Dog Diarrhea: What to Do When Your Pup Has the Runs
Diarrhea is a common ailment in dogs due to their less-than-discretionary eating habits, which might include bugs in the yard, random garbage on the street, or mystery turds in the grass. It can also be caused by certain medications or infectious microbes—or too many table scraps at last night’s dinner.
Diarrhea often clears up on its own, and one or two bouts of loose stools aren’t any reason to panic. But anytime your pup has watery poop, it’s important to keep a close eye on the situation because it could be a sign of something more serious.
When to Call the Vet
It can be difficult to tell if a dog is sick because they tend to act like nothing’s wrong. But you should contact your vet immediately if any of these situations apply:
- You suspect your dog ate something poisonous or a foreign object (like a toy).
- Your dog’s abdomen is distended or seems to be painful.
- Your dog is extremely lethargic or unresponsive.
- Your dog’s gums look pale, white-gray, or slightly bluish.
- Your dog’s stool has worms in it.
- Your dog’s stool looks black or tarry.
- Your dog’s stool has a lot of blood in it (a little bit isn’t necessarily an emergency, but if it continues, call the vet).
- Your dog’s bouts of diarrhea are repeated frequently over several hours, or more than 24 hours in any case.
- Something just doesn’t seem right, and you’re worried. When in doubt, call the vet!
How to Care for Your Pup at Home
If none of the circumstances mentioned above pertain to you and your dog is otherwise acting normally, then you can often nurse your pup back to health at home. Every dog is different, so you may have to try a few things to find the one that works.
Larger breeds may benefit from a fast (no food or treats) for 12-24 hours, which gives the intestines time to clear out and rest. Provide plenty of water while withholding food, and then you can move on to a bland food diet. Smaller and older dogs may not have the stamina for a fast that lasts more than a few hours.
When your pup is ready to eat again, start it on bland, easily digestible food like plain cooked chicken and/or rice. Some dogs also respond well to canned pumpkin, boiled potatoes, egg, or cottage cheese. Make sure that the food contains no seasoning or oil at all, and feed your dog just a little at a time at more frequent intervals (vs. two big meals a day). As your furfriend recovers, you can slowly add back in a bit of their regular food and transition them back to their standard diet.
With a little TLC, pretty soon your pup will be pooping like normal, so don’t forget to have plenty of Alpha Dog Pack poop bags to pick it up. Our eco-friendly bags are 100% compostable and you can have them delivered right to your door. Subscribe today and never run out of poop bags again!