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Vet Advice: Treating Your Dog's Diarrhea


After the fast is over, start your dog back on a bland diet of white rice cooked with extra water and mixed with small amounts of baby food for protein and flavor; for each cup of dry rice, use two to three cups of water. Continue to add probiotics to her food, using at least 2 to10 billion viable bacterial organisms in each meal you serve; to determine the level of “viable organisms” or “colony forming units” (CFUs) present in a probiotic such as acidophilus, look on the label—a reputable manufacturer will list that number.

Dosages for the two intestinal protectants mentioned above are approximate. Use the liquid medication, not the tablets, and give about 1cc of liquid for each 10 pounds of body weight up to three times daily. The bismuth subsalicylate has more anti-inflammatory activity, so may work better on patients with abdominal cramping.

If the diarrhea is very severe, you may want to also give your dog some loperamide (Imodium AD™), which can help to reduce fluid loss until the rice-water fast, white rice and acidophilus, and the dog’s own healing system can overcome the diarrhea. The published dose for loperamide in dogs is 2 mg (the standard-size capsule) for each 40 pounds of body weight, two to three times daily (this translates into 0.1 mg per pound).



This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 45: Nov/Dec 2007
Robert Silver, DVM, founder of Boulder's Natural Animal: A Holistic Wellness Center, is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist. He received his DVM from Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. bouldersnaturalanimal.com

Photograph by Jonathon Lim Yong Hian

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Slf | September 22 2013 |

The calculated dosage for Imodium is incorrect; 2mg/40 lbs = .05 mg/lb not 0.1mg/lb.

Submitted by Mr Pete | October 24 2013 |

Hopefully the Doc doesn't administer too many anesthetics like this. I re-read the dose particulars and realize I have just overdosed my dog by 100%. Dosage with Imodium is probably not too critical.

Submitted by Mr Pete | October 24 2013 |

I've now found another link on this topic from Washington State U, Veterinary School. It seems some dogs and Collies in particular are predisposed to alarming side effects because of an inherited condition which effect the way substances cross the brain blood barrier, particularly a narcotic such as Imodium.


Submitted by cs | November 24 2013 |

Imodium is not a narcotic. Narcotics are controlled substances that require a doctor's prescription, whereas Imodium (loperamide) is sold over the counter. Narcotics can in severe cases (at least in humans) be prescribed to treat diarrhea because one side effect of narcotics is constipation.

Submitted by Miss Joey | October 9 2013 |

I'm so worried about my 9 week old puppy, she has had green mucus like diarrhoea for 4 days she has lost so much weight since I got her a week ago. She isn't eating even though I got the same food that the breeder gave her. I have tried all other types of food including boiled chicken, rice, scrambled egg and even a/d that the vet prescribed but she won't touch it. She is getting so skinny and I am worried that I will lose her if she doesn't eat soon. The vet we saw just said to keep her hydrated with a syringe, but is there anything else I can do? Any help would be very much appriciated.

Submitted by bethb | October 12 2013 |

Get that puppy to the vet, ours just got over Parvo. She was older than yours at 12 weeks, but it is very severe. Is she vomiting?

Submitted by Alex | October 15 2013 |

Thank you very much for your helpful post. My daughter's vet would not give any information over the phone about over the counter or home remedies, merely said if the diarrhea persisted more than 24 hrs or got dehydrated to come in. The dog was in obvious distress and pain, and it seemed impossible that there was nothing at all that could be done at home as opposed to an emergency visit that would likely be unneeded. Thank you very much for the references to safe over-the-counter medications and instructions on how to cook rice water. If he needs to be seen, that is fine but I am hopeful that this is just a minor thing that will pass and that these suggestions can alleviate his cramping. I note, also, that the rice gruel is something we learned to cook while living in China, it being a breakfast food and also a staple food for babies, old people, people who are ill, puppies and sick pets (did I cover all the bases there ha ha). Plain white rice is mixed in about one part rice to six or eight parts water and boiled until it is a gruel. Sometimes bones are cooked in it to impart some flavor. Bits of meat or or just enough vegetable for flavor are added at the very end. For example, bits of chicken, and perhaps some fresh slivered ginger, diced spring onion, and cilantro. When used for breakfast by adults, other things are added such as vegetables, boiled egg, fish or meat, and hot sauce. The word for this in Mandarin is zhou, in Cantonese it is pronounced juk and the British call it congee.

Submitted by adnor | November 7 2013 |

Are you all noticing how many of our dogs have constant diarrhea???
What's going on here? Is it grain/food allergies?? My little border suffers chronic diarrhea - for about 4 yrs now. Cannot count the dog foods, home remedies, vet bills, medications we have tried - all to no avail. Metronidizol does clear it up - but when the dosage is finished, the diarrhea returns. I believe our grains have been so genetically engineered, they are making our animals sick - and notice the increase in celiac disease in humans! By the way, rice is a genetically engineered grain.
Good luck to you all. I (we) feel your pain!

Submitted by Susan | November 10 2013 |

It has been my experience if Metronidizol has an effect, the diarrhea is caused by parasites. Giardia has become very common in N. America, and unfortunately Flagyl is not working as well as it used to. And parasites may not be present in all dogs in a household - I keep multiple dogs and have had one out of the lot be affected. The Giardia causes intermittent diarrhea that is slimey.

Submitted by Berynice | June 28 2014 |

Metronidizole is Flagyl.

Submitted by RC GARCIA | July 30 2014 |

Rescued Border Collie approximately 15 years of age w/ vomiting &diarrhea for several weeks. Visited w/ vet who did blood sample and prescribed meds for 7 days. Vomiting has gone away, but diarrhea continues. The first vet visit was $300 and we are contemplating going back to vet but question how much money to spend on a rescued dog that may have come to the end of her healthy existence.

Is it not more humane, to take her back to the vet and have the vet put her to sleep so we can go rescue another, perhaps younger and healthier dog rather than continue to spend what is considerable funds for us on a pet that has reached the end of her natural life span?

Submitted by Nancy Sheffield | August 3 2014 |

Would you abandon your parents because they get old and need medical attention? I hope not. Our pets are part of our family, and, when possible, should be treated that way. They are not disposable when they get old. Of course there are situations where a person cannot afford treatment without causing a financial hardship. In those cases, certainly everything should be done to see that the animal is treated humanely, not allowed to suffer. If you chose to euthanize this dog just because she is old and you don't want to spend money on her, please do the world a favor and do not "rescue" another one just to abandon it when it becomes an inconvenience.

Submitted by vm | August 6 2014 |

Agreed. 100%. Yours is one lucky dog. You rock ;)

Submitted by mgs123 | August 12 2014 |

I think this is a very insensitive reply. Your anger shows that you are not capable of an impartial answer. It can be cruel to keep treating an old dog and it does not sound like this person has not tried the best they can.

Submitted by kathy metz | August 13 2014 |

Thank God you answered them like that because I was going to be alot worse....rescued fur babies are having a hard enough time already and without love and patience why are you doing the rescue thing in the first place?dramatically researching diarrhea caused by stress because I too have a rescued baby but this is my third and I actually help with a SCHNAUZER RESCUE. .. I was to take him to the rescue but he has taken my heart....a sweet tragedy of this volunteering....he came from a home where he'd been a breeder baby before and then RESCUED if you want to call it that then when I went to get him the man ciuld not get him to come out from under a table....for three years this man did not interact with this baby....yet tried to tell me he was afraid of men

Well he sleeps on my 220 lb teen sons belly now and loves my dad when he comes over...hates men my ass...but...his tummy is still having issues so I am trying brown rice and cottage cheese...50/50 his coat has changed drramatically

Submitted by Jeanette | September 16 2014 |

My dachshund is old and her liver is beginning to fail, and white rice was not helping her diarrhea. I started giving her quinoa cooked in some chicken stock with some chicken or ground turkey, and that did the trick.

Submitted by Jess | August 14 2014 |

That's B.S, everyone's financial situation is different , these people did a good thing by rescuing an old dog, if the dog wasn't rescued it would have been put down anyway, at least it was given a second chance. I would recommend some home remedies like pro biotics and rice water, see if that helps , if not they have to make a decision if it's best to put down, and comparing human life is wrong, plus most humans do have some type of medical insurance to help with costs, if there wasn't insurance you would see more people die because of financial reasons so you can't compare the two. I've seen thousands of dollars spent at the vet and the dog still dies and now the family is hurting, human life is first then the dog. Are you going to drain your bank account to save your dog knowing you may not be able to pay the rent or buy food? I don't think so. What should of been given is advice and good luck..

Submitted by Sharon | August 30 2014 |

I totally agree with you ! My pets are seniors and i have been spending a lot of money lately at the vets.But like you said you do everything you can for them they are part of the family !

Submitted by Sarah | September 18 2014 |

To those of you who are questioning the worth of a senior animal. Think about how you want to be treated in your old age. I want to be treated with kindness and respect. I sure am lucky no one put me to sleep when I battled with five years of Cancer. There is medical insurance for your pet. Try that.

Submitted by Bel H. | September 7 2014 |

A lot of the time the meds used to treat a dog upset the digestive system. Give her time and make sure she's getting probiotics and plenty of fluid. I'd hate to see her euthanized prematurely, just because her gut is out of balance. And kudos for rescuing an older dog, they tend to be at the bottom of the heap for rescue and adoption. :)

Submitted by Sarah | September 18 2014 |

A rescue dog is worth their weight in gold. To the person who wanted to save money at the Vet by putting her dog down, I say, "Don't you dare." An adopted child/animal is worth as much as the one you birthed. You took on this responsibility so pay. Also, diarrhea is a solvable illness.

Submitted by rmpbkly | October 28 2013 |

all those that say chicken baby food, come on don't be lazy.
Buy Chicken legs and boil , you have broth and healthy meat for later. that the advice from my Vet.

Submitted by Jessica | November 11 2013 |

I lost my little Erik the hound dog mix on October 15th, 2013, he was 9.5 years old. He had on-and-off bouts of diarrhea or inconsistent stools for quite a while. He had been doing well on probiotics and was being weened from prednisone. I honestly thought that after 2 months of probiotics it would be okay to stop them because he was on low-fat I/D dog food and still tapering off the prednisone. Two weeks after stopping the probiotics (September 30th) he had explosive liquid diarrhea. I immediately started him back on the probiotics, upped his prednisone, gave him immodium, and gave him a bland chicken and rice diet. His bowel movements weren't "normal" per se, they would be small but I thought that was due to the small diet.

I had been instructed by my veterinarian in August -- the last time he had a bowel upset -- to use Tylan (it's some strange horse medication that helps upset doggy bellies). I was afraid to use it because our Labrador had gotten a terrible dermatitis from it [I regret that fear terribly now. Who cares about dermatitis if your stomach feels better???].

After about 1 week I considered taking him to the vet but, although the stools were a little off they seemed to be starting to improve -- except for the mucous that was developing (again, something he had had before on occasion). On Thursday, October 10th, his dog sitter suggested pumpkin (he was always a picky eater, but I was ready to try anything that would be a more "natural" approach). He never got to try the pumpkin approach...

October 11th (about 12 days since his first incident), though, he started shaking and whining. We went to the emergency veterinarian at 3am and she couldn't find anything so gave him pain meds, a subcutaneous water pack because he was dehydrated, and let us go home (I thought he would be better at home). We couldn't get in to see the regular veterinarian on Saturday, so we went back to the emergency vet and they began seeing fluid in his chest cavity. They didn't know what it was and assumed cancer in the abdomen but the veterinarian who did ultrasounds wouldn't be in until Sunday morning. Sunday morning he was in respiratory distress by 7am and we rushed back the emergency veterinarian. They diagnosed him with pyothorax and thought he'd be home in a couple of days. Monday morning he went into cardiac arrest and was saved. Tuesday morning he collapsed outside of the veterinarians and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

I don't know for certain what ended his life. This last month I've searched high and low for an answer. Scouring the internet for sources.

I think I just got lulled into complacency and what I thought would be a battle I could fight without direct veterinary care. The predniosone and probiotics had worked before - I told myself ... then I look back before August, back in January or even December, and see he had been on Metronizadole (an antibiotic) before and done well ...

Now, I read these boards and I ask myself, why didn't I take his change bowel movements more seriously? In all the years I rushed to the veterinarian, why did I not rush this time? I rushed when it was too late. I rushed to an emergency veterinarian, but by then, whatever ailed him had overtaken him.

It's better to be safe than sorry. Now, I'm very, very, very sorry and I'm without my doggy soulmate and cry tears of guilt and feel sick with pain and sadness.

Submitted by Em | January 13 2014 |

Hope you don't mind me commenting here. Sounds like there was an underlying problem that wasn't picked up in the first place, you really did everything you could and sometimes that seems afterwards like it wasn't enough, as a bystander though it reads much different. Don't be so hard on yourself xx

Submitted by Puppyowner | July 10 2014 |

Hey there, thanks so much for sharing this story. I was so sorry to hear to lost Erik and while I know a little time has passed I bet you still miss him.

Our four month old puppy has diarrhea which is why I was looking at hte stie, and your story has made me think not to leave it too long before I go to the vet in case it is something serious.

It's so hard to know what to do for the best, it sounds like you were an amazingly caring owner and Erik couldn't have hoped for a better home.

But sometimes there's no point people telling you not to blame yourself although I hope time has eased your guilt a little - because it wasn't your fault. I hope that if you haven't already, you'll feel able to give some of your love to another pet, I bet you meant to world to Erik as he did to you. Take care and thanks xx

Submitted by Pat | November 13 2013 |

I have a 8 1/2 week Shithzu. she is just 2 1/2 lbs. She has had diarrhoea for 2 days. She was pretty lethargic the first day and wasn't eating or drinking, but better the 2nd day, however she still has diarrhoea. She is eating today and drinking. I cooked up some chicken breast, carrots and rice and she just love it. Hopefully it will help. Should I be taking her to the vets?

Submitted by Jessica | November 18 2013 |

Hi Pat,

Considering the age of your puppy I'd say, from experience now, better to be safe than sorry. I hope she feels better.

Submitted by Jessica | November 18 2013 |

Can a dog's death be caused by stopping probiotics? My dog had off-and-on GI problems. For over a year, the veterinarian would occasionally prescribe probiotics. For two months my basset hound mix was doing well on the probiotics but I thought since he was on I/D low fat dog food that I could remove the supplement from his diet. Two weeks after I stopped, he started to have diarrhea again. I immediately restarted the probiotics, increased his prednisone to 10mg/day, provided immodium, and put him on a chicken and rice diet. 10 days after the diarrhea started, he was in so much pain I took him to the Emergency Veterinarian. Within 2 days they diagnosed him with pyothorax. Two days after that he died from cardiac arrest when taken out to go to the bathroom. What happened?

Submitted by Jacqui | November 24 2013 |

I'm afraid I have no idea but I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. I can see how raw and painful it is from your posts and I can imagine how frustrating it is to now know what happened. It sounds like you did a lot to care for your dog and try to find the problem, please don't blame yourself.
Take care

Submitted by DANITA | November 30 2013 |

thank you our little cupcake is 9 weeks old and some of the children from our child care gave her human food and she has had diarrhea since then. I will try the rice water and the carrot, are the carrots raw or cooked?

Submitted by Berynice | June 28 2014 |

All food is human food - that's goofy. Dogs have always eaten what we eat - (and more). Meat and scavangeable fruits and veggies.

Submitted by Rhianna | July 9 2014 |

I'm sorry, but not all human food is acceptable for dogs. Candy, sweets, processed snacks like potato chips etc, and foods like pizza. are not okay for dogs, just like they really aren't okay for us. You are right that they eat a meat and sometimes vegetable diet, but the majority of human food now is not natural and not suitable for a dog and can cause stomach upset and other potential problems.

Submitted by Jamie Cevallos | July 21 2014 |

Puppies shouldn't be eating human food unless otherwise told by a vet and all they truly recommend is boiled rice and boiled chicken with no salt. The reason being is puppies have a sensitive stomach until about a year old which is when their enzymes begin to get stronger and are able to break down practically anything and almost everything they eat. But even then your dog shouldn't be eating real human food it can cause obesity in your canine companion and even cause them to live a shorter life span. Especially since you have such a young puppy keep a close eye on her especially when children are around. Also I hope your puppy is doing better.

Submitted by Diane Corwin | December 7 2013 |

This worked great! However, just a note that 1 cup of rice and 4 cups of water boils down very quickly, so put it on a low boil...and there is actually only about 1 cup of rice water that is distilled from that. It doesn't make a LOT of rice water. I mixed the rice with 1 tsp of baby food and then added a little rice water to make it soupy and she lapped it up. I also have digestive enzymes that is powder form (for my cat, but there also good for dogs from my local pet store) and added a small amount of that to the rice. She has stabilized after a horrible day yesterday. I also gave her a tablet of acidophilus. I may give her some plain chicken tonight with rice. Thank you for the great article!

Submitted by TerriJL | December 11 2013 |

Thank you for the excellent remarks and advice! I board little dogs, and sometimes they get diarrea when they visit me, because they're out of their normal environment and maybe nervous or scared. I'll try the rice water and the recommended amount of immodium if needed. THANKS!

Submitted by Justin Brannon | December 23 2013 |

My 5 year old boxer recently developed Diarrhea. I took him outside and it came out brown then as he kept squatting it was mixing with blood. He did go in the house while I was sleep it was all over his room floor. I saw the food he was fed the day before in the stool. It was a dark brown color, ALMOST black. I rubbed his belly and he seems fine with it. He's still energetic (to an extent). He is sleeping a little more than he usually does. Shall I try the rice and peptobismol???

Submitted by Ezmereka | December 28 2013 |

If blood is mixing in the stool, it is usually very important you get with a vet A.S.A.P.

Same as if your stool was bloody. This is almost always a sign of some serious internal problems.
Sorry your puppy is sick.

Submitted by jhalsey | December 24 2013 |

my friends scotty was on rice and chicken for ages and still had diarhea vet food and check ups didnt help much seemed he reacted to the rice, chicken pots ,veg, gravy seems to work so long as he does not eat street rubish.

Submitted by Kimberly Fraley | December 26 2013 |

Jasmine has had this a couple of times so I need to keep this info handy

Submitted by CA | December 27 2013 |

My 10 lb Maltese mix has had diarrhea for 16 hours now. She does not feel bad or have a belly ache and still has a good appetite. I had an allergy swab test done on her 6 months ago as she had a limited diet then and still was itching. It turned out she was allergic to so many things I was feeding her thinking they were healthy foods including rice, carrots, pumpkin and more. Once I stopped those, her severe itching was TOTALLY gone. So now due to her diarrhea, I don't know what to give her. I gave her Imodium a year ago and she threw it up so that's not an option either. Help...

Submitted by Judith ramirez | June 16 2014 |

I brought home a 14 month old husky from a friend and since the first day he is been having diarrhea He's stool is mustard color. I been feeding rice and chiken and giving one tablet of pecto bismol He is energetic and hungry all the time. I'm worry be couse he is verry thin my friend said that he was healthy. That probably is stress for the change. Il will apreciate any advice.

Submitted by Jamie Cevallos | July 21 2014 |

Hope your husky is doing better. I know from experience with huskies with a change or a move of home they tend to get diarrhea from anxiety or stress from the new change. Also a change in food may cause problems Blue Buffalo is not a dog food that is recommended for huskies because it contains oatmeal and huskies have a very delicate stomach I know from experience with my husky. But, if your dog has had diarrhea over 5 days it's time to seek answers from a veterinarian.

Submitted by Airah Agustin | December 29 2013 |

My 3-month old puppy is having diarrhea and it has blood in it. He just started this morning and he already vomitted 3 times. We took him to the vet and put him on meds. He doesn't have a problem with eating and he seems to be fine. He's not dehydrated too. Will he be okay?

Submitted by Kaitland | January 1 2014 |

I am worried about my 7 month old jack Russell I have read the page but I'm still stuck. He is eating fine not lethargic acting his usual self. He hasn't got firm stools but there is a slight bit of fresh red blood I have just give him white rice and also he keeps dragging his bum along the ground is there anything serious to worry about can you tell me anything I must do thank you

Submitted by Samantha Graham | January 17 2014 |

If he's rubbing his bum along the ground it sounds like worms

Submitted by mhitesman | March 4 2014 |

Quite possible that the anal glands are full and need to be expressed. You can do this yourself. A firm stool causes them to be released when defecating.

Submitted by Diane | January 2 2014 |

I have a husky, malamute, wolf mix dog that has terrible anxiety when ANY type of change occurs. The result of her anxiety manifests itself as diarrhea quite frequently. We have tried grain-free diets, roasted chicken, hamburger meat, meds of all types given by our vet, etc. She also often has fowl-smelling gas prior to the diarrhea. We have tried giving her all natural dog food with pumpkin and sweet potatoes to no avail. She is also a very picky eater. HELP

Submitted by Eva | February 3 2014 |

for anxiety there are some natural/homeopathic options:
1) Griffonia capsules 2x a day one.
2) Bach remedies "rescue"
3) a nest scent diffuser, available in larger pet stores. You plug them in in the electrical outlet in the room he/she spends most of their time.
As for behavioral changes. Try and ignore paying obvious attention to it when it occurs. "feeling" with the dog reinforces the idea that there s a reason to be anxious. Be steady and calm.

Submitted by Theresa | January 15 2014 |

I just did some rice water, following the directions above. Once boiling, I turned the heat down to simmer - after just 15 minutes the rice had absorbed nearly all the water. There was probably no more than about half a cupful! So I filled the pan up with water again and am continuing to simmer. One cup of white rice doesn't make 'a lot of rice water', I'm afraid! But I will keep trying...

Submitted by UncleBob | January 15 2014 |

I'm dealing with a dog that gets diarrhea with a sudden change in diet. Slow gradual introduction is important. Trying different , non-cheapo , kibbles and supplementing with never cooked chicken guts , drumsticks , and eggs. All are one third the cost of quality kibbles at $1/pound.

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