Controlling Diarrhea for Your Dog

After unwittingly giving my dogs some foul fowl a couple of weeks ago, I had to do battle with four cases of doggy diarrhea at once sans veterinary help due to the 4th of July holiday. It’s not a pretty prospect to face, but it is manageable if you observe some simple precautions.

I asked friend and fellow blogger Dr. Lorie Huston to provide us with some simple guidelines and here is what she came up with.

Controlling Diarrhea for Your Dog

Many different things can cause diarrhea for your dog and often a simple case of diarrhea can be resolved at home.

Feed a Bland Diet

If your dog has developed diarrhea, one of the simplest things you can do is to feed him a bland diet to resolve the intestinal issues. A bland diet may consist of lean hamburger and rice, skinless chicken and rice, or cottage cheese.

If your dog is also vomiting, withhold food for 12-24 hours until the vomiting has stopped. Once your dog is no longer vomiting, give a small quantity of water. If he is able to hold the water down and does not vomit, repeat every 1-2 hours. Once your dog is able to take in water without vomiting, try giving a small quantity of a bland diet. Again, if your dog holds down the food, another small quantity can be given in 1-2 hours. Gradually increase the time interval between meals and the amount of food given in each meal.

Once your dog’s diarrhea is under control, you can switch back to the diet he eats normally. However, this change should be done slowly and gradually over the course of a week to avoid additional intestinal upset.

Probiotics for Treating Diarrhea

Probiotics are food supplements that add beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract to help restore the proper environment in the “gut”. Examples include Fortiflora, Proviable and many other brands.

Probiotics are often helpful in resolving simple cases of diarrhea. They are beneficial when there has been a change in diet for your dog, when your dog is suffering from dietary indiscretion or anytime your dog is undergoing stress (such as being put in a kennel situation or moving to a new home.)

Other Medications for Diarrhea

Medications like Pepto-Bismol, Kaolin-Pectin solution, Immodium and other over-the-counter remedies can also sometimes be helpful in cases of diarrhea. However, consult your veterinarian before giving any medication not labeled for dogs as some may be toxic or the dose may be different than that used for people.

When to Consult Your Veterinarian

In many cases, with a bland diet and a short amount of time, your dog will recover from the diarrhea. However, if your dog has extremely severe diarrhea, if there is blood in your dog’s feces, if your dog is vomiting repeatedly or if your dog has stopped eating, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian.


I asked Lorie for a little bit of clarification about the probiotics since these are products made for humans as well and here is what she said…

The probiotics listed in the article are dog medication made specifically for dogs and have different bacteria in them than those for humans. For some dogs, they are more effective than human products for that reason. But in a pinch, you could use a human probiotic temporarily if you couldn’t get the canine version. If it didn’t do the trick, you could switch to a canine product instead. The human products are available just about anywhere – grocery stores, Walmart, Walgreen’s, CVS, etc. The canine products are available through your veterinarian, through pet stores (at least the larger ones – PetSmart, PetCo, etc.), and online (Amazon, 800-Pet-Meds, etc.)

About Dr. Lorie Huston

Dr. Lorie Huston is a veterinarian with over 20 years experience treating dogs and cats. She is currently practicing in Providence, Rhode Island. Lorie is an expert in pet health and pet care in addition to being a talented writer and blogger.

Lorie blogs at the Pet Health Care Gazette but is widely published throughout the web. She writes at in the area of veterinary medicine and is the feature writer for pet care at She is also the National Pet Health Examiner at and the pet columnist at Untrained Lorie is frequently consulted as an expert in the field of veterinary medicine and pet care. Her articles have also been featured in numerous venues both online and offline, including FIDO Friendly, Pet Sitter’s World and many others.

Lorie is a professional member of both the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the Cat Writers Association (CWA) in addition to being a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association (RIVMA) and the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).

3 thoughts on “Controlling Diarrhea for Your Dog

  1. My 2 Shih Tzu boys are piggish glutens who will each anything that doesn’t run away from them, including each other’s and other animal feces. I try to stop them whenever I can but they are just too quick for me.

    So they very often get diarrhea which doesn’t only make a mess around the house but it gets all over their luxurious long hair. Yuk!

    Dr. Huston has good advice but I’m surprised that she made no mention of hydration. When my dogs have the runs, I make sure that they drink more water than ever and I entice them by adding a drop of their favorite food into it. Other than that, I give then nothing for about 24 hours.

  2. Never, ever with hold water from your dog, especially when it’s ill. It will quickly become dehydrated, especially if it’s got diarhea and or being sick! The advice above is totally incorrect! OMG

    • Penny,

      Neither the article nor the comments make mention of withholding water from your dog. I believe that Hanna was just commenting that hydration was important to observe as well in dogs with diarrhea.

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