Doggy diarrhea – it’s no fun for you or your dog.
Your dog’s digestive system is pretty tough.
But every once in awhile, it gets overwhelmed. Whether it’s a virus or bacteria, something foreign your dog ate, or a chronic disease … the outcome is almost always the same.
And once it starts, you’ll want to stop it fast. Otherwise, you will be dealing with a sick and dehydrated dog. Not to mention a ruined rug.
So today I’m going to talk about the different types of diarrhea (that’s right, there’s more than one). And I’ll give you some tips for stopping diarrhea at home without harmful antibiotics.
What Type Of Diarrhea Is It?
When it comes to diarrhea there are two broad types.
- Small intestine diarrhea
- Large intestine diarrhea
This is important information to know because one’s much more serious than the other.
And while the idea of taking a thorough look at your dog’s poop is less than appealing … there are some easy ways to differentiate the two types.
Diarrhea From The Large Intestine
If your dog has diarrhea from the large intestine his poop will be ….
- More frequent
- More urgent
- Smaller in size
- Semi formed with mucus in it
You may even see some fresh blood specks on the surface.
And because your dog will have to poop more often and with extreme urgency … it may mean accidents in the house. You may also see your dog straining to poop when he does go out.
Diarrhea From The Small Intestine
If your dog’s diarrhea is from the small intestine, it will be …
- Easier for him to control
- Less frequent
- Without urgency
- Larger in size
- Watery with no mucus
Blood is digested in the small intestine so these stools will have no obvious blood in them.
While no blood might seem like a good thing … this type of diarrhea is actually much more serious.
The small intestine is where nutrients are digested. If it isn’t working properly, your dog won’t get the nutrients he needs.
Why Your Dog Has Diarrhea
There are many reasons your dog may have diarrhea. Sometimes the cause will come and go quickly … while others are longer-term.
Some causes of acute, short term diarrhea are …
- Bacterial infection
- Eating garbage or foreign objects
- Too much exercise
Causes of chronic, long term diarrhea include …
If your dog has diarrhea, there are natural remedies you can use to stop it. But before I get into those, let’s talk about why you want to avoid antibiotics.
Don’t Use Antibiotics To Stop Diarrhea
If you see your vet for your dog’s diarrhea, they’ll usually prescribe antibiotics. Conventional vets think nothing of giving your dog drugs like Metronidazole or Tylan … even long term.
But antibiotics aren’t the best way to solve your dog’s diarrhea.
Most of the time, these antibiotics will stop the diarrhea but … they won’t fix the underlying issue.
And that means the diarrhea will come back.
Antibiotics can also damage your dog’s gut … making your dog more susceptible to disease in the future.
When you give your dog antibiotics, they kill off bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract.
But it isn’t just the bad bacteria. Antibiotics are indiscriminate … so they’ll kill off the good ones as well.
The good bacteria that …
- Make essential vitamins
- Protect your dog from disease and infection
- Form a barrier against toxins and heavy metals
- Produce digestive enzymes
- Support the brain and mood
And while diarrhea is no fun for you or your dog, it’s his body’s way of removing toxins. It’s his body’s way of healing. So … suppressing this natural response doesn’t do your dog any good in the long term.
How To Stop Your Dog’s Diarrhea At Home
If your dog has acute diarrhea, it should only last a day or two. This makes it easy to manage at home.
Follow these steps to help get rid of your dog’s short-term diarrhea.
Fast Your Dog
Your dog’s natural instinct will most likely be to fast himself. If this is the case, don’t panic. His digestive tract needs time to heal.
Even if your dog doesn’t fast himself, don’t feed him or give him water for 12 to 24 hours. His gut needs time to rest so it can heal.
There are a few cautions though …
- If your dog is a puppy under 6 months old, don’t fast him. Instead go to step 2.
- You also want to be careful with very small dogs or dogs who get hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). For these dogs, you’ll want to offer a bit of honey every hour. If your dog begins to tremble, give it more often.
If you do fast your dog, wait for diarrhea and any accompanying vomiting to stop or slow. Then you can start to give him water.
Start with a few teaspoons every few hours for very small dogs. Larger dogs will need ½ to 1 cup.
Once he can hold down water for 6 hours, you can start introducing broth.
Bone broth (especially homemade) is a nutritious option that will be easy for your dog to hold down. If you use store-bought, check the ingredients are safe and use a low sodium brand.
If you think he can manage it, you can skip the broth and go straight to step 2.
2. Bland Food
Once your dog begins to feel better, start to introduce a bland diet.
It’s easy on the digestive system and will prevent diarrhea from starting up again.
You may have been told that chicken and rice is the best choice but … soup is even better!
It’s gentler on his stomach and doesn’t have starches, which can cause upset.
It’s best to make your own soup so you can control what goes in it.
Healing Soup Recipe
- 3 to 4 chicken thighs
- 6 cups of water
- 1 to 2 cups chopped vegetables (carrot, celery, or cauliflower are good choices)
Place chicken and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove the skin and bones from the meat and set meat aside.
Strain the broth and bring back to a boil. Add chopped vegetables and boil for 20 minutes.
Allow the soup to cool before serving. You can start with just the broth or mix it with mashed vegetables and meat.
Start with a few teaspoons for very small dogs and ½ to 1 cup for large dogs.
Wait 4 to 6 hours to see if the diarrhea and vomiting start up again.
3. Prebiotics and Probiotics
While your dog is on the mend, it’s a really good idea to give him prebiotics and probiotics.
Probiotics boost your dog’s immune system and repair his gut lining.
Prebiotics feed the probiotics. And they help create postbiotics to support your dog’s health.
But the two should be given together. Probiotics alone may not be as effective. And prebiotics alone may feed bad bacteria … including the kind that cause diarrhea.
The best choice is to give pre- and probiotics made especially for dogs. If you buy these, follow the dosing directions on the package.
4. Natural Remedies
The first 3 steps help to stop your dog’s diarrhea and give his body a chance to heal. But you can also help his body heal faster with these remedies.
You don’t want to overdo it, so only try one or two at a time to see how they work for your dog.
Slippery elm is a herb that is gentle on your dog’s digestive tract. It helps soothe the mucous membranes in the gut
Slippery Elm Capsules
- Small dogs: ¼ capsule twice daily
- Medium dogs: ½ capsule twice daily
- Large dogs: 1 capsule once or twice daily
Slippery Elm Powder
- ¼ tsp for every 10 lbs of body weight per day
Mix into food or apple sauce
Slippery Elm Syrup
- Under 25 lbs: 1 to 2 tbsp four times daily
- 25 to 50 lbs: 2 to 4 tbsp four times daily
- Over 50 lbs: ¼ to ½ cup four times daily
Slippery Elm Syrup Recipe
- Mix 1 rounded tsp slippery elm powder in 1 cup cold water
- Stir while you bring it to a boil
- Lower the heat then stir and simmer 2 to 3 minutes
- Remove from heat and add 1 tbsp of honey
- Let it cool
L-glutamine is an amino acid. It heals intestinal cells. You can give it with other supplements or alone. Buy L-glutamine at a health store.
- 500 mg per 25 lbs of body weight per day
Marshmallow root soothes the digestive system. A ready-made tincture is the easiest way to give it. Or you may find it in some digestive supplements.
Marshmallow Root Tincture
- 0.5 to 1.5 ml per 20 lbs of body weight 2 to 3 times daily
One major job of digestive enzymes is to help your dog break down and absorb nutrients. If your dog doesn’t have enough digestive enzymes, he won’t get what he needs to survive.
He may also suffer from digestive upset … especially if he’s on a processed kibble diet. Just look at people and dogs with lactose intolerance. They lack lactase – the enzyme that breaks down milk. And common symptoms are usually gas, bloating and diarrhea.
If your dog isn’t on a raw, whole food diet, he’s even more likely to benefit from digestive enzymes. Most dogs taking digestive enzymes have improved digestion.
You can buy a specific digestive enzyme for dogs … or sometimes they may be part of a formula with pre- and probiotics. Follow the dosing on the package… but start slow and increase the dose gradually. Some dogs will get gas and bloating if you go too fast
When To See The Vet
While you can resolve most bouts of diarrhea at home using natural solutions, sometimes you may need a vet visit.
You should call your holistic vet if your dog is …
- Has ongoing or frequent blood in his stool
- Has eaten something poisonous
You’ll also want to reach out if the diarrhea doesn’t clear up in a few days. Or if your dog gets diarrhea regularly and it’s become chronic.
But in most cases, your dog’s diarrhea will clear up quickly with the help of these natural solutions.