Dog owners are often at a loss about what to feed their dog that has diarrhea. Pet parents don’t want to use something that could be harmful or make the condition worse. Dog diarrhea is a common condition. Understanding what causes the problem in dogs can help you choose how to treat it, so your pup feels better.
It’s a worry when your dog has diarrhea because you likely don’t know what caused it and how to treat it. In some cases, diarrhea can be a symptom of a more serious problem, including:
- Addison’s disease
- Anxiety or stress
- Cancer of the intestine
- Canine parvovirus
- Change in dog’s diet
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
- Food allergies
- Ingestion of toxins
- Liver disease
- Parasites in the intestine
Many times a dog gets diarrhea due to a minor digestive upset. The dog may have raided the garbage or gotten a dog treat from the owner that upset their digestion. If dog diarrhea persists, you should consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment.
What You Should Feed A Dog With Diarrhea
Food for a dog with diarrhea can depend on the cause and the recommendation of your veterinarian. For example, a vet may prescribe a low-fat, gastrointestinal dry or canned wet dog food for pups with pancreatitis. The vet may order a prescription food for a variety of medical issues.
The Digestive System Must Be Reset
When your dog has persistent diarrhea but isn’t otherwise sick or lethargic, sometimes giving the digestive system a rest is an excellent suggestion. Resetting the dog’s digestive system by withholding food for 24 hours can help your pup recover faster. Although resetting the digestive system is controversial, some veterinarians believe that withholding the dog’s food can help in faster recovery.
How To Avoid Dehydration
One concern when a dog has diarrhea is dehydration. Puppies are especially vulnerable to dehydration since they’re so small. If you’re concerned about dehydration, get your dog to the vet for another exam. It’s essential to make sure your dog has a lot of fresh, clean water to drink due to the fluid lost from diarrhea. Puppies are especially vulnerable, so make sure your pup drinks a lot of water.
The Best Bland Foods For Dogs With Diarrhea
After 12 to 24 hours, you can start to reintroduce food to your pup’s diet. You should begin by offering bland foods to your dog instead of the usual diet. The best dog food for pups recovering from a bout with diarrhea are easy to digest and low fat, including:
- Boiled potatoes
- Low-fat meats with any fat drained
Flavorings that contain butter, milk, cream, or any type of oil, should be avoided since any of these ingredients can cause another upset. Some owners feed their dogs eggs. However, eggs can upset a dog’s system and make the problem worse.
Here’s What The Best Bland Diet Should Consist Of
- Baked or boiled sweet potato without skin
- Boiled white potato, mashed
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Boiled whitefish
- Ground turkey bakes as a loaf
- Lean, boiled pork loin
- Lean, ground beef, fat drained
- Rice water
Plain, canned pumpkin is an excellent remedy for dogs with diarrhea or digestive upsets. You should only give your dog 100 percent plain canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. When your dog starts to feel better, these foods can help with soft and loose stools:
- Plain cottage cheese or yogurt
If you give your dog cottage cheese or yogurt, it shouldn’t contain any artificial ingredients, fruits, or sweeteners.
Why Fiber is Essential
A lot of dog owners wouldn’t think of feeding canned pumpkins to their dogs. However, pumpkin is a high-fiber food. Increasing fiber intake increases the amount of water that the dog’s stool absorbs. Fiber also decreases the pH level in the dog’s intestinal tract. The additional fiber in the diet can help increase the number of good bacteria and minimize the number of harmful bacteria that can irritate the intestinal tract.
Bland Diet Recipes For Diarrhea
A typical bland diet should consist of one part of a lean protein to two parts of starch that are digestible. Low-fat recipes to try:
- Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled
- 3 cups of cooked white rice
Shred or finely chop the chicken and mix thoroughly with the rice. The mixture should be used within a few days or frozen for later use.
A veterinarian-recommended recipe is to combine equal portions of ground turkey and canned pumpkin. As an alternative, you can substitute cooked pumpkin, fresh, cooked sweet potato, or mashed potato without the skin. If you use canned pumpkin, only use 100 percent pumpkin without any additional ingredients, not pumpkin pie filling.
Long-Term Dietary Needs And Home Care
An essential point to remember is that simple, bland diets aren’t the most nutritious for your dog in the long term. While bland diets with limited ingredients are gentle on the intestinal tract, they don’t provide dogs with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need each day. If you want to continue with nutritionally complete homemade dog food when your dog recovers, you should ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
Amounts To Feed
When you start feeding your dog after a bout of diarrhea, it’s essential to limit the food intake to prevent another digestive upset. You should begin by providing your dog one to two tablespoons of food from a bland recipe about every two hours. You can gradually increase your food intake until you reach the appropriate amount of food your dog usually consumes. It’s best to proceed slowly to avoid any further upsets. While your dog is recovering, the guideline should be a one-half cup of food for every 10 pounds of body weight.
Limiting Goodies and Snacks
You should monitor your dog very closely to avoid a recurrence of diarrhea. It’s never advisable to feed your dog table scraps. Many foods intended for humans contain ingredients that aren’t healthy for dogs and could upset the intestinal tract and be harmful. Gradually start adding more significant amounts of your dog’s regular diet. Avoid feeding treats or allowing your dog to have chews during the recovery period.
Your veterinarian may recommend an over-the-counter medication to relieve your dog’s symptoms. However, you should never give your dog any OTC medicine without first consulting your vet. If your veterinarian recommends a prescription medication, you should follow the instructions carefully.
Talk To Your Veterinarian About Chronic Problems
When a dog has chronic diarrhea, the treatment may be more complex than treating a minor gastrointestinal upset. Your veterinarian will have to determine the underlying problem to prescribe the most effective treatment.
Chronic Diarrhea Treatment
Diarrhea in a dog is considered chronic if it lasts longer than seven days. Your veterinarian will have to determine if the problem is internal, a problem with the intestinal tract lining, or an allergy associated with the diet.
Sometimes simple changes can alleviate diarrhea in dogs, including:
- Dietary supplements
- Prescription dog food
The most effective prescription foods for dogs with diarrhea include:
- Hill’s RX Diet i/d Stress Digestive Care is helpful for dogs with intestinal tract problems. The food is low in fat and high in fiber. The microflora in this formula helps to restore bacterial balance to the intestines. This food requires a prescription from your veterinarian.
- Veterinarians often recommend Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin for diarrhea due to protein source allergies. Hill’s makes their formula in wet and dry food. Other protein source varieties include venison and lamb. A prescription isn’t required for this food.
- ProPlan EN Gastroenteric Fiber Canine Formula is higher in fiber than some other foods recommended by veterinarians. One of the best features of this dog food is that it contains a prebiotic to support intestinal tract health. ProPlan EN Gastroenteric dog food is available in dry and wet formulas. A prescription from your veterinarian is a requirement.
- Royal Canin Large Digestive Care Dog Food is a formula for large dogs that have digestive problems. Royal Canin contains fiber that’s easy to digest, microflora, and protein. Although you don’t need a prescription for this food, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian to ensure it’s the best choice for your dog.
Prevention Tips For Pet Parents
Diarrhea in dogs is a common occurrence . It’s a good idea to talk to your vet about how to treat diarrhea at home before your dog has an episode. You can help to prevent your dog from having diarrhea by following these suggestions:
- Keep up-to-date on vet visits
- Have your dog checked for parasites
- Don’t let your dog eat rocks, sticks, or bones
- Don’t allow your dog to eat spicy food or table scraps
- Feed a nutritious diet—understanding dog nutrition is key
When To Call Your Vet
If your dog has diarrhea but doesn’t have any other symptoms, it’s likely a minor upset that will subside in a day or two. However, if your dog is exhibiting any other symptoms, including:
- Black or tarry stools
- Blood in the stool
- Decrease in appetite
- Depression, lethargy, weakness
- Discomfort or pain
- Dull or rough coat
- Pale gums
Your dog may have a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. If your dog is a puppy, hasn’t been vaccinated, or you suspect your dog may have ingested something toxic or poisonous, you should get your dog to the vet immediately.
Treating Your Dog For Diarrhea
When your dog has diarrhea and doesn’t feel well, it can cause stress for you and your dog. However, diarrhea is a common problem that most dogs suffer occasionally. Seeking medical assistance when necessary, providing your dog with a nutritious diet, and limiting treats can ensure a speedy recovery.
1. What home remedy can I give my dog for diarrhea?
Plain yogurt without any additives or sugar can help to alleviate diarrhea in dogs. Yogurt contains good bacteria that soothe a dog’s digestive system. A spoonful added to a bland diet like boiled, chopped chicken breast and rice can ease your dog’s system. A spoonful of plain cottage cheese mixed with the boiled chicken, lean, hamburger cooked and drained of fat, or mashed potato without the skin is a good option too.
2. What soothes a dog’s stomach and helps with diarrhea?
Rice has two advantages for dogs with diarrhea. Plain, boiled white rice is a bland food that can soothe a dog’s digestive system. Rice water, the water used to cook rice, can be saved and given to the dog to aid in rehydration.
3. How can I stop my dog’s diarrhea ASAP?
You should check with your veterinarian for initial instructions. Many vets recommend resetting the dog’s digestive system by withholding food for 12 to 24 hours and allowing your dog to drink water or rice water. It’s a good idea to have an herbal or non-prescription medication available before you need it. Chewy has a large selection of remedies to use at home. A probiotics for dogs like Advita helps to soothe the digestive systems in pets that have diarrhea. Some veterinarians recommend using a probiotic each day. Advita is a powder that mixes easily into food and is available for dogs and cats.