, July 16, 2024

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Dog Diarrhea Management

  •   4 min reads
Dog Diarrhea Management
When your dog's stool is loose, it is best to consult a vet. But if you can not go to the vet yet because it is late at night, and the clinic in your area is closed, try a 12-hour fasting, meaning you will not give your dog food for 12 hours. But this can be done only with young dogs like Braveheart (white with brown spots) and Ally, rescues of Save Animals of Love and Light-Save ALL Inc. Dogs who are old, pregnant and have a medical condition should not fast. You need a vet to tell you what to do.
By Niko Gabriel Salgado

If you own a dog, chances are you have dealt with the challenge of cleaning up after a bout of diarrhea. This condition varies in frequency, duration, and intensity among dogs. While preventing it entirely may be difficult, understanding the reasons behind dog diarrhea can help minimize occurrences and shorten its duration. Fortunately, there are medications and supplements available to address this issue when it arises.

“The strategies effective for managing one dog’s diarrhea may not necessarily be applicable to another, requiring some trial and error to identify the suitable approach when your dog experiences diarrhea,” said Dr. Alicia Turner, DVM, in “Dogs and Diarrhea” published in the Northwest Veterinary website.

“Keeping a record of what proves effective in stopping your dog’s diarrhea and what doesn’t can be beneficial, providing guidance for future instances of diarrhea in your dog,” Turner added.

Try to find a diet that is well-tolerated by your dog’s digestive system and does not trigger a recurrence of diarrhea, you can gradually escalate the portions over several days. Subsequently, begin incorporating small amounts of your dog’s regular food until their stool returns to its normal state.

Infographic on stool color and shape. A guide on what is ideal and when to bring your dog to the vet. Source: PetMD website

Over-the-Counter Treatments

It is advisable to keep an over-the-counter dog diarrhea remedy readily available, and you can conveniently order it online for swift delivery to address occasional instances of loose stools or diarrhea that any dog might encounter.

Fasting Your Dog for Diarrhea Relief

“Withholding food from your dog for 12 to 24 hours while ensuring access to small amounts of fresh water can aid in resolving the cause of digestive upset and allow your dog’s gastrointestinal tract to stabilize,” said Turner.

This is often the initial approach for addressing diarrhea. Before opting for a fasting period, ensure your dog is healthy enough for it; consult your vet if unsure. Puppies, elderly dogs, and small breeds without sufficient physical reserves may not be suitable candidates for fasting. Always seek veterinary advice if uncertain about whether fasting is appropriate for your dog.

Ensure your dog has continuous access to fresh, clean water as diarrhea in dogs can result in dehydration.

What to feed dogs

If your dog experiences persistent diarrhea or has a health issue like inflammatory bowel disease, prescription diets specifically formulated for dogs with diarrhea may be more suitable. These specialized foods are designed to address long-term gastrointestinal issues by meeting all nutritional requirements over extended periods.

It is important though to bring your dog to the vet immediately. In photo are mother and daughter rescues Cindy and Pretty (right) whose water and food bowls are always cleaned to ensure they will not be a breeding place for bacteria that causes diarrhea. (Save ALL photo)

If your dog appears well and doesn’t suffer from a persistent health issue or chronic diarrhea, provide a small portion of bland diet. Bland food is gentle on the digestive system and is more likely to be well-tolerated. Additionally, offering small amounts more frequently is easier for the body to digest.

“While a short-term homemade diet such as the bland diet can be beneficial, it lacks many essential nutrients required for a dog’s long-term health. Although using it for a brief period poses no harm, relying on it over extended periods is likely to have negative consequences. This is where prescription foods become essential, as they are designed to provide comprehensive and balanced nutrition for prolonged period,” Turner noted.

If your dog appears unwell, continues to vomit, or still has diarrhea, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian. This is particularly important as you wouldn’t want to disturb their system once again.

When Dog Diarrhea Means a Trip to the Vet

Determining when to consult a vet for your dog’s diarrhea largely depends on what is considered normal for your dog’s bowel habits. Since some dogs are more susceptible to digestive issues than others, it’s essential to be aware of what is or isn’t typical for your specific dog.

According to Turner, here are a few things to note to help you know that you should at least contact your vet:

• Physical symptoms, such as lethargy, fever, vomiting, dry, tacky or pale gums, or weakness

• Diarrhea that does not stop. When previous home remedies don’t work.

• Dehydration

• Long duration, depending on the usual duration of their diarrhea

• Use of medication (a dog on antibiotics, for example)

• Existing conditions, like senior age, diabetes, cancer, or any medical issue

• When things just don’t seem right with your dog. You are familiar with your dog, and only you can recognize the subtle indications that something might be amiss.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard

About the Author: Niko Gabriel Salgado is a graduate of consular and diplomatic affairs from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, and worked at the House of Representatives. He is now an entrepreneur and a volunteer of the animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL.

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