How to Stop Diarrhea in Dogs Safely: Learn To Treat Your Dogs in 5 Simple Steps
Every situation is different, but one of the most common causes of canine diarrhea is stress. Your dog’s diet might be causing him or her to have diarrhea as well. In order to figure out exactly why your dog is experiencing diarrhea, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dog’s vet. Only then can you know exactly what’s causing your dog’s diarrhea, and veterinary medicine professionals can instruct you on what to do next.
What Does Stool Color Have to Do With Dog Diarrhea?
While we’re on the topic of abnormal stools, why not explore what the different poop colors mean? Sometimes, diarrhea can end up being an unusual color, and the exact color might be a contributing factor of your dog’s diarrhea. Understanding what each color means can help you figure out which steps to take next. Paying attention to stool colors is always smart.
Whether normal or not, the different colors of dog stools include…
Brown is the most normal color of all when it comes to stools. Poop is naturally brown, and it tends to range from a light brown to a darker shade. Even when your dog’s stools are healthy, they won’t always be the same shade of brown. But as long as your dog’s bowel movements produce brown stools, the coloration is healthy.
Black stools indicate a serious amount of blood is ending up in your dog’s bowels. Rather than light specks or thin lines of red blood, the stools are changing color drastically because of the amount of blood present.
Blue poop is a major red flag and you should take your pet to the vet immediately. Blue stools are an indication that your dog has consumed something poisonous, and that something is often rat poison designed to get rid of infestations in your home. If your dog is pooping blue stools and you have rat traps set up in your home, then you might make the connection right away.
But even if you don’t personally have rat poison in your house, blue stools show that your dog picked up rat poison from an outside source and ate it. Don’t even call the vet if your dog’s poop is blue. Instead, rush your pet to the nearest emergency pet hospital.
Grey poop is a sign that there’s an internal issue within your dog’s pancreas. It’s quite easy to mistake grey stools for the white and chalky poop that is actually healthy, so pay close attention to whether it’s actually white rather than grey. There could be an issue surrounding your dog’s production of bile as well if your dog’s stools are grey, so don’t be surprised if your dog’s vet explores that avenue as well.
Green stools are often a sign that gastrointestinal tract hypermotility is at play. In other words, your dog’s gastrointestinal tract—or GI tract—and gallbladder are not functioning as they are supposed to, which subsequently causes problems in your dog’s body. This results in the discoloration of the stools that your dog passes.
You’ll need to have your dog checked out by the vet in order to understand the severity of the problem at hand. However, keep in mind that a lot of greens in your dog’s diet can also cause green stools. Sometimes, this is on purpose in the case of dogs that are fed a lot of leafy greens.
But other times, dog owners might not be aware of the possibility that their dogs are eating a lot of green foods because they are not giving green foods to their dogs in the first place. This second possibility is often seen in dogs that are outside unsupervised quite often because these dogs end up eating a lot of grass while outdoors.
If your dog is outside often, keep an eye on your canine companion to see if they eat grass. This is an easy fix because it just requires that you prevent them from snacking on grass throughout the day, and then their stools should go back to a normal brown color.
Orange stools are not technically normal, but they don’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong internally. Most of the time, if your dog’s poop is orange in color, then it’s because your dog ate something that contains orange food coloring or dyes.
In order to eliminate the orange coloring in your dog’s stool, you should look at the ingredients in the food your dog eats and adjust them accordingly. When you figure out which foods contain additives like orange dyes, you can eliminate it from your pet’s diet. Usually, this does the trick and your dog’s stools should go back to a normal brown color.
Other times, orange stools can indicate that your dog’s poop contains blood, which is troubling. You’ll have to look closely at your dog’s stools in order to figure out if they are orange because of food coloring or if they are orange due to a slight addition of blood in the stools. You can always ask your dog’s vet for guidance and input if you’re not able to figure it out on your own.
If stools are red, it is because there is blood in your dog’s bowel movements. It’s possible your dog is internally bleeding if blood appears in the stools, but there are other probable causes to pay attention to as well. Sometimes, an ulcer causes bleeding, but it could also be caused by small less concerning issues that your vet will check out.
How to Tell If Your Dog Has Diarrhea
Now that we have touched on the factors that cause diarrhea, let’s turn our focus to the signs of dog diarrhea. You might not notice that your dog’s bowel movements are different if you are not aware of the signs of dog diarrhea in the first place.
Recognizing the signs of diarrhea in dogs starts with understanding the differences between normal stools and diarrhea-related stools. A healthy stool from dogs will be slightly different depending on the dog’s specific diet. Take dogs on a raw diet, for example.
Their stools will crumble a lot more easily than other dog stools, and dogs on a raw diet will usually have a white coloration to it because it’s chalkier than other dog stools. But if your dog is on a raw diet, this is perfectly normal! But what about dogs that aren’t on a raw diet? Dogs on other diets tend to have a more put-together stool.
Normal stools in healthy dogs will be firm but not stiff. It’s the perfect middle ground between hard and soft. So what does an abnormal diarrhea-related stool look like? Dogs with very liquidy, watery, or loose stools are experiencing diarrhea. If your dog’s bowel movements produce very thin stools, then it’s likely your dog also has diarrhea.
Look closely at your dog’s stools to see if there is any visible blood because that’s an additional cause for concern. Pay attention to the frequency of your dog’s bowel movements if possible. Dogs that poop more frequently than usual often have diarrhea, so multiple bowel movements per day is a characteristic of dogs with diarrhea.
Other symptoms of diarrhea that don’t relate to the size, type, or frequency of stools include…
- Loss of appetite
- Unquenched thirst
- Dietary indiscretion
- Constant dehydration
- Joint pain or weakness
- Increase in tiredness
- Dizzy spells or fainting
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Pain in the abdomen
How to Prevent Diarrhea in Dogs
Did you know there are certain measures you can take to prevent diarrhea in dogs? Of course, these measures are not foolproof and your dog might come down with a case of diarrhea anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
These same measures can be applied when you’re trying to stop your dog’s diarrhea from progressing further as well. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve combined the prevention measures into a five-step guide for stopping diarrhea in dogs. Without further ado, here are five steps to stopping diarrhea in dogs.
How to Stop Diarrhea: The 5 Steps Guide
As a pet owner, there are steps you can take to treat your dog’s acute diarrhea. We thought we would compile a five-step guide to stopping dog diarrhea!
Step 1: Don’t opt for antibiotics as a quick fix or treatment plan.
When your dog has diarrhea, your instinct is going to be to apply a quick fix. This is actually a very normal response no matter your pet’s health concern because you just want your furry friend to feel better instantly.
But no matter what, don’t give your dog anything right away. When we have headaches, we tend to take medicine to treat our pain. However, when dogs aren’t feeling their best, medications shouldn’t be the first step to stopping their pain, especially with diarrhea. So, try to hold off on medication and move on to step two.
Step 2: Prevent your dog from eating by having your dog fast.
Forcing your dog to fast might sound odd, but it’s likely that your dog will have a total loss of appetite anyway, so it shouldn’t be terribly difficult for your dog to go without eating. The reason for the period of fasting is so that your dog doesn’t further upset their own stomach by consuming food that worsens the symptoms of diarrhea.
This is especially necessary in dogs exhibiting dietary indiscretion. By omitting all food from your dog’s stomach for a brief period of time, the body can finish digesting anything already in its system. From there, you can carefully monitor how your dog reacts to certain foods.
Step 3: When the fast is over, only give your dog a bland diet full of flavorless food.
When reintroducing food into your dog’s life, it’s imperative that you stick to a bland diet. When you feed your dog bland foods, you ensure that there aren’t any irritants entering your pet’s system. Even the slightest bit of flavor or additive can upset your dog’s stomach all over again, so a bland diet is the way to go.
One example of the perfect food is white rice. While it still has a slight hint of flavor, white rice is very easy on the stomach. Additionally, white rice is easier to digest so your dog’s digestive system will break down white rice with a lot more ease than it would take to digest something more complex.
That’s the major takeaway about a diet of white rice—it’s very simple, and simple is key when helping your dog recover from a case of diarrhea. White rice on its own might be a bit of a bore for your dog, so feel free to combine white rice with something like plain chicken. The protein will help your dog build up any muscles that were weakened by the diarrhea situation as well.
Step 4: Introduce both prebiotics and probiotics into your dog’s life.
Small amounts of prebiotics and probiotics will help your dog as well. Both of these supplements are great for balancing the gut with healthy bacteria. Probiotics benefit the immune system as a whole whereas prebiotics help your dog’s colon maintain homeostasis. It’s all about repopulating your dog’s body with everything it needs to get back to a healthy state of being.
Step 5: Apply natural remedies to the situation so that the body can heal from the diarrhea.
CBD is an amazing remedy for healing the body after dog diarrhea symptoms go away. Once the dog diarrhea passes and your dog is back to pooping normally, your pet’s body is going to be really sore. Dog diarrhea is not easy on the body, so introducing CBD into your dog’s daily routine will help your pet feel much better.
CBD Oil For Dog Diarrhea
Diarrhea is never fun, especially for dogs who can’t tell you how they’re feeling. Though most of us dog owners know what it feels like to have a case of diarrhea, we may not fully understand what our dogs go through when they come down with the illness.
Here, we’ll discuss what dog diarrhea is. Then, we’ll start to talk about the causes and treatment methods that are options to treat your dog when he or she is sick.
What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea to humans is the same to dogs; it’s the passing of unformed stools. Unfortunately, when your dog has diarrhea, it usually happens more than once in a day. In other words, the frequency and the volume of the loose stools will increase.
One thing you need to understand is that diarrhea is not a disease in itself. Instead, it’s a symptom of many diseases. What’s more is that because it’s only a symptom of a disease, it’s easier to treat.
However, some cases that can be life-threatening once in a great while. If your beloved furry friend is battling cancer or organ system failure, diarrhea will require treatment quickly.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is your dog’s body’s natural production of loose stools; loose stools form when feces are moving quickly through the intestines with little to no water absorption. Electrolytes and nutrients are usually lacking, too.
If the main symptom that your dog is facing is diarrhea, it’s likely that he or she is dealing with a bacterial or viral infection. If the main symptom is diarrhea, your dog may also be having a hard time adjusting to new foods that you are feeding them. Sometimes, dogs experience diarrhea even when stressed out, like when experiencing separation anxiety or motion sickness.
More severe cases of diarrhea can occur by more intense internal infections, allergies, organ dysfunction, or inflammatory intestinal disease. Go to your vet immediately if it persists.
Traditional Treatment for Diarrhea
It’s hard to say what the actual treatment is for dog diarrhea, considering the cause of the symptom has to be known first.
For dogs dealing with diarrhea as a symptom, veterinarians may suggest holding off on food for approximately twelve hours to give the digestive tract a rest. Never limit water intake for your dog during this time. Your dog will then have a new diet for a few days until his or her stools are back to normal.
If the case of diarrhea is worse or more fatal, your vet may prescribe oral medications for your dog to take. If diarrhea persists, there may be a chance that the inflammation within the body is causing harm to your pup. In this is the case, your vet will prescribe other medications to relieve the pain. If the condition gets worse, additional tests may have to take place.
Can CBD Help Treat Diarrhea in Dogs?
CBD oil can help any inflammation in the body, and diarrhea is no exception to that.
CBD will help calm your dog’s digestive tract to make sure that diarrhea doesn’t flow out so fast and in such volumes. Though it is suggested to still take food away from your dog for about twelve hours, it’s okay to administer CBD during this time.
CBD Dosage for Dogs with Diarrhea
Like with any other symptom or ailment, CBD dosage needs to be thoroughly thought through. Depending on the severity of diarrhea will depend on the amount of CBD to give your pup. Read the recommendations, and you should be on your way to treating your dog the proper way.
Does CBD Cause Diarrhea?
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about poop.
As a pet parent, diarrhea is basically an inevitability. In clinical studies, mild diarrhea was the most commonly reported side effect in dogs treated with hemp extract. There are many causes for loose stool, some serious and some just a temporary inconvenience. So what’s the story with CBD? Let’s take a closer look!
Table of Contents
Hemp & Poop
First of all, let’s be clear that CBD and Hemp extract is extremely safe for dogs and cats. Many studies have been done to test for adverse reactions to and all of them confirm the efficacy and safety of the plant.
In most cases, GI upset happens as a result of what our pets are eating. This can happen when your pup or kitten picks up something funky from the trash or makes a salad out of the front lawn. It can also happen when we introduce a new healthy food or supplement into their diet. Even if it’s safe, their gut may not process it well at first, so the response is to get it out as fast as possible.
Here’s some tips that will help you avoid a mess.
Tips & Tricks
If you know your pet has a sensitive stomach, make sure to administer your CBD at mealtimes so it’s not the only thing in their stomach.
Try using a higher potency tincture so you can use less oil for the same dosage. For instance, this tincture is 4 times as potent as this one, meaning you will only need ¼ the amount of oil to get the same mg’s of CBD.
Break up their dose into a couple applications a day. This will make it so there is less of an impact with each dose.
study by Colorado State University, the number of reported instances of GI upset with cannabis extract was about equal to the number of those reported in patients using an olive oil placebo. Think about how your body would react the first time you took a few shots of olive oil. In the end, your pet’s loose stool is more likely the body’s response to the oil, not the CBD.
One thing to consider is that animals eating a monotonous diet are more prone to GI upset when new foods and supplements are introduced. This is especially the case with dogs and cats who are eating a dry kibble diet and have been for years. Their digestive system has a very limited range of tools and coping mechanisms at its disposal because it has been conditioned to only process one kind of food for so long.
When Diet is to Blame
As always we recommend a varied, fresh and raw diet for the greatest resilience in the gut and overall health in our pets. One of the main benefits of changing up the protein and other parts of your pet’s diet is the gut learns to process new things more readily and is able to cope with change better. The more diverse their diet is, the more likely it is they will be unaffected by adding CBD oil into their regimen.
If you’re interested in switching your pet’s diet it’s important to do your research first and make the transition gradually. An abrupt change could turn a stream into a river if you know what I mean. A mudslide. An inescapable explosion of hot… Anyway.. Where was I?
supplements like slippery elm. This super-food is a great soluble fiber that will help slow down the digestive action of the intestines. The fibers hang out in their gut and keep things from moving through before the body is able to break it down and extract the valuable nutrients. They also retain water and prevent further dehydration.
When our dogs at our rescue, Fire Flake Farm, get diarrhea, our director of operations and the founder of CBD Dog Health, Angela Ardolino turns to Dr. Harvey’s product, Runs Be Done. This great supplement contains a combination of natural whole foods that are high in soluble fiber and have a calming effect on the gut. It also conveniently lists both pumpkin and slippery elm in its ingredients!
Cannabis for Gut Health
Even with animals who are eating a varied and balanced diet, it is possible for them to experience some mild diarrhea after their first dose of CBD. Most of the time this happens once or twice at most and then never again.
Despite the rare possibility of a blowout, the benefits of CBD for the gastrointestinal system are pretty amazing. There are tons of cannabinoid receptors in the stomach and throughout the digestive tract making cannabis an awesome natural treatment for things like IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome) and IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease).
Studies show that full-spectrum hemp extract is great for reducing excessive gastric acid, increasing blood flow to the stomach lining, and helping the lower esophagus prevent reflux.
In addition, anxiety and stress have been reported as major causes for irregular bowel movements, again making CBD a great treatment option for your messy pet.
When to be Concerned
In and of itself diarrhea is not particularly dangerous and usually goes away within a couple of days. However, depending on the cause it can point to more serious issues and infections that should not be overlooked.
Here are some things to consider when assessing the seriousness of your pet’s poops:
- Do they appear fatigued?
- Do they have a fever?
- Is there blood in the stool?
If these symptoms persist for more than a few days and especially if you detect blood in their feces, it’s a good idea to contact your veterinarian for help. These problems often indicate bacterial and parasitic infections or chronic diseases that if left untreated could really hurt your pet.
One of the main issues with chronic diarrhea is dehydration. This is especially dangerous for small dogs, so it’s important to know the signs that it is something safe and normal.
Here are a couple of ways to tell if your pet is dehydrated:
1. Check their Gums
Using your finger, apply pressure to your dog’s gums. If the coloring quickly returns to a normal pinkish tone, that is a sign they are adequately hydrated. If after you remove your finger it takes several seconds for the blood to return to the area, they are probably dehydrated.
2. Check their Skin
Pull the skin on the back of their neck up away from the spine. If it quickly rebounds back to its normal position, you’ve got a hydrated dog. If it takes more than a couple seconds for the skin to return to a natural resting position, it’s likely they’re dehydrated.
Sometimes, you may not know for sure what you are dealing with. If you’re not super familiar with your pet’s poops, it may be hard to tell when something has changed for the worse. The best defense is to become more familiar with what’s going on before it’s a problem. That way you can rule out danger when you pet’s stool is loose from having a healthy cannabis product introduced.
Like I said, most of the time a loose poop is just a sign that your pet’s body is coping with something new and needs a second to figure it out.
The effects of adding cannabis oil to your pet’s diet can cause some change, but it is not something you have to be worried about. In the end, the positive benefits for the gut far outweigh the short term reactions your pet’s stomach may have in response to a little bit of oil in their diet.
In the case that they don’t make it outside in time, our best friend is a bucket of soapy water and a little bit of patience.
About Carter Easler
Carter is a cannabis educator and holistic practitioner with certification in the use of Cannabis Therapies for Veterinary Medicine by The College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies. He continues to study and share his knowledge of cannabis therapeutics through written articles, educational videos and live speaking engagements across the country.
Growing up in a family of veterinarians, Carter developed a deep love for animals and saw first hand how holistic medicine could change both their lives and his own. As Director of Education for CBD Dog Health, Carter now travels North America educating pet parents, business owners and veterinarians about the benefits and science behind cannabis therapeutics and holistic medicine.