When To Call The Vet

Guidelines on When to call the Vet

Most healthy dogs experience an occasional episode of loose stool or diarrhea that resolves within 12 to 24 hours. The underlying issue in most of these cases is indiscriminate eating or stress. However, any dog has the potential to become very ill from chronic bouts of diarrhea.  If your dog seems fine after a bout of diarrhea — meaning she’s acting normal, with normal energy – it’s safe to simply keep an eye on her to insure her stool returns to normal within a day or so. But if you notice she’s also sluggish, running a fever or feels  warm to the touch, or there’s a change in her behaviour, you should contact your veterinarian.  If you see blood in your pet’s stool or she’s weak or shows other signs of debilitation along with the diarrhea, you should make an appointment with the vet. If your dog seems fine but is experiencing recurrent bouts of diarrhea, it’s time for a checkup. It’s important to bring a sample of your dog’s stool to your appointment, even if it’s watery. Use a plastic bag and shovel a bit in there to take with you. This will help your vet dentify potential underlying causes for the diarrhea.

If your pet is an adult, otherwise healthy, and behaving normally except for the diarrhea, I recommend you withhold food – NOT WATER – for 12 hours. At the 12-hour mark, offer a bland diet. I recommend cooked ground turkey and plain 100 per cent pumpkin. This is a different bland diet from the traditional ground beef and rice combination that is often recommended. Even the leanest ground beef contains a lot of fat, and fat can worsen a case of diarrhea. Rice, even though it’s bland, is very fermentable. Fermenting rice in the colon of a pet with diarrhea tends to increase gassiness. Also, rice tends to just zip right through the GI tract, exiting with the next bout of explosive diarrhea totally undigested. Mix the cooked ground turkey and pumpkin or sweet potato 50-50 in your dog’s bowl. Feed 2 to 3 small meals a day until stools are back to 100 per cent, which should happen in about 72 hours. My favourite all-natural anti-diarrhea remedy is an herb called slippery elm bark. I recommend always having some on hand so when you need it, it’s right there.  Slippery elm is safe for puppies, adults and geriatric dogs and it is completely safe. I recommend about a half teaspoon for each 10 pounds of body weight, mixed into the bland diet twice daily. I also recommend you add in a good quality pet probiotic. Feeding a bland diet and supplementing with slippery elm bark is a good plan for about 3 days, at which time your dog’s stool should be back to normal. If after 3 days the diarrhea hasn’t cleared up, it’s time to check in with your veterinarian.