When a condition causes irritation in the small or large intestine, regulated bowel movements (peristalsis) increase in speed. The body is, in effect, attempting to expel the irritant, toxin, or some form of excess. Contents of the intestines moving at a faster rate doesn’t allow for normal removal of fluid, resulting in diarrhea.
A mild case of diarrhea in an animal that is otherwise well, will usually run it’s course and rectify itself. Treatment of persistent diarrhea (Enteritis) should always begin with an examination and diagnosis by your Veterinarian. Knowing the cause of any condition is crucial before we administer home remedies for pets.
See your Veterinarian immediately if:
- The diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting or lasts more than 24-36 hours – This can cause serious dehydration and electrolyte loss.
- There is blood or a black tar appearance in the stool.
- Your pet appears to be in pain.
- The pet is not fully grown or very small – Small pets, puppies or kittens can dehydrate rapidly.
- You have a pregnant or lactating female.
Diarrhea in dogs or cats can be caused by:
- Dietary changes or improper diet
- Food intolerance or allergy
- Eating spoiled food
- Physical irritation such as an object or bone stuck in the digestive tract.
- Internal parasites (especially in puppies or kittens)
- Parvovirus, Distemper, or other viral disease
- Osmotic – Fluid is drawn into the bowel due to high sugar levels.
- Medication such as antibiotics
- Bacterial imbalance
- Enzyme deficiency
- Constipation – the body overcompensates to expel fecal obstructions.
Natural Treatment of Dog or Cat Diarrhea
Fasting – Unless the pet is diabetic, many holistic veterinarians suggest stopping solid food for 24 hours to give the digestive tract a rest and allow it to heal. Water should be provided during the fasting period. You can offer broth with a dash of sea salt to boost electrolytes. This can be followed by a bland diet of boneless, skinless chicken for cats. Dogs may have chicken or ground beef and rice with a little oat bran.
Calcium Montmorillonite Clay – The fastest and most effective remedy we’ve ever tried in both pets and humans, is a small dose of Calcium Montmorillonite Clay. In the wild, virtually every group of animals instinctively seeks out natural cures and digestive aids that aren’t typically available in captivity (which is why pets sometimes eat dirt). One of these instinctively utilized wonders is Calcium Montmorillonite and similar smectite (bentonite) clays. It can address the cause as well as the symptoms in some cases, including loose stools due to antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens or internal parasites. Clay also performs the basic function of absorbing access moisture through its colloidal properties. It also rids the body of a wide range of toxins, including mycotoxins and radiation. 1/2 tsp can be stirred into water or mixed with a little yogurt up to three times/day if necessary. If your pet is on medication, do not give them Calcium Montmorillonite Clay less than two hours before or after the medication.
Slippery Elm, Plantain and Marshmallow Root – Slippery Elm and Plantain offer tannin constituents to reduce fluids, along with mucilage to soothe and protect. They can be used alone, or you can add a dash of Marshmallow Root for it’s soothing, mucilaginous benefits. Dr. Roger DeHaan recommends 1 teaspoon of Slippery Elm Powder for each of 25 pounds of body weight, mixed in warm water or chicken broth with regular feeding. Use the same dosage if you mix the three herbs. These herbal powders may also be mixed with Calcium Montmorillonite Clay.
Pectin – The gel-forming properties in natural pectin (a form of fiber) effectively binds loose stools. Dr. Nancy Scanlan recommends it be mixed into food and left for a few minutes to absorb moisture. Her dosage recommendation is 1/8 teaspoon for small dogs, 1/4 teaspoon for large dogs and 1/2 teaspoon for giant breeds. For mild cases, you can feed pure, unsweetened applesauce for its pectin content.
Pure, Unseasoned Pumpkin – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon soothes the digestive system and the fiber absorbs water.
Seaweed – Seaweed helps to balance electrolytes and offers prebiotic properties to facilitate reestablishment of gut microflora. The fiber in seaweed absorbs excess fluid in the digestive tract. Seaweed also boasts anti-microbial and anti-parasite properties, and helps to remove toxins. Since it is low in carbohydrates, a small amount of seaweed is a suitable fiber and supplement for cats.
Probiotics – A probiotic supplement and/or some plain, active yogurt to repopulate gut microflora. May include lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium. This is especially important if the pet has been put on antibiotics.
Manufactured Natural Diarrhea Treatments and Preventatives: Natural products that utilize some of the suggested diarrhea treatments mentioned here include Parvo-K and Vi-Pro Plus.
Kaopectate – Utilizes a mineral from clay (attapulgite) to bind and absorb bacteria and toxins, along with pectin fiber.
Digestive Enzymes – Basic enzymes include lipas, protease, amylase and cellulase. Mandatory for digestion and uptake of nutrients and efficient elimination of toxins. Deficiencies can be caused by cooked or heavily processed diets. Supplements are also beneficial when changing the diet. Holistic veterinarians often recommend PetAlive’s line of Digestive Enzymes.
Acupressure – Some holistic Veterinarians also utilize acupressure to relieve diarrhea. Stimulate the following pressure points for about 30 seconds, once per day:
– ST 25: Just under the last rib.
– SP 4: Inside of back foot, just under the ankle.
– SP 36: Inside hind leg in the indent just under the knee.
– L 14: Web skin between the first toe and the dewclaw.
– L 111: Front leg outside elbow creases.
Homeopathy – Nosodes, a homeopathic ‘remedy’ prepared from infectious organisms, are often recommended as a natural vaccine for infectious organisms such as distemper or staphylococcus bacteria. Many homeopathic remedies could be used to treat your dog or cat depending on the symptoms present, but may include Pulsitilla 30c, Arsenicum album 30c, or Mercurius corrsivus 30c.
Rest – Perhaps most importantly, provide a peaceful, calm environment for your cat or dog to rest in. Diarrhea zaps their energy and taxes their immune system, just like it does in humans. Additional stress may worsen their condition or leave them open to secondary infections.
Caution: Wash your hands thoroughly each time you handle your pet while he is ill. Some of the issues associated with diarrhea are transmittable to humans.
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