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7 Reasons Your Dog Has Diarrhea, and What You Can Do about it

Cedarcide blog post image, 7 Reasons Your Dog Has Diarrhea

Part of being a doggy parent is dealing with doggy diarrhea. It’s gross, messy, and no one likes to see their pup suffer with it. Identifying the cause is crucial to relieving this unpleasant condition as soon as possible—plus, you might just be able to prevent it from happening again. From there, you can try a few natural home remedies to address your pup’s upset tummy. Let’s start with the most common causes.

Remember: There’s no substitute for a professional veterinarian. We suggest consulting a vet before attempting home remedies on your own. If the diarrhea persists for over 24 hours, your pup’s behaving strangely, or their stool looks unusual even for diarrhea, consult your vet as soon as possible.

A Natural Detox

Diarrhea is never comfortable or welcome—not for pet parents and definitely not for pets. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes diarrhea is simply the body detoxing itself of bacteria, toxins or other contaminants. In essence, the body is trying to flush out potentially harmful items before they can do any more harm.

A Change in Diet

A simple change in diet is often enough to cause doggy diarrhea. Sometimes it takes our pups a few days to adjust to a new feeding routine, and diarrhea is a common symptom of such a change. If you need to alter your dog’s diet, do it gradually over time when at all possible.

They Ate Something Gross, or Toxic

This one’s so common vets have a name for it: “Garbage gut,” and it’s one of the leading causes of dog diarrhea. As pet parents know, dogs like to pull items from the trash and eat them indiscriminately. Rotten food, too much food, food that’s toxic to canines—all can give your pup the runs. Regularly clean and monitor your pup's food and water bowls, too, as bacteria from unclean eating and drinking surfaces is another common cause of diarrhea. 


Emotional stress like trauma, loss of a loved one, or a change in scenery can upset your dog's tummy, leading to diarrhea.


Parasites are a common cause of intestinal distress—including diarrhea. They’re easily picked up from unexpected water sources like ponds or puddles, or from eating animal poop. If your dog’s stool includes mucus, has white markings in it, or looks foamy, you should consult your vet to have them checked for intestinal parasites.


If your pup’s diarrhea is accompanied by sneezing, scratching, paw chewing and wet eyes, a food allergy might be the cause. In this instance, diarrhea is a way for your dog’s body to remove the allergens before they cause further issue.

They Ate Something Inedible

From floss to packaging materials to toys, our pets can and will attempt to eat almost anything. Sadly, these items can become lodged in your dog’s stomach or intestinal tract, leading to diarrhea. Such occurrences can be life threatening, so if you suspect your dog may have something stuck in their tummy, you should consult a vet immediately.

Natural Home Remedies for Dog Diarrhea

Dog diarrhea is not normally serious, and usually resolves on its own in a few days. However, there are several natural home remedies that can help settle your pup’s stomach a little sooner. Here are some of the easiest and most effective:

A 12-24 hour fast is typically the first method to try at home when dealing with a mild case of diarrhea (fasts do not include water—your pup will need lots of hydrating while they’re experiencing diarrhea). Consult a vet before trying this approach, however, as older dogs, younger dogs, ill dogs and some smaller dogs might not be a good fit for fasting. 


Canned Pumpkin
Canned pumpkin (not to be confused with raw pumpkin or the sugar-packed pie filling type) is great for digestive issues, including constipation and diarrhea. Simply add a few tablesoons (or teaspoons for puppies) to your dog's food bowl daily. Just be careful not to add too much, as excess vitamin A can be unhealthy for canines. 


White Rice
Replacing your dog’s normal food with boiled organic white rice is said to help relieve diarrhea. The bland nature of the rice can help settle the stomach, and the fiber can help firm ur your pup’s stool. Slowly reintroduce your dog’s normal diet over the next few days until things return to normal.

Plain Chicken
Plain boiled white chicken is also said to soothe dog’s suffering from diarrhea. This can be added to the white rice mentioned above if your dog handles the rice with no issue. Just make sure the chicken is skinless, boneless and free of herbs and spices. Again, gradually reintroduce your dog’s normal eating routine over the next several days.

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Donna Jean D
21 Mar 2015
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