Dog diarrhea can indicate various medical issues, ranging from digestive problems to allergies and infections. While it’s not usually serious, it can be uncomfortable for your pet and lead to dehydration if left untreated. Therefore, understanding the causes of diarrhea in dogs and knowing how to treat it are essential for keeping your pup healthy.

Identifying the Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea in dogs can have many different causes, so it’s essential to identify the underlying issue before beginning treatment. Typical causes of dog diarrhea include: 

Intestinal Parasites: Parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and giardia are common culprits of digestive upset in dogs. These parasites live in the intestines and can cause diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting, and general lethargy. 

Bacterial or Viral Infections: Bacterial or viral infections can also lead to diarrhea in dogs. These are typically associated with other symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and sneezing. 

Food Intolerance: If your dog has recently eaten something that didn’t agree with them, they may experience digestive issues such as diarrhea. Food intolerances for dogs include dairy products, corn, soybeans, wheat gluten, and beef. 

Stress: Stress from environmental changes or moving to a new home can cause digestive problems, including diarrhea in some dogs. 

Medication: Certain medications can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea in some pets. If your pet is taking any medication, talk to your veterinarian about potential side effects before beginning treatment for diarrhea. 

Allergies: Food allergies or environmental allergies can also lead to loose stools in some dogs. Common allergens include grasses, dust mites, molds, and certain foods such as chicken or beef. 

Treating Diarrhea at Home 

While mild cases of diarrhea are usually not a cause for concern and will often resolve themselves within a few days with no treatment necessary, there are steps you can take at home to help support your pet’s digestive health if they’re experiencing loose stools due to stress or dietary indiscretion (eating something they shouldn’t have). Here are some tips for treating mild cases of diarrhea at home: 

Fast from Food: Stop feeding your pet for 12-24 hours so their digestive system has time to rest and recover from any inflammation or irritation that may be causing their loose stools. It would be best if you only offered small amounts of ice chips or water during this time, so they don’t become dehydrated (see below). 

Feed Bland Foods: Once your dog has gone 12-24 hours without food (depending on their size), you can start offering bland foods like boiled white rice mixed with cooked chicken breast or hamburger meat (no seasonings). Gradually increase the amount over several days until they return to regular meals.

Offer Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help support healthy digestion by aiding in the breakdown of food particles. You can find probiotics specifically designed for pets at most pet stores or online retailers; make sure the product you choose is formulated for canine use.

Rehydration Solutions: Dehydration is a common side effect of loose stools due to water loss through frequent bowel movements; this can be dangerous if left untreated, so it’s essential to monitor your pet during bouts of diarrhea and look out for indications of dehydration such as hollowed eyes or dry gums/tongue. You can offer rehydration drinks explicitly made for pets or created at home with a mixture of water, sugar, and salt. 

When to See a Veterinarian

Suppose your dog has had diarrhea for more than 48 hours or exhibits other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, weight loss, or lethargy. In that case, it’s essential to take them to the veterinarian for an examination. Your vet can help diagnose the underlying cause of diarrhea and provide treatment options to get your pet feeling better. 


Diarrhea in dogs indicates various medical problems ranging from minor digestive upset to more serious issues such as parasitic infections or allergies. Knowing how to identify the underlying cause and what steps you can take at home to help treat it is essential for keeping your pup healthy. If your dog has had diarrhea for more than 48 hours or exhibits other symptoms, it’s necessary to take them to the veterinarian for an examination. With the proper treatment and care, most cases of canine diarrhea can be resolved quickly and without complications.

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