What Do I Do If My Golden Retriever Has Diarrhea? (Vet Answers!)

by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

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What Do I Do If My Golden Retriever Has Diarrhea?

Does your Golden Retriever have diarrhea? While this is not fun to clean up, it can also mean that there is something wrong with your dog. In dog with mild diarrhea, there are some things that you can try at home to help firm up their stool. In more severe cases, it would be best for your dog to see your vet.

What to Do for Diarrhea in My Golden Retriever?

  1. Bland diet
  2. Probiotics
  3. Over the counter Diarrhea Medications
  4. See your vet

Sometimes diarrhea can easily be fixed at home while many times your Golden Retriever will need to see your vet.

Why is my dog having diarrhea?

Before you can treat your Golden Retriever’s diarrhea, you need to know what is causing their diarrhea. These are some of the causes of diarrhea in Golden Retrievers and what you can do to help stop your dog from having diarrhea.

Sudden Change in diet

If you have switched your dog’s diet suddenly, they can have diarrhea. These dogs will usually be very active and still want to eat and drink. Most of the times this type of diarrhea will easily clear up on its own once your dog’s stomach adjusts to their new diet.

When switching diets, it is best to do so gradually to avoid your dog from having diarrhea. It is best to make this transition over a few weeks. When you are switching diets slowly increase the new diet and decrease the old diet by 10% every few days.

This slow transition will help prevent your dog from having diarrhea.

Parasites

Some puppies and even adult dogs can have parasites that can cause them to have diarrhea. Parasites such as hookworm, round worms, whip worms and coccidia can commonly be found in their poop and cause them to have diarrhea.

Most parasites are microscopic, and you will not see them in their poop. Your vet can take a small fecal sample and see if your dog has parasites. If they do have parasites, your vet will prescribe your dog the appropriate dewormer to treat the worms.

Gastroenteritis

What Do I Do If My Golden Retriever Has Diarrhea?

If your dog ate something that they should not have they can develop gastroenteritis. This is an infection in your dog’s stomach and intestines. Many dogs with gastroenteritis will be vomiting and have diarrhea. They also may not want to eat.

If your dog is also vomiting and having diarrhea, it would be best for them to see your vet. Many of these dogs can quickly become dehydrated and need IV fluids and injectable medications to help them feel much better.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. When your dog eats a high fatty meal this can cause the pancreas to become inflamed. You can try withholding food for a 6 to 12 hours then reintroducing a bland diet to see if this calms down their stomach.

If your Golden Retriever ever is lethargic or continues to vomit it is best to see your vet. Some dogs will need to be hospitalized for a few days for them to recover from their pancreatitis.

One best way to prevent pancreatitis is to never off your Golden Retriever human foods. Stick with their dog food as this is formulated to no cause them to have an upset stomach.

Toxin Exposure

Some things can be very toxic to dog such as chocolate, grapes, certain plants, human medications, and other chemicals. If your dog was exposed to something toxic it can cause them to have diarrhea. Other issues seen in dogs who have toxin exposure are vomiting, neurological issues and lethargy.

If you suspect that your dog has been exposed to something toxic, it is best to not try any at home treatment and take your Golden Retriever to the vet.

Your vet will be able to correctly treat any toxin exposure correctly and not make your dog worse. Usually, the longer you wait the worse off your dog will be and the harder it is for them to recover.

Parvo Virus

Parvo virus is seen in young puppies that have not been vaccinated. This can cause your dog to have bloody diarrhea and even vomit.

If your dog is young, and having diarrhea, it is best for them to see your vet. Your vet can quickly and easily test your dog for parvo and start them on the appropriate medication to help them recover.

How to treat Diarrhea in my Golden Retriever?

Some of these issues will require that your dog sees your vet, others can be treated at home with just a little change to your dog’s diet. These are things that you can do at home to help your dog with diarrhea.

Bland diet

For dogs with diarrhea, it can be due to an upset stomach or eating something that they should not have, you can try offering them a bland diet.  Things such as boiled chicken and rice, scrambled egg or canned pumpkin can help settle your dog’s stomach.

Many times, your vet may recommend withholding food for 6 to 12 hours to help the stomach settle. Once you start to reintroduce food to them do so in small amount and feed a very bland diet.

During this time, make sure that your dog has free access to fresh water. Diarrhea can cause your dog to lose more water than they need to and can become dehydrated very quickly if they do not have a way to replenish the water that they have lost.

Probiotics

If your dog is having diarrhea, it can be due to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the intestines. Giving your dog probiotics will help replenish the good bacteria in the gut.

There are many great brands of probiotics that you can get from your local pet store. Two common products that are recommended by vets are Proviable or Fortiflora.

These products are backed by scientific studies showing that they will help improve your dog gastrointestinal flora.

Over the counter Diarrhea Medications

For dogs with diarrhea, sometimes giving over the counter anti-diarrhea medication can help. Imodium is one commonly used diarrhea medications for dogs that people may have at home.

Imodium is okay to give to your Golden Retriever just once or twice to try to stop their diarrhea. If they continue to have diarrhea while taking this medication, it would be best to see your vet since there may be something more serious going on causing their diarrhea.

A common dosage of Imodium used is 0.05mg per pound. So a 40 to 50 pound Golden Retriever would need to take 1 tablet where a 20 pound dog would need ½ tablet. Little dogs under 10 pounds would need 1/4th of a tablet.

It is always best to consult your vet before giving your Golden Retriever any new medications. Some anti-diarrheal medications like Imodium can have other side effects if your dog has an underlying medical issue.

See your vet

If your dog continues to have diarrhea, or shows signs that they are very sick, it would be best for them to see your vet. Your vet can check fecal samples, run bloodwork, take x-rays to figure out why your dog is having diarrhea.

The quicker you start figuring out what is causing the diarrhea, the faster you can start treating them and getting them back to their normal healthily life.

When do I need to see my Vet?

Many times, these common at home remedies for treating diarrhea at home will help stop your dog’s diarrhea. There are certain signs that would indicate that your dog needs to see your vet right away such as:

  • Vomiting: Many dogs that are having diarrhea will also be vomiting. This could be a sign of many other issues in dog that usually require a vet visit.
  • Lethargic: If your dog is ever lethargic, you should take them to your vet. This is especially true if they are also having diarrhea. Lethargy is a sign that your dog is not feeling well and could be
  • Blood in stool: If your dog has blood in their diarrhea this would beam that there is bleeding inside the intestines. This is something that should see your vet right away. Things like parasites can cause bleeding but so can ulcers and masses that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
  • Black tarry diarrhea: If your dog is having black tarry diarrhea, this usually indicates and upper GI bleed. This can also be a simple fix, but many times may need medications from your vet.

If you think that there is ever anything off with your Golden Retriever, it is never wrong to see your vet.

What do I do if my Golden Retriever has Diarrhea? (Vet Answers!)

Your vet can make sure that your dog is okay and help you treat their diarrhea either with medication or with dietary changes to stop your Golden Retriever’s diarrhea.

Final Thoughts

If your dog is having diarrhea, try to figure out why they are having diarrhea. Once your figure out the cause you can start changing things to stop this diarrhea.

If your Golden Retriever is every lethargic or showing other signs of illness, it would be best to see your vet. They are a great resource that can give you advise on the best thing to do to help stop your dog’s diarrhea.

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