What to Do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea

What to Do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea

by Scritch

Upset tummy and diarrhea are some of the most common issues in dogs, and if you live with a dog, you’ll likely have to deal with doggy diarrhea at some point (if you haven’t already). Dog diarrhea can be caused by a number of reasons ranging from eating something that disagrees with their tummy to a more serious medical condition. The care your dog needs will depend on his specific situation. Here are cases that warrant a trip to the vet and ways that you can care for your dog at home. 

Causes of diarrhea

You might be wondering what caused your dog’s diarrhea. For some, coming home to find the contents of the garbage can scattered across the floor can be answer enough, but for others it’s not that simple. There are numerous medical conditions and situations that cause dog diarrhea, but these are some of the most common causes. 

  • Diet changes (trying a new food or eating something they shouldn’t)
  • Stress
  • Parasites
  • Infections
  • Medications
  • Toxins
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

When to seek veterinary care

In certain cases, a dog’s diarrhea should not be ignored because it can be a sign of something serious, or quickly take a turn for the worse. If any of the following applies to your dog’s situation, seek immediate veterinary care. 

  • Dogs that are extra small, very young, very old, or have compromised immune systems; even relatively mild diarrhea can become very serious for these dogs. 
  • If you notice any amount of blood in your dog’s stool. 
  • Very frequent or very watery diarrhea can cause your dog to quickly become dehydrated.
  • Diarrhea accompanied by frequent vomiting, pain, or lethargy. 

How to care for a dog with diarrhea

If your dog doesn’t fit any of the descriptions above and is otherwise a healthy adult with a mild case of diarrhea, there are a few ways you can help him get through his sick day. 

  1. Encourage him to drink. Provide plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration. To encourage drinking, you can add some low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth to his water—just be sure the ingredients list is free of any garlic or onion products. 
  2. Homemade diet. To allow the digestive system to recover, keep your dog on a limited diet with ingredients that are easy to digest. Veterinarians recommend feeding small meals with ingredients like plain boiled chicken, white rice, or plain pumpkin puree. Consider asking your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
  3. Keep an eye on the situation. If diarrhea lasts for more than 24 hours or gets worse, contact your veterinarian.