It's not a pretty sight, but at some point or another, your precious pet will have a case of diarrhea. This condition happens when fecal matter passes too quickly through the intestine and fluid isn't absorbed well. While runny, loose stools is a common occurrence (for both dogs and humans), the problem usually resolves itself within a few days without getting too serious. Still, it's definitely a sign that something is off balance.
If you find yourself in this situation, you're likely wondering, "What can I give my dog for diarrhea?" The good news is that you have a number of choices, including supplements and natural aids. But before going into treatment options, let's review some of the potential causes so you can figure out why your dog has watery poop in the first place.
What Causes Diarrhea?
There are a number of reasons why your dog might have diarrhea. As a dog owner, you know your pet better than anyone, so you'll be the first to notice a change.
A single bout of doggy diarrhea usually isn't cause for alarm. But if your pooch is having recurring, chronic diarrhea — especially if it's accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, sluggishness, weight loss, loss of appetite, or blood in the stool — you'll want to talk to your vet right away to identify any underlying health problems. Here are some common causes of dog diarrhea.
Poor Eating Habits
You do your best to feed Fido the healthiest food possible, but it's hard to deny your doggy his beloved table scraps or occasional dietary indiscretion. But, such indulgences could be doing him more harm than good. Leftovers and other goodies can disrupt your dog's stomach, leading to liquid bowel movements. The lesson: Resist temptation and keep your doggy's diet on track.
Change in Diet
If you've recently introduced Fifi to a new food, her digestive system could be having a not-so-pleasant reaction to the change. For example, if you're transitioning your dog from dry kibble to fresh food, it can take several days or longer to adjust. Talk to your veterinarian when planning to alter your dog's diet to help mitigate any potential issues. The doctor might recommend introducing the new food little by little rather than all at once.
Ingesting Foreign Objects
Dogs can get into all kinds of things, and sometimes that means swallowing objects that aren't meant to be eaten. Whether it's bones, bits of chew toys, garbage, spoiled food, toilet paper, hairballs, or other items, foreign objects can trigger diarrhea, among other symptoms. If you suspect your dog has ingested something foreign (you might even notice pieces in your dog's diarrhea), talk to your vet. He or she may want to take an X-ray.
Like humans, dogs can have allergies. Common allergens like dog food ingredients, pollen, dirt, mold, dust, or other elements can trigger symptoms such as itching, coughing, wheezing, and even diarrhea. Ask your vet about administering a dog allergy test to pinpoint the exact cause of the symptoms.
Viral or Bacterial infections
Bacteria are among the most common causes of diarrhea for dogs. From bacterial infections like salmonella, streptococcus, and E. coli to viral infections such as parvovirus and coronavirus (not to be confused with COVID-19, this is a mild strain of coronavirus that can't be transmitted from humans to dogs), there are a variety of sources and symptoms related to these contagions. Your vet can recommend the best course of action to get your pup back to normal sooner rather than later.
Drug Side Effects
Whether it's Benadryl, Xanax, antibiotics, or some other drug, taking medication always comes with the risk of side effects, including diarrhea. Discuss the symptoms with your vet as a different dosage might be in order. If your dog is on antibiotics, you may want to consider replenishing the good bacteria in your dog's gut with high-quality probiotics that can promote a healthy immune system and smooth-running gastrointestinal tract.
Most dogs with internal parasites will have diarrhea along with other symptoms such as scooting and vomiting. The majority of parasites, such as roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, giardia, and tapeworm, are not life-threatening for adult dogs. However, it can be a more serious problem for young puppies or dogs with compromised immune systems. It's also worth noting that heartworm disease is life-threatening, so be sure to check with your vet if you think your dog has a parasite.
Illness or Disease
Diarrhea is a common symptom of temporary illness and more severe medical conditions. While some maladies like inflammatory bowel disease are directly linked to your dog's digestive tract, others such as diabetes, hepatitis, and liver disease still wreak havoc and cause uncomfortable bouts of diarrhea. Keep in mind that diseases tied to the gastrointestinal tract almost always have bloody stool, so consider that a red flag and call the vet immediately.
Stress or Anxiety
Much like humans, dogs can feel stressed or anxious, which may lead to a bout of diarrhea. While there are a variety of medications your vet might suggest (which may come with those pesky side effects), there are also natural alternatives like calming hemp chews. Learn how to spot anxiety in dogs and what you can do about it.
What Can I Give My Dog for Diarrhea?
Depending on your dog's particular situation, there are several ways to go about getting your dog's stool back to normal. Here's a list of over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and natural aids to consider.
This approach to getting rid of your dog's diarrhea sounds as exciting (or should we say, boring) as its name. However, many veterinarians recommend the bland diet for pets who have an upset digestive system. This diet is low-fat and low-fiber to help your pet form solid poop.
Some of the go-to elements of this diet include "meh" meals consisting of boiled meat, bone broth, white rice, cottage cheese, pumpkin puree, or other foods that are easy on the belly. Sure, it'll taste pretty blah, but Bella will thank you in doggy kisses once she's feeling as good as new.
By now you likely know that probiotics are the "good bacteria" responsible for helping maintain a healthy gut. And just as with humans, scientific studies show that probiotics promote your pet's digestive health, immune system, and overall health.
To help keep your dog's digestive system in balance and avoid unwanted symptoms like diarrhea, consider giving your dog a probiotic as part of a well-balanced diet. PetHonesty's probiotic chews are tasty, effective, and safe for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
You can give your dog Imodium for diarrhea, but only if you've discussed it with your vet and they've provided specific guidelines for administering it. Vets will typically recommend implementing a bland diet before resorting to Imodium (or Pepto Bismol), so be sure to talk with the doctor before giving your dog Imodium or anything you've bought over the counter.
While most of us know this pink medication as a human anti-diarrheal drug, Pepto Bismol can be safe for dogs in small doses. Typically, the recommended dosage depends on your dog's body weight, so check with your vet to see how much is OK. Every dog is different, and what might work for most might not be ideal for your particular pup.
It's Time To Get Back to Regular Life
When your dog has a case of diarrhea, it's not a pleasant experience for you or your pet. But, there are many options for getting your pet's digestive system back to normal.
Once you pinpoint the precise cause, you can work on ensuring that your beloved canine won't have to deal with such an uncomfortable situation. And if it does happen again, you'll be much better equipped to know what to do.For more ways to keep your pet happy and healthy, check out the full selection of PetHonesty products for improved digestion.