Diarrhea Medicine for Dogs: 6 Vet-Prescribed Treatments

Diarrhea Medicine for Dogs: 6 Vet-Prescribed Treatments

Diarrhea is one of the most common reasons dogs go to the vet. While diarrhea often resolves itself in a few days, it’s not something to ignore or take lightly. It has many causes, and some may respond best to diarrhea medicine for dogs.

In this article, you’ll learn why treating dog diarrhea is important and what medications can help get your dog’s poop back to normal. We’ll also offer vet-approved tips for treating this unpleasant digestive condition effectively.

Dog Diarrhea Relief: Why it’s Important

Diarrhea in dogs isn’t a diagnosis unto itself. Rather, it’s a symptom of an underlying problem. In dogs with diarrhea, food moves so quickly through the digestive tract that they can’t properly absorb water, nutrients, and electrolytes. As a result, dog poop becomes loose and watery instead of firm and formed. Sometimes, the diarrhea contains blood or mucus.

Diarrhea typically makes dogs feel pretty lousy. But it can also cause serious health consequences due to extreme fluid loss. Puppy diarrhea, for example, can be life-threatening because a puppy’s body isn’t robust enough to deal with dehydration. Diarrhea in senior dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems is also dangerous.

Because diarrhea can affect your dog’s overall health, diarrhea relief is essential to help “reset” the digestive system and restore normal function. 

For many dogs, at-home remedies like rest, rehydration, and fasting, may be enough to relieve diarrhea.  But in severe cases or when a specific pathogen is to blame, your vet may recommend anti-diarrhea medicine. 

Dog Diarrhea Medication Types

There are plenty of dog diarrhea medicine options on the market. However, not all are created equal, and some may even do your dog more harm than good 

To help you understand the differences, here’s a quick overview of over-the-counter (OTC) anti-diarrheal medicines, probiotics, and prescription drugs designed to treat diarrhea in dogs.

OTC anti-diarrheal medicines

You’ve probably seen OTC anti-diarrheal medicines like Imodium, Kaopectate, and Pepto Bismol on the shelves of your local grocery store or pharmacy. These medicines relieve diarrhea and other kinds of GI upset (stomachache, nausea, etc) in people. 

Imodium works by slowing down the movement of food through the digestive tract. Kaopectate and Pepto Bismol have active ingredients that coat and protect the intestinal lining. 

However, be aware that these human medicines could harm your dogs. For example, the active ingredients in Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate can be toxic to dogs. And Imodium carries a risk for potential side effects that could endanger your dog. 

Never use these medicines to treat your dog’s diarrhea without your veterinarian’s approval! If your vet recommends an OTC diarrhea medication for your pet, follow their dosing instructions carefully. And be sure to report any concerns or changes in your dog’s health promptly.

Probiotic supplements

A dog’s gut (like our own) contains billions of healthy bacteria. They help with digestion, promote a robust immune system, and prevent harmful bacteria from overwhelming the gut. Diarrhea depletes these good bacteria. 

Probiotic supplements can help relieve dog diarrhea by boosting beneficial gut bacteria. That re-establishes a healthy balance and promotes healthy digestion. 

There are many probiotic supplements on the market formulated for humans. While these won’t hurt your dog, a probiotic designed for dogs is a better choice. Humans and dogs have different intestinal flora. A species-specific probiotic will give your dog the best boost for your buck. 

Prescription anti-diarrheal medicines

Prescription dog diarrhea medications often treat a specific diarrhea-causing pathogen. For example, your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic like metronidazole for diarrhea caused by intestinal inflammation. But if intestinal parasites are causing your dog’s loose stools, a broad-spectrum dewormer like Panacur (fenbendazole) would be in order.  

Your vet may also prescribe dog-safe medications that work like OTC human solutions. For example, diphenoxylate is an anti-diarrheal medicine for dogs that works like Imodium to slow digestion.

Best Medicine for Dog Diarrhea: 6 Top Picks

Diarrhea is the body’s way of getting rid of something harmful. In some cases, your veterinarian may say it’s okay to allow dog diarrhea to run its course (no pun intended). But if there is an underlying health cause or the diarrhea is severe, your vet will likely treat it with an anti-diarrheal medication. 

Here are several diarrhea medications for dogs that vets typically recommend for dog diarrhea. and are worth considering:


Metronidazole (known by the brand names Flagyl, Metizol, Protostat, and Metrogel) is a prescription antibiotic and antiprotozoal, which means it kills bacteria and parasites that cause diarrhea in dogs. It is usually given orally. Your vet will prescribe this if they have determined that a bacteria or protozoal parasite has caused your dog’s diarrhea.

Although rare, metronidazole for dogs can cross the blood-brain barrier (enter the brain from the bloodstream) and cause neurological symptoms. It can also cause side effects such as nausea, fatigue, and appetite loss.

Proviable DC Capsules

These capsules are a probiotic supplement that helps restore normal levels of healthy gut bacteria after the loss of these bacteria through diarrhea. The capsules contain seven species of live beneficial bacteria and are given once daily by mouth or as directed by your vet.

Proviable Forte Chewable Tablets

These chewable tablets are another probiotic supplement that promotes good gut health in dogs. They contain the same beneficial bacteria that are in the Proviable capsules and are given once daily by mouth or as directed by your vet.

Rx Clay Powder

This powder works in two ways to relieve diarrhea. First, it adsorbs toxins that are produced by harmful bacteria in the gut. Adsorption binds the toxins to the clay, which is then excreted from the body (carrying the harmful toxins along with it). Second, the clay promotes water reabsorption in the digestive tract, decreasing water loss through diarrhea.

Because the body does not absorb the clay, there is minimal risk of overdose. Give one scoop to your dog by mouth for every 10 pounds of body weight or as directed by your vet.

Endosorb Tabs

Endosorb tabs are chewable tablets that provide diarrhea relief by restoring normal stool consistency. One of its active ingredients is attapulgite, which coats and soothes the intestinal lining. 

The tablets are given by mouth every four hours according to body weight, as directed by your vet.

Nutrigest Capsules

These capsules help restore and maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut and repair the inflammation and irritation of the intestinal lining caused by diarrhea. Its active ingredients include probiotics and glutamine, an amino acid (building block of protein). Ingredients such as aloe soothe the intestinal lining.

The capsules are given two to three times daily according to body weight, as directed by your vet.

How to Choose Diarrhea Medication for Dogs

Always work with your veterinarian to determine the best way to treat your dog’s diarrhea. Your vet may want to examine your dog first and run a few diagnostic tests to decide the best treatment. 

They will consider several factors before recommending the proper treatment plan:

  • Cause, severity, and duration of diarrhea
  • Additional symptoms
  • Age
  • Overall health

Follow your vet’s treatment plan exactly. If your vet says your dog needs diarrhea medicine, they will recommend which prescription or OTC medicine to use.

As with treating any health condition, treating your dog’s diarrhea may involve some trial and error. Monitor your dog’s symptoms and update your vet regularly. Let them know if your dog’s diarrhea is improving, staying the same, or worsening. The treatment plan may need to be adjusted according to how your dog responds to the treatment.

Dog Diarrhea Medication Tips

Diarrhea isn’t pleasant for your dog or you, so we know that you will want your dog’s diarrhea resolved quickly and successfully. Here are a few tips to increase your chances of successfully treating your dog’s diarrhea:

  • Do not wait to start treatment. Contact your vet when you notice that your dog has diarrhea. The quicker you respond to it, the sooner your dog can be on the road to recovery.
  • Follow your vet’s instructions carefully. Whether your vet advises home remedies or medication, follow their instructions to ensure the best possible response to treatment. 
  • Monitor your dog. Notify your vet immediately if the diarrhea is not improving and your dog’s health is getting worse.

Dog Diarrhea Medication FAQs

If your dog has diarrhea, you probably have questions about diarrhea in general and how to treat it.

How long is too long for a dog to have diarrhea? 

Most cases of diarrhea in dogs resolve themselves in 1 to 2 days. Contact your vet if the diarrhea has not resolved in a few days.

What should I give a dog with diarrhea and vomiting? 

Dogs with tummy issues don’t feel like eating much, or at all. Because diarrhea and vomiting can cause significant fluid loss, adequate hydration is essential.

Make sure your dog has free access to fresh, clean water. Contact your vet if you need help encouraging your dog to drink water.

Is it safe to give human medications to dogs with diarrhea? 

Human anti-diarrheal medications are an option, but their ingredients can be toxic to dogs. These medications can also interact with other medications. Do not give human anti-diarrheal medicines to your dog unless advised by your vet.

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