Diarrhea Protocol for Dogs

Please remember that if the diarrhea does not subside in a day or two-if your dog is a young puppy or if your dog is lethargic-call your veterinarian. Dogs can become dehydrated very quickly if diarrhea is allowed to continue unchecked. This is a significant medical problem and must be addressed as soon as possible.

My dog has diarrhea, What should I do?

  1. Fast your dog for 24 hours. Only water is permitted.
  2. Bring a fecal sample to your veterinarian to check for intestinal parasites.
  3. After the 24 hour fast, begin feeding a combination of boiled white meat chicken (with all the skin and fat removed and the water poured off) and boiled long grain white rice. The combination of rice to chicken will be 2 to 1. In other words, if you want to give your dog a total of one cup of food he/she will receive 1/3 cup chicken mixed with 2/3 cup of rice. Feed several small meals per day rather than one or two large meals. You may also come into the office to purchase a bland diet prescription food. You will give either bland diet until you start to see a normal bowel movement, or until you haven’t seen a bowel movement for a day.
  4. After seeing normal bowel movements for a day or two, gradually start adding your dog’s regular diet into the bland food mixture. Each day, (as long as the movements are normal) increase the amount of dog food and decrease the amount of bland food until you have reached the point where your dog is on 100% dog food. This is not the time to change your dog’s diet. You must allow his intestinal tract to become normal again.

Some things to remember regarding the causes of diarrhea. We often see diarrhea when an owner wants their dog to have a different diet. A dog’s stomach is very sensitive and does not adjust well to sudden changes in diet. When changing your dog’s diet, take your time to make the change. Some dogs need 2-3 weeks for this change. Very gradually start reducing the old food and adding the new food. If you notice a loosening of the stools, slow down even more.

Another cause of diarrhea can be intestinal parasites. This is why we recommend bringing a fecal sample in to be tested for microscopic parasites. This is medication which can treat parasites.

Many dogs also practice what we call “dietary indiscretion.” All this means is that the dog is eating something he/she shouldn’t have, whether it be something from the yard or the trashcan or inappropriate table scraps which are very rich, such as beef, lamb or the bones of meat you have cooked.

The best diet for your dog is one he/she does well on-gives him/her a good, healthy coat and body condition.Overfeeding can have a significant effect on your dog’s health.