What you are describing in your dog sounds like he may have colitis.
With colitis, dogs tend to have more frequent bowel movements, a sense of urgency, sometimes straining, and mucus and even blood on the stools. The stools often start out a bit soft, or pudding like and become gelatinous, shiny and mucoid as it progresses. The colon normally makes mucus to help the stool to pass along, so when it is inflamed it makes a lot of mucus, and also can have erosions that lead to bleeding.
Colitis could be caused by a large number of different things. Examples are stress, dietary indiscretion (eating something he shouldn't have), bacterial and viral infections, and parasites. In a sensitive dog, even a one-meal food change could trigger this.
If a dog with no history of stress were to come in to my hospital, and we didn't have to consider money (so I could do all the tests I would want to do!) I would start with a physical exam and then a number of tests:
- fecal analysis to rule out hookworms, whipworms and coccidia
- an ELISA test for Giardia. Giardia used to be hard to diagnose, but this test is fast and easy and accurate.
- a fecal smear to look for Campylobacter
- a fecal culture (sent out to a lab) to check for Clostridium or other unusual bacteria. This test takes 3-4 days.
Then, if the dog were my patient, I would see how the dog responded to treatment as follows:
- fibre trial - I would start the dog on metamucil. I usually suggest 1 tsp per 10 lbs body weight given 2 or 3 times a day, or 2 tablespoons twice daily per 10lbs body weight of Pumpkin. Do this for at least one week. Do this for at least one week.
- medication trial:
I would try metronidazole (http://www.petplace.com/dogs/metronidazole-flagyl-toxicity-in-dogs/page1.aspx) as a first line treatment but there are a number other drugs that can be helpful too:
Panacur (fenbendazole, http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/fenbendazole-panacur/page1.aspx) ,
Tylosin (http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/tylosin-tylan/page1.aspx )
and even steroids (prednisone http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/prednisone-prednisolone/page1.aspx )
Now, in terms of what people can do at home for dogs that I have seen and diagnosed with colitis, I suggest the following:
1. When he has an episode of blood and mucus on the stool, you should WITH-HOLD FOOD! Do not offer anything for 12- 24 hours. This gives the intestines a chance to rest and heal.
2. When he is fasting, he can have lots of clear fluids. So, water is fine, but also he can have pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice diluted 50:50 with water, or chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Give the fluids in small amounts frequently. For a dog that is about 20lbs that means about 1/4 cup an hour.
3. After 12-24 hours if the diarrhea has stopped, you can start your dog back on a bland diet. For patients that I see, I recommend a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low fat protein. For the protein you could use extra lean ground beef, boiled with the fat scooped off, or chicken breast boiled with fat scooped off or even scrambled egg cooked without fat in the microwave. Feed small frequent meals. For a dog this size, I would suggest 2-3 tablespoons every 3 to 4 hours.
4. After 1-2 days on the rice mix, you would gradually change your dog back to the normal diet and food. So, on day 3, give the rice mixture, but bigger meals, spaced further apart. On day 4, mix a little tiny bit of the normal food in there, and decrease the frequency so it is down to 3 meals or so. And so on.
5. Keep your dog as quiet as possible - just out to relieve himself and back in.
6. Start 2 tablespoons twice daily per 10lbs body weight of canned Pumpkin. Be sure to use plain canned pumpkin and NOT pie filler!
I'll give you links to further information:
In terms of preventing this problem, it is very helpful to have dogs prone to this on a bit of OAT bran (very important it is OAT bran and not wheat bran) in their food daily. For a dog this size, I would suggest 2-4 teaspoons daily, divided between his meals.
Alternatively, you may just wish to keep him on the Metamucil or canned pumpkin.
Also, you may wish to consider a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) diffuser to decrease stress if this has been a factor in the last few weeks. It contains a smell that calms dogs, but is not a drug and is perfectly safe. It has no odour to humans. Here is more about them:
If your boy begins vomiting again, or loses his appetite, then a trip to your vet would be in order. In the meantime, you may wish to start him on the canned pumpkin as it is very quickly effective in most dogs at helping to resolve the colitis more quickly, especially when used with the Flagyl.
The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.