Do I Need To Call The Vet When My Dog Has Diarrhea? Or Can I Try Some Home Remedies for Doggie Diarrhea First?

I used to work at a vet. While there, I learned a few “home remedies” for some common pet ailments, including the dreaded doggie diarrhea.
Here are the best home remedies for treating a case of diarrhea in your dog.
But how do you know when it’s time to see the vet?…

Keep This In Mind…

Diarrhea is a SYMPTOM of something else going on in your pet’s system. It occurs when food travels through the digestive system too quickly — resulting in insufficient moisture being absorbed. This usually happens when the intestines become irritated and inflamed. Your dog’s intestinal distress could be anything from a mild case of upset stomach from something he ate to a sign of something more serious including worms, parasites, or even cancer.

Vet or No Vet?

Fortunately, most episodes of doggie diarrhea that have sudden onset, are easily cured, and occur infrequently. They’re just a fact of doggiehood. But technically, diarrhea becomes clinically significant after 24 hours. Therefore, if any of these are true:
  • The diarrhea has lasted a couple days
  • Your dog is weak and lacks energy
  • There are additional problems (such as vomiting or blood in the stool)
…then it is time to have a veterinarian examine your dog, no matter how long the diarrhea has been happening. By the way, there are mobile vets who make house calls these days. They can help if you can’t get to a veterinarian’s office, or if you’d rather not go to an after-hours pet emergency center. So, while home remedies could save you some money in a pinch, you should always consult with your veterinarian — at least via phone callif the diarrhea has lasted more than 2 days. If you really want to play it safe, then phone your veterinarian and let them know the very moment you notice that your dog has diarrhea. Be sure to mention any other “symptoms” you’ve noticed, as well. Chances are, they’ll tell you to follow the same advice mentioned here for the first 24 to 48 hours.

My Best Advice If Your Dog Has Diarrhea

Personally, if a dog has diarrhea for more than 2 days in a row — then YES, I would definitely take that dog to the vet. Sooner rather than later. At the very least, a phone call to the vet is in order for some personal guidance over the phone. Keep in mind that “home remedies” should only be applied at the onset of diarrhea (the moment you first notice it)… before it’s had time to wear your dog down and before it has managed to freak you out as a caring dog owner. The more time that’s passed, the more urgency that you get your dog to the vet. At the very least you should call your vet to get their advice over the phone. Be honest with them and they’ll be honest with you. Trust their judgment. Also, the younger the dog is, the sooner it needs to be seen by a vet when diarrhea strikes. Why? Because diarrhea usually signals something much more serious going on than just an upset tummy in puppies. And a simple case of diarrhea can quickly get out of control with a young puppy. The same applies to very old, senior dogs too. Always think of puppies and senior dogs as having “a compromised immune system”. Dogs are usually not operating at full-strength at very young and very old ages. Here’s another valuable tip that I wasn’t aware of until I started working at the vet:

You don’t always have to take your pet to the vet to obtain a diagnosis (and meds if there’s a problem). With diarrhea, for example, you could simply take a recent sample of your pet’s stool to the vet (yes, even some of the runny diarrhea). The “fecal test” is generally very inexpensive ($10 to $15) and works wonders for giving you peace of mind.

About Lynnette

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).

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