Diarrhea in Dogs 101

Diarrhea in dogs, like diarrhea in humans, happens for a variety of reasons. It’s a common problem in puppies, along with adult and senior dogs. Today, we’re here to provide you with some basic insight into the causes, symptoms, other issues as they relate to diarrhea in dogs.

What is diarrhea in dogs?

Many veterinarians frequently get the question: What does diarrhea look like? Typically, we describe diarrhea as stool that is “unformed”, or loose and has the consistency of pudding. If your dog’s stool is like pudding or has even more watery, then they have diarrhea.

What are common causes of sudden onset diarrhea in dogs?

  • Change in diet and/or treats, or eating inappropriate things
  • Stress
  • Infection: Viral, Bacterial or Parasitic

What if my dog has chronic diarrhea?

If your dog has had diarrhea for an extended period of time, here are some things to watch for:

  • Dietary Allergies or Intolerances
  • Stress
  • Infection
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Cancer
  • Other diseases

When is diarrhea a serious issue?

If your dog’s diarrhea is accompanied by any of the following, there may be more of a serious issue going on:

  • Diarrhea lasting more than 1-2 days, or diarrhea with blood
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Lethargy

What do I do if my dog has diarrhea?

We recommend that you contact your veterinarian about your dog’s diarrhea. While at home you can do the following:

  • Make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water and encourage them to drink by adding a bit of chicken or beef broth to your dog’s water
  • Try feeding a bland diet like boiled chicken and cooked white rice; avoid treats or high-fat foods
  • Try adding fiber to your dog’s diet, like with canned pumpkin or sweet potatoes
  • Try adding dog-specific probiotics to your dog’s diet
  • Avoid using over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications, as some dog breeds have difficulty metabolizing (processing) these medications, sometimes making matters even worse.  


Concerned about your dog’s diarrhea? Download our app and chat to a veterinarian FREE. We can talk to you about what’s going on and provide some general advice on diarrhea. We’ll also let you know if we think you should take your dog into a full-service veterinary clinic.

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