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What Home Remedy Can I Give My Dog For Diarrhea?

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Last Updated: April 12, 2024 | 7 min read | Leave a Comment

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Woman gently touching dog belly with an upset stomach lying with Vizsla on couch in living room at home overhead shot.

When it comes to diarrhea in dogs, treatment at home may be all your pup needs to recover. However, you’re likely wondering, what home remedy can I give my dog for diarrhea — and what’s actually effective? Many of us pup owners at Canine Journal have plenty of experience with natural remedies for dog diarrhea. I’ll share what veterinarians recommend, our personal experience with home remedies, and when it’s time to seek your vet’s advice.

Home Remedies For Diarrhea In Dogs

Looking for a dog diarrhea home remedy? You’re not alone. Occasional bouts of acute mild diarrhea are quite common in our furry friends, and in many cases, withholding food and a quick trip to the grocery store may be all you need to help your pup recover. Here are some top vet-recommended home remedies.

Fasting

Many experts recommend withholding food for 6 to 12 hours (no longer than 24 hours). This approach gives your pup’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract a break and allows it to settle down. However, fasting is not healthy for all dogs, including puppies, seniors, small breeds, and those with serious medical conditions. When in doubt, consult with your vet to make sure your pup is a candidate for fasting.

Diarrhea can cause dehydration in dogs fairly quickly, so make sure your pup has access to clean water. If your vet approves, you can also offer your pup an unflavored electrolyte solution.

Reintroducing Food Slowly

After your fasting period, it’s important to slowly introduce bland, low-fat foods back into your pup’s diet before going straight back to his dog food. While a short fast can help, your dog’s GI tract is still likely repairing itself. See below for some easily digestible foods during this transition period.

8 Best Dog Diarrhea Home Remedies

While many of the following remedies are suitable for post-fasting, you can serve your pup rice water or bone broth while fasting as well to help him get nutrients while he’s not eating.

  1. Rice water: Boil 1 cup of high-quality white rice (not “minute” rice) in water for 10 minutes or until the water turns a creamy white color. Strain out the rice and allow it to cool before serving.
  2. Bone broth: Bone broth is full of nutrients and very low in fat, making it an excellent remedy for dog diarrhea. See our reviews of the best bone broth for dogs and a recipe to make your own.
  3. Canned pumpkin: Pumpkin is well-known for its ability to help regulate the digestive system. Be sure to use plain canned pumpkin with no additives or seasonings. For small to medium dogs, feed 1-3 teaspoons; for large dogs, offer 1-3 tablespoons.
  4. Plain, cooked white rice
  5. Unseasoned chicken breast (see our recipe for homemade chicken and rice)
  6. Unseasoned scrambled eggs
  7. Plain, low-fat, low-sodium cottage cheese
  8. Plain Greek yogurt: If your pup isn’t lactose intolerant, plain yogurt with live cultures may help.

“Diarrhea in dogs is a problem that we see very often in our practice,” says Dr. Rebecca MacMillan, BVetMed, BSAVA, PGCertSAM, a companion animal veterinarian in Gloucester, United Kingdom. “This is why the exact treatment I recommend depends on how sick a dog is. For dogs who have a mild upset tummy and diarrhea, I often suggest feeding them bland, easy-to-digest food for a few days such as a gastrointestinal/sensitivity diet or cooked chicken and boiled rice.”

Going Back On Dog Food

Once your dog’s diarrhea has cleared up, you can slowly reintroduce his usual diet. We recommend doing so over a 2-3 day period. Start by mixing in 25% of your dog chow with bland food, then progress to 50%, 75%, and 100% if he’s not having any lingering symptoms.

What Supplements Are An Effective Natural Remedy For Dog Diarrhea?

These all-natural remedies are top-rated by pup parents, who find them quite effective for relieving mild acute diarrhea.

Purina Fortiflora Probiotic

Purina Fortiflora

For acute diarrhea, we recommend Purina Fortiflora, which gets amazing reviews from pup owners. However, other dog probiotics are helpful. Probiotics introduce billions of beneficial living bacteria into your dog’s gut to restore his tummy health, and you can also give them to your pup for preventative GI issues. See our reviews of the best probiotics for dogs to learn more.

Pet MD Stool-Fix

Pet MD Stool-Fix.

Pet MD Stool-Fix is an all-natural supplement that solely consists of 500mg of hydrated calcium aluminosilicate — a naturally occurring clay that absorbs toxins in the gastrointestinal tract which can cause diarrhea and discomfort. All you have to do is sprinkle the powder over your pup’s food.

Diggin’ Your Dog Firm Up Pumpkin

Diggin’ Your Dog Firm Up Pumpkin supplements.

When your pup is ready for more solid food, you may want to consider Diggin’ Your Dog Firm Up Pumpkin supplements. These “treats” not only can help remedy your pup’s existing diarrhea, but they’re a great option for a preventative diarrhea solution (e.g., when switching to a new food, before traveling, etc.). The only ingredients are pumpkin and apple, which are grown (and treats made) in the U.S.

Our Personal Experience With Home Remedies For Diarrhea In Dogs

“My dog Daisy, a 12-year-old Pitbull Labrador mix, periodically gets diarrhea. It can be caused by a few different things, but as a big dog (about 80 pounds), when she gets diarrhea, it can be a very messy problem. I have found that taking a direct approach to her diet proves to be very effective in these situations.

I add a few tablespoons of plain pumpkin puree to her wet food, which helps calm down her stomach and balance her digestion. If it is a severe case, I will put her on a very bland diet made up of white rice, a mild protein, and pumpkin puree. Boiled skinless chicken or turkey is my top choice when she needs this diet. Usually, Daisy needs this bland diet for several days to be sure everything has cleared up.”

Danielle DeGroot, mixed breed owner; writer & researcher for Canine Journal

When Should I Contact My Vet?

If your pup is exhibiting any concerning symptoms or his diarrhea lasts more than two days, contact your veterinary clinic. They’ll let you know whether you should bring your dog in for an examination. Your vet may need to perform some tests such as fecal samples, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging (e.g., ultrasounds and X-rays). But in other cases, they might suggest symptomatic treatment, especially if your dog is otherwise well.

According to Dr. MacMillan, signs that your dog needs urgent veterinary attention include:

  • Passing large amounts of watery diarrhea
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

What Causes Dog Diarrhea?

Most cases of diarrhea in dogs are mild and acute (lasting less than 14 days). However, with chronic cases, diarrhea persists for more than 14 days or dogs have frequently recurring bouts of diarrhea.

Causes For Mild Acute Diarrhea

These causes can typically be treated with home remedies, and diarrhea should resolve within a few days.

  • Dietary indiscretion: As we owners know, dogs will eat almost anything or eat too much dog food if given the chance. Overindulging in dog food, treats, and table scraps can cause acute diarrhea, as can eating garbage, spoiled food, grass, etc.
  • Diet change: Switching your pup’s food is a frequent culprit because many dogs’ digestive systems are sensitive to new ingredients. Take it slow and follow our advice on how to change your dog’s food to minimize gastrointestinal problems.
  • Anxiety and stress: A sudden life change, like moving or getting a new pet, can cause mild diarrhea. The same goes for a stressful trip to the vet, traveling, and other unsettling events.
  • Use of antibiotics or other medications: Antibiotics are a common cause of diarrhea in dogs. Many owners find success in giving their pups a dog-specific probiotic simultaneously with antibiotic use because it helps balance out the good and bad gut bacteria.

Causes That Require Vet Intervention

Some of the following causes require emergency vet treatment, while others need vet attention as soon as possible.

  • Ingesting something toxic (learn which foods and plants are toxic to dogs)
  • Ingestion of foreign objects
  • Parasites, such as hookworms, roundworms, or Giardia
  • Viral infections, such as parvovirus or distemper
  • Bacterial infections
  • Food allergies
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Colitis or inflammatory bowel disease 
  • Liver, kidney, or heart disease 
  • Intestinal cancer

Did You Know?

Most active pet insurance policies cover treatment for diarrhea and other GI issues. In most cases, diarrhea is also considered curable, meaning some insurers cover diarrhea treatment even if your dog has been diagnosed with previous bouts before the policy’s effective date. If your dog suffers from chronic diarrhea, pet insurance may be an excellent way to help cover the treatment cost as well as other health conditions that may arise. Read our pet insurance reviews to find a company that fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Young woman is lying and sleeping with poodle dog in bed comforting sick dog

Here are a few common questions pup parents have about diarrhea in dogs. Don’t see yours here? Hit us up in our comments.

What Can You Give Young Puppies With Diarrhea?

Unfortunately, fasting isn’t an option as a puppy diarrhea home remedy, at least for those less than 3 months of age. For young puppies experiencing diarrhea, you should contact your veterinarian before attempting any home treatment.

Can I Give My Dog Over-The-Counter Medication For Diarrhea?

If you’re tempted to give your pup a human over-the-counter (OTC) medication you have in your medicine cabinet, it’s extremely important to first get a green light from your vet. Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) or Imodium (loperamide) may be okay for your canine companion, but experts advise pup owners to always check with your vet first to make sure it’s healthy for your pup and to get appropriate dosing.

A canine-specific OTC medication may be a better option. Many pup owners find Vets Preferred Anti Diarrhea quite effective. The two active ingredients, kaolin and pectin, bind substances in the intestine, which helps produce firm stool.

Does Your Pup Need A Dog Food Change?

If your pup has chronic or recurring diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems, your current dog food could be the culprit. Some pups suffer from food allergies or intolerances, so switching your canine companion to a higher-quality chow could help ease symptoms. See our reviews of the best dog food for allergies and the best non-prescription dog food for sensitive stomachs to see our top picks.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Sally has over 20 years of experience in human health sciences communications, including 10 years as an expert on pet health conditions and treatment. She’s also spent over a decade researching countless pet supplements, dog food, treats, and more as part of an expert team at Canine Journal. As dedicated canine professionals and long-time dog owners, we test and research the best pet products, not only for our own pups but for our readers.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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