Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?
If your dog has diarrhea, you may be looking for some home remedies to stop it, but there are many important considerations to think about before getting started. For instance, why is your dog having diarrhea in the first place? If it's due to a recent dietary change, you may want to make sure you change more gradually next time.
If your dog is stressed from some recent change in his life, you may want to do things to help him relax. If your dog ate something he shouldn't, consult with your vet ASAP if it's something that is potentially toxic. And consider as well that dog diarrhea may be caused by parasites, protozoans, viruses, and bacteria that will require prescription medication from your vet.
So, you may need to do a bit of troubleshooting before deciding if home remedies for dog diarrhea are suitable for your dog. Not all dogs are good candidates! For instance, home remedies for dog diarrhea may work for mild cases of diarrhea such as from changing foods too abruptly or your dog eating something that's not toxic, but that upset his stomach because he's not used to eating it.
However, home remedies will not work if your dog has diarrhea due to an underlying problems that need to be addressed such as worms, protozoans like giardia, coccidia, or food intolerance.
When Should I Take My Dog Straight to the Vet?
You should skip home remedies for diarrhea and go straight to the vet if your dog has a fever, is lethargic, and not acting right. See your vet as well if the diarrhea is severe and your dog is getting dehydrated or if you see blood in the stool. Puppies can get dehydrated quite quickly and should see a vet rather than trying remedies at home and senior dogs may have diarrhea due to underlying organ problems. So please use good judgement before trying home remedies for your dog's diarrhea!
Home Remedies for Dog Diarrhea
The following are some effective home remedies for a dog's diarrhea I have learned after working at an animal hospital for some time. However, I have also learned that, while mostly effective, these home remedies may not work for all dogs. In some instances, medical attention is required to solve the problem. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Stop feeding regular food. This will give his gastro-intestinal tract some rest and time to recover. With food out of the way, there should be less diarrhea. Usually, a 24 hour fast is necessary for adult dogs while puppies should not be fasted for more than 12 hours. Consult with your vet if you have a toy breed dog or a dog who is diabetic.
- Keep the dog hydrated. For very liquid diarrhea, were the dog has uncontrollable squirts you need to provide as much hydration as possible. You can give unflavored Pedialyte to help replace lost electrolytes or mix Gatorade 50/50 with his water. However, see your vet if the diarrhea doesn't resolve or if your dog is vomiting too. Monitor for signs of dehydration as outlined below.
- Provide yogurt. Give some plain yogurt or cottage cheese to add some good bacteria to his bowels, you may add a dollop of this to his bland diet, which is explained in detail below.
- Provide a bland diet. After the fasting period, take away his normal food and replace with boiled chicken and rice or boiled hamburger and rice. If you use chicken make sure it is skinless, if you use burger make sure the fat is drained off. Make the rice the bulky part of the meal. Keep giving this diet until the stools seem better formed. Then, re-introduce gradually the regular food. This should be done slowly over a few days. For more recipes see " bland diet recipes for dogs"
- Do a hydration check. Try to lift the dog's shoulder blade or back skin in a tent. If the skin returns back promptly he is well hydrated, if it takes a few seconds or worse remains lifted it means the dog needs immediate vet attention and fluids given under the skin or intravenously.
- Check the gums. Have him seen immediately if his gums turn pale, whitish, grayish or purple. Normal gums should be a healthy bubble gum pink. Try as well to press your finger on his gum. The gum should become whitish and return promptly pink. If it takes a few seconds the dog again needs to be seen ASAP.
- Pepto magic. Ask your vet if you can try to give over the counter Pepto Bismol or Immodium. He will give you dosing instructions if he thinks it may be helpful. As with any medications there may be side effects.
- Vet appointment. Have him seen by a vet if the dog becomes lethargic, the diarrhea continues regardless of diet change or stops and then returns, other symptoms develop such as bloody stools, vomiting, loss of appetite, or fever. The dog may have parasites, gastro-enteritis, pancreatits, a foreign body ingestion (usually along with vomiting), parvo, and many other serious conditions that need prompt vet attention.
Diarrhea may be the simple result of the dog getting into your trash can and getting an upset tummy. He may have roundworms, especially if he is a puppy. It may be due to a recent abrupt diet change. These are usually mild cases of diarrhea. However, if any worrisome or out of the ordinary symptoms arise along with the diarrhea, do not hesitate to have him seen by a vet promptly. Chances are that it may be just a minor issue, but as with most issues, if caught promptly, it likely will not evolve into a more serious and costly issue.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: Even my vet has a very hard time getting pills down. I have tried everything to give pills to my dog. How do I get her meds down?
Answer: Some dogs can be difficult to give pills because they have learned our purpose in disguising them in food. You may find some of these tricks and ideas helpful: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Tricks-to-Give-Dogs-Pi...
Duncan on November 06, 2018:
My dog has diahrea problems and I've tried many things, if you have a kibble that works stick to it try not to Change it, I feed my 70lb dog 1 cup of rice half a cup of kibble half cup of chicken half cup of freshpet dog food from the refrigerator at the pet store , table spoon or so of pumpkin and Greek yogurt. When hia diahrea was really bad and bloody the Pepto bismol definitely helped and I put Pedialyte in the water to help stay hydrated
Annette romano on September 30, 2018:
My dog has had lose stool for about a month or so but is eating drinking water and playing and has a stool sample and on a medication but nithing is helping him
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 03, 2012:
Pumpkin is helpful too.
TiggersMom870 on April 03, 2012:
Your article was very helpful. I adopted a 5 month old golden retriever a week ago and he has had diarrhea for two days now. We switched his food on Sunday so that could very well be the reason for his diarrhea. He also like to put everything in his mouth when he's in our fence backyard. I will start him on the rice and boiled chicken today. Im hoping this will clear up his diarrhea soon. Someone suggested that I put a tablespoon of pure pumpkin in with his food to firm up his stool. Is that something I should try or not?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 02, 2012:
Can it be he is getting into something when you are not watching? I would keep a watchful eye on him and possibly crate him or put him in an exercise pen where he is completely safe from eating anything when you are not around. Make sure though that he is near you if crated because he may give you signs he may need to be taken out if he has a bout of diarrhea. The metronidazole, fortiflora and bland diet should be helping! I would call the vet for a follow up. It could be there is something else going on and may need more testing.It may be worth to fast him until tonight and continue the bland diet for a few more days and be careful to add the normal diet very gradually, please consult with your vet if he does not get any better, best wishes!
Beasty's Momma on April 02, 2012:
My 5 month old Boxer started with diarrhea a week and a half ago (on a thursday). Took him to the vet on Friday and she said what I thought...kids probably gave him something and best to let it run its course. That sunday night, he had what I thought was blood in his poop. Hubby said he probably got a red crayon cuz our 5 year old had been coloring and Beasty was laying right beside her. Monday morning....diarrhea at the back door and obvious blood(a lot) and mucous. An hour later....more bloody, mucousy diarrhea in the hallway. I couldn't get my kids to school fast enough to get him to the vet. Took a sample with me, along with pictures to show quanity. At this point, Beasty was still very active. Vet ran all the usual tests on the poop...everything came up good. She put him on metrodozile (I'm sure it's spelled wrong), fortiflora and said to feed him nothing but chicken and rice for a week then gradually mix in his normal kibble. Bloody diarrhea stayed for a few more days, but was getting a little more solid. Then this morning, I woke up to a hallway full of horrible diarrhea...no blood, but still an insane amount!! He is still hyper and bouncing off the walls! What is going on here?!?!?!
suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on November 22, 2009:
Thanks for the sound advice. I'll some of this for Tanya.