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Diarrhea Home Remedies

If you have a dog at home, the occasional diarrhea episode is to be expected. It’s not really a matter of if your dog will experience it, but when. Knowing what to expect when your dog has loose stools – and how to manage it – is good to have, especially before you need it. Dr. Karen Becker gives her recommendation to cure diarrhea episodes at home.

Causes of Diarrhea

There are many causes of diarrhea, but the most common reason by far is dietary indiscretion, which means your pet ate something he shouldn’t have and his body is trying to get rid of it as soon as possible.

If your dog eats a stick or a chew toy, diarrhea or loose stools are commonly the result. Just as your body is designed to eat different foods every day and not have diarrhea, so is your pet’s. If you feed your dog or cat the same food day after day, month after month, year in and year out, then suddenly switch to a new diet, a case of diarrhea is just about guaranteed.

It’s not the fault of the different food — it’s because your pet’s gut has been conditioned to process only one type of food, which is not ideal, nutritionally or physiologically.

Transitioning Your Pet to a Varied Diet

The goal is to diversify your pet’s diet to include a variety of foods with different nutrient contents, which ultimately fosters a diversified gut microbiome, and makes the digestive system strong and resilient.

Up to 80 percent of your pet’s immune system is located within the GI tract, so the more you focus on creating good gut health, the healthier your pet will be overall.

If you want to feed your pet a different food, you have to make the transition very slowly. A slow dietary transition means days to weeks for most dogs, and often weeks to months for cats. Start by feeding 10 percent new food blended with 90 percent old food for several days. Watch your pet’s stool and if all seems well, move to 20 percent new/80 percent old. Keep watching for stool changes and if none occur, move to 30 percent new food and 70 percent old, and so on, until you’re feeding only the new diet. The process should be slow enough that no bowel changes occur.

Treating a Pet With Diarrhea at Home

If your dog or cat is otherwise healthy and his behavior is normal, Dr. Becker recommends to withhold food — not water, just food — for 12 hours. A short-term fast gives the GI tract a chance to rest, repair and restore itself. Tissues can only heal when they’re resting.

Follow the 12-hour food fast with a bland diet. Dr. Becker recommends cooked, fat-free ground turkey and 100 percent canned pumpkin. If canned pumpkin isn’t available, you can use fresh, steamed pumpkin. If you can’t use either one of those, you can use cooked sweet potato or even cooked white potato.

Other Treatment Suggestions

Dr. Becker also recommends keeping some slippery elm on hand. Slippery elm is a neutral fiber source that works really well to ease episodes of diarrhea. It reduces GI inflammation and acts as a non-irritating source of fiber to bulk up the stool and slow down GI transit time.

Give your dog or cat about a half a teaspoon or a capsule for each 10 pounds of body weight with every bland meal. In addition to slippery elm, many pet owners have good luck with herbs such as peppermint, fennel or chamomile. These are especially helpful for the cramping and other uncomfortable GI symptoms that come with diarrhea.

If your dog’s diarrhea isn’t resolving or keeps returning, collect a sample of the stool and take it to your vet. Your vet can test it and do bloodwork to see if an infection is present. It may also be necessary to treat your dog for dehydration in the event that your pup has lost too much fluid.

 

Puppy Love: Study Explains the Bond Between Human and Dog

Have you ever looked into your dog’s eyes and wondered, “why is my dog so charming?” What is it about your dog’s adoring gaze that makes it so powerful? A new study by Japanese scientist Miho Nagasawa seems to have found the answer, and it has to do with something called the cuddle chemical, love hormone, or oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a substance in the blood that encourages bonding. Levels of oxytocin increase, for example, when a mother feeds her newborn baby. High levels of the “love hormone” have also been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship. According to Nagasawa’s study, levels of oxytocin can also go up when we look deeply into the eyes of a dog.

The Cuddle Chemical/Love Hormone

Humans and dogs have been working together for nearly 30,000 years. In order to better understand how the love hormone worked between dogs and humans, Nagasawa and his team conducted an experiment. They tested levels of oxytocin in dogs and humans, and learned that oxytocin levels in both humans and dogs were higher after interaction with one another. The same was not true for wolves and their human handlers.

The results of this study tell us a lot about the history of the bond between humans and dogs. Over time, dogs that have interacted with humans have become more loyal to their human partners. So loyal, in fact, that they are capable of releasing a “love hormone” just by gazing into our eyes.

As expected, puppy love is just as powerful as love from other humans. The bond you form with your pet is remarkably similar to the bond you form with your child or significant other. This Valentine’s Day, make sure you share the love with your pet too!

Read more about puppy love here.

Find out how to share the love this week at Brookside Barkery.