Yogurt for Dog Diarrhea: Effective Remedy or Myth?

Yogurt for Dog Diarrhea: Effective Remedy or Myth?

an image of a dog with yogurt drink on a table

When your dog is experiencing diarrhea, finding a safe and effective remedy is a high priority. Yogurt, known for its probiotic properties, may offer some relief by introducing beneficial bacteria to your dog’s digestive system. This can aid in restoring balance in the gut and could potentially help alleviate symptoms of diarrhea.


However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all yogurt is created equal, and the wrong type could do more harm than good. It’s essential to select plain, unsweetened yogurt without any artificial additives. Before incorporating yogurt into your dog’s diet, it’s advisable to consider the appropriate amount and frequency, as well as any underlying health issues that may be causing the diarrhea. When in doubt, consulting with a veterinarian is the best course of action.

Key Takeaways

  • Yogurt’s probiotics may benefit your dog’s digestive health.
  • Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt and avoid additives.
  • Consult a veterinarian for persistent diarrhea issues.

The Role of Yogurt in Treating Dog Diarrhea

Yogurt can be a helpful supplement for dogs suffering from diarrhea due to its probiotic content. These beneficial bacteria can aid in restoring balance to your dog’s digestive system.

Understanding Probiotics and Live Cultures

Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. Live cultures in yogurt are types of probiotics that can be particularly beneficial for your dog’s digestive health. They help maintain the balance of good bacteria, which is essential for a healthy gut.

Benefits of Yogurt for Canine Digestive Health

The probiotic benefits of yogurt may include helping to manage diarrhea by restoring gut flora and improving digestive function. Yogurt can also be a source of calcium and protein, which are beneficial for your dog’s overall health. However, ensure that your dog is not lactose intolerant, as some dogs may experience gas or discomfort from dairy products.

Selecting the Right Yogurt for Your Dog

Choosing the correct type of yogurt is crucial. Opt for plain yogurt with no added sugars or sweeteners, which can be harmful to dogs. Look for labels stating live and active cultures to ensure your dog gets the probiotic benefits. If your dog is lactose intolerant, consider a lactose-free yogurt or a canine-specific probiotic supplement instead (like DiarRice).

Dietary Considerations for Dogs with Diarrhea

When your dog has diarrhea, adjusting their diet can help manage symptoms and promote recovery. The right food and supplements can soothe their digestive system and strengthen their immune response.

Suitable Dog Food Options

For dogs with diarrhea, it is crucial to provide a diet that is easy to digest and low in fat. Ideal dog food options include:

  • Boiled chicken (no skin) or low-fat hamburger meat
  • Plain cooked processed (not grains) white rice or pumpkin
  • Small servings of plain yogurt

Keep protein sources lean and carb intake simple to minimize digestive strain.

Managing Diet During Digestive Upsets

During episodes of diarrhea, gradual dietary changes are essential. Start with:

  • Fasting for 12-24 hours (water only) to rest their digestion
  • Small, frequent meals afterwards to introduce food slowly
  • Omit dairy products like milk, as they can be hard to digest

Monitor calorie intake to avoid complications, such as obesity.

Home Remedies and Supplements

In addition to a bland diet, certain home remedies and supplements may benefit your dog:

  • Probiotics (like DiarRice): Enhance digestion and bolster the immune system
  • Plain yogurt: Offers live cultures and nutrients without sugars
  • Slippery Elm: A natural supplement to help soothe digestive tracts

Remember dietary indiscretion and food intolerance can cause diarrhea, so introduce new foods gradually and with caution.

Health Risks and When to Consult a Veterinarian

When it comes to treating your canine companion’s diarrhea with yogurt, you must be cautious. Certain symptoms demand immediate veterinary attention, and dairy products like yogurt carry risks not everyone is aware of.

Identifying Serious Symptoms

Persistent vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than a couple of days can be indicative of serious health issues, such as pancreatitis, poisoning from toxic substances or artificial sweeteners, and severe infections. The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests that any sign of blood in the stool or extreme lethargy alongside gastrointestinal symptoms warrants immediate consultation with your veterinarian.

Potential Complications from Dairy Products

While plain yogurt or Greek yogurt can sometimes aid in managing diarrhea due to probiotics, dogs with lactose intolerance won’t handle dairy well. Consumption of dairy can lead to worsened diarrhea, or trigger allergic reactions. Additionally, yogurt with additives and sweeteners can be harmful; in particular, xylitol, a common sweetener in human foods, is poisonous to dogs. Long-term reliance on yogurt for gastrointestinal health can contribute to weight gain or obesity, especially in dogs prone to hypothyroidism. Pasteurization of dairy is essential to eliminate harmful bacteria and pathogens that can cause sickness in dogs.

Safe Yogurt Practices for Dog Owners

When considering yogurt as a remedy for your dog’s diarrhea, selecting the right type and amount is critical for their health and safety.

Choosing Yogurts Without Harmful Additives

You should opt for plain, natural yogurt free from harmful additives. Artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, are toxic to dogs and can cause serious health issues. Even natural sugars can lead to dental problems and obesity if consumed in excess. Additionally, some flavored yogurts contain onions and other ingredients that could be toxic to dogs. Always read the label carefully to ensure that the yogurt does not contain these hazards.

Safe Ingredients Ingredients to Avoid
Natural yogurt Xylitol
Probiotics Artificial sweeteners
Excessive sugar
Flavors such as onion or garlic

Understanding the Nutritional Content and Portion Sizes

The right portion of yogurt for your dog depends on their size and dietary needs. A general guideline is to offer 1 tablespoon of yogurt for small dogs and 2 to 3 tablespoons for large dogs per day. Yogurt should be provided as a treat, not a meal replacement, and should be considered within the dog’s total caloric intake to avoid obesity.

Here are the key nutritional aspects of yogurt:

  • Probiotics in yogurt can aid in digestion and support gut health.
  • Natural yogurts contain lactose, which some dogs may be sensitive to, so monitor your dog’s reaction.
  • Check for vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for dogs.

Remember, while yogurt can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, it’s a treat and not a staple. If your dog’s diarrhea persists, consult your veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yogurt can be beneficial for dogs with diarrhea due to its probiotic content. Here are some specific questions to consider when thinking about incorporating yogurt into your dog’s diet.

What type of yogurt is recommended for dogs with diarrhea?

Plain, unsweetened yogurt with live active cultures is the best choice for your dog. Avoid flavored yogurts that contain artificial sweeteners or added sugars.

How can yogurt be incorporated into a diet for a dog experiencing diarrhea?

Start by adding a small amount of yogurt to your dog’s regular food. You can also offer it separately, but ensure it is plain and contains probiotics.

Can yogurt be an effective remedy for diarrhea in dogs, and how does it work?

Yogurt can be effective for some dogs. The live active cultures in yogurt can help to restore the balance of good bacteria in the dog’s intestines, which can aid in digestion and stool formation.

How much yogurt is safe to give a dog with diarrhea?

For small dogs, about one tablespoon is recommended, while larger dogs can have around two or three tablespoons. Consult with your vet to determine the appropriate amount for your specific dog.

Are there any risks associated with feeding yogurt to a dog with diarrhea?

Some dogs may be lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products. If you notice any negative reactions, such as worsening of diarrhea or vomiting, stop feeding yogurt immediately and consult your vet.

What are alternative foods to help alleviate diarrhea in dogs?

Boiled chicken and processed rice are often recommended as they are easily digestible. Pumpkin puree (not pie filling) is another option due to its high fiber content which can help firm up stool. Of course, DiarRice is the best of all worlds.

Dr. Jeff Kordell, DVM is a practicing veterinarian in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Veterinary School. Dr. Kordell owns Animal Medical Center at Fort Sheridan and has had his own private practice for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of K&S Veterinary Labs LLC the maker of DiarRice.