Five Simple Rules for Managing Simple Diarrhea

Diarrhea is something dog owners have to deal with from time to time. Whether from eating something that didn’t agree with them, stress, overfeeding, raiding the trash or something in the backyard, or a myriad of other causes, diarrhea stinks! From the late night trips outside to the unavoidable accidents in the house, to the awful smell, it’s tops on anyone’s list of things to get resolved quickly. Here are my five simple rules for what to do if your dog has diarrhea. Note that these apply only to the dog that is otherwise bright and happy, and acting like his normal self. Any sign of lethargy, blood in stool, discomfort, even just feeling “blah” warrants a trip to your veterinarian ASAP. If you have any doubts about whether your dog should be seen, please call your vet, and follow their guidance.

1. Skip a meal. Yes, do NOT feed your dog for at least 12 hours. Water is to be given, just do not allow your dog to drink large amounts at a time.

2. Take your dog out often, and look at the stool after he goes, even at midnight. Collect a stool sample in case your veterinarian wants to check for parasites.

3. Prepare a batch of food to be fed for the next three days. Yes, you will cook — it will be fun, I promise! If you do it in one batch, it will be painless. My preferred recipes are below.

4. After three days, begin a gradual transition back to your dog’s regular feeding plan.

5. If at any time your dog is not bright and happy, or other symptoms appear, call your veterinarian and have him seen ASAP.

Classic Bland Diet Recipe

Many people are familiar with this classic diarrhea solution. This is my twist on it. A mixture of one quarter lightly boiled meat (turkey is great) and three quarters barley is a common bland meal for a dog with diarrhea. Feed about half the amount of your dog’s usual meal size. (Please note I said barley, not rice. Rice causes a huge blood sugar spike, which can be detrimental. Barley does not do this, and contains eight times the fiber of brown rice). Alternatively you could use pumpkin or sweet potato. After three days, mix with your dog’s regular for 1-2 days before returning to the regular diet.

The Potato Meal

Cut two white potatoes and two sweet potatoes into small chunks. Slice one turnip and one leek, leaving the root end part of the leek out. Saute in water or low sodium chicken broth until starting to soften. Add a small amount (20% of the meal, or 1 part meat to 4 parts vegetables) of turkey or chicken and saute until cooked. Feed a slightly smaller amount than your dog’s regular diet. After three days, mix with your dog’s regular for 1-2 days before returning to the regular diet. The potato meal is advantageous in the digestibility, fiber, and support it provides to the good bacteria in the digestive tract. I prefer it to the classic bland diet.

Potato meal ingredients

Sliced ingredients in pan

I will also add or double the probiotic supplement being given to a dog with diarrhea, to re-inoculate the digestive tract with the beneficial bacteria that are meant to be there. My favorite probiotic is NWC Naturals- Total-Biotics – Probiotics for Dogs and Cats This product contains multiple strains of bacteria, protected by the LEADS system so they reach their spot in the intestines and colon. It is in an unflavored base, and mixes easily into the potato meal and other foods. It is far superior to other probiotics I have tried.

For the inevitable clean up of the dog with lots of hair, I use a product called Self Rinse. It’s a staple for the show dog, who might need a spot cleaning at a dog show. It’s also great for cutting the odor. Best of all, all you need are paper towels! No water required!

Have questions? Ask and comment on my Facebook page!

I’ve found Rx Clay to be helpful in adsorbing toxins and increasing water reabsorption in diarrhea cases.

And for picking up, I prefer these eco-friendly poop bags!

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