Does pumpkin help dogs with diarrhea?
February 13, 2020
TL;DR: Yes, it does. I could leave it there but there’d be no fun in that!
For obvious reasons, there won’t be too many pictures in this post. I’ll let you use your imagination to fill in the blanks! So, diarrhea is the topic, well this is just part and parcel of owning a dog. They eat junk, get an upset stomach and you pick up the pieces (literally), my dog owner friend! In this post I’ll give you some tips to get you both through it.
Betty was a serial diarrhea offender when she was a pup. She was forever eating things she shouldn’t and getting so excited she’d end up with a liquid belly. The day we took her into our city centre for the first time was one that will live on in our memory for a long time. If either of us ever dare mention that day the only response that comes is… “never again”. At one point we had gangs around her stroking her, pinching her, and she’s on her belly playing up to all this attention. Little did we know that there was a price to be paid for all of this new found fame. To avoid replaying this scene, lets just say you could follow our trail through the city. Once we’d ran out of water and poo bags we were just in survival mode - Get back to the car before she goes again.
Anyway, we’ve found some things that really helped us so I thought I’d share them here.
Should we take our dog to the vet with diarrhea?
Before I start, let us clear this up straight away. Everyone searching for answers to questions like this wants a yes or no answer. Of course, no one is going to be that specific. Every case is different.
Whenever you search the Internet for an answer to this, the advice will basically boil down to…
Is diarrhea a common problem with dogs? Yes.
Should you be worried? Probably not.
Should you take them to the vet? It depends…
As with everything in life, nothing is black and white. The ubiquitous “it depends” answer doesn’t help when you desperately need advice. I’m not going to pretend and say I have the definitive answer. I can try using other words that basically boil down to “It depends”, but you’re too smart for that, so I won’t.
Diarrhea caused quite a few vet visits for us over the course of Betty getting to about 12 months old. This was mainly when the symptoms didn’t subside after 24 hours or she was acting out of character. One time she was also vomiting as well so that didn’t take much deciding, off we went straight to the out of hours vet. When deciding if you should take your dog to the vet when they have diarrhea, just look to see if anything else unusual is happening - like they’re not as energetic as usual. Then, if you’re still undecided, just go and get peace of mind for yourself. Don’t torture yourself over the decision! The vet isn’t going to shout at you for wasting their time. I know vet bills can be expensive, but I’d say it will be worth it for your own sanity.
So, should you take your dog to the vet if they have diarrhea?
My advice would be this (trying not to say “it depends”)…
(You might need paper and a pen to follow along)
Imagine a thermometer with the mercury sitting at zero. If at any point the thermometer hits 100, it’s time to go to the vet. If it goes over 100 then that is an emergency visit (call out of hours service if needed) - the further over, the more of an emergency it is.
Here we go…
So your dog has diarrhea. That’s not a terribly uncommon issue, the thermometer just goes up by 30 degrees.
Now, if your dog is a puppy or elderly, or has any preexisting medical conditions, the temperature raises by a further 40 degrees.
So, as an example, if you have a puppy with diarrhea, the vet-o-meter (that’s what I’m calling it now) is at 70 degrees (30 + 40). You should be concerned, but not quite reaching for the phone just yet.
Also, If you have a healthy young dog at this stage you’d be at 30 degrees, I wouldn’t be overly concerned.
Now, if your dog is acting out of character, add 30 to 40 degrees depending on how out of character they are and how concerned you are.
So if you have a puppy acting out of character, you’re now at either 100 or 110 degrees, and it is time to pick up the bat phone. Same for if you have an elderly dog, or one who has preexisting medical conditions. If you’re at 110 and out of hours you might want to call the emergency vet for advice.
If you have a young healthy dog you’re at 60 - 70 degrees. It is time to start thinking about that trip, but not quite reaching for your coat.
Now if their diarrhea persists after 24 hours, add 30 degrees.
And if they’re still acting out of character after 24 hours, add another 10 degrees
At this point, a puppy acting out of character would have already been taken to the vet according to the all knowing vet-o-meter. If you haven’t done so, take them now.
A puppy that is acting normal, but symptoms persist past 24 hours takes you to 100 degrees. Time for a vet visit.
At this point for a healthy dog acting out of character, you’d either be at 100 or 110 - time to arrange a visit to your vet. If you’re out of hours and at 110, it is probably time to call your emergency vet.
For a healthy dog acting normal still, you’d be at 60 degrees
If the symptoms still persist after 48 hours add 40 degrees
Now even the healthy young dog is ordered to the vet by the vet-o-meter (important note: the vet-o-meter takes no referral fee from vets and is totally impartial). Even this young healthy specimen is at 100.
Finally, If at any point other symptoms develop like vomiting, add 40 degrees.
In this instance, the vet-o-meter would only not recommend a trip to the vet if your young healthy dog is acting totally normal and the symptoms have not gone on over 24 hours
If you’re good with numbers work your vet-o-meter score out. If not, go get some paper and a pen to follow along! Maybe I’ll turn vet-o-meter into an interactive all singing and dancing widget at some point. Until then words will have to suffice!
You have to admit, that wasn’t a totally “it depends” answer. But seriously, if you are concerned it is best to just call the vet for advice. That costs you nothing and will reassure you.
Now that is out of the way on to the real reason for this post…
What to feed a dog with diarrhea to make them nice and solid again!
The best advice that has worked for us is to stop feeding them their usual food right away, you need to give them something a bit blander. Give their interiors a fighting chance!
We use boiled chicken and plain white rice. Now the real secret we found is like a miracle cure for runny bums… Tinned Pumpkin! Betty doesn’t like it at all so we have to sneak it in with the chicken and rice.
You’ll also want to reduce the portion size right down and just feed them more often through the day.
What type of pumpkin should you use for diarrhea in dogs?
You should use unsweetened, pure, natural pumpkin. we’ve always used Libby’s 100% pure Pumpkin. Amazon sell it in packs. It is a good idea to always keep some in stock!
How much pumpkin should you feed your dog?
You don’t need too much. We usually put about 2-3 table spoons in Betty’s dinners. We have to hide it in there as she’s not too keen on it, though.
Other things to help dog diarrhea
We’ve had our vet prescribe Pro-Kolin for dogs in the past and that has worked well. You can buy it from Amazon and we have used that in the past with success.
You can also buy rehydration powder to replace those missing electrolytes and salts caused by diarrhea. You just mix the powder into your dog’s water.