Most Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

dog diarrhea.

The causes of diarrhea in dogs vary, and while it’s often harmless, it could be a symptom of something more detrimental.

Every pet parent will likely experience a bout of diarrhea or soft feces in dogs at some point. It’s quite a common canine complaint and can be triggered by a multitude of things. 

However, it’s critical to understand and recognize when your doggy’s diarrhea is a cause for concern. Here you will find rapid diarrhea relief tips and information on the reasons, symptoms, and a dog diarrhea cure.

Dog Diarrhea — The Basics

When a dog has diarrhea, bowel movements are more frequent than normal, and the stool has a different consistency. Diarrhea is often accompanied by other gastrointestinal complaints, such as abdominal pain, flatulence, or even vomiting. In addition, the triggers can be either harmless, or serious with health consequences.

The current and general condition of your four-legged friend are decisive as to whether a veterinarian should be consulted or not.

Diarrhea falls into two categories:

Acute Diarrhea in Dogs

Typical acute diarrhea is the sudden onset of gastrointestinal disturbances that pass on its own accord. This typically lasts for around a day to a maximum of three days. 

Chronic Diarrhea in Dogs

If you find yourself thinking — my dog keeps getting diarrhea every few weeks — diarrhea in dogs lasting longer than 14 days or that repeatedly happens at close intervals means your dog's complaint is chronic. Diagnosing the root of the problem can be more difficult than the acute type.
my dog has diarrhea.

How Do I Know if My Dog Has Diarrhea?

There are some very distinctive behavioral traits of a dog when they have diarrhea, as well as physical symptoms.

  • Runny, unformed poop.

  • Bloody excrement, often runny.

  • Green, slimy feces.

  • Bloating and gas during bowel movements.

  • Frequent defecation.

A dog that has diarrhea will often arch its back when defecating. This way, you can tell if your dog is unwell. And, if your dog has diarrhea with mucus or your dog has diarrhea with blood, you should seek a veterinarian.

causes of diarrhea in dogs.

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea isn’t a disease but a symptom. In this case, the gastrointestinal tract cannot form feces properly. Here are a few reasons for dog diarrhea:

Wrong Food Intake

Not every food is compatible with a dog's stomach, thus can lead to severe diarrhea. You should avoid allowing them to eat spicy, cold, spoiled, or unfamiliar food. Instead, give them recommended food for dogs with diarrhea — which, in turn, boosts their digestive system.

Feed Intolerance

A feed intolerance or allergy can also be a reason for acute diarrhea. The top food-related allergens include — beef, chicken, dairy, and grains. The latter, such as wheat, barley, or rye, are contained in dry foods. 

Furthermore, it’s also advised not to change their diet too suddenly. So, if you want to try a new type of food or switch from dry to wet food, the transition should be slow and gradual. 

Medications and Vaccinations

Diarrhea can also occur as a side effect of medications, antibiotics, painkillers, or vaccinations. However, before stopping the treatment, you should consult your veterinarian.

Parasite Infestation

The most common parasites in canines include worms and protozoa, such as giardia or coccidia. Your vet will need to take a stool sample to confirm the diagnosis. The presence of worms not visible to the naked eye can also be checked. However, a worm infestation cannot be ruled out even if no worm eggs are found in the sample.

Due to the high risk of infection, poop piles should be removed immediately. But giardia can also be picked up when pooches drink from puddles. ‍However, you can prevent such an occurrence by deworming your doggy regularly. 

Gastrointestinal Infections

Viruses (including the deadly Parvo) and bacteria that cause an imbalance in the intestinal flora are responsible for gastrointestinal infections. In rare cases, fungal infections can even be the cause. Diarrhea is one of the symptoms.

Organ Dysfunction and Immune-Related Diseases

An autoimmune disease, pancreatitis, hormonal, cobalamin and folic acid deficiencies, or Addison's disease can trigger chronic diarrhea. If your dog has diarrhea and also shows other symptoms — for example, vomiting and a dull-looking coat — other underlying conditions such as kidney or liver disease, metabolic diseases, or even tumors could be behind it.


Ingestion of toxic substances can cause sudden and severe diarrhea. Poisoning can be caused by cleaning agents, poison (rat poison, slug pellets, etc.), poisonous plants or food, pesticides, and rotten leftovers.


Dogs are creatures of habit, which is why changes in the household, such as moving home, a new pet, or a new partner, can put the four-legged friend under massive stress. 

What’s more, separation anxiety as a result of being left home alone for too long could be another reason. 

Hence, many animals react to stressful situations with diarrhea.

dog diarrhea home remedy.

When Should I Go to the Vet?

You don’t have to rush your dog to the vet if they have diarrhea. This would depend on the severity and other circumstances. However, a visit to the vet is advisable if your dog:

  • Has a fever (above 39°C).

  • Seems numb and exhausted.

  • Continues to suffer from diarrhea despite a day of fasting and a light diet.

  • Shows no interest in food.

  • Refuses to drink.

  • Is very young or very old.

  • Could have possibly ingested something poisonous.

  • Swallowed a foreign object.

  • Has bloody diarrhea.

Veterinarians look for the cause of diarrhea in dogs using a step-by-step approach: 

  • They ask you about the frequency and nature of the feces.

  • The dog's usual food and the possibility of infection or poisoning.

  • By performing a general examination to establish any other symptoms.

Dog Diarrhea Home Remedy

It's important to take good care of your dog when they have diarrhea. Here’s what you can do to support your dog's recovery: 

  • You must give your dog plenty of water and encourage them to drink, they will lose a lot of fluids through diarrhea. Dehydration is serious, it could lead to organ failure and fatality. 

  • Hold off feeding your dog for 12 to 24 hours. This may allow their irritated intestines time to recuperate.

  • Charcoal tablets cleanse the intestines of bacteria and toxins and, in this way, help your dog to recover. 

Foods such as oatmeal, carrot soup, and bland diets are appropriate foods for dogs with diarrhea, and could also help in the short term.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you won't have to deal with diarrhea in your dog too frequently. Nonetheless, your canine companion will likely experience a few bouts throughout their life. 

More often than not, home remedies are enough to alleviate your tail-wagger’s troubles. However, if your dog's diarrhea doesn’t ease off, you should seek veterinary guidance.

Although the causes of diarrhea in dogs may appear numerous, with the proper care, most episodes will rectify, and your dog will be back to normal.

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs FAQs

What Can You Give a Dog to Stop the Diarrhea?

A bland diet for between 24 and 48 hours may ease your pup's problem. Keeping to foods like white rice, with chicken and canned plain pumpkin can help. Once your dog is feeling better, slowly reinstate their normal meals and closely monitor them.

How Long Does Dog Diarrhea Last?

Diarrhea in pups can happen spontaneously and last anywhere from a few days to several weeks or months. Dehydration can be an issue if your dog's diarrhea lasts more than a day. Diarrhea that lasts for an extended period may indicate that your pup has a health problem.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Diarrhea in Puppies?

Despite the seemingly endless list of horrific ailments, there are six major causes of diarrhea in puppies that you should be aware of:

  • Changes in diet or food intolerance.

  • Infection caused by bacteria.

  • Infection with a virus.

  • Consumption of trash, toxins, or foreign bodies.

  • Parasites.

  • Stress.

When Should You Worry About Dog Diarrhea?

Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog has repeated bouts of diarrhea or chronic diarrhea. If your dog is also exhibiting other symptoms, they should be seen by a veterinarian as early as possible.

What Can I Give My Dog to Harden His Stool?

Try adding a few teaspoons of boiled carrot, potato, or pumpkin to their dish.

Why Do Dogs Suddenly Get Diarrhea?

Dogs are susceptible to diarrhea — much like in humans. This can be brought on by several underlying circumstances. For example, when your dog ingests toxins or poison. The presence of parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, or giardia, may also contribute to abrupt diarrhea in dogs.