Treating Diarrhea in Dogs with Probiotics
Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by several factors such as stress, a poor reaction to a certain type of food, sudden changes in diet and high amounts of stress. While diarrhea is quite common and typically clears up on its own, there are instances where diarrhea can be a long-lasting or recurring issue for a dog. If left untreated for too long, diarrhea can cause issues such as severe dehydration. In addition, the diarrhea itself can be a sign of a larger issue such as stomach or bowel problems, obstructions in the intestines and certain types of illnesses if the problem continues over long periods of time. Probiotics are one of the most beneficial treatment options for dogs with diarrhea.
What Are Probiotics?
While antibiotics are used to eliminate bacteria from the body, probiotics are used to help introduce more bacteria back into the body. The human body as well as the bodies of most animals contain both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria actually helps the body stay healthy and fight off illnesses while bad bacteria causes illnesses, infections and overall poor health. Antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria while probiotics introduce more good bacteria into the body to maintain good health.
Why Are Probiotics Useful in Treating Diarrhea in Dogs?
When a dog has diarrhea, they expel a lot of good bacteria. This loss of good bacteria can make a dog's condition even worse as it will be even more difficult to combat whatever is causing the diarrhea. It may also make recovery slower. Replacing the good bacteria with probiotics helps the dog combat the diarrhea and helps them recover from it.
In addition, diarrhea may be caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and even antibiotics. Increasing the level of probiotics in a dog's system is essential in fighting off these illnesses and medicinal side effects.
Probiotics also help in the digestion process, lowering the risk of diarrhea and improving overall gastrointestinal health. It can also help prevent and treat irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
How to Properly Treat Diarrhea in a Dog with Probiotics
First, the dog should be put on a 12 to 24 hour fast. The lack of food in the stomach should help the walls of the intestinal track relax and return to normal functioning. Ensure that the dog has plenty of water available at all times. Diarrhea can quickly cause dehydration, and continuously replenishing fluids is very important to both help reduce the risks or effects of dehydration and start the recovery process.
Second, slowly wean the dog off of the fast by giving them light meals of bland foods such as boiled chicken, white rice or plain pasta. Any dog would likely be yearning for a good meal after a fast, but it's important to feed them this food slowly starting with small amounts and easing them back up to their regular food. Giving them too much too quickly may start the stomach problems all over again.
If the dog continues to have some stomach issues after resuming a normal diet, try separating their daily amount of food into smaller meals spread out through the day. If problems still occur, try slowly transitioning them to a more bland diet or one that is specifically intended to improve intestinal health.
Finally, purchase some probiotics meant specifically for dogs. Don't use human probiotics as they will not produce the same effects and may even harm the dog. Mix the recommended dosage of probiotic into the dog's food once a day for about five days.
If the dog is still experiencing recurring diarrhea or other stomach issues after taking these steps, it's best to see a veterinarian to test for health problems or explore other options in treatment. Never resort to using human medication on a dog for the treatment of diarrhea. The biology of a dog's body is much different from ours, and administering medicine intended for human use to a dog may cause severe illness or even death. Some key symptoms to keep an eye out for are lethargic behavior, vomiting, black stool, blood in the stool and signs of abdominal pain. If seeking a veterinarian's assistance is necessary, ensure that you alert them of any and all symptoms.