Occasionally even a healthy dog will get an upset stomach.
When your Boxer has diarrhea, you should immediately stop feeding him.
This is the quickest way for your dog to clear the problem.
If you fast your dog, the diarrhea will usually self correct within a day or two.
Why Does My Boxer Have Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is the body’s mechanism for rapidly emptying the gut of its contents.
This might be because your dog:
- ate something that contained toxins eg. hormones or antibiotics in factory-farmed chicken
- ate something that had pathogenic bacteria in it
- ate a commercial dog food that was under a recall notice due to contamination
- ate kibble that had been stored too long and was infested with mold, which produces mycotoxins
- drank from a river or ate soil contaminated with the Giardia parasite
- is on medication eg. steroids are renowned for causing intestinal upset (the drug Omeprazole, often given as a “stomach protectant” alongside prednisone, also actually causes diarrhea in some dogs)
- is having a vaccine reaction, or trying to detox after a vaccine
- recently changed his food
These causes all boil down to the same thing: your dog’s body is working to expel toxins.
Even something like giardiasis normally clears on its own within a few weeks.
It’s worth noting that improving the diet — such as by switching from kibble to raw, fresh food — can actually result in temporary diarrhea.
This happens as the body takes advantage of the improved bodily conditions to mobilize and eliminate long-stored wastes via the gut.
The influx of toxins from body tissues into the gut can cause irritation.
This triggers diarrhea as the body floods the intestinal tract with fluid to flush the toxins out.
Many owners new to raw feeding mistake this as a sign that they have transitioned too fast, or that the new diet doesn’t agree with their dog, and revert to the previous poor quality food.
If they had stuck with it, the diarrhea would have passed on its own.
What Not To Do When Your Boxer Has Diarrhea
If your dog has diarrhea, do not give:
- home remedies like canned pumpkin (this is still food when you want to be fasting)
- antibiotics like Metronidazole (Flagyl)
- over the counter treatments like Pepto-Bismol or Imodium
- supplements like probiotic pastes etc
Why You Shouldn’t Feed A Boxer With Diarrhea
Unfortunately many owners continue to feed a dog with diarrhea.
It feels like nurturing and might make the owner feel better.
In fact, you are not helping your dog by doing this.
Regardless of exactly what has prompted the diarrhea, the key is to not counteract the body’s efforts by continuing to put more food into the stomach.
This will just lead to more diarrhea.
The urge to “do something” to help your dog is strong, but intervention is not required for a simple bout of diarrhea.
You also don’t need to bundle your dog off to the vet if he is otherwise acting normal.
Your job here is to get out of the way.
The body is already responding to whatever insult caused the gastrointestinal upset.
All you have to do is not interfere in the healing process that’s already underway.
The Problem With “Treating” Diarrhea
Vets typically dispense the antibiotic Flagyl in response to diarrhea but this drug can cause serious side effects including inflammation of the brain.
What’s more, all antibiotics disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the gut, which can be difficult to restore.
Many owners find antibiotics do not fix the diarrhea anyway, or that it returns as soon as the drugs are discontinued.
This is because the underlying cause of the diarrhea has not been addressed.
On top of that, the drug has added to the body’s workload and set back its healing by giving it yet another toxin to metabolise and eliminate.
You also do not want to give anti-diarrheal medications like Imodium.
These medications work against the body, interrupting its attempts to flush and clear the gut.
You want the toxins out, not in.
Instead of trying to stop the diarrhea, adjust your dog’s routine and living arrangements so that he can get to the bathroom as often as he needs.
Move your dog’s bed closer to the door, perhaps. Take him out much more often. Or use pee pads inside if he can’t make the distance.
How To Fast Your Boxer Dog
Fasting means no food at all for an entire day, in an adult Boxer.
If your dog still has diarrhea after 24 hours, keep fasting until it’s gone.
Once your dog has stopped pooping, continue the fast for another 24 hours.
This will probably only amount to a few days of fasting in total.
Make sure fresh, pure water is always available to your dog.
Allow your fasting Boxer to rest as much as he likes. Sleep is restorative.
Fasting is helpful for a dog with diarrhea because:
- it rests the gut
- it gives the body a chance to clear whatever caused the upset
- it allows the body to divert energy that would have been expended on digestion, to healing
Don’t worry about your Boxer not getting enough nutrition while fasting.
Most dogs have plenty of reserves and can go for quite a while without eating.
As well as a first response to diarrhea or any other symptom, fasting is good for healthy dogs.
Consider incorporating one fast day per week into your Boxer’s routine, to promote overall health and prevent disease.
Dogs in the wild don’t eat every day (more like three times a week, less in times of scarcity) and there is increasing recognition of the benefits of fasting for dogs and people alike.
Fasting supports detoxification pathways and accelerates cellular repair and renewal, through a process known as autophagy.
Fasting A Boxer Puppy
If your Boxer is a puppy, you may only want to fast for closer to 12 hours.
Puppies’ metabolisms work a lot faster, so this may well be enough for things to get back on an even keel.
Staying hydrated is even more important for puppies.
If you’re concerned that your dog is not drinking enough, you can syringe some water into his mouth.
Cupping water in your hands is often enough to encourage a Boxer to drink.
Is It Actually Diarrhea?
Loose stool is not the same thing as diarrhea.
Diarrhea is defined not only by runny poop but by an urgent, and usually repeated, need to go potty.
If your dog is pooping liquid but has no other change in bowel habits — ie. he’s not needing to go more often, not straining and not needing to rush outside at short notice — then it might not actually be diarrhea.
A change in poop consistency can be caused by something as simple as not giving enough edible bone in your dog’s raw diet.
In this case, just up the bone content of your dog’s meal, relative to the muscle meat and offal, until you achieve firm poops.
Good Foods To Feed After Diarrhea
The classic advice for a dog recovering from diarrhea is to feed “bland” foods like chicken and rice.
Perhaps vets repeat the “chicken and rice” mantra because it represents an improvement on kibble or any other kind of highly processed dog food.
At least it eliminates all the preservatives and additives that are in these shelf-stable products.
And chicken breast is low in fat, which makes for easier digestion.
However, cooked chicken is far from optimal food for a dog. After all, it’s cooked when a dog’s natural diet is raw.
And dogs have no biological requirement for rice, or any other grain.
You can do much better for your Boxer.
Once your dog has fasted for a day or two and the diarrhea is gone, consider breaking the fast with an all-plant meal like sweet potato and quinoa.
Even better, feed an all-fruit meal of something like over-ripe bananas.
Fruit is super easy to digest and is also very hydrating, which will help your dog flush the last of those toxins.
When you start back on meat, make surer than ever that it’s lean. Protein is easier to digest than fat.
When Diarrhea Could Be More Serious
If your dog has diarrhea but seems okay overall, it’s probably minor and will run its course and be gone in a few days to a week.
However, when diarrhea is accompanied by other troubling symptoms, you may have something more sinister on your hands.
If you suspect your dog has ingested poison, or eaten a rat that has itself been poisoned, he may need emergency veterinary attention.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs, as are certain ingredients in processed human foods like the sweetener xylitol, which is in some peanut butters.
Blood in the diarrhea is not necessarily cause for alarm.
If the stool is black and tarry, it’s an indication of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Bright red blood though is from the lower GI tract and can be just a sign of irritation.
Mucus in the poop is commonly observed during detox from drugs or previous misfeeding, and so can actually be a good sign.
Diarrhea is, of course, a symptom of many diseases, from kidney and liver disease to cancer, pancreatitis and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
These are worst case scenarios though.
It’s much more likely your dog’s diarrhea is a simple upset that will be gone in a couple of days.
If you want to rule out an intestinal parasite, you can collect a sample and send it for analysis.
Do Boxers Have Stomach Problems?
Far too many Boxers experience diarrhea on a regular basis.
Sometimes this gets labelled with a diagnosis of “Boxer colitis” or irritable bowel disease (IBD).
Alternately it can be passed off as a “sensitive stomach” and just part of being a Boxer.
It’s worth paying attention to the fact that the vast majority of these dogs are:
- highly vaccinated (research the phenomenon known as vaccinosis)
- regularly ingesting chemical wormers
- dosed with insecticidal flea and tick treatments
Often they are also:
- medicated with drugs like antibiotics, steroids, Apoquel, Benadryl etc
All of these inputs contribute to the toxic load on your dog’s body.
Then there are the daily environmental exposures.
Fumes from household cleaning sprays and scented products.
Lawncare chemicals including weed killers that your dog inhales when he sniffs the grass at the local park or on the roadside verge.
If this is your dog, diarrhea may end up being the least of your dog’s symptoms.
“Allergies” and “autoimmune” conditions are two more common misdiagnoses slapped on Boxers whose bodies are really just toxic, and chronically overburdened with wastes.
All too frequently these dogs are relegated to lives on a merry-go-round of drugs aimed at symptom suppression but which never really get to the bottom of things.
Meanwhile the drugs set in train a whole other suite of damaging side effects.
Many owners see allergies and all manner of other health conditions resolve once the toxic inputs are identified and removed from their dogs’ lives… albeit after a period of sometimes very unpleasant detox.
In most cases a bout of diarrhea will right itself within a few days to a week.
Fasting should be your first resort, since feeding a dog with an upset stomach will only prolong the diarrhea.
If diarrhea is a regular occurrence for your dog, it’s time to evaluate his toxic exposures and make a change.
Feeding a fresh, raw meaty bone-based diet is one powerful way to start.
Here’s a good starter guide.