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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My chihuahua has had diarrhea (reddish brown but not bloody and very loose) for 3 days now

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My chihuahua has had diarrhea (reddish brown but not bloody and very loose) for 3 days now and has almost stopped eating. He drinks occassionally and his behavior is otherwise normal (he plays the same). I've tried giving him rice and his wet food mixed with rice. He still won't eat except for maybe a bite or two when he would normaly scarf down wet food. Should I take him to a vet? What else can I do?

Hello, I'm sorry to hear that your pup isn't feeling well.
Diarrhea means that the gastrointestinal system is irritated. If his colon is affected you may see mucous or bright red blood in his stool, the darker the blood the more digested it is and the farther up the gastrointestinal tract it is from.
This can be from a bacterial or viral infection, eating something he should not have (toys, bones, bugs etc), gastrointestinal parasites, a dietary allergy or sensitivity, and a quick change in diet. Because he is older inflammatory bowel disease or cancer are other possibilities.
If he still feels well though we can try some things at home.
I would not feed him any food for 12 to 24 hours. This should help stop gut spasms and restore normal gut motility. Small amounts of water or ice cubes given frequently are fine as he needs fluids after all that he has lost with diarrhea.
Today even with the fast you can start Kao-pectate at 1ml per pound or 1 tablespoon per 15 pounds every 6 to 8 hours. This is quite safe and will coat his irritated gi tract as well as absorbing bacterial toxins. You can use it for several days until his diarrhea stops. You can find kao-pectate at the drug store.


If he has a tense painful abdomen, continues to have diarrhea with kao pectate, becomes very lethargic, begins vomiting or runs a fever greater than 103.5F then he really must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


After 12 to 24 hours start a bland diet of 1/2 boiled hamburger (or white skinless chicken), all fats and juices drained off mixed with 1/2 boiled, plain white rice. Feed several small meals a day.

Once he feels better (no diarrhea for 48 hours) start mixing in regular dog food very slowly. Less bland more regular with each day. It should take a week or so to convert himr back.
You should submit a fresh stool to his veterinarian for a parasite check. Parasites are a very common cause of diarrhea.
Let me know if you have any more questions.

Dr. Kara and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for responding.

So it's ok to wait even though it's been 3 days now? I was also wondering if eating a lot of hair off the floor could have something to do with it. At what point and with what symptoms should I take him to see a vet? Once he stops acting normal (besides not eating because that's definitely not normal for him).

Thank you

Since he's not yet been fasted and is still active I do think another 24 hours is fine to see if a fast, kaopectate and a true bland diet will help.

Tonight to help settle his stomach and hopefully improve his appetite tomorow you can also try either:

1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.
OR
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.
These will reduce stomach acid and should help his appetite if his lack of appetite is related to gastrointestinal irritation. These are very safe drugs and can be used with kaopectate.

If he has a tense painful abdomen, continues to have diarrhea with kao pectate, becomes very lethargic, begins vomiting or runs a fever greater than 103.5F then he really must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Of course it never hurts to have him looked at, especially as he isn't a young dog. But I wanted to give you some ideas for home treatment if you wanted to try them. I base quite a bit on attitude and if he were acting depressed/lethargic then I'd recommend getting him seen promptly.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I appreciate your help and the at home treatment ideas. I'm still not sure what I want to do since he doesn't ever get sick. I'll sleep on it. Thank you for your help.
Very welcome. Please let me know how things go with him.