My Dog Has Diarrhea, What Should I Do?

Diarrhea is a common problem with dogs.  They can develop diarrhea for many reasons, but there are some actions you can take at home that can help.  Before covering those, first there are a few important symptoms to watch for. 

Always bring your pet in for an exam if they are showing any of these symptoms: 

  1. Persistent diarrhea   (for more than 48 hours) 
  2. Diarrhea with excessive vomiting   (even if not getting much up)
  3. Liquid, bloody diarrhea
  4. Major loss or lack of appetite
  5. Painful, i.e. unable to get comfortable, tense belly, vocalizing
  6. Marked lethargy
  7. Frequently re-current diarrhea

(Some significant health problems could cause some of these symptoms; such as: gastrointestinal obstruction, some cancers (especially older animals), pancreatitis, Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, IBD.)

            If your pet is acting relatively normal and still has a decent appetite, then here are a few steps to take at home:

  • Fast for 12 – 24 hours  (less time for smaller dogs)
  • Provide access to plenty of water, if no vomiting.  If vomiting then offer small, frequent amounts
  • If occasional vomiting, try famotidine (pepcid AC).  Please call and speak with a technician for dosing. 
  • If diarrhea only, pepto bismol may be used.  Again, please call and speak with a technician for dosing. 
  • Start a bland diet after period of fasting.  (75% cooked white rice/25% boiled, skinless, boneless chicken or cooked lean hamburger)  Offer in 2 small meals per day for 2 – 3 days. 
  • Transition slowly back to regular food by gradually increasing amount of regular food and decreasing bland diet per meal over a period of 2 – 3 days. 

If your pet is not improving within 24 hours, please call or schedule an exam. 

Some common causes of diarrhea:

  • Stress
  • Switching foods too fast
  • Parasites
  • Eating things they shouldn’t, i.e. trash, human food, plants, mulch or rocks.
  • Treats that are new to them

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