What Is the Treatment for Canine Diarrhea?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Images By: Womue, David Mayerhofer, Gabriel Blaj
  • Last Modified Date: 28 December 2019
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Treatment for canine diarrhea is best determined by a veterinarian, and may include medication such as antibiotics. For chronic diarrhea, a veterinarian will typically perform an examination to determine the cause before deciding on the best treatment. For acute diarrhea in a dog, the owner can usually correct the problem by making a few diet changes. A diet of lean chicken and rice may help the dog's digestive system return to normal.

Although treatment for canine diarrhea that is mild and temporary may not require anything more than some minor dietary changes, diarrhea that is ongoing or severe can be serious for adult dogs as well as puppies. Puppies and older dogs are especially vulnerable to complications from extreme diarrhea. This is why treatment for canine diarrhea will depend upon several factors, including the dog's age and severity of the diarrhea. Any case of diarrhea can pose a threat of dehydration, which is why it is important for the dog to be encouraged to drink a sufficient amount of fresh, clean water. In extreme cases of dehydration from diarrhea, liquids may need to be administered by a veterinarian.

A puppy that has developed diarrhea should be checked for the presence of parasites. In some cases, a puppy with a bacterial or viral infection may develop diarrhea. Treatment for canine diarrhea caused by infection will be determined after a test is performed by a veterinarian. To accomplish this, a sample of the dog's stool will be needed for analysis.


Puppies younger than two weeks that develop diarrhea may have to be checked for the presence of worms. Under ordinary circumstances, a puppy will be vaccinated for worms at about three weeks of age, but this may be done sooner if necessary. If a puppy develops an infection as a result of worms, medication will be necessary.

Some cases of canine diarrhea are caused by stress and excitement. This can be due to sudden dietary changes, a change of location, or other minor disruptions. Under these circumstances, the dog should be fed a bland diet that may include rice. No treats or other table foods should be offered until the dog's stools return to normal.

For dogs that suffer from an occasional case of mild diarrhea without the presence of infection, a veterinarian may recommend giving a small amount of Pepto-BismolĀ® to the animal. This course of treatment for canine diarrhea should only be done under the advice and supervision of a veterinarian. The veterinarian can determine the correct dosing according to the weight of the dog.



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