be usually characterized by soft stools, there are other symptoms that dog owners should watch out for. And there's also a possibility that your pooch could be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, too. We'll go over what these are as we go along, so make sure you read on.
Now we’ve got that covered, let’s talk about the possible causes of dog diarrhea…
What’s really interesting is that there are a number of possible reasons why your pooch is going through canine diarrhea. I’ve made a quick list of these factors so you can easily take note of them and be more proactive when treating diarrhea in dogs:
Dietary indiscretion or an abrupt change in his regular food or treats
Accidental ingestion of spoiled or contaminated food
Eating garbage or some other foreign object such as plastic, rubber and aluminum foil
Ingestion of contaminated water or beverage
Ingestion of toxic substances like poisonous mushrooms
Food allergies triggered by certain dog food ingredients
Consumption of dairy products by lactose-intolerant dogs like cottage cheese
Ingestion of table scraps that may lead to having a foreign object lodged in the digestive tract, such as bones and hard pieces of cartilage
Chemical-related factors (which can also set off chronic diarrhea)
Ingestion of harmful chemicals such as antifreeze, oven cleaners and bleach
Use of chemical-based conventional medicines like antibiotics
Accidental ingestion of human medications
Wrong administration of medications prescribed
These factors may require an abdominal ultrasound or a trip to the nearest emergency animal hospital
Parasites (may be characterized by abrupt body weight loss)
Escherichia coli (E. Coli)
Viral infection (these need immediate medical attention!)
Other underlying conditions
Inflammatory bowel disease
Kidney or liver issues
Severe bouts anxiety, depression, or stress
Next, let’s discuss the indicators of dog diarrhea that you have to take note of…
Apart from the presence of wet and loose stools, it’s highly likely that your pet is going through dog's diarrhea if you observe the following symptoms:
Sudden lack of appetite or total disregard for food
Retching that is accompanied by occasional drooling
Lethargy and lack of interest in play
On and off bouts of fever
Nausea and vomiting
Presence of jelly-like blood in your dog's poop
Body weight is suddenly decreasing
Now we’ve got that out of the bag, let’s find out if dog diarrhea can be fatal…
Is Diarrhea in Dogs Life-Threatening?
The short answer is it depends. This is because all dogs will tend to experience canine diarrhea at some point in their lives without any issue. Moreover, it is also one of the most common health problems in dogs worldwide.
But it becomes an entirely different story if your canine family member is still very young, already in his senior years, or is afflicted with a serious underlying condition like parvo, severe anthelmintic parasite infestation, as well as kidney disease. The same goes if there is a painful blockage that your pup's tummy feel may help a vet determine!
This will already make your pup's diarrhea a very serious health issue. A crucial thing to keep in mind is that if your dog is experiencing two or more bouts of diarrhea per week and the pup's tummy feel just isn't right, don't hesitate to ask for your vet's advice!
The lack of nutrients, electrolyte imbalance and dehydration caused by chronic diarrhea in dogs can possibly lead to fatal consequences if your beloved pet isn’t given the immediate care and attention he needs. Foreign objects wedged in the digestive tract can also cause painful blockage and may also trigger other symptoms.
Next, let’s talk about the length of time dog diarrhea typically lasts…
How Long Can Diarrhea Last in Dogs?
Depending on a dog’s age and overall wellness (including other factors like if he's eating specially formulated dog foods or has a bland diet), canine diarrhea usually lasts for a day or two.
However, it is not uncommon that this health problem can persist for a week or longer in some cases due to some underlying condition. A dog's diarrhea caused by inflammatory bowel disease, viral infections, or kidney disease tends to stay put for a few more days. Having a foreign body stuck inside the dog's gut may also aggravate things!
It is important to take note that while dehydration is the main issue when it comes to diarrhea in dogs, significant imbalances in electrolyte levels and nutrient absorption also get in the picture if this health issue lingers for more than three days. Ensure your dog doesn't get his paws on table scraps that can aggravate this health issue, too!
I'd just like to point out that there's nothing with resorting to veterinary medicine if you notice that the situation is becoming a bit serious. You can actually use natural remedies and basic treatments while also administering medications prescribed by the vet.
Now let’s determine if canine diarrhea can be transmitted from one dog to another…
Is Diarrhea in Dogs Contagious?
Contrary to popular belief, watery diarrhea is not contagious in itself. It is the infections and similar factors that set off diarrhea in canines that can be passed on from one dog to another, particularly to those having a compromised immune system and experiencing repeated episodes of soft stools.
Just to emphasize, it is the bacterial infections, as well as those caused by parasites and viruses that can be transmitted and not the diarrhea in dogs itself. Diarrhea is just a symptom of these health problems, for example after eating garbage or accidentally ingesting human medications.
For the next part of our discussion, let’s answer a question a lot of pet parents and animal lovers have already asked me as a homeopath: can diarrhea in dogs go away on its own?
Can Dog Diarrhea Cure Itself?
While this may sound surprising, canine diarrhea resolves itself in one or two days provided that the affected dog is generally healthy and is not suffering from any underlying condition. This is how resilient your pet’s natural immune response is.
However, it is crucial that you give your fur baby the care and attention he needs through the use of home remedies if this health problem lasts for more than three days and is accompanied by other issues such as weakness, dehydration, and sudden appetite loss.
Like I've said earlier, don't hesitate to ask for veterinary attention if things aren't improving no matter what you do. The longer a dog's diarrhea persists, the higher the levels of decreased absorption of nutrients will be in his digestive tract.
And as I’ve promised earlier, here are the natural remedies that you can go for to properly deal with dog diarrhea instead of just resorting to veterinary attention and over-the-counter medications straight away…
Oral rehydration solutions help your dog’s gastrointestinal health get back on track (best used with specially formulated dog foods for digestive issues).
Using an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is a simple way to encourage your dog's upset tummy to recover when diarrhea unexpectedly pops up. ORS also encourages the digestive tract to absorb more electrolytes during mild intestinal distress and cases of watery diarrhea.
Making your very own ORS at home to deal with diarrhea in dogs is not that tricky, too. You just have to mix 4 or 5 cups of water with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar or honey in a pot. Interestingly, some applications also use white rice or rice water.
Heat the mixture until it boils and let the whole thing cool down completely. You can either orally administer this to your pet two to three tablespoons per mealtime or mix it with specially formulated dog foods particularly made to support canine diarrhea.
Pumpkins provide a much needed boost of dietary fiber (and a bland diet favorite, too).
According to a study published in Today’s Veterinary Practice, pumpkin contains both fermentable and non-fermentable types of dietary fiber. Besides helping maintain ideal colon function, this fiber also stimulates beneficial gut microbiota to get in action as soon as your pet experiences mild bouts of dogs diarrhea.
Moreover, the fiber found in pumpkin is also seen to help increase fecal bulk that can prevent unformed stools during viral infections and bacterial infections as well as cases of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Now you know why pumpkin is one of the mainstays in baby food!
The most straightforward way of using pumpkin when dealing with diarrhea in dogs is by plainly boiling the same in water until it is fork tender. Depending on his size, mash an adequate amount and add it to your dog's regular food.
The rule of thumb is don't give your dog no more than four tablespoons of pumpkin each day since too much fiber can already cause gassiness, especially in small dogs that have sensitive stomachs. While peeled boiled potatoes can be used as a substitute for this application, the same cannot be said for commercial pumpkin pie filling.
You see, store-bought pumpkin pie filling can contain very high amounts of sugar and fillers that can even possibly aggravate a dog's upset tummy or make his diarrhea worse. However, you can go for canned plain pumpkin, but just make sure to check the ingredients thoroughly.
Aside from peeled boiled potatoes and canned plain pumpkin, you can also click here to check out a comprehensive list of foods that your dog can and cannot eat. You can also find boiled chicken and other dog-safe edibles in there that you can use for a bland diet.
Ricewater helps the gut absorb nutrients properly.
Here’s a quick recipe for white rice water that you can use when dealing with diarrhea in dogs. Boil two (2) cups of white rice in four (4) cups of water. Let the mixture boil until the white rice water takes on a slightly viscous consistency.
When the whole thing has completely cooled down, you can serve it immediately to your pooch as a water substitute or add it to his dog food. Alternatively, you can also add a bit of honey to the rice water to make it more appetizing to your pet.
Additionally, plain cooked white rice has a lot of fiber that you can take advantage of in cases of diarrhea in dogs. Some bland diet approaches usually have plain cooked white rice since it's filling and fiber-rich at the same time.
Natural yogurt helps keep bad bacteria in your dog's gut in check.
Another study in the NCBI emphasized the beneficial effects of plain yogurt in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly in helping maintain a thriving population of good bacteria in the gut. The researchers also point out that the majority of these benefits are from the Lactobacillus casei in plain, natural yogurt.
When using plain yogurt during canine diarrhea, a single tablespoon is already sufficient for a whole day’s serving. Just remember to only go for the plain variety and not for its sweetened or flavored counterparts to be extra sure for your pet’s safety.
You see, some sweetened or flavored yogurts may contain xylitol or an artificial sweetener that is harmful to dogs. Additionally, dogs that are also lactose intolerant may experience unpleasant effects if they consume yogurt and similar dairy products like cottage cheese.
And while we’re on the subject of natural options to go for when dealing with dog diarrhea, here’s something you should consider including in your home pet care ensemble…
A Natural Product to Check Out in keeping Diarrhea in Dogs At Bay
Zumalka’s HAPPY GUT is a homeopathic remedy that promotes healthy digestion and bowel movement. Besides being formulated to help deal with inflammations in the gastrointestinal tract, this product also soothes digestive upsets to get your pet feeling back to normal in no time.
HAPPY GUT is designed to address the root causes of pet gastrointestinal issues and not just their symptoms to effectively resolve any short or long-term digestive upsets your animal family member may have.
Moreover, HAPPY GUTis also a handy product to have in your home pet care checklist to take care of constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, gas buildup, burning anus, including loose stools triggered by stage fright and fear or even food abuse.
A Final Word
Just to emphasize, diarrhea in dogs is a health problem that can significantly affect your canine family member’s quality of life if not given the attention it really deserves. But unlike what a lot of people mistakenly think, conventional medicines are not just your only option when dealing with this issue.
There are actually natural remedies—backed by concrete scientific evidence, too—that you can go for to support your pet during dog diarrhea. Apart from being able to get the job done, your pet won’t also be in for any adverse side effects sooner or later. And the best thing about these natural remedies is that you probably have them in your kitchen or pantry already!
If you’ve found these natural remedies for diarrhea in dogs fascinating, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are still lots of homeopathic options that you have yet to discover.
Make sure you CONTACT US at any time to get in on awesome tips and recommendations from our pet homeopathy specialists to help you really give your pet the quality of life you've always wanted through natural means.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.
Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.
Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.