By Dr. Andrew Jones
You have seen this many times; soft, liquidy poop found in a pile on the rug under the kitchen table. In this article I am going to go over the common causes of dog diarrhea, and how it is diagnosed based on the clinical signs. Lastly you will see the more common and most effective at home remedies to be able to stop your dog’s diarrhea fast.
Anything that upsets the digestive tract and results in water not being absorbed produces diarrhea. Some common causes include dietary indiscretion (eating compost), parasites (Giardia or Roundworms), food allergy, infectious causes (Salmonella), inflammatory changes (Inflammatory Bowel Disease; similar to Crohn’s disease in people), and pancreatic abnormalities (Pancreatic insufficiency, common in German Shepherds).
Diarrhea in dogs is categorized as being either small bowel diarrhea ( it originates from the small intestine), or large bowel diarrhea ( it originates from the colon). Small bowel diarrhea is generally large volume, not very frequent, at times with vomiting and weight loss. The causes of small bowel diarrhea are many, from parasites to infectious agents. Large bowel diarrhea signs include frequent bowel movements, straining, with occasional mucous and blood. Most large bowel diarrhea is classified as colitis, being caused by dietary indiscretion.
Severe diarrhea that results in dehydration is a medical emergency and must be dealt with by your veterinarian. If you have a young unvaccinated dog the diarrhea may have an infectious cause; the dog must be examined by a veterinarian. If your pet is still very alert, active and drinking, then try some of the following home remedies.
Stop putting food into your pet for 24 hours (Day 1). This allows the intestines to rest and regenerate. Always have access to plenty of fresh water. After 24 hours, introduce a bland food for the next 24 hours (Day 2). Plain cooked white rice for dogs, feeding equivalent cups of rice as their normal diet. After a day of the bland food mix 1/2 regular diet and 1/2 bland diet (Day 3). By the end of Day 3, they should be back on their normal diet.
Probiotics help restore the natural bacteria in the intestine, normalizing the intestinal immune system. The most effective supplement is Lactobacillus acidophilus – give 1/4 capsule per 10 lbs of body weight twice daily. I advise probiotics for all cases of diarrhea, but purchase them from a reputable source to ensure the probiotics are active.
Pepto-Bismol is an old standby that can be effective for dogs. The dog dose is 1 ml/10 lbs of body weight given three times daily for no more than 7 days. Imodium (Loperamide) can be used with care, avoid giving it to Collie’s or Collie crosses. The dose for dogs is 0.5 mg/10 lbs three times daily (give your 40 lb dog one 2 mg tablet three times daily).
Kaopectate has a newer version that is safer for dogs. It contains attapulgite clay as the active ingredient which binds toxins, decreases the fluid in the intestinal tract and subsequent diarrhea. Dose for dogs: 0.5-1.0 ml per pound by mouth every 4-6 hours. Treatment should only be needed for 1-2 days.
There are a few herbs that I am finding helpful for dog diarrhea. Slippery Elm in the dried form can be helpful for chronic diarrhea, such as inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. The dried herb dose is 20 mg/lb of body weight twice daily. Peppermint helps with intestinal gas and cramping; give 25 mg/lb of body weight twice daily of the dried herb or 1 drop/lb of body weight twice daily of the tincture.
One homeopathic in particular stands out as being especially useful for most cases of diarrhea in dogs. It is called Arsenicum Album, and is my preferred homeopathic remedy for dogs with ‘Garbage Gut‘. Dose: 1 30C tab per 20lbs every 2-4 hours.
You now should have a good understanding of what the signs and symptoms of dog diarrhea. You should be able to differentiate between large and small bowel diarrhea, and now know when to seek urgent veterinary care, or try some of my suggested home remedies. Now you have a selection of home remedies to use the next time your dog gets diarrhea, and you can now stop your dog’s diarrhea fast at home.
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational
purposes only and is not intended to replace the
advice of your own veterinarian. Dr Andrew Jones
resigned from the College of Veterinarians of
B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he
cannot answer specific questions about your
pet’s medical issues or make specific medical
recommendations for your pet.
Sign up here for Free Updates (and get my free e-book "Top 10 Ways to Save Money at the Veterinarian"):
To post a comment, click the 'Comments' link below: