Causes and Treatments of Diarrhea in Dogs
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Causes and Treatments of Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea is usually a symptom of a bigger problem in your dog, sometimes one that is quite urgent. Learn more about what causes diarrhea in dogs and cures and treatments.

Diarrhea is usually a symptom of a bigger problem in your dog, sometimes one that is quite urgent. While you can treat diarrhea with Pepto Bismol, you really need to get to the root of the problem.

Food Allergies

Dogs with sensitive stomachs will often either vomit or have diarrhea. One can check the food for known problem causing ingredients, pork, beef, soy, wheat, corn, and color dyes. Eliminating problem ingredients will often see total recovery. Dog owners must become familiar with reading pet food ingredient lists. The problem might be fixed by switching to a better quality hypoallergenic food, or by cooking for the dog, starting off with just rice and adding ingredients (chicken or lamb) to see when problems occur. Some breeds are more known to have issues with food ingredients than others, Bull Terriers and Huskies, for example often have problems with Soy.

Food that is Too Rich

Many people who feed canned food to their dog find that the dog often has diarrhea. This is particularly true when it's a canned food with gravy or the food is just too rich for the dog, as when a mature dog is fed puppy food.

dog poo records

photo source - dog poo records

Sudden Food Change

More often if a dog is suddenly switched from one food to another they will get a bout of diarrhea. One can remove food for a short period, such as half a day, and mix it with their dog's old food, or reintroduce the new food slowly if there is no old food left.

Worms and Bacteria

Worms and bacteria generally cause diarrhea in dogs. This will often be bloody diarrhea, and may not be all the time. There are many kinds of worms or bacteria a dog can get so, while people often try to treat worms with worming medications they buy a pet stores, it should be noted that those do not kill every kind of worm, so a proper diagnosis from a veterinarian (through a stool sample) will help pinpoint what kind of worm (or bacteria) is plaguing the dog, and the animal can be treated correctly.


The parvo virus is a deadly problem that can occur in any dog, but is often seen in unvaccinated puppies. In Parvo the diarrhea is often bloody, or dark, and has an extremely foul smell. Parvo requires instant veterinarian attention, and can spread easily, the virus can even be carried on the bottom of ones shoe.  Read more about the Parvo Virus here.


Just like humans dogs can get diarrhea as the result of stress. This would most likely occur in homes where the dog is harassed, or not fed (or exercised) on a consistent basis.

Something they Ate

Dogs are scavengers and often eat things without taking much time to smell them. One will notice if they toss something to their dog it might eat first, ask questions later. So a dog might eat something that does not agree with it, causing diarrhea in the dog. Also if they swallow a toy, for example, they might get diarrhea due to the blockage.

Holding it Too Long

Quite simply put, if a dog cannot find a place to do its business, and has to hold it for a while, it may have bad diarrhea by the time it can finally relieve itself. This is common in dogs while traveling, or if left home too long.

Pregnancy or Heat

Some dogs have diarrhea when their hormones change, either due to going into heat, or being pregnant. As pregnant, and nursing dogs, need to be fed puppy food, this can also cause them problems.

photo source


  • If your dog has diarrhea for more than one or two days, it can dehydrate.
  • Your dog should see a veterinarian to have a proper diagnosis made (especially if it is a puppy). Do not just treat the diarrhea, find the cause and treat that!
  • In many cases diagnosis can be made through a stool sample so always bring one, no matter how nasty.
  • As sickness can spread through dog poop it is very important to clean up after our dog immediately no matter if the stool is normal, or not.
  • Kids should not be responsible for cleaning the yard as they may not alert you to problems.

Changing Dog Food

As mentioned above, one of the most common causes of a dog having diarrhea is changing dog foods too fast. You have to slowly introduce the new dog food to your dog. At first, just put in a small portion of the new dog food mixed in with the old dog food. Some dog foods just do not work with dogs, and many dogs have allergies with wheat. Getting a wheat free dog food can really help a dog’s stomach.

Some of the best dog foods I have found include Nutro Max Grain Free with salmon. Another recommended dog food is Wellness dog food with white fish. Both of these are dry dog foods, I have found that dry dog foods helps the dog’s teeth stay healthy. But if a dog is used to wet dog food, it can be hard to switch to a dry dog food. Dogs are smart and they know what the like.

Another Cause of Dogs Getting Diarrhea

Always keep the trash can closed and or away from where your dog can get into the trash. Getting into the human food or trash, can really make your dog sick, and learn what human foods dogs should not have.

Always check with your vet when your dog gets diarrhea.

Related Dog Health Care Links

Why is my dog Itching

Why is my dog coughing

How to Help a Dog Live a Healthy and Long Life

Facts on Dogs with Allergies and Dog Food Ingredients

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Comments (5)

I didn't realize you could give a dog Pepto Bismal.

big help to all dog lovers,thanks

Ranked #21 in Pet Health

Another helpful tips for canine lovers. Well done, Brenda.

Very helpful article! My chihuahua is as regular as clockwork. He reminds me of an old man that has a specific time he has to go.

I've had to deal with this, it can be challenging.