How to Stop Diarrhea in Dogs: 7 Simple and Easy Steps that Work

Diarrhea is one of the most common concerns that vets deal with regarding dogs. It’s a very common ailment that affects almost all dogs at one time or another. But most of the time, it’s a minor issue that can be easily cured with a simple home remedy.

We know it can be scary when there’s something wrong with your beloved dog. But if you follow these seven simple steps, you’ll likely be able to cure your dog’s diarrhea without the need for involving your vet at all. These cures can help you quickly and easily cure your dog’s gut problem and get back to enjoying life.

Divider 2

Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?

Before we start discussing ways to cure diarrhea, let’s ask the obvious question; why does your dog have diarrhea in the first place?

There are lots of things that can trigger your dog to have diarrhea, but they can usually be boiled down to a few main causes.

  • Illness
  • Parasites
  • Allergies
  • Dietary changes
  • Food intolerance
  • They swallowed something indigestible
  • Bacterial infection
  • Excessive stress
  • Medications and/or antibiotics
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Toxic substances

Some of these might require a trip to the vet to cure, but most of them can be cured with some simple home remedies like the ones we’re about to share with you. But if your dog does need professional help, it’s vital that they get it immediately.

When Should You See A Vet?

There are plenty of ways that you can cure your dog’s diarrhea at home. But there are also times when doing so isn’t the safest bet for your dog. Sometimes, there’s a more serious issue that underlies the diarrhea and it needs to be taken care of.

So, when should you forgo the home remedies and seek professional help instead?

  • If your dog is younger than six months or very old
  • Your dog has a pre-existing health condition
  • The diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours
  • You see blood in their stool
  • If your dog is lethargic
  • Your dog is showing signs that they’re in pain
  • Vomiting is accompanying the diarrhea
  • There’s mucus in their stool
  • The stool is dark and looks like tar
  • Stools are becoming very watery

Though diarrhea is generally a mild issue, it can be the sign of a life-threatening problem. When in doubt, play things safe and call the vet. If nothing else, they can point you in the right direction and provide some peace of mind.

Divider 5

The 7 Steps to Cure Diarrhea in Dogs

Now we’ve figured out the main causes of canine diarrhea and we know when to skip the home remedies and go straight to the vet. Luckily, most of the time, we should be able to take care of this issue at home without too much hassle. Follow these seven steps and your dog’s diarrhea should be cured in no time.

1. Put Them on a Fast

Labrador retriever is laying near a big empty dog food bowl_jaromir chalabala_shutterstock
Image credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

If your dog is having stomach issues, they’ll likely implement this first step themselves. Fasting is a great way to relieve issues like diarrhea for dogs. This gives their gut time to empty out and heal up from whatever is causing the current discomfort.

Fasting doesn’t have to be a long experience. Generally, a 12-24 period with no food or water is recommended. But if this feels like too much and you’re concerned, you can start with a six-hour fast instead. Your dog will still get most of the benefits but you won’t have to feel bad about withholding food for an extended period.

Once the diarrhea has stopped, you can start to give your dog small sips of water. You’ll want to do this for at least six hours before starting to offer them bone broth or moving on to step 2.

One caveat to this method; don’t fast puppies! If your puppy is six months old or younger, you’ll want to skip this one and go straight to the second step.


2. Feed Them a Bland Diet

Dog No Appetite_shutterstock_ Velimir Zeland
Image Credit By: Velimir Zeland, shutterstock

When reintroducing food after a fast, you don’t want to jump right into their normal food regimen. Instead, you’ll want to feed your dog bland food without flavors or seasonings. This will allow you to reintroduce food without getting the diarrhea started again.

One great way to do this is by feeding your dog a simple soup in the beginning, made by boiling some chicken breasts with a few cups of vegetables. Remember to omit the seasonings.

Many vets recommend a diet of white rice and either boiled chicken or ground beef. Again, forgo the seasonings and flavorings.

The goal is to feed your dog as basic and plain of a food regimen as possible while still meeting most of their nutritional needs. But you won’t want to continue this type of eating for too long as it could create deficiencies in your dog. Three days to one week should be plenty of time on a bland diet.


3. Probiotics and Prebiotics

Labrador taking probiotics_shutterstock_Olya-Maximenko
Image Credit By: Olya-Maximenko, shutterstock

There’s a good reason why probiotics and prebiotics are added to premium dog foods. They provide some excellent health benefits for your dog.

Probiotics significantly increase beneficial bacteria in the gut, helping your dog’s stomach to fight off and conquer whatever was causing diarrhea. Moreover, probiotics also stop external bacteria from making your dog sick. This includes nasties such as E. coli and salmonella.

Prebiotics are a type of soluble fiber that gets fermented by the bacteria in the gut. We all know that fiber is great for digestive health, and that’s partly because of these prebiotics, which help to maintain, restore, and grow gut flora that’s vital to your dog’s health.

Supplements are one of the best ways to give your dog a big boost of healthy probiotics and prebiotics. Our favorite is the Fera Pet Organics Probiotics with Organic Prebiotics. It provides all the healthy pre and probiotics that your dog needs in one, easy-to-administer powder. Just mix it into your dog’s food and watch it help them fight off diarrhea and maintain a healthier gut.


4. Feed Them Some Pumpkin

Dog Biting Pumpkin
Image Credit: ElfinFox, Pixabay

Pumpkin is a great way to soothe a dog’s stomach and quickly put an end to diarrhea naturally, without the need for medication. This gourd is a superfood for dogs, packed with beta-carotene, fiber, iron, potassium, and other health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

For this to work, it must be pure pumpkin you feed your pooch. You could just buy a pumpkin and puree it yourself, or you can get some unsweetened pumpkin puree. Just make sure not to feed your pup old pumpkin because it goes bad very quickly.


5. Slippery Elm

This is a natural remedy that helps to soothe your dog’s mucus membranes. It’s something like a natural Pepto-Bismol that helps to calm an irritated digestive tract. This herb is also used to treat constipation and can reduce the inflammation of any mucus membrane.

You can get slippery elm in a powder or capsule. It’s available at most health stores and it’s affordably priced.

Make sure to base your dosages on your dog’s size. Small dogs should get smaller doses. For capsules, small dogs may only use half of a capsule each day while large dogs might use two whole capsules.

Slippery elm powder is administered by bodyweight and mixed into your dog’s food. You’ll be giving them ¼-teaspoon of slippery elm powder for every 10 pounds of bodyweight. For example, a 40-pound dog would get one teaspoon of slippery elm powder.


6. Pepto-Bismol or Imodium

Pepto-Bismol and Imodium are over-the-counter medications that many people reach for when they have diarrhea. But you probably didn’t know that these will also work for your dog!

These medications contain bismuth subsalicylate, which helps to calm the gastrointestinal tract and cure diarrhea. This is completely safe for most dogs, but you’ll want to consult with your vet before giving it to your dog. They might prescribe the version that’s made specifically for pets instead, which is called Corrective Suspension.

Make sure you never feed these medications to cats as the bismuth subsalicylate is toxic to felines. Also, you never want to administer Pepto-Bismol or Imodium to dogs that are pregnant or nursing, or to dogs that are on prescriptions of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.


7. Remove the Cause

Dog Head in Trash_shutterstock_ Masarik
Image Credit by: Masarik, shutterstock

Sometimes, the best cure is to remove the cause. You might not always be able to identify the cause, but if you can, removing it is a surefire way to stop the diarrhea.

For instance, if you recently switched dog foods and now your dog is having diarrhea, you can switch back to the old food or try to find a new food that’s easier on your dog’s stomach.

If your dog has gotten into the trash recently and that’s the cause of their current bout of diarrhea, then try to find a way to make the trash inaccessible for your dog.

Divider 3

Conclusion

Diarrhea is a common illness for our dogs. It might be the symptom of something sinister, but more likely, it’s just a reaction to something your dog ate that didn’t agree with their stomach.

Just in case, we’ve covered the signs that you should look out for that indicate a bigger problem is at hand. But in the absence of those signs, the seven steps we’ve outlined should cure your dog’s diarrhea without having to seek professional help or even leave the house.


Featured Image Credit By: A-photographyy, shutterstock