Navigating Your Dog's Diarrhea: A Holistic Approach

Navigating Your Dog's Diarrhea: A Holistic Approach

Ah, the woes of dealing with a pup's upset tummy—it's a common challenge for many dog owners. You might find yourself tempted to rush to the vet for a quick fix in the form of antibiotics, but hold your horses! Before you make that decision, let's explore some important factors together.

The Antibiotic Conundrum

Did you know that overuse of antibiotics poses a serious threat to global health? It's true! According to the World Health Organization (WHO), inappropriate use of antibiotics contributes to millions of deaths worldwide each year by fuelling antimicrobial resistance. That's why organizations like ENOVAT (European Network for Optimization of Veterinary Antimicrobial Treatment) are dedicated to optimizing veterinary antimicrobial treatment to combat this issue.

Why Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer

When it comes to treating your furry friend's diarrhea, there's a lot more to consider than just popping a pill. Integrative veterinarians caution against the use of antibiotics like Metronidazole, which research suggests may not even be effective against diarrhea and could disrupt your dog's gut health in the long run.

The Road to Recovery

The good news is that most cases of doggy diarrhea are mild and self-limiting, meaning they often clear up on their own within about a week. So, unless your pup's condition is severe, antibiotics might not be the way to go.

According to ENOVAT studies, the severity of diarrhea is broken down in the following chart, and further states that antibiotics should only be prescribed in severe cases. In those severe cases antimicrobials are provided to treat potential systemic bacteria instead of treating the diarrhea.

ENOVAT Diarrhea Severity

Dietary Interventions

One of the first steps in managing your dog's diarrhea should be dietary modification. ENOVAT guidelines recommend opting for a highly digestible diet supplemented with fiber. Forget the old rice remedy. Rice is actually quite hard to digest and may contain high levels of arsenic depending on where it was grown. It’s time to embrace gentler options like oatmeal and lean meats. 

Gentle Options Include:
  • Fasting your dog for 24 hours - avoid solid food and provide pet safe bone broth. (Do not fast young puppies or animals with compromised health conditions)
  • Offering a gently cooked diet of oatmeal with meats like chicken, turkey, or beef. 
  • Add ground flaxseed or chia seed to your pet’s food
In further support of taking a nutritional approach to calming diarrhea, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published an article (link below) showing that a randomized controlled trial demonstrated nutritional management is superior to metronidazole for treatment of acute colitis in dogs.

Harnessing the Power of Probiotics

Probiotics are live organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, can be a game-changer in supporting your pup's gut health. Many well formulated brands will feature both pre and probiotics in their formulations. Products containing Saccharomyces Boulardii, in particular, have been shown to effectively treat both acute and chronic diarrhea in dogs.

Pet Grocer Staff recommended probiotics for loose stool & diarrhea:

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)

Yes, you read that right—FMT isn't just for humans! This innovative treatment involves transferring fecal matter from a healthy donor dog to your dog's gut  in order to restore balance and promote healing. It's a cutting-edge approach with promising results, especially in cases of stubborn diarrhea. Companies like AnimalBiome and Legacy Biome have created convenient, easy to administer (at home!) FMT products and test kits to help you navigate your pet’s specific gut needs. 

The Pet Grocer Advantage

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry—Pet Grocer staff are here to help! From diet advice to choosing the right supplements and even exploring FMT options, they've got you covered every step of the way.

When it comes to your dog's diarrhea, a holistic approach centered around diet and natural interventions can be your first line of defense. Save antibiotics for truly severe cases, and be sure to explore alternative treatments like probiotics and FMT. Your furry friend's tummy will thank you for it!

Other Pet Grocer blog articles about poop that you may like: 

  **The content in this blog is not meant to replace veterinary advice. Always consult your holistic veterinarian regarding changes in your pet's health. Never withhold food from young dogs, small breeds, or health challenged pets unless under the direct care of a veterinarian.** 


1. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association - randomized controlled trial demonstrated nutritional management is superior to metronidazole for treatment of acute colitis in dogs. CLICK HERE

2. Research Article: Target trial emulation: Do antimicrobials or gastrointestinal nutraceuticals prescribed at first presentation for acute diarrhoea cause a better clinical outcome in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK? CLICK HERE

3. European Network for Optimization of Veterinary Antimicrobial Treatment CLICK HERE 

Author Lynn Potts - Pet Grocer Staff & Nutrition Specialist