When your dog has diarrhea, you need to intervene as quickly as possible to support your dog’s well-being. Despite dogs being interested in eating almost anything, their stomachs are highly sensitive and can react to tiny changes in their diet with upset stomachs or loose stools.
Canine diarrhea can also be caused by stress or anxiety, intestinal parasites, viral infections, food allergies and eating inappropriate foods such as table scraps. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea or GI tract discomfort, here is what you need to know.
What to do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea?
If your dog only has one episode of diarrhea but is otherwise healthy and behaving normally, there is no need for concern. However, if your pup has recurring bouts or strains to produce only a small watery bowel movement, there are several steps you can take to alleviate their discomfort.
Watch for Other Symptoms
In addition to watching your dog’s bowel movements, you should watch for changes in your dog’s behavior and new symptoms like weakness or vomiting.
Fast Your Dog
Most vets recommend withholding food for 12-14 hours after the initial onset of symptoms while providing plenty of fresh water.
Feed a Bland Diet
Bland foods help your dog’s digestive tract by avoiding possible irritants or allergies.
Avoid Physical Activity
Diarrhea depletes the nutrients, so strenuous activity will use the little strength your dog has left, slowing down recovery.
Slowly Reincorporate Regular Food
Once your dog starts to feel better, you can slowly introduce small amounts of regular foods.
Is My Dog’s Diarrhea an Emergency?
In some cases, diarrhea in a dog can be more than just discomfort for your dog or an inconvenience for you. To rule out a medical emergency, look for the following:
- Vomiting along with diarrhea
- Signs of dehydration like dry gums and skin tightening
- Blood in feces
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid panting
- Excessive lethargy or weakness
- Not wanting to be touched
You should call the vet even if there are no additional symptoms for puppies, seniors, dogs on new medications or those with preexisting conditions.
What to Feed a Dog with Diarrhea
A bland meal can help alleviate your dog’s digestive problems by reducing stress or irritants that might cause trouble digesting food. The most common recommendation is chicken and rice, but we recommend:
Boneless Boiled Chicken
Boiled chicken is the first thing most pet parents try for dogs with an upset stomach. Choose low-fat white meat with no bone or skin. Lean ground hamburger or turkey is also a great option. At Open Farm, we have high-quality cooked foods for dogs, ideal for upset stomachs. It is made from whole human-grade ingredients, including antibiotic-free meat and non-GMO vegetables.
Pumpkin has a high fiber content which helps regulate the digestive system. Make sure to buy plain canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Spoon out the plain pumpkin into your dog’s bowl. Offer one to three teaspoons for small and medium dogs or one to three tablespoons for large dogs.
Bone broth is a tasty and light liquid meal option that sits well in upset stomachs. It is nutritious and an excellent way to add flavor to bland or moisture to dry food for dogs to get them to eat even with upset stomachs.
White rice provides adequate calories without flavor or irritants that could aggravate the digestive tract. Avoid brown rice or minute rice that contains husks that could irritate the stomach. Serve a small amount at room temperature with bone broth or a lean protein like chicken.
Mashed Boiled Potatoes
Potatoes are easy to digest while also providing healthy calories. Cook through and mash or cut into bite-size pieces. Do not add seasonings, salt or butter.
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