Antidiarrheals for Dogs – Best OTC & Prescription Drugs to Stop Diarrhea in Dogs

All dogs suffer from diarrhea at least once in their lives. But antidiarrheals for dogs can certainly change the game for you as a dog owner. Even though regular diarrhea can subside within a couple of days, dog antidiarrheals can help your pooch avoid all unnecessary unease.

Dog diarrhea sucks, that’s for sure. But can you even blame the bugs in your dog’s gut for acting out? With dogs preferring someone’s half-finished bagel in the trash can over hygienic dog food, it’s only a miracle they don’t get diarrhea every day.

In this article, we’re going to discuss all about diarrhea in dogs and explain to you how to treat it.

About Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea in dogs refers to watery or loose stools. It can occur in dogs due to a number of reasons including viral and bacterial infections, stress, and eating unhygienic food. A lot of times, diarrhea itself is only a secondary symptom of other diseases in dogs. For example, a dog with hookworm disease or irritable bowel syndrome may face diarrhea as well.

Your dog might get diarrhea from food intolerance, poisoning or even an allergy. What’s more, pooches that end up eating indigestible materials (like half a slipper) may get diarrhea as well.

Diarrhea is caused when fecal matter passes too fast through the intestine. This is also accompanied by a reduction in the absorption of water. The result is frequent, loose, and watery stools. At times, you may see a few other symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, and lots of blood in the stool.

As mentioned above, diarrhea is quite common in dogs, and in mild cases, it’s nothing to worry about. However, chronic diarrhea in dogs due to severe causes like parvovirus can even be fatal. In such cases, using antidiarrheals for dogs is a sound decision.

Common Symptoms of Dogs with Diarrhea

Dogs with diarrhea show a number of symptoms including loose stools, vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Usually, dogs with diarrhea would undergo a loss of appetite. This can, at times, lead to weight loss. Many dogs would also vomit every time they are fed.

However, if your dog gets diarrhea due to another disease, he would display a wider set of symptoms. If you see any signs of dehydration or illness, then make sure you try dog antidiarrheals and call the vet as soon as possible.

dog stools consistency
A chart to help you define your dog’s stool consistency.

Diarrhea Treatment in Dogs

Krista Williams, DVM believes that the conservative approach for healing mild diarrhea is a better option. In this approach, you should avoid medications and allow the body to heal naturally.

For this, you’ll need to fast your dog for 8-12 hours. Try that your dog gets no food at all during this time because it would either end up in doggie runs or your dog would puke. So, complete fasting is the right way to go here.

Also, you need to understand that in dog diarrhea, your pooch is not retaining enough water in his body. That’s why most of it leaves with his poo. Now, this may lead to dehydration so you need to offer fresh drinking water to your dog during this time. Make sure it’s clean water that you’ll be happy to drink yourself.

After 12 hours of fasting, if your dog’s situation improves, you can start feeding him. Traditionally, vets recommend feeding boiled white rice to dogs along with a protein source like chicken. Just make sure you completely debone it and remove the skin. Many diarrheas are simply caused by a lack of fiber in the dog’s diet.

This meal should be very small, allowing your pooch to adjust. If your dog’s stomach holds up, allow him to feed on this same diet regularly every couple of hours. Slowly, increase the feeding size and the interval between feedings until your dog returns to his original feeding times.

What are Antidiarrheals for Dogs?

Antidiarrheals are used to heal diarrhea in dogs. There are lots of natural, medicinal and therapeutic types of antidiarrheals. Dogs get diarrhea when there’s an imbalance of the good and bad bugs in their guts. Usually, dog antidiarrheals help restabilize your dog’s gut microbiome and microbiota.

With that said, the type of antidiarrheal you use for your dog depends on a lot of factors. Many antidiarrheals just help the dog’s natural mechanism to take its course and fight diarrhea. However, many others actively fight dog diarrhea and try to reduce it.

But which one should you go with? Well, that depends on what you’re comfortable with and what your vet recommends. Some antidiarrheals have mild, natural ingredients while others use harsh chemicals. Don’t use the latter unless your vet recommends you to.

Over-The-Counter Antidiarrheals for Dogs

At times, diarrhea in dogs can get really bad (and smelly). In such situations, our first instinct as dog owners is to get it on a safe dog diarrhea medicine. In this section, we’re going to explain what medication is used for diarrhea in dogs. We’ll also go into its possible side effects and dosage of each.

However, a word of caution: this article does not serve as a substitute for a veterinary suggestion. Which anti-diarrhea drugs for dogs you use depends highly on the type and severity of diarrhea as well as your dog’s medical history. Always consult your vet before using any medicinal antidiarrheals for dogs.

Imodium

Imodium for dogs is one of the most common antidiarrheal medicines. It is the brand name of Loperamide, a drug that slows down the passage of food in the dog’s gut. It also increases water absorption for the body. The result is a firmer stool. Slowing the food down also allows the dog more time to absorb nutrients and water.

With that said, Imodium can even be dangerous for mutts. It might sound useful to slow down the food, thereby inhibiting bowel movements. However, excessive bowel movements can even be useful for the body in certain types of diarrhea. These include diarrhea from bacterial infections or toxins. Pooping is often the body’s way of removing those bacteria and toxins. So, if Imodium reduces the poop, that can have an adverse effect on your dog’s health.

A word of caution: never give Imodium to pregnant and nursing dogs as well as pups and old pooches. You’d also want to keep it away from dogs with kidney diseases.

Before giving Imodium to your dog, consult with your veterinarian. In that visit, make sure you ask questions like, “How much Imodium can I give my dog”. The suggested amount can vary from case to case. However, Jennifer Coates, DVM, maintains that a dosage of 0.1 mg of Imodium per kg of a dog’s weight is typical.

With that in mind, make sure you study the concentration of Imodium in the medicine you’re using. Imodium tablets are a lot stronger and have about 2 mg of the drug while liquid Imodium is milder and usually contains 1 mg per 5 mL of the liquid.

Dosage of Imodium for Dogs
Dosage of Imodium for Dogs

Pepto-Bismol

Pepto-Bismol is the brand name of the medication bismuth subsalicylate. It’s a people-medication used for general stomach problems like diarrhea and heartburn. Not to mention, you can also use it as a dog antidiarrheal.

However, Dr. Jerry Klein, the AKC’S Chief Veterinary Officer, says that he rarely suggests this medication for dog diarrhea. That’s because this medication might cause gastric bleeding.

As a safer substitute, he recommends Corrective Suspension that contains bismuth subsalicylate but is primarily for dogs. If you absolutely must use Pepto-Bismol, Dr. Jerry Klein suggests 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs. Give your dog another dose within 6-8 hours and if diarrhea still doesn’t get better, then contact your vet.

You should never use Pepto-Bismol for pregnant and nursing dogs. Also, it’s dangerous for dogs with bleeding disorders.

Pepcid-AC

This is another dog antidiarrheal that vets recommend. Although it’s not approved by the FDA for pet use, it’s normal for vets to prescribe it. Pepcid-AC, or Famotidine, is actually an acid neutralizer. So, it’s great for dogs that have an acidic stomach (acid reflux).

Dr. Debra Primovic recommends about 0.25-0.5 milligram per pound of Pepcid-AC for dogs. She further recommends giving the next dose 12 to 24 hours after the initial one and continuing these doses for 3-5 days.

As with all the other antidiarrheal medications in this article, avoid using it for pregnant or nursing dogs. Also, dogs with kidney, heart or liver diseases shouldn’t use this medicine.

5 Antidiarrheals for Dogs That Can be Bought Online

Right, so it’s true that Imodium and Pepto-Bismol work well for dogs. But you often can’t buy them online. What if you’re just on Amazon and want to buy a dog antidiarrheal? Well, that’s why we’ve worked on creating this specific section for you.

Here are the best antidiarrheals for dogs:

1. TummyWorks Dog Probiotic Powder

TummyWorks is the ideal, all-in-one solution for all things tummy in dogs. It contains 10 probiotics which help strengthen the good bacteria in your dog’s stomach. These good bacteria are important because they, in turn, fight the bad bacteria. This alone goes a long way in improving your dog’s digestive tract health. But there’s more: TummyWorks has 6 digestive enzymes, including Protease, Amylase, and Beta-glucanase. So, it’s safe to say that this antidiarrheal for dogs works quite well for overall gut health and diarrhea in dogs.

This product is in powder form and can easily be added in your dog’s food. Customers are raving about how fantastic it is for the overall gut health of their dogs. By using TummyWorks, their dog’s stool is a lot firmer and there’s less smell from the litter box. Even though TummyWorks advertises itself to work well for skin problems, it’s not that great in this department.

2. PetVitalityPRO w/ Natural Digestive Enzymes

Pet Vitality Pro is another complete solution to all digestive problems in dogs. Vets often recommend it for diarrhea, gas, and vomiting. What’s more, it also contains digestive enzymes which are useful for improving digestion in dogs. These enzymes are especially great for dogs that are slowly returning to a regular diet after diarrhea. Along with that, it also boosts the immune system with antioxidants and helps against skin allergies.

When it comes to such supplements for dogs, trust is important. However, Pet Vitality Pro is one of the most trusted manufacturers in the space with an FDA-approved manufacturing site. Not just that, they also provide a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers. So, there’s not much to lose here. With that, this supplement also finds its use for dogs with antibiotic treatment and skin allergies. However, some dogs just don’t like its taste. But that’s something that you’ll have to try for yourself and see.

3. Deley Naturals Advanced Probiotic Supplement

Deley Naturals is the founder of the Treats for Transition movement in that supports Animal Rescues in North America. Their Advance Probiotic Supplement is high-quality, to say the least. With 4 billion CFUs per 2 chews, it’s easily one of the most potent formulas out there. Probiotics help form colonies of healthy bacteria in the gut. At the same time, this formula has a healthy dose of prebiotics as well. These act as the food for probiotics and further improve gut health. With that, you also get 6 digestive enzymes that improve digestion.

Simply put, this is one of the best dog antidiarrheals in the market. This supplement is made in the USA with all its ingredients sourced within the states as well. What’s more, these chews taste just as good as treats. So, you can rest assured that your dog would love it. Since dog owners also use this for dog allergies, it’s free from grains, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, and artificial colors.

4. NUSENTIA Pet Probiotic Miracle

Probiotic Miracle is famous for dogs that are recovering from antibiotics. However, you can also use it for loose stools, diarrhea, and yeast overgrowth. With 120 scoops per container, Nusentia formulates this supplement with cats and dogs in mind. In fact, they’re very particular about the fact that this is not just a human probiotic supplement with a pet label. Every probiotic strain that they’re using is scientifically proven to work for dogs. It contains no additives and flavors and is grain, gluten, and dairy-free.

As if that wasn’t enough, Nusentia tops it off with a 60-day money-back guarantee in case you’re not happy with their product. With that aside, I doubt if you’ll ever need to cash in on that guarantee since the reviews for this supplement look solid. Many customers have attributed Probiotic Miracle to have saved their dog’s life.

5. Vetoquinol Pro-Pectalin Oral Gel

If your dog has diarrhea due to stress or other environmental factors, then Vetoquinol Oral Gel would be a great option for him. This oral gel provides fast relief and adjusts normal gut pH as well. This formula includes lots of probiotics to improve the intestinal flora. What’s more, the manufacturer has added encapsulated Enterococcus faecium. This allows the bacteria to survive against the high acidity of the stomach. As a result, this bacteria reaches the intestine and restores the normal bacteria.

There are lots of other active ingredients in this formula. For example, there’s Kaolin that helps soothe the intestine and Pectin that absorbs excess water.

If you’re still not convinced about the quality of this product, here’s the kicker. Vetoquinol is part of the National Animal Supplement Council, along with only about a hundred other companies. Here’s the complete list of NASC members that contains Vetoquinol.

Dog Antidiarrheals FAQ

So, there you have it, people. In this article, we tried covering everything about antidiarrheals for dogs. But if you still have a few questions in your head, then this section is for you. Here, we’ll take a quick roundup of the most commonly asked questions about dog antidiarrheals.

Is Imodium safe for dogs?

Imodium is safe for most dogs with diarrhea if administered at a low dose. However, it’s not suitable for diarrhea due to bacterial infection or toxins.

When bacteria or toxins enter your dog’s body, they need to be removed fast. Diarrhea is the body’s method of removing these toxins as fast as possible. However, Imodium would end up inhibiting frequent stools, thereby retaining the bacteria inside your dog’s body. In such a case, Imodium would not be safe for dogs.

With that said, you can safely use Imodium for dogs in all other types of diarrhea. As a precaution, always consult with your vet before using any medication. Also, keep Imodium away from pregnant and nursing dogs or pooches that suffer from some other disease.

Does diarrhea in dogs have different kinds?

There aren’t different kinds of diarrhea per se. However, depending on the cause of your dog’s diarrhea, its symptoms could be different. For example, a dog with soft stool might just be stressed while another with watery stool would more likely have an infection. Similarly, excess blood in the feces can signal a bigger disease. Gray stool also, at times, signals excess greens in your dog’s diet. Diarrhea can also accompany mucus in your dog’s stool. In that case, rush him to the vet.

As you can see, once can consider diarrhea to have different types. However, the internal mechanism of diarrhea is usually the same. With that said, the only way you can tell the reason behind your dog’s diarrhea and classify it broadly is by noticing its stool. If needed, use dog antidiarrheals to reduce diarrhea symptoms.

What causes dog diarrhea?

Diarrhea in Dogs
Read our guide on canine diarrhea.

The causes of dog diarrhea range from stress, lack fo dietary fiber, and environmental factors, to bacterial infections. A lot of times, dogs get diarrhea due to a rapid change in their diet. If your dog gets runny poop, take a moment to think about what it’s been eating as that’s usually the culprit. Food allergies are also major contributors to dog diarrhea.

At times, there’s no direct cause of diarrhea in dogs. Instead, diarrhea is a result of some other diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Understanding the root cause behind your dog’s diarrhea might not be as straight forward. So, if your mutt’s condition worsens, visit a vet and get it checked.

Is dog diarrhea contagious?

Dog diarrhea can be contagious if it is caused by a contagious virus. For example, Coronavirus can cause a few days of diarrhea and is transmitted from one dog to another through feces. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, and intestinal parasites like hookworm and roundworm; all cause diarrhea and are contagious.

So, it’s safe to say that contagious diarrhea is common. However, it would only be contagious for other dogs and not from humans. Now, if your dog is suffering from diarrhea, we’d recommend keeping it indoors and away from other pooches, and getting it some rest.

Do I have to separate my other dogs from my dog with diarrhea?

If your dog has diarrhea due to contagious diseases like canine distemper, parvo, hookworm, and roundworm, then you should separate your dog from others. Make sure you’re giving it enough space to get it lots of rest and to keep others safe at the same time.

However, if your dog gets diarrhea due to reasons like stress and non-contagious viruses, there’s no problem in letting it mingle with other dogs. If it gets worse, try a dog antidiarrheal and it should get better.

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