When not to worry
If your dog is bright and happy, diarrhea has been going on for less than 48 hours and none of the above has occurred, you probably don’t need to worry…yet. It is quite likely your dog has just eaten something that has upset his gastrointestinal tract, whether it be a rich food, something fatty or perhaps something a bit stinky at the park.
What to do at home
Avoid giving any human medications to your pet without veterinary advice. Many medications have a different effect on dogs compared to humans, so it is best to err on the side of caution. For dogs that are well (and not very old or very young), the best thing you can do is fast your dog for 24 hours. Do not feed anything at all, just water. If your dog is vomiting, is old and debilitated or is a young toy breed, perhaps ask for veterinary advice first before doing the fast.
After the 24 hours fast, hopefully, your dog has stopped defecating quite so much and things are settling down. At this point, it is likely the intestines need some recovery time. Feeding a bland diet of cooked lean chicken and white rice in a 50:50 ratio is easy to digest and gentle. Feed this for 5 days, then gradually introduce your dog’s normal food over a further 7 days. Sudden diet changes are usually not great for dogs. Your dog may also need some probiotics to repopulate the gut flora appropriately. Avoid the use of yogurt in pets, as the ‘good’ bacteria would not survive the trip from the stomach anyway. You are better off with a proper dog formulation such as fortiflora.
The types of diarrhea that do need a visit to the vet.
Diarrhea is very watery that has been going on more than 48 hours (can lead to dehydration).
Diarrhea with vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Abdominal pain -sitting in the praying position with abdomen stretched out, panting excessively, vocalizing when touched or pacing.
Black feces – can indicate digested blood.
Large amounts of fresh blood (a small amount just once is okay).