Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear about your pup Louis listlessness, poor appetite, and black stools. He sounds very sick. Dark/black tarry stools usually indicate digested blood in the stool.Blood in the stool can be caused by a primary viral, bacterial or protozoan infection, or eating something that irritates the gastrointestinal tract, inflammatory bowel disease or a severe case of parasites, an obstruction or twisting of the bowel leading to intestinal wall damage, internal organ failure or cancer.The danger with blood in the stool is that means the intestine is raw
and a raw intestine more easily allows bacteria into the abdominal cavity itself and can lead to peritonitis. The darker color of his stool indicates that if this is blood in his stool it is from farther forward in the intestinal tract, esophagus, stomach
or small intestine, giving it time to be digested.Can you check his temperature for me? Normal rectal temperature in a dog is 102F. A fever is >103.5F.Can you also check his mucous membrane (gum) color? They should be bubblegum pink and if you press on them they should blanche (whiten) then return to pink in less than 2 seconds. They should also be moist not sticky. If they are sticky that means he is dehydrated.If his color is fine and he doesn't have a fever or a subnormal temperature (less than 99F) then he is more stable than a dog with a high fever or a low temperature, but I still would recommend an emergency examination today given his symptoms and the length of time that he's been sick. Simple stomach upset should pass within 24-48 hours.If he has a fever, his mucous membranes aren't pink, and when you press on his abdomen it seems very tense or painful I would be more even concerned. These are signs of a blockage, pancreatitis
(inflammation of his pancreas causing increased enzyme production, usually related to a high fat meal) or possibly a viral infection. These are emergency situations and he needs to be seen immediately.If he cannot be examined today do not try to feed him now. Right now hydration is important so make sure he's drinking well. It's a good idea to offer pedialyte too in a few hours to replace electrolytes. If he won't drink on his own you will need to dribble it in with a syringe (2 to 3 teaspoons at a time). If he vomits then he needs to see her veterinarian for an examination and diagnostics (bloodwork and radiographs and/or an ultrasound of his abdomen).To try and settle his stomach today you can give either:1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine
) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.OR2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one 20mg tablet per 40 to 80 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.These will reduce stomach acid and should help if this is related to simple nausea and gastrointestinal irritation. They can be given for several days if need be.In a couple hours offer a bland diet consisting of boiled, very lean hamburger (or chicken
) chunks, (drain off all fat), mixed 50:50 with plain boiled white rice. Feed 2 tablespoons initially. If he handles that well then feed him 1/4 cup of the mixture a couple hours later. If he handles that fine then feed her 4 meals of this mixture daily until he is feeling himself. Once he is eating well for a few days with no diarrhea start mixing in his regular food and slowly (over 7 to 10 days) convert him back to his regular diet by adding more of his regular food and less of the bland diet each day.If he starts vomiting, runs a fever, has a painful abdomen or stops eating he needs a veterinary examination. If he has increasing amounts of frank blood or dark tarry stools (suggesting digested blood), has a painful/tense abdomen or a fever (anything greater than 103.5F) or below normal temperature then he needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible as this suggests more serious disease that can't be treated at home.Even if he seems to improve I would suggest submitting a fresh stool sample to his veterinarian to check for gastrointestinal parasites.Please reply back to this post with any further questions.