Has your dog been passing soft stool? If he is, then I bet you are looking for ways on how to firm up his stool. ASAP. Because let’s face it, we’d rather clean a lot of scoopable poo than clean up after a puddle of poo (pardon my language). If you’re looking for home remedies to treat loose stool then this is for you. But first, let’s look at some of the causes.
Causes of Diarrhea
Diarrhea in canines is a common occurrence for all pet parents. One way or another, in their furry friend’s life, they have dealt with soft stool. It varies from dog to dog from their frequency, how long it lasts, and the severity of the unpleasant experience. Like any other disease, determining the cause firsthand is vital. Not just for identifying the right treatment but making the necessary changes afterward. Without further ado, here are some of the causes of loose stool in dogs.
- Dietary indiscretion, i.e., eating garbage, eating spoiled food, and binging. The trash can be contaminated with different kinds of bacteria. Not to mention the spoiled food we throw in the garbage as well. Our dogs who like to rummage through the trash are bound to catch these bacteria.
- Switching to a new diet. Our dog’s digestive system can take a while to adjust to a new diet. This is the reason why it’s recommended to slowly introduce the new dog food to avoid stomach upset.
- Allergy. The most common cause of food allergy in dogs is dairy products.
- Intestinal parasites. According to the AKC, some of the parasites that cause diarrhea in dogs are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia.
- Poisonous substances, food, and plants. You can read more of this on Toxic Food Dogs Cannot Eat. By the way, did you know we have articles for almost all inquiries about your dog on our blog? Head on to our blog or just search right ahead on our search box. We might just have the inquiry you are looking for.
- Swallowing a foreign object.
- Virus. Viruses like parvovirus can cause severe diarrhea in dogs.
- Bacterial infections like Salmonella.
- Illnesses like kidney and liver disease.
- Antibiotics and other medications. Antibiotics can be a powerful medication to fight off infection. However, it can also kill the good bacteria present in your dog’s intestinal flora causing stomach upset and diarrhea.
- Stress. Just like humans, dogs can experience distress. If you’ve recently moved in, there’s a possibility his digestive problems are from the unfamiliar environment. Bringing home a baby, for example, can be a stressful time for your pup too.
How to firm up your dog’s stool?
- Feed small portions. If you think his digestive upset is because of overeating, you can cut back on his daily food ration. Another method you can try is withholding food for 12 hours. This gives his digestive tract ample time to take a break.
- Rice water. It not only helps prevent dehydration, but it can also help reduce the duration of diarrhea. How to do it: boil rice in water, remove the grains, and give the remaining soup that’s left. To make it more palatable, you can add in baby food or chicken broth.
- Boiled potatoes. Personally, I like my potatoes with a dash of olive oil or some butter. Unfortunately, our dogs’ sensitive digestive systems won’t be able to take the added fats. In this case, just keep it simple. Remove the skin, boil it in water, let it cool, and then serve.
- Provide probiotics. There are probiotics supplements for dogs to improve bowel movement and digestion. One capsule per day will suffice. If you’re unsure, you can contact your veterinarian for the right dosage. Having trouble letting your dog take tablets? Try yogurts. Yogurts that are naturally rich in probiotics are a great alternative. Note: this is for dogs who have no known allergy to dairy only. Opt for plain yogurts and stay away from products with Xylitol written in them.
- Bland diets such as chicken (without the skin) or turkey if he is allergic to chicken. Typically, a ratio of 1:4 of meat to boiled rice or low fat cottage cheese is a good balance of protein and carbohydrates. A bland diet works best after a 12-hour fast because it’s easily digested. You can read more of this on Can Dogs Eat Ground Turkey?
- Remove dairy and add more dietary fiber. Canned pumpkin and oats are rich sources of fiber that are safe for dogs. The rule of thumb for pumpkins is 1 tablespoon per 5-10 lbs. of body weight.
- Switching dog food. I know I have previously mentioned that one of the reasons why our pets get diarrhea is because of a change in their dog food. This method may seem counterintuitive, but it can make a lot of sense when you think about it. If you’re feeding your dog dry dog food, give him wet dog food/canned dog food to ease his discomfort. Canned dog foods are more digestible which can be beneficial for your pet. On the other hand, if you’re mostly giving him wet food, switching to a drier consistency of dog food can work. Higher moisture can lead to a wetter stool. Dry kibbles, in contrast, reduces the volume of the stool and make firmer poo.
- Herbs. According to the American Kennel Club, herbs such as fennel are therapeutic for stomach upsets.
- Over-the-counter medications. Medicines formulated for humans to treat diarrhea may also be used in canines. But pet owners should exercise caution when administering it. A consultation with your family veterinarian is essential.
- Provide access to fresh drinking water at all times. Dehydration is a likely effect when a dog suffers from diarrhea. For severe cases, Pedialyte can be used instead.
When are home remedies not enough?
There are many tried and tested methods to treat diarrhea at home. But where do home remedies stop and a visit to the vet become necessary? You know your pup needs to be seen by the veterinarian when he displays other symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Also, if there is a home remedy you swore was effective before but doesn’t work now, that may be a sign he needs a veterinarian. Most importantly, if your instincts say he needs to be checked, call the vet. After all, you are the one who knows your pet best.
There is no remedy for all to cure diarrhea. Some dogs might do well with rice water, whereas Fido may not show that much improvement. Looking for the perfect cure for your pet is a trial-and-error process – a skill I have come to master with years of having pets myself. Loose stool caused by stress or a change in diet will go away in a day or two. However, when it still persists even after your go-to remedy, taking him to the veterinarian may be necessary.