Treating a Pet With Diarrhea at Home If your dog is otherwise healthy and his behavior is normal, my recommendation is 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. Follow the 12-hour food fast with a bland diet. I recommend cooked, fat-free, ground turkey and 100% 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. Many veterinarians still recommend a bland diet of ground beef and rice. I don't agree. Even the leanest ground beef is high in fat, which can worsen GI upset, and boiling it doesn't substantially decrease the fat content. That's why I recommend fat-free meat for bland diets. Rice is a very starchy carbohydrate that tends to ferment in the GI tract and also provides a food source for opportunistic bacteria. Rice also often zips right through the digestive system and exits your dog's body looking just like it did going in. This tells you it hasn't provided much in the way of calories or nutrition. Canned 100% pumpkin provides about 80 calories and 7 grams of soluble fiber per cup, compared to 1.2 grams of fiber in a cup of cooked white rice. The soluble fiber in pumpkin coats and soothes the GI tract; it also delays gastric emptying, slowing down GI transit times and helping to reverse the effects of increased peristalsis (muscle contractions). When animals have diarrhea, they can lose important electrolytes, including potassium, which puts them at risk of dehydration. Hypokalemia, or low potassium levels, can result in cramping, fatigue, weakness and heart rate irregularities. Pumpkin happens to be an excellent source of potassium, with 505 milligrams of naturally occurring potassium per cup. Pumpkin is also safer for diabetic pets than rice. And most animals love it (including cats). Since dogs don't have a nutritional requirement for grain, feeding a pro-inflammatory food like rice when they're already having GI upset is counter-intuitive. There's also the issue of arsenic in rice. Mix the turkey and pumpkin, 50/50, and feed it to your pet until the diarrhea resolves. If it doesn't clear up in about three days on a bland diet, it's time to call your veterinarian. Additional Treatment Suggestions I also recommend keeping some slippery elm on hand. Slippery elm is a neutral fiber source that works really well to ease episodes of diarrhea. I call it "nature's Pepto-Bismol" because 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 about a half a teaspoon or a capsule for each 10 pounds of body weight with every bland meal. I also recommend adding in a good-quality probiotic once the stool starts to firm up. In addition to slippery elm and probiotics, many pet parents 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. There are several homeopathic remedies that can be very beneficial for intermittent diarrhea depending on your dog's specific symptoms, including nux vomica, veratrum, podophyllum, arsenicum album and china officinalis.