Dogs will get diarrhea from time to time. No matter how careful you are about your pets’ diet, dogs will scavenge for `treats’ in garbage cans or when walking outdoors, and eat stuff that their digestive system will reject and cause diarrhea (and vomiting).
Now, diarrhea can be more than just a sign of a common tummy upset. If you notice that the dog is extremely lethargic, bloated, losing a lot of fresh blood in vomit and stools or suffering any pain, contact your vet immediately because it could be symptoms of a more serious problem. Especially with pups and older dogs.
But if the event does not raise any red flags, vis-à-vis your pet’s overall health, you can do several things to soothe the stomach and make your dog more comfortable:
LET THE DOG FAST
• Many dogs will choose to fast on their own when their stomachs don’t feel right, and if that is the case, you can safely keep your pet off food for a little while. Fasting gives the digestive system time to rest and purge, and not eating for 8-12 hours can be a good thing. Make sure the animal is not dehydrated though. If you’re worried about dehydration, give Pedialyte in addition to water. Or mix a little sugar and a tiny pinch of salt in water and encourage your pet to have a little bit of that.
Rice water is another option. Boil a cup of white rice (not brown) in water and let the dog drink the leftover creamy, starchy water that is left after the rice has cooked.
If the condition has not worsened during the hours of fasting, offer diluted chicken or beef broth before transitioning to a more solid but bland diet.
Start with small amounts of solid food (such as boiled rice and chicken) and see how well it settles in the stomach. If the food is not rejected you can slowly increase the quantity, until you can safely revert back to your pet’s normal diet.
Keep a close eye on your pet’s progress. If the diarrhea does not stop in 24 hours, call the vet.
WATCH STOOL CONSISTENCY AND COLOR
• The color and consistency of your dog’s stools are major indicators of his/her condition, so keep an eye on that. Black, tarry stool and presence of a significant amounts of fresh blood are both cause for concern.
As your pet recovers from diarrhea, the stools should be heading towards a solid consistency and a healthy brown color.
• Probiotics are living bacterial cultures that will re-introduce `good’ bacteria in the dog’s intestines. The short-chain fatty acids produced by probiotics resist the growth of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli and help the intestines to function healthily again.
After an episode of diarrhea, probiotics can be given with the meal. If you’re planning to give probiotics long term, then studies have shown that in-between mealtimes are the best window, especially after your dog has drunk a lot of water.
Some canine probiotics you can look for:
– Purina’s Fortiflora
– Jarrow’s Pet Dophilus
– Nusentia’s Probiotic Miracle
• Reduce occurrences of diarrhea episodes by:
– Not suddenly changing the diet your pet has got used to.
– Not giving raw bones
– Not feeding scraps from your own food plate
-Watching when your pet is lingering, sniffing or showing great interest in something outdoors.
– Keeping garbage safely out of reach
– Staying up-to-date with vaccinations and de-worming.