Dogs and bouts of diarrhea tend to go hand in hand. Unlike humans, they are missing that little voice in their heads that emphatically says eating that garbage may not be a good idea’, leading them into all sorts of trouble. Most dogs also have a controlled food intake – controlled by their humans so that upset stomachs do not occur. This means they eat the same thing each and every day so when they do have the opportunity to dumpster dive or eat that poor squirrel you ran over last week, the’ change in food‘ reeks havoc on their system and initiates intestinal chaos.
Not every bout of garbage gut requires a visit to the vet or a dose of the thick, pink, minty fresh anti-diarrhea medicine. Under these conditions, diarrhea is natural so why should the treatment be anything but natural itself? There are many ways to clear up’ diarrhea in dogs‘ without veterinary help or reaching for over-the-counter medications.
When Naturally Treating your Dog for Diarrhea is Contraindicated
There are times when a visit to the vet is mandatory as the overall health and well-being of your dog is in jeopardy.
- If the diarrhea lasts more then 24 hours
- If the health of the pet is already compromised
- If the pet is elderly and in an already weakened condition
- If it is accompanied by vomiting
- If dehydration is a concern (regularly check that gums are not dry or tacky)
- If there is blood in the stool
- If there is large quantities of mucous in the stool
- If the dog is straining but nothing more is coming out
- If the dog’s abdomen is distended, taunt or painful
- If the dog is running a fever or is hot to the touch
- If the dog is refusing to eat or drink
- If you feel the dog got into a toxin or ate something rotten
- If any one or more of these symptoms are present along with the diarrhea, your dog should be checked over by your veterinarian as the problem could require medical intervention.
Reoccurring diarrhea is often caused by intestinal parasites tapeworms,’ roundworms’ and whipworms. Although natural deworming medications are available, how well they work is debatable. It is better to treat intestinal parasites as recommended by your veterinarian and control the problem quickly for the sake of your pet’s health. However, using natural medicine to prevent any further infestations is highly recommended as many of the herbal products available also help soothe and restore an upset digestive system. These often contain Wormwood as a digestive tonic, Cloves as an antibacterial agent and Neem as it is worm and parasite resistant. When it comes to diarrhea and its unpleasant bedfellows such as flatulence, nausea and bloating, prevention is key to a healthy dog!
Once intestinal parasites are ruled out or if you know the cause of the diarrhea (one too many beef chews the night before!), standard treatment for diarrhea or vomiting are a 24 hour fast. This means no food or water for an entire day, allowing the stomach and digestive system to fully empty out of the offending object as well as calm down from the recent traumatic ingestion. If the dog is older or if dehydration is a concern, allowing the dog a few ice cubes every two hours will help keep hydration levels as high as possible without overtaxing the system.
Once the 24 hours is up and there has been no diarrhea or’ vomiting‘ for at least eight hours, introduce a small amount of water and observe whether it stays down. If it does, try a bit more an hour later. If that too stays down and has no other ill effect, introduce a small amount of bland, highly digestible food a teaspoon for a small dog and up to a tablespoon for a large dog. Bland and highly digestible foods are the equivalent to boiled chicken and white rice. You can either cook this up yourself or purchase from your veterinarian a diet especially formulated for gastroenteritis. If the small mount of food has no side effects, give him another small amount two hours later and again two hours after that if there are no ill effects from the food. After three or four tablespoon or smaller servings, begin to give slightly larger amounts of the same diet until the daily food consumption is met.
Prevention is the best way to keep your dog’s digestive tract healthy and in top working order.’
Common’ causes for diarrhea’ are:
- Changing the dog’s food to quickly it should be done gradually over 3 to 7 days
- Keep water clean, clear and easily accessible at all times
- Treats are just that ‘’ treats! Watch the amount of dietary fat each treat contains’
- Make sure garbage cans and dirty dishes are kept out of your dog’s reach
- Check your yard regularly for dead animals or anything else your dog may find tasty
Diarrhea in your dog does not have to be a frustrating or expensive problem. A little prevention goes a long way in keeping your pet’s digestive system functioning normally and watching what they eat!