What to Give Dogs for Diarrhea

Updated: January 19, 2024

Diarrhea or a gastrointestinal upset is one of the most common reasons why pet parents visit the vet. Sometimes, it is anticipated, but most of the time, it can come as a surprise. When you're caught off guard, nothing comes to mind except for wondering what to give dogs for diarrhea.

As a pet parent, you are worried about a lot of things when it comes to this - the messy cleanups, the smell, the causes, or the thought of your furbaby being uncomfortable. As dedicated pet parents, we want to do everything in our power to help them!

Here, we've come up with what diarrhea l in dogs is really about, causes, symptoms, and efficient ways on how to manage it.

How to Tell if Your Dog Has Diarrhea

You will likely notice the most common signs of dog diarrhea. Aside from watery stools, they may have an increased frequency of bowel movements, weight loss, excessive drooling, dehydration, or nausea.

"Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by many reasons, considering your furbaby's age, condition, environment, etc."

According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, your dog’s poop can tell you so much about what your furbaby is going through.

Normal Stool Textures:

A normal stool consistency is formed but malleable like clay! Crumbly or chalky poop is normal for dogs on a raw diet with plenty of bone. Don’t mistake it with constipation.

Abnormal Stool:

  • Soft stool –can be compared to soft-serve to melting ice cream (sorry if this sounds disgusting!)
  • Loose stool – watery or thin stools
  • Any of the above with blood or mucus

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by many reasons. Considering your furbaby's age, condition, environment, etc. Some of the most common causes can include:

  • A sudden change in diet
  • Intolerance to certain foods
  • Internal parasites
  • Food allergies
  • Ingestion of harmful or toxic plant, food and/or substances
  • Viral infections
  • Side effects of medications
  • Stress, depression or anxiety
  • Other underlying illnesses

Diarrhea can be the first sign of a more serious health problem in your dog, like bowel diseases, liver and kidney problems, colitis, and cancer. More causes of dog diarrhea, according to Pet Insurance, include:

  • Ingestion of spoiled food
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Kidney or Liver Diseases

When Does Diarrhea Become an Emergency?

Diarrhea in dogs can be small bowel diarrhea or large bowel diarrhea. In small bowel diarrhea, your dog's poop will probably be in large volumes and mostly watery. This type of diarrhea can immediately cause dehydration and imbalance of electrolyte levels in the body. While large bowel diarrhea includes either the colon or the lower bowel. You will most likely notice constant episodes of your dog straining, feeling uneasy and passing only small but bloody, soft and mucus-like stools.

You know your furbaby best. If you feel like your dog is having diarrhea, but is still their usual happy-go-lucky self, still eats his meals, and still plays, then you can probably use home medications and continue observing them for the next few days. But if you think your furbaby is unwell, you can immediately contact your vet so they can make a proper diagnosis.

The following are the red flags of dog diarrhea that will tell you it's an emergency:

  • Total loss of appetite and/or thirst
  • Signs of pain and discomfort like yelping, whining, crying when pooping
  • Diarrhea accompanied by vomiting
  • Presence of blood in the stool (dark stool or visible red blood)
  • Absence of urination
  • Inability to stand or sit down while pooping
managing dog diarrhea, What to Give Dogs for Diarrhea

What Can You Do About Dog Diarrhea?

If you do not see diarrhea as being an emergency, here are some of the things you can do to support your dog when they have diarrhea.

  • Consult your vet. Consulting your vet when you see the first signs of diarrhea in dogs will save you from trouble. Do not wait until your dog has become fully dehydrated for you to take them to the vet. Your vet will run a series of tests to make a proper diagnosis and provide you with the best treatment plan
  • Continue feeding. Contrary to the myth that when your dog has diarrhea their bowels should rest and completely stop feeding them, VCA Animal Hospitals suggest that dogs suffering from diarrhea must still be fed but only in small quantities of a safe veterinary diet for dog diarrhea. These diets are particularly made with a good balance of fibers for your furbaby’s intestines and with certain antioxidants that will help boost their immune system. Your dog needs all the nutrition and energy they can get for their fast recovery (unless your vet absolutely says otherwise). This is true unless your dog is also vomiting. In that case, their tummies should be kept empty for sever hours to allow them to settle. 
  • Provide the right diet. Knowing what to feed a dog with diarrhea is extremely important. A diet jam packed with fiber is one of the greatest options when dealing with diarrhea as it is a good equalizer. Remember not to feed your furbaby huge meals all at once but multiple smaller meals all throughout the day. This is one of the most critical stages of diarrhea management. You must know what to give dogs for diarrhea as to not worsen the conditions they are currently in.
  • Keep them clean. Dog diarrhea can be messy! To help keep your furbaby and your home clean, we suggest having your furbaby wear Pet Parents® Dog Diapers. These diapers are great for poop and are made with our soft non-abrasive WickQuick® proprietary fabric that helps in preventing diaper rash and urine burns, allowing your furbaby to be comfortable. Additionally, in between diaper changes, you may use Pet Parents® Pet WiPees™ Gland Wipes. These pet wipes are made with hypoallergenic NatureTuff™ wipes that contain 90%+ bio-based ingredients that are listed on every wipe, so there are no disguised ingredients. Pet Parents® Pet WiPees™ Gland Wipes are specifically made to provide your furbaby a target clean in their anal gland area, especially when they have diarrhea!

What to Give Dogs for Diarrhea: Foods in the Kitchen

Wondering what to feed a dog with diarrhea? Here are foods found in your kitchen that are of great help to your dog's diarrhea.

White Rice. White rice is recommended by most vets as it helps firm up the water stool as it is made up of soluble fiber that absorbs water that passes through the gastrointestinal tract. White rice also helps stabilize your furbaby's stool.

Mashed potatoes. Potatoes are known to contain vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that help GI tract health.

Mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A and also have potassium and fiber that helps alleviate your pup's upset stomach.

Boiled chicken. Boiled boneless chicken meat served with white rice is also recommended by a number of veterinarians when it comes to dog diarrhea.

Probiotics. Probiotics help balance out the bad and good bacteria. It does not only strengthen your dog's gut health but also boosts their immune system. It supports proper digestion in your dog as well as the proper distribution of vitamins and minerals throughout the body.

Note: Use high-quality probiotic supplements that are specifically made for dogs like Pet Parents® Probiotic SoftSupps®.

Why Pet Parents® Probiotic SoftSupps®?

Pet Parents® Probiotic SoftSupps® synthesizes important hormones that can support a furbaby's body system and help balance out the helpful and harmful bacteria. It contains:

  • Pumpkin that's loaded with fiber, vitamins, & minerals that support the digestive tract, helping relieve an upset stomach, and treat diarrhea & constipation.
  • Proprietary Probiotic Blend helps prevent diseases, improve digestion & nutrient absorption, & strengthen the immune system.
  • Bacillus coagulans probiotic, BC MS-99®, that helps maintain gut flora in the digestive tract, providing a powerful source of beneficial intestinal bacteria.

These supplements can be given all year round to support optimal gut health in your dog. If you don’t know yet, Probiotics are actually the building blocks of a dog’s gut health, for that happy and healthy life for your dog.

What to give dogs for diarrhea plays a great role in making your furbaby recover faster. But remember that these are just management and supportive care. Consult your vet as he will know best what to give your dog according to the proper diagnosis.

"Probiotics are the building blocks of a dog’s gut health, for that happy and healthy life for your dog."

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