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Dog Diarrhea

Diarrhea is an excessive emptying of the bowels by their frequent movements. This is a problem that is often seen in dogs, as they are animals that by nature tend to swallow and eat anything they come across. In addition to foreign bodies, the causes are often various food poisonings or infections. Diarrhea is not a disease in itself, but it could be one of the signs or symptoms that indicate the dog is suffering from a more serious illness. Here you can find out all about the possible causes of diarrhea, as well as how you can help your dog.

My Dog Has Diarrhea – What Should I Do?

Diarrhea can cause great inconveniences to both the dog and the owner. The worst thing that happens during diarrhea is that the dog loses a lot of fluid, which releases the necessary electrolytes from the body and leads to dehydration. In these cases, the dog becomes lethargic and even loses the will to eat.

In these conditions, it is very important to monitor your pet’s behavior, whether he refuses food and water, and whether he has stomach pains, which will show as cramps or excessive rest. Report to your veterinarian if all this has been happening for a few days.

As a responsible owner, if you have caused this sign of illness in your dog, you will not repeat the same mistake, such as giving food that you ate yourself. If nothing you try seems to improve your dog’s health, take him to the closest veterinary station immediately and follow further instructions and do additional tests if they are needed to find out the cause and to solve the problem.

Diarrhea caused by viral agents, such as parvovirus, causes dehydration of the body that cannot be resolved naturally; it requires intravenous electrolyte and fluid therapy. In such cases, the veterinarian may also prescribe medical food for the dog, as well as a diet that will have to be adhered to.

Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea (Causes)?

To help your dog, the most important thing is to first determine the cause of diarrhea. It most often occurs due to a change in diet or the introduction of a new type of food, which can lead to mild or severe stomach irritation. It can also be the result of various allergies or some experienced stress. Sometimes, the causes can be much more serious, like viruses, bacteria, parasites and even some types of fungi.

Owners can often get carried away with their charity and desire to feed their pet, and thus give him leftover food after their meals. No organism is the same and does not tolerate different types of food. This is the situation with dogs as well.

Most often causes of diarrhea in dogs are the following:

  • Stress (often occurs when transporting a dog from one destination to another; some dogs may also have a fear of vehicles)
  • Allergies
  • A change of food (not necessarily giving human food to a dog; it can be caused by dog food that does not suit that dog)
  • Food intolerance and defective food
  • Poisons and chemical agents (poisons for weeds, rodents, antifreeze, household cleaners…)
  • Infection with bacteria and viruses (parvovirus)
  • Stomach and intestinal parasites (giardia, tapeworms)
  • Medications (NSAIDs that may have side effects, antibiotics, human medications unsuitable for dogs, medications for dogs in overdoses)

Human food, like fried and fatty foods, dairy products, raw meat, chocolate, fresh or dried grapes, bones, beans and onions, can contain various toxic substances, including a substance called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and certainly leads to diarrhea.

How Is the Cause Of Diarrhea Determined?

The cause of diarrhea should be determined in order to select an adequate therapy. Most often, in the beginning, when the diarrhea is still in a short course or in the acute phase, the so-called “twenty-four-hour fast” is performed, which helps to calm the intestines. Slowly introduce a diet in smaller and more frequent meals. This is a general way to check whether the diarrhea continues, and whether this approach will help or will turn into a chronic course.

If the diarrhea doesn’t stop, a visit to the vet and clinical trials follow. In this case, the veterinarian takes the anamnesis from the owner. Clinical examination involves three basic methods of data collection: inspection, palpation and auscultation.

An inspection of external organs (eyes, nose, mouth, ears) can give us information about the color and hydration of mucous membranes and skin. If the mucous membranes are pale or yellow, it may be a sign of anemia; if they are red, it is a sign of inflammation. Palpation can determine if there are any subcutaneous or cutaneous formations, whether the lymph nodes are of normal size or swollen, which further indicates that certain diseases are predominantly infectious.

An important factor in determining the cause of diarrhea, i.e., whether it is of infectious origin, is measuring the dog’s body temperature. If it is elevated, it is evidence of the presence of an infectious agent.

Palpation of the abdomen and rectum gives a picture of the existence of problems in the posterior parts of the intestine. Even weighing a dog is part of a clinical examination where it can be clearly seen if there has been any weight loss.

It is also desirable to examine a sample of the dog’s stool. Here, all visual characteristics of the stool are examined for the presence of parasites and foreign bodies. It is advisable for the owner to bring with them a sample of the food that the dog last ate or that the owner noticed caused stomach discomfort in the pet. This can further help in determining if the dog is allergic to some type of food.

In order to determine the presence of an infectious agent, it is necessary to perform a laboratory analysis of blood and urine, and even feces. Ultrasound examination of the entire abdomen and X-ray can help visualize the position of the intestines and their filling; the presence of gases, foreign bodies or hardened food (concretions) inside the intestines; the presence of some abnormalities (pathological changes/tumors) along the entire GI (gastrointestinal tract) and other organs.

It is also suggested to do an internal ultrasound examination of the upper GI tract (endoscopy) to examine any changes in the stomach and intestinal mucosa.

The rapid blood test of the gastrointestinal panel (PCR test) and biopsies of certain organs or parts of organs and intestines can also be used in special diagnostic methods. The PCR test determines the level of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and vitamin B9 (folate), which are poorly absorbed in dogs with GI tract damage. A biopsy can give results about the presence of fungal infections.

Depending on which parts of the intestine the changes that led to the appearance of diarrhea occur, it can be described as the following:

  • Small bowel diarrhea
  • Diarrhea of ​​the large bowel
  • Mixed bowel diarrhea

The causes of small bowel diarrhea can be small benign tumors, parasites (worms and protozoa), allergies, and even hormonal diseases such as Addison’s disease. If your veterinarian determines that it is a small bowel diarrhea, a sample will be taken of the dog’s stool. If parasites are found in the stool, the therapy is of course antiparasitic, most often in the form of Albendazole or Fenbendazole.

If it is determined that an allergic condition is the cause of diarrhea, the dog’s meals can be corrected with a protein and carbohydrate diet by introducing food rich in these substances, which the dog has not consumed before.

Laboratory and chemical analyses as well as PCR methods are needed to prove whether a bacterial agent is present. If one is, antibiotics such as metronidazole or tylosin are included.

If it is determined that the cause of diarrhea in a dog is not a bacterial agent but the cessation of the secretion of certain digestive enzymes (exocrine insufficiency of the pancreas), then the therapy normally includes supplementing the diet with digestive enzymes.

However, if one of the most severe causes of small bowel diarrhea, Addison’s disease, is present, then it is very difficult for any diagnostic test to prove that disease because it occurs in combination with many other symptoms. In this case, a test of cortisol (an adrenal hormone) is done to prove whether or not the adrenal glands are producing the hormone cortisol and mineralocorticoids. Therapy is carried out by giving steroids or replacement hormones.

The causes of diarrhea of the large bowel are very difficult to diagnose, and the response to the application of a particular drug is used as a diagnostic measure. The treatment most commonly used is fenbendazole, which kills even whipworm eggs that are detected by examination of the feces.1Ashe, C. (August 15, 2018). Dog Diarrhea Cause and Remedies. WholeDog Journal. Retrieved 16 August 2020.

If you want to learn more about diarrhea treatment right away, you can skip to the “How To Stop Diarrhea in Dogs? (Treatment)” section.

What Does the Color Of My Dog’s Poop Mean?

Dog owners can determine a lot visually from their dog’s feces. Any changes in the color, texture, consistency and smell of feces can indicate abnormalities in the digestive tract; the color of feces may indicate a particular type of disease or change.

Poop ranking chart according to the color, consistency, shape, and texture (Source: Pinterest)

We will give a brighter overview of the color of feces.

Brown Poop

This is the normal color of a neat stool in dogs. Bile pigments give the feces a brown color, and this indicates a normal passage and non-retention of food in the stomach for too long. If the food stays in the stomach longer, then the color of the poop will have a yellowish pigment.

Although the color of the feces is brown, this does not necessarily mean the stool is normal. In this case, it is very important to pay attention to the consistency and texture.

In the first case, it can happen that the feces is firm and segmented, and such is produced by dogs that are fed raw food and bones. The second case is still a solid, long-shaped stool that is not segmented with a wet surface. The third version of the brown stool involves soggy, soft but still long-shaped feces that leave a trail when picked up from the surface. The fourth case is a very wet and soft pile of feces that also leaves a trail but can be picked up. The fifth variant is a loose stool without shape, which actually represents diarrhea and is already much lighter in color than in the first case. And the sixth type of feces can be a watery, no texture, loose stool that can’t be picked up so easily and looks like a brown puddle.

Although the stool may be brown, the frequency may be abnormal, so attention should be paid to this. Diarrhea is also inconvenient for several reasons, and one of them is that dogs who have this problem cannot control where and when they defecate, so they may have an accident in the middle of the carpet. Therefore, it would be good to have a pet stain remover in your household, which very effectively removes stains and disinfects the place where the dog defecated.

Brown Poop With White Spots

The white spots in your dog’s poop that look like rice grains are actually the presence of worms. It is necessary to monitor the condition of the dog, and give him deworm preparations as soon as possible. In such cases, the consistency of the stool can be both firm and loose and is not a sign that you should panic, because most of the tapeworms known to date can be successfully removed with dewormers (anthelmintics); if this does not happen, inform your veterinarian.

Green Poop

The green color of the stool can be the origin of the simplest cause, which is that your dog has eaten a lot of grass, or it may indicate a problem of the gallbladder or of the dog’s intestines. This condition can be both acute and chronic, and if it is chronic, it is definitely advisable to take your dog to the vet.

Blue Poop

In case of blue stool, which is very rare, the dog and stool sample should be taken immediately to the vet, because it is an acute condition that can be caused by ingestion of a poison into the body.

Yellow Poop

Yellow stool indicates a wide range of eating disorders or diseases. Variations range from slightly simpler ones, such as stomach stress, food intolerance, and allergies, to those caused by various changes in the liver and gallbladder, and even to infestation with highly infectious agents, such as coccidia and some pathogenic bacteria. The yellow color of dog feces can also occur in acute and chronic diseases. In case of food intolerance and allergy to certain foods, it is necessary to change the diet. For more serious complications, consult a veterinarian.

Orange Poop

The orange color most commonly occurs in the form of diarrhea and predominantly describes a problem that occurs in the liver or gallbladder. It can happen, of course, that the dog has eaten something orange, so the stool has taken on food pigment, which is the safest case, or there are very small amounts of blood in the stool. These problems can usually be solved very easily with diet and initial fasting, but if the appearance of orange stool continues, it is necessary to visit a vet.

Black Poop

The so-called appearance of “melena” or digested blood in the stool can give a black color and is evidence of bleeding or ulcers in the upper parts of the digestive tract. The stool is black or dark because the blood, which is a consequence of bleeding that occurred in the upper part of the digestive tract, passed through the entire digestive system and was digested until it reached the last parts of the GI tract, or more precisely the rectum. This condition requires an urgent visit to the vet.

White Poop

Dog diarrhea whiteThe white color of the feces is totally abnormal and requires an immediate vet visit. Feeding a dog raw food can give this stool color, but it can also be evidence of excessive calcium and bone intake.

Gray Poop

Fatty gray stools are associated with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). This disease is a malfunction of the pancreas; tests to confirm are performed that include the use of feces in which the level of fat and the level of the enzyme produced by the pancreas (elastase) are measured. Therefore, a fecal sample should be taken for analysis. Gray stools can also be a sign of pathological changes in the gallbladder. All these conditions, together with changes in the dog’s behavior, require an immediate reaction from the owner and a visit to the vet.

Purple/Pink poop

Pink or purple stool that resembles raspberry jam in color and consistency is a sign that the dog needs to be taken to the vet for an examination immediately. This is certainly a sign of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) or acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome, from which a large number of dogs die each year due to the owner’s reckless attitude towards the pet and not noticing the early signs in time.

Red Streaks

The brown color of the feces, which shows clearly visible red streaks, gives the image of some internal bleeding, most often in the intestines. The location of bleeding is in most of these cases on the colon, and this condition is not urgent if it lasts a day or two. However, if it continues, it is necessary to take the dog for an examination to determine where exactly the intestinal damage is localized and what is its cause, in order to further determine the treatment.

The color spectrum of a dog’s poop, its origin or the cause (Source: PetMD)

Bloody Diarrhea in Dogs

Blood in the feces can be very frightening for dog owners. When noticed, the owner may immediately take their dog to the vet, but this is not always necessary. Most often, this is a result of a reaction to changes such as allergies, stress or some changes in the dog’s diet. Also, the causes may be the appearance of hemorrhoids, poisoning in food and constipation.

If fresh, light red blood (hematochezia) is noticed in the stool, it signals a problem in the lower parts of the intestine, and if it is a dark color of blood of a thicker consistency, then the problem is localized in the upper parts.

Dark stools are dangerous because they can indicate the presence of a stomach or intestinal ulcer.

Bright strawberry-colored stools may have stains or streaks of a bloody color on the surface of the stool, and this is partially digested blood coming from the small intestine. However, the cause of bloody stools can be very serious infectious agents such as the most common parvovirus; a common cause is also parasites and insidious invasive hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). If it’s one of these causes of bloody diarrhea, other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite and, of course, chronic dehydration of the dog’s body mostly occur. Then the dog needs to be taken to the vet urgently for further examinations and analyses, because it may be enteritis caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

Dog Diarrhea Mucus

Mucus is a normal gelatinous phenomenon that lubricates and moisturizes the colon and coats the feces to make it come out more easily without friction and thus damage to the mucosa. However, even excessive mucus production can be problematic, especially when it is mixed with blood or when it occurs with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

Excessive amounts of mucus can indicate the presence of an undesirable agent that the body wants to get rid of, so it detoxifies through the mucus. In the case when the intestines are irritated, the organism produces more mucus as a defensive response than usual, and the frequent expulsion of feces is the reason that it begins to come out even semi-formed or in the form of diarrhea.

Causes of increased mucus production in dogs include the following:

  • The presence of foreign objects or tumors in the intestines
  • Stress
  • Intoxication (food toxins and products of bacterial and viral action)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Parasites
  • Eating disorders
  • Fungal infections and many others

An increased amount of mucus and diarrhea may occur as a symptom of acute renal failure caused by various intoxications.

Stress has the same effect on the intestines in dogs as in humans, causing diarrhea and increased mucus production, and the presence of smaller or larger amounts of blood can occur.

If the dog swallows a foreign object, it is necessary to check whether obstruction is present and whether it can defecate normally. If not, it is necessary to perform additional tests to determine in which part of the GI tract the object is located and what to do next.

Also, polyps and tumors of the lining of any part of the intestine and stomach ulcers can cause the appearance of blood in the stool and an increase in mucus due to irritation of the part of the intestine. If vomiting and pain occur with this, it may indicate a bigger problem that you still can’t solve on your own.

If your dog’s balanced diet has been disrupted due to inadequate food, intolerance to a certain type of food or perhaps an allergic reaction, the amount of mucus in the colon may also be increased due to diarrhea or bloating. Slippery elm products in any form can help with this condition.

Increased mucus is also a sign that the dog is getting used to the new type of food you have introduced into his diet, so you should mix it with something that his stomach can tolerate easily. If he does not get used to it within a week, he may need to be introduced to hypoallergenic foods. Foods that contain toxic substances for dogs can lead to prolonged diarrhea, so additional symptoms can occur that lead to weakness.

Intestinal poisoning with toxins originating from bacteria Clostridium occurs from giving raw meat to a dog or food that is in the rotting stage, mostly vegetables. The intestinal mucosa is shiny, mucus production is increased, diarrhea is very common and stomach pains occur in the dog’s body.

Mucus hyperproduction can occur as a result of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and increased production of lymphocytes and plasma cells, and in the second case eosinophils. These are all cells that occur during the inflammatory process in the body. In the case of IBS, the task of the intestinal tissue is to attack all these cells. This disease most commonly occurs in two predisposed breeds, the German Shepherd and the Shar-Pei, and it causes frequent defecation.

German Shepherds are predisposed to another disease, and that is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). It can be caused by prolonged feeding of raw food to a dog. Raw food is not digested in the stomach adequately and causes an increase in the number of “bad” bacteria that no longer allow normal bowel functions. Due to that, the mucus that is produced is yellow, the diarrhea is long-lasting, and the dog is lethargic and experiences constant shivering.

Inflammation of the colon (colitis), which can be caused by a range of causes from stress to parasitic and bacterial infections, shows signs of mucus overproduction and severe stress. If ulcers have burst, the feces will be full of blood.

Crohn’s disease is a type of chronic colitis (inflammation of the colon) or regional enteritis (inflammation of one part of the small intestine). The dog has strong urges for defecation and diarrhea, loses weight, and the mucus is bloody.

The most common protozoan parasite that causes watery, mucous diarrhea is Giardia, which has an irritating effect on the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines.

The most common fungus that causes severe stress during defecation and diarrhea with mucus is histoplasma. The dog becomes infected by inhaling spores from bird droppings.

Parvovirus causes mucosal diarrhea with more or less blood, vomiting and lethargy; it mostly attacks dogs that have not been vaccinated against parvovirus and puppies. The target site of action of the virus are guts, and the predisposed breeds are German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermans. In this, as in any case, prevention is the most important. Timely vaccinations and adequate nutrition are the best choices to help prevent any of these diseases from occurring at all.2Farricelli, A. Causes of Mucous in Dogs Stool. Pet Helpful. Retrieved 20 August 2020.

Vomiting And Diarrhea in Dogs

The most common cause of the appearance of these two combined symptoms is improper diet, i.e., giving human food to dogs. Many foods that people use in their daily diet, such as beans, some fruits, ham, cured meats and many others, lead to a series of unpleasant reactions in dogs, like bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite.

When such cases occur, you can improve the condition of your dog yourself by introducing a restriction of food and water for 24 hours. Otherwise, if the dog is vomiting, water is certainly not the first drink of choice you should give your dog as it irritates the stomach, causing more vomiting. First of all, he could be given some chicken soup or boiled rice water.

So, after a twenty-four-hour fast, these foods are the first to be slowly introduced into the dog’s diet. After that, you can slowly start giving white chicken or other parts of chicken, without skin and bones of course, rice and some other cereals. If even then the diarrhea and vomiting do not stop after 24 hours from the beginning of the diet, the dog needs to be taken to the vet immediately.

List of natural foods that can be used in case of vomiting and diarrhea in dogs:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken broth
  • White rice
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cottage cheese
  • Boiled eggs
  • Mashed carrots
  • Yogurt
  • Turkey
  • Watermelon
  • Pumpkin
  • Probiotics

Vomiting and diarrhea are two symptoms that occur in severe disease states such as gastroenteritis and parvovirosis. Parvovirus can cause very serious health conditions, and it most commonly occurs in puppies. The specific signs of this disease are mustard-colored diarrhea that may have traces of blood, and vomiting that is yellow to brown. Both of those signs have an unpleasant odor, both are very common and quickly weaken the body of the puppy.

Causes of gastroenteritis can be food changes, medications, parasites, viruses and bacteria. Certain poisons or toxins can also be the cause, and if you suspect that the dog may have eaten something that is not on his “daily menu,” causing him to vomit for several days, it is necessary to react in time and take the dog for further tests. It may be accompanied by severe abdominal pain, electrolyte disturbance and gastric pH disorder (acid-base balance). All these conditions, if left untreated, lead to loss of appetite and lethargy and could be fatal to your pet.

Chronic Diarrhea in Dogs

Depending on the duration, diarrhea can be acute or chronic. The chronic form of diarrhea is long-term and its causes can be various. It can last from a few days to even a few months. In the first place, it can happen that the dog shows intolerance to a certain type of food. Also, the presence of parasites can cause inflammation of the intestines and lead to the appearance of tumors in the intestines, which individually or together can be the cause of diarrhea. Also, diseases of organs not related to the digestive tract, e.g., diseases of the pancreas, heart or liver, can also cause chronic diarrhea.

The most common cause of chronic diarrhea are bacterial viral infections that can lead to other symptoms that often occur with chronic diarrhea, namely lethargy and abdominal pain caused by significant loss of electrolytes in the body, then vomiting and loss of appetite, which later leads to a significant decrease in the dog’s body weight. In this case, a very serious commitment to the dog is needed to solve the problem, because during such a long and constant bowel movement, the body becomes very dehydrated, and this condition can be life-threatening.

Successful treatment cannot be achieved by using only home remedies; they can be introduced, but they can only alleviate the condition. Appropriate medical treatment is needed which, again, is determined on the basis of the known cause of diarrhea.

In addition to this form of diarrhea, it also occurs as a short-term symptom. It is called acute diarrhea, and it can be resolved very quickly by alternative methods or medical treatment. It is a mechanism by which the dog’s body defends itself against an infectious agent or current stress, and it is also the best way to cleanse the body of toxins or harmful microorganisms. Diarrhea turns into a chronic form and is declared as such when the dog does not recover after three weeks of treatment.

Dog Has Diarrhea But Acts Fine

If your dog has diarrhea but behaves quite normally without any additional symptoms, a lot should be considered. This is not an immediate sign that you should think of the worst. In this case, you can initially try to alleviate and eliminate the condition with food and alternative medicines. If that fails, then you need to take the dog to the vet.

The cause of such phenomena is most often a change in the dog’s diet. The appearance of diarrhea itself indicates that the food you give your dog does not suit him, that it is full of calcium or that it is too soft, so it passes through the gastrointestinal tract too easily.

It can also happen that the dog has swallowed a foreign body, but that it still does not bother him too much so that he looks and behaves quite normally, but scraping on the intestinal mucosa causes diarrhea. In such cases, we can introduce the dog to a light diet that will show us in the first few days whether the stool will change or whether it will harden.

This diet includes low-fat cottage cheese, chicken breast, pasta, cooked white rice and ground tomatoes. Boiled pumpkin and carrots, as well as bananas can be given to the dog ground as a puree. All these types of foods are easily digestible and should have a positive effect on digestion.

The dog should not have problems with appetite, and if the condition worsens or continues for a long time with the appearance of new symptoms, the dog should be taken for an examination.

How To Stop Diarrhea in Dogs? (Treatment)

In the case of diarrhea caused by infectious (viral, bacterial), mechanical (obstructive), allergenic or any other agents, symptomatic or so-called “conservative” therapy is applied initially, which involves giving electrolytes and fluids intravenously to alleviate or prevent dehydration.

If the diarrhea is due to a change in diet, simply return to the old diet and slowly introduce a new one, and in case of food intolerance, do not give the dog the type of food that bothers him.

If the diarrhea persists, introduce a restriction of water and standard food to your dog, and gradually start giving him cooked white rice and slightly white chicken in frequent and smaller meals, and if the stool hardens, you can start giving small amounts of water. Then you can start to make a little more space between meals and increase the amount of food given until the dog’s condition is completely normalized.

Probiotics and prebiotics are very helpful if you have some of them in your home pharmacy because they improve the intestinal and gastric bacterial microflora and contribute to better digestion. If you have preparations of kaolin, pectin or slippery elm in powder form, as well as PeptoBismol, they in addition to food in small amounts can help stop diarrhea.

However, if all this does not help after 24 hours from the onset of diarrhea, and if some other symptoms such as vomiting occur, take the dog to the closest veterinary station. In this case, the veterinarian prescribes one of the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs based on tylosin, loperamide, enrofloxacin and metronidazole to monitor the dog’s response to the use of one of them, in order to further determine the cause of these symptoms.

If the dog is poisoned, also depending on the cause of the poisoning, the veterinarian determines whether the dog first needs gastric lavage or not, and then injects vitamin K1 or provides medical charcoal that can also be used at home. In the most severe cases, a blood transfusion can be performed to help the dog recover as soon as possible.

Fast Cure For Dog Diarrhea

If your dog refuses to take food during the period when you have noticed that he has a stool problem, do not force him to eat because it is a natural mechanism of the animal to solve the problem in the GI tract on its own. The best alternative is to stop eating for a period to rest the intestines: 6-12 hours if it is a smaller dog, and 12-24 hours if it is a larger and more resistant dog.

This method is not used in puppies, nor in dogs that suffer from diabetes or are known to have a weakened immune system. After fasting, mild foods such as cooked rice, white chicken, pasta, flakes and yogurt with probiotics are ideal foods you can give your dog to improve his bowel and stomach condition and to stop diarrhea.

This should lead to a very quick cessation of diarrhea, and if it doesn’t, the fastest effective remedy is activated charcoal. It is most commonly used in the treatment of diarrhea caused by poisoning or in the treatment of catarrh and ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It absorbs a large number of toxic substances and products in the body. The daily dose for dogs is 5-20g, and this dose can be divided into two to three administrations during the day.

Dog Diarrhea Medicine

Before going to the vet, you can try using antidiarrheal preparations. Those drugs belong to the group of over-the-counter drugs and contain bismuth subsalicylate whose role is to soothe stomach problems and alleviate or eliminate diarrhea. They are made in the form of suspensions, powders, clays and tablets. In the case of these drugs, care should be taken with dosing because they contain bismuth salts, salicylates that can be harmful to dogs given in larger quantities, but this should not be a problem as the dosage is indicated on each package.

If parasites are found in the dog’s feces, dewormer preparations are used in treatment. They contain ingredients that have an adverse effect on parasites; these ingredients include albendazole, fenbendazole, pyrantel and praziquantel. Encompassing a wide range of worms, they perform their action in a way by killing them and removing them from the body via feces. Dewormers are safe to give to puppies and dogs older than 6 weeks and the recommended therapies usually last for 3 days.

Some homeopathic remedies can also successfully stop loose stools; however, it is necessary to follow the dosage instructions well and to choose the most suitable remedy or the one that is stated to treat the symptoms that are closest to the descriptions of symptoms in your dog.

Herb nux vomicaThe most commonly used homeopathic remedies are those based on the herb Nux vomica, which is strychnine-rich, orange fruit. It helps to relieve stomach cramps and speeds up digestion. These medications can be produced in the form of drops and pellets and can relieve stomach and intestinal pain and reduce contractions.

If the dog’s stool is very runny and smelly, and sometimes bloody, the cause may be a change in diet or parvovirus. With parvovirus vomiting will occur, so you must take the dog to the vet immediately. However, in the first case, phosphorus and sulfur are the choice of home treatment that can help by reducing the strain on defecation in the dog, and thus pain. They also facilitate the exit of feces from the colon and are responsible for the distribution and utilization of carbohydrates and fats in the body.

Of the antibiotic preparations, veterinarians usually prescribe preparations based on metronidazole for up to five days, as well as some other antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs based on tylosin and enrofloxacin. Those are effective at resolving issues caused by bacterial penetration into the body. But preparations based on enrofloxacin give a reaction in Boxers, a breed that is predisposed to developing diarrhea after using antibiotics.

There is also one human antibiotic and anti-inflammatory that owners give to dogs based on an ingredient called loperamide. It works by preventing dehydration and reducing intestinal motility. However, precisely because it is a human medicine, not all ingredients of this medicine are suitable for dogs, so this drug contains one opioid that can have an adverse effect on dogs and therefore caution should be exercised with the use of this antibiotic in the treatment of diarrhea in dogs.

Preparations based on tylosin are good because it acts on a wide range of causes of diarrhea, such as intoxications, bacterial infections, inflammatory bowel syndrome, gastritis, enteritis, etc. However, in many dogs, the body’s defensive response to antibiotics in the form of loose, watery stools can occur, which can either cause or prolong pre-existing diarrhea.

Dog Diarrhea Supplements

Probiotics and prebiotics are supplementary agents that are most often used in combination because they support each other’s work, can be used in everyday diets, can be bought without a prescription and, in addition to regulating digestion and stimulating mucus production, help strengthen the immune system. Probiotics are often prescribed in combination with antibiotics to facilitate their digestion, and are often used when transporting a dog because it causes stress, which we know is one of the causes of stool disorders.

Prebiotics are made so they are not digested before they reach the large intestine where they are tasked with fermenting fibers that have not been digested until then and converting them into short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). They provide fluid and electrolytes that are lost during increased defecation, prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and help the colon.

Also, there are more sources of prebiotics which cannot be given to the dog in its original state but are contained in some medicines or require special preparation, and these are:

  • Garlic
  • Roots of burdock and chicory
  • Dandelion
  • Turkey tail mushrooms and much more

However, both probiotics and prebiotics should also be used with caution, as overdoses of probiotics can promote the multiplication of “bad” bacteria in the stomach and intestines, and excessive administration of prebiotics can cause bloating due to the presence of cellulose and sugar in its composition.

Vitamin B can help solve this problem precisely because during diarrhea, there is a significant exit from the body of vitamin B complexes. Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B5 (pantothenic acid) regulate cellular metabolism, have a calming effect on gastroenteritis and supporting energy production.

Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid affect the proper functioning of the heart and blood vessels; they regulate the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins and are often recommended for use in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. All these vitamins can be bought in health stores as ready-made supplement products, but they can also be found in foods such as green vegetables, rice, fish, meat, nuts and fruits.

What to Give Dogs for Diarrhea (Home Remedy)

If it is a milder cause, you can give or prepare a large number of home remedies for diarrhea to your pet to help regulate the gastric and intestinal microflora and form a firm stool. The ideal natural source of sulfur and phosphorus, which are lost through dehydration, is carrot soup, which is prepared in a very easy way and is a good natural home remedy.

Also, slippery elm is very good because it is rich in mucins that lubricate the walls of the intestines and stomach and thus reduce food friction and irritation of the GI tract. It is produced in several forms: capsules, powder, spray and syrup.

Lemongrass is another excellent plant whose root is used in the preparation of tinctures or some supplements, which can be purchased at pharmacies. It has a calming effect on the intestines and stomach, and the doses refer to 44 pounds of body weight where ⅓ teaspoon tincture is given to the dog, depending on the severity of his condition.

Supplements such as digestive enzymes and L-glutamic amino acid, which improve the condition and function of intestinal cells and digestion, are also sold in health stores. Digestive enzymes are a supplementary source of live enzymes that support existing digestive enzymes in the dog’s body and are a source of new ones that are lacking in dogs that do not have raw food in their diet. However, one should be careful, because if you are giving natural probiotics already to your dog, it all together can be too much of a source of digestive enzymes and can cause bloating.

The slimy water from cooked rice provides a great way to lubricate the GI pathways and to facilitate the expulsion of feces. Chicken is rich in protein, but when the dog already has diarrhea, it is advisable to give him white meat (chicken breast); the skin and bones should not be given to the dog.

Cereals such as millet, rice, barley, and oat provide the fiber needed to ferment the necessary amino acids (SCFA) in the colon, which provides sufficient energy levels for the work and nutrition of colon cells. Banana is also an excellent source of potassium that is lost during vomiting and diarrhea, but it is also a source of “fast” sugar, so care must be taken with its intake. It also whets the appetite and is good for lethargic dogs who have lost a lot of weight.

Chia seeds are very rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Submerged in lukewarm water, they increase in volume and form a gel-like coating around themselves, resembling the mucus produced in the colon. These seeds are used especially in the treatment of dogs suffering from irritable bowels syndrome because they have a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effect.

The stress that dogs experience most often from travel and sudden loud noises (firecrackers and thunder) is a known cause of diarrhea. In this case, it is advisable to give the dog some sedatives. Some home remedies include chamomile tea, red clover, hawthorn, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), valerian, as well as various tinctures and essential oils (Bach flower essence) which are produced in the form of drops.

Pumpkin for Dog Diarrhea

Pumpkin is a vegetable full of fiber that is easily broken down in the intestines and stomach and thus lubricates the feces and lowers the Ph in the intestines. Dissolving fiber also helps replenish sodium and other important electrolytes, as well as water, that are lost through diarrhea and vomiting. Pumpkin is full of vitamins, especially its seeds, and it has a prebiotic effect. It is advisable to use pumpkin when you give your dog probiotics to enhance their effect.

One to four tablespoons of boiled pumpkin can be added to the dog’s food; it can be given to the dog mixed or as a puree. This is the optimal dose to start with, and depending on the size of the dog, the weight and severity of his condition can increase. Pumpkin puree can be mixed with half a slice of banana puree and given to the dog. With these ingredients, the owner can make homemade treats that are very high quality and rich in nutrients.

Banana for Dog Diarrhea

Banana is a fruit that is full of potassium, which in the case of diarrhea, is lost from the dog’s body by dehydration. It also has a high fiber content that has a beneficial effect on digestion and helps in the formation of feces. In addition to being very attractive to dogs to eat because they have sugar and cholesterol in them, they can also be dangerous if given too much because elevated amounts, even of sugar, can worsen the condition. Care should be taken with their administration to dogs with diabetes.

Bananas increase appetite and can be given to dogs as a supplement or as a treat during a standard diet. It is desirable to introduce them into the diet of lean and lethargic dogs. In addition to potassium, they are rich in vitamin C, B6, biotin and copper. They also contain manganese, but also sodium, which is very important in maintaining the balance of electrolytes and pH of the stomach. They can be given fresh, in pieces or prepared as a puree, in combination with other diet foods.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Antibiotics to Stop Dog Diarrhea

If your dog has diarrhea, try fasting and dieting to help your pet as much as you can. If that doesn’t work, your veterinarian will know for sure what to do next and what methods of examination and analysis to perform. The most common drugs in the case of diarrhea that last for a long time are Flagyl® (metronidazole) and Tylan® (tylosin). These antibiotics have the task of completely stopping diarrhea in a couple of doses and bringing the condition of the stool back to normal.

However, antibiotics are not the ones that restore the intestinal flora along the way; they only act on the primary problem if it is an infectious agent of bacterial origin. If, on the other hand, it turns out that the agent is not of bacterial origin, these antibiotics can create a bigger problem to your dog’s body. Recent studies have revealed an intolerance in Boxer dogs to the antibiotic drug Baytril (enrofloxacin).

Antibiotic allergies can occur in the form of many symptoms, most often bloating, vomiting, chronic diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. In such cases, a conservative approach to treatment and diet are a much safer and better way to avoid risking the life of your pet.


When it comes to diarrhea of ​​parasitic origin and from infectious diseases, it is necessary to regularly vaccinate and clean the dog from internal parasites. There are many ways to prevent diarrhea caused by poisoning, and owners should be careful when placing poisons for rodents, insects and reptiles, and where to leave medicines and cleaning products, as well as plant additives, so that the dog does not accidentally or deliberately reach for them.

If diarrhea occurs, it is necessary to use the given medication according to the prescribed measures and doses. Certainly, adequate nutrition and regular adherence to vaccinations is the best prevention. The prognosis for recovery depends on the cause of diarrhea and its duration, as well as the way the dog responds to treatment. Most dogs recover very quickly, but in chronic cases, it is necessary to pay more attention to the pet and introduce a special diet, and even medication, to improve the condition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Dog Diarrhea

What Causes Dogs to Have Diarrhea?

Causes of diarrhea in dogs are various but mostly include changes in the environment, ingestion of foreign bodies that dogs find in the trash, intolerance to certain types of food (you may have introduced a new food to the dog in meals that does not suit him), allergies, parasites that can be found in the stool (even in dogs that are regularly cleaned from them ) and stress that most often occurs when traveling or with sudden, loud noises (thunder and firecrackers). In more serious cases, these include intoxications with various toxins, gastroenteritis, systemic diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi, antibiotics or some other drugs, liver and kidney diseases.

What to Feed a Dog With Diarrhea?

The best dietary foods in case of diarrhea in your dog are boiled rice water, banana, boiled potatoes, white chicken, pasta, roasted minced turkey, yogurt, boiled oats, mashed boiled carrots and pumpkin, cottage low-fat cheese, ground beef, chia seeds in lukewarm water, boiled marshmallow root, various teas from plants that have a sedative effect, and boiled barley. All these foods should be prepared without the addition of spices, and the water should be removed and started to be given less only after 12-24 hours, depending on the size of the dog.

What Can I Give My Dog for Diarrhea?

Giving rice water to a dog can help relieve diarrhea. If the dog is not interested in drinking this liquid, you can add a couple of tablespoons of water from chicken soup or baby chicken food to make it more attractive to the dog. Also, natural probiotics such as yogurt or those purchased at a health food store can be given alone or mixed with food or prebiotics. These are bacterial cultures that help restore the intestinal and gastric microflora and to better digest food.

How to Help a Dog With Diarrhea?

The most that the owner can do is a conservative approach to treatment, that is, put the dog on a diet and introduce probiotics and prebiotics into his diet. Additional mats in the place where the dog stays the most work to warm the stomach and calm it. Initial giving of rice water, boiled chicken and pasta, and a twenty-four-hour fast will help the dog and possibly reveal the cause of the symptoms. After the implementation of such a diet, it is possible to gradually begin to introduce standard foods in daily meals, which should increase in quantity over time and their number should decrease. If your dog is able to get up and walk, it is advisable to take him out more often for shorter walks to start bowel motility and to speed up digestion.

How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs?

If you notice any additional phenomena in the feces, such as an unusual or very unpleasant odor, discoloration or the presence of white spots or foreign bodies, it is necessary to take such feces to the vet because it may help determine the cause of diarrhea. Discovering the cause can help determine the most successful treatment for a dog. In the acute phase, fasting from water, diet and giving probiotics in combination with prebiotics give a very good effect in the treatment. Chronic diarrhea, which lasts from two to four days, requires hospitalization of the dog and monitoring, as well as infusion therapy in order to compensate for the electrolytes that the dog has lost through dehydration.

What Is the Best Food for a Dog With Diarrhea?

Foods rich in protein, amino acids, low fat, vitamins, minerals, less sugar and carbohydrates are the best choice in treating the acute course of diarrhea. Twenty-four hours of fasting with water together with adequate nutrition show good results in the treatment of milder forms of diarrhea. The recommended diet is based on cooked rice and its water, which helps to lubricate the intestinal mucosa. In acute diarrhea, home-made chicken and beef are added to the home treatment, along with mashed cooked vegetables such as potato, pumpkin and carrots, and cooked cereals.

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs?

The onset of diarrhea is caused by improper digestion and damage to the mucous membrane of the GI tract. The causes of acute and chronic diarrhea are different. Acute diarrhea usually occurs due to the presence of a causative agent whose treatment lasts shorter (a couple of days); food intolerance, foreign bodies, allergies and stress from travel or some other causes. However, the causes can be more serious and can cause both acute and chronic diarrhea, such as bacterial infections (Campylobacter), fungal and viral infections (Parvovirus), parasites (Tapeworms, Giardia protozoa), gastric ulcers, tumors. heart and kidney disease, liver and pancreatic insufficiency, etc.

Can I Give My Dog Imodium for Diarrhea?

Imodium (Loperamide) is a human medicine that can be given to dogs in the treatment of diarrhea. It reduces bowel movements and helps stop dehydration, but it has an opioid in its composition, but it is easy to overdose in the treatment of your dog, so this drug is not even FDA approved for use in dogs. Since it is not known how it will affect the dog, you should not give it to them, but if you decide to do so, you should be careful.

What Helps a Dog With Diarrhea?

Probiotics that contain live cultures of 'good' bacteria and prebiotics that are actually fibers that are activated or fermented only in the colon have a very good combined effect and are intestinal protectors (protect the intestines and their mucous membranes). Rice water and chia seeds help produce mucus that coats the feces and helps it get out of the colon. Homeopathic remedies and natural sedatives, such as teas, have a calming effect on a dog's stomach in case of stress. Antibiotics can remove bacterial pathogens, and if electrolytes have been lost, vitamins and minerals cannot be compensated through adequate food, so intravenous therapy is preferred. All these preparations, depending on the cause, can have a good effect on recovery.

Is Bloody Diarrhea in Dogs an Emergency?

As bloody diarrhea in dogs can be a symptom of mild forms of disease, such as food intolerance, allergies, etc., it can also be a consequence of a primary very serious disease such as parvovirus, cancer, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and various bacterial infections. Diarrhea itself leads to significant dehydration of the dog's body if it lasts for a long period of time, so in combination with any of these causes it is not at all naive. If adequate treatment for HGE or parvovirus is not started immediately, they can be fatal for the dog. In order not to be deceived by the safety of the appearance of blood in the watery stool, it is necessary to take the dog to the vet immediately after noticing this phenomenon.


1 Ashe, C. (August 15, 2018). Dog Diarrhea Cause and Remedies. WholeDog Journal. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
2 Farricelli, A. Causes of Mucous in Dogs Stool. Pet Helpful. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
Dr. Elvira Sefo-Kapidzic (DVM)
Dr. Elvira Sefo-Kapidzic (DVM)
Dr. Elvira is working as a field veterinarian and in a small animal ambulance in Sarajevo. She has a deep knowledge of toxicity in dog food. She has successfully completed a large number of seminars in her special fields. She is a proud mom of 11-years old labrador retriever “Bonny”.

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