The Best Natural Remedies for Diarrhea in Dogs
If you make the switch to raw (three cheers for you, if you do!), chances are high everything will go smoothly. But sometimes, dog parents find they face a nasty little problem: diarrhea.
It’s hard to stay enthusiastic about the whole process if your dog is experiencing this (and let’s face it: lots of dogs do). But have no fear: I’m here to help.
So, take heart, my fellow pet parent: there is hope. Whether your dog is experiencing diarrhea because of the switch to raw, or for some other reason, you can help them beat it using the best natural remedies for diarrhea in dogs.
The 80/10/10 Rule
Most people who have started feeding a raw diet have heard about the 80/10/10 rule. That’s the rule that says you should aim to feed your dog about 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ (5% liver and 5% non-liver) over the course of a week. It’s based on the composition (for lack of a better word) of a deer, which most raw feeders consider to be the perfect natural prey for a wild canine.
Here’s the thing: some dogs need more than 10% bone. Give them just 10% bone, and the results aren’t pretty.
Wild canids eat a variety of different animals, and each of those animals have a different percentage of meat, bones, and organs. Sometimes they get more bone, sometimes they get less. And remember, wild canids generally don’t have damage done to their immune systems or digestive systems like our domestic dogs do. So, their guts are healthier, and they don’t get exactly 10% of bone each week. If your dog has diarrhea from a raw diet, be OK with upping the bone percentage a bit. You can always back off down the road (once you’ve gotten their stool to a good place) and see if everything maintains. But if it doesn’t, it’s fine. Feed your dog according to their requirements, not according to a general guideline.
The Effect of Certain Proteins
One of the tenets of raw feeding is variety. It’s important to feed different proteins to your dog to maintain a robust and complete nutrient profile. It’s also important to feed a variety to keep them excited about mealtime! For some dogs, though, certain proteins might cause diarrhea.
If you’ve been feeding raw long enough to get through the healing response/detox stage and your dog is still having diarrhea issues, consider trying different proteins. Some dogs have diarrhea when fed pork, for example, or when fed beef organs (as opposed to other types of organs). Be willing to experiment, and then avoid the proteins that cause problems for your pet.
Natural Remedies for Diarrhea in Dogs
If adding more bone and switching proteins doesn’t help relieve the situation, there are some natural things you can try. They don’t “cure” diarrhea, per se, but they will support your dog’s body so it can re-balance and overcome the root cause of the diarrhea.
Remember a lot of diarrhea involves an imbalance in the gut flora. Giving probiotics consistently can, over time, make a big difference for your dog’s digestive health and quality of stools. Two great options are Love Bugs (which also contains a pre-biotic) and Fido’s Flora (which is a species-appropriate probiotic). Both of them are available from Adored Beast.
Some people say the Chinese herb Po Chai works very well for diarrhea. It generally comes in sets of ten or twelve small vials filled with tiny pellets. For a large dog, I’ve seen it recommended to give one vial three times a day; small dogs should get ½ vial three times of day. If you’re unsure, check with someone familiar with giving herbs to dogs. Keep giving this herb until the diarrhea has fully cleared up.
You can also use Slippery Elm (it’s also helpful in cases of constipation). Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label when deciding how much to give.
In general, you want to get a pellet or two in your dog’s mouth (right next to its inner cheek) with each “treatment.” Let it dissolve there. If your dog spits it out, try dissolving it in water and then using a syringe to get it into your dog’s mouth so it comes into contact with the inside cheek.
Many people recommend giving 1–2 pellets every 4 hours for a total of three treatments. Don’t give any food for 10 minutes before or after. If your dog isn’t noticeably better after 24 hours, try another remedy. (If you’re interested in learning more about which homeopathic remedy to use for any given situation, J.T. Kent’s work, used in conjunction with John Henry Clarke’s works, are very helpful.)
Podophyllum 30C: For typical diarrhea with a forceful, gushing stool, especially if it smells unusually bad.
Mercurius corrosivus 30C: For frequent bloody stools with much straining, usually after eating toxic substances or from a viral infection.
Arsenicum album 30C: For diarrhea from eating spoiled meat. Usually there are small, frequent bowel movements, and your dog may be weak, thirsty, and cold.
Pulsatilla 30C: For dogs that have overeaten or had food that is too rich or fatty. They may become subdued and timid, and may not be thirsty (which is unusual during diarrhea).
Here is a round-up of products I recommend for your shopping convenience!
- Slippery elm (works for cats too!)
- Podophyllum 30C
- Mercurius corrosivus 30C
- Arsenicum album 30C
- Pulsatilla 30C
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