Sometimes it comes out of nowhere… those poops are normal, and then all of a sudden they’re not. Instead, they’re runny, and messy, and perhaps too quick out of the gate for your pup to make it outside. Dog diarrhea is not fun, but it’s common. We’re sure, if you have a pup, you’ve dealt with it at least once – probably more.

So, why do the “squirts” happen, and what can you do to help get things back on solid footing once more?

Dog Diarrhea: Common Causes

There are lots of different reasons your dog might have diarrhea. These are the most common ones:

  • Eating something she shouldn’t have – did she get into something on a walk or was she picking through the garbage?
  • Diet changes – have you changed her diet recently? Added something new?
  • Food sensitivity – again, have you added something new to the diet that might not agree with her?
  • Parasites – worms, giardia, and coccidia are common ones that can cause diarrhea.
  • Stress – stressful situations or anxiety can often cause stomach upset.
  • Bacterial infections – things like leptospirosis or salmonella can lead to diarrhea.

A bowel condition or disease might also be at the root of dog diarrhea. This could include things like IBD, pancreatitis, colitis, or kidney or gallbladder issues. In these cases, veterinary advice and assistance may be recommended.

How to Stop Dog Diarrhea Naturally

If you notice runny poops but your dog is acting normal otherwise, there are a few things you can do to help get things solid again.

1. Fast Your Dog

When diarrhea strikes, hold back the food. You want to give the digestive system a bit of a break, and adding more food to an already stressed system doesn’t allow for that break. Start with a few hours, but you can go for 12-24.

Don’t take away the water though – diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so provide water in small amounts frequency,

Young puppies should not be fasted… it’s always important to see your vet if your puppy develops diarrhea. Also, fast with caution for older dogs and small dogs – these pups tend to need more nutrients and the little ones can’t store those reserves like their larger cousins.

2. Ease Into It

If things start to clear up after a few (or several) hours of fasting, don’t just dive right back into regular meals. Ease back into it.

  • Bone broth is easy on the stomach but packed full of nutrients. Get a batch going which you’re fasting so it’s ready when you want to feed again. Here’s a good recipe.
  • Pure pumpkin is also easy on the stomach. Make sure you get plain pureed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Scramble some eggs. They’re also easy on the stomach and provide vital nutrients.
  • Boil some chicken. Again, easy on the tummy and provides valuable protein.

3. Friendly Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that live in the gut. They aid digestion and modulate the immune system, and inhibit the growth and activity of harmful bacteria. They’re actually great for addressing all kinds of causes of dog diarrhea, including diet changes, stress, even to help bacteria and pathogens.

Adding prebiotics alongside the probiotics help the probiotics flourish. They need to be fed, and so a product that contains several different strains of probiotics as well as prebiotics is a great idea. Our favorite is Adored Beast Apothecary’s Love Bugs!!

4. Add Some Helpful Herbs

Several herbs are helpful for soothing the gastrointestinal tract and aiding digestion:

  • Slippery elm bark is a gentle herb that soothes the mucous membranes in the digestive tract. You can find it at many health food shops. Add some slippery elm to her food, about ¼ tsp for every 10 lbs of your pup’s weight. 
  • Fennel also has gut soothing properties. Use fresh or dried fennel to make a tea by adding one teaspoon to 8 ounces of boiling water. Leave the mixture to steep, then strain. Add 2-4 teaspoons of the mixture in her water bowl.
  • Mint contains an assortment of compounds that help relieve pain and pressure in the intestinal tract. Simply add ½ teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves per pound of food or add mint to the water dish — just enough to lightly tint the water.
  • Marshmallow root is another useful herb for soothing the gastrointestinal tract and decreasing inflammation. It has antimicrobial and immune-stimulating properties in the gut. Give 1/2 to 1.5 ml per 20 pounds body weight, twice daily.

[RELATED] Herbs aren’t just good for dog diarrhea. Here are 10 that can help with everything from pain and wounds, to liver and cardiovascular health.

When is it Time to Talk to Your Vet?

Often, with a little natural help, diarrhea will resolve within a few hours, or at most a day or two, no medical intervention necessary.

However, there are times when it is a good idea to get in touch with your vet. In the following situations, it’s best to call in and book an appointment.

  • The diarrhea does not clear up within 2-3 days.
  • It is accompanied by other symptoms, including vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, etc.
  • There’s blood in the stool.
  • The diarrhea is blue in colour. Blue poop could mean your dog has eaten some form of poison, usually rat poison. Take a sample of the stool and head to the vet.
  • If your dog is young, still a puppy, and diarrhea lasts more than a day.

Dog diarrhea doesn’t need to mean panic, but if you’re concerned at all, there is nothing wrong with calling the vet. If you don’t think your pet is acting like herself, a quick trip to be sure can never hurt.