I was inspired to write this today because my Labrador Retriever graced my floor with a large pile of mucus laden diarrhea this afternoon, no doubt from having been fed rich Thanksgiving food from my guests that could not resist his pleading eyes. I figured I would take a moment to help any other dogs and dog parents dealing with the same thing and possibly help them avoid a visit to the vet.
Please be advised that my advice pertains only to uncomplicated diarrhea. If there is any concurrent vomiting, abdominal pain, or refusal eat, that could signify something more serious such as pancreatitis, foreign body obstruction, or gastroenteritis.
As long as your dog is acting normally other than a case of the runs, you can try feeding a bland, low residue diet. The easiest way to accomplish this is to boil chicken breast, shred and mix with short grain, cooked white rice; feed at a ratio of one part chicken to three parts rice, warm, and do not cook with any salt or oil (nor add either of these). If your dog is having major control issues, you may dose one time with the over the counter anti-diarrhea medication loperamide (also sold under the trade name Imodium). For dosing of loperamide, refer to the Web-DVM’s Over The Counter Pet Medication Page.
As I stated, it is safe to dose with loperamide one time only. Beyond this, I would not dose any further without the direct care and recommendation of a veterinarian. A pet with diarrhea showing no improvement within 24 hours should be seen by a veterinarian. Even if there is improvement but loose stools linger for 5 days, a visit with a veterinarian is also recommended.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality throughout a number of subjects and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.