It’s common for dogs to have diarrhea occasionally. A dog’s digestive system is part of his immune system and works to reset itself when things get off track by cleansing the body of harmful materials. A healthy dog with a strong immune system will return to normal in about 2 to 4 days. There are things you can give your dog for diarrhea to help him recover.

What to do if your dog has diarrhea

Many things can cause dog diarrhea, from stress to dietary changes, and even food allergies. If your dog acts otherwise normal, don’t worry about occasional diarrhea. Like people, dogs get upset tummies, and it’s nothing a little pampering won’t fix. (See foods to eat below.)

Call your veterinarian if there are other symptoms such as blood, black tar-like stool and vomiting. If your dog ingested toxins, poisons or foreign objects, seek immediate care. Do not give any over-the-counter medications such as Pepto Bismal without first consulting your veterinarian. These medications can cause more harm.

How to stop dog diarrhea

You can do some simple things to help stop your dog’s diarrhea.

  1. Take away food and treats and fast him for 12 to 24 hours. This will give his body time to reset itself.
  2. A side effect of diarrhea is dehydration. Have plenty of fresh water available. You can also give him a fast hydration broth that includes probiotics, available at pet retail stores.
  3. If things improve after about six hours, offer lukewarm onion-free, low-sodium chicken or bone broth. His stomach needs time to recover and feeding as you normally do can further upset things. Broth provides hydration and will help ease your dog back to eating regular meals.
  4. Continue to limit activity and keep him cool.

What to feed a dog with diarrhea

Wondering what to feed a dog with diarrhea? Bland food like cooked chicken, plus pumpkin, white rice, bone or hydration broths and probiotics can help. ©Melissa L Kauffman

When a dog has diarrhea, he’s losing nutrients and beneficial bacteria. There are things you can feed him to help your dog with diarrhea. Feeding your dog an easily digestible meal for a week afterward will help return his digestive tract to normal. You can give him:

  • Cooked squash or pumpkin mixed with chicken broth to make a runny porridge. Pumpkin and squash are the best foods for dogs with diarrhea, they are fiber-rich and contain important vitamins and minerals. They stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibit harmful bacteria. Fiber adds substance to your dog’s stool by absorbing water. Look for canned organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), pumpkin puree or squash puree.
  • Adding a canine probiotic supplement to his meals can help improve and then maintain a healthy intestinal biome. You can also give your dog:
  • Homemade meals of cooked lean meats, such as unseasoned boiled chicken or very lean browned beef with white rice (easier on the stomach than brown) to start replenishing lost nutrients. You can prepare them with water or broth.

Dr. TJ Bowe of the North Colony Animal Clinic says the key to diarrhea is small, frequent meals of bland food and not “fueling the fire” so to speak. Do not feed your dog full meals just yet. When your dog starts having normal bowels, then transition back to his regular diet by slowly reintroducing his food.

Dog diarrhea is common and can often be resolved in a few days with care and attention. If diarrhea lasts more than three days, or if you have a puppy with diarrhea, seek veterinary care immediately.