15 Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs and How to Stop It

Diarrhea is one of the most common health issues that dogs experience. As a pet parent, it is essential to be vigilant about your dog’s bowel movements and to take note of any changes.

Diarrhea in dogs can stem from various causes, including dietary changes, infections, stress, and medical conditions. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for effective treatment, which may involve medication, dietary changes, or both. Provide water, a bland diet, and avoid treats. Consult a vet if diarrhea persists.

By understanding the root causes and taking proactive measures, you can help your furry friend to overcome diarrhea and maintain good gastrointestinal health.


1. Dietary changes

Dietary changes are a common cause of diarrhea in dogs, as sudden changes to their food can upset their stomachs. It’s important to introduce new foods gradually, mixing them with their current food and slowly increasing the proportion of the new food over a week or two.

High-fat or spicy foods can be especially problematic for dogs, as can grains or other ingredients they may be allergic to.

If you’re planning on changing your dog’s diet, consult with your veterinarian first to ensure that the new food is nutritionally balanced and appropriate for your dog’s age and health.


2. Food allergies

Food allergies can be a common cause of diarrhea in dogs. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain foods, causing their digestive system to react negatively. Common food allergens include beef, chicken, dairy products, soy, and wheat.

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, it may be necessary to identify the culprit through an elimination diet or allergy testing. Once the allergen is identified, it is important to eliminate it from your dog’s diet to prevent further episodes of diarrhea.

Working with your veterinarian can help create a suitable diet that meets your dog’s nutritional needs while avoiding trigger foods. Don’t let food allergies go untreated – addressing them promptly can help ensure your dog stays healthy and happy.


3. Parasites

Parasites are one of the leading causes of diarrhea in dogs, and they can be a real pain to deal with. Among the most common parasites found in dogs are roundworms, hookworms, and giardia.

These nasty little critters can cause a range of gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to deal with dog parasites, including medications, diet changes, and even natural remedies.

Be sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your furry friend, and always follow their advice when it comes to protecting your pet from parasites.



4. Bacterial infections

Bacterial infections are one of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs. This type of infection can occur when your furry friend consumes contaminated food or water or comes into contact with feces from an infected animal.

The bacteria can damage the lining of the intestine, leading to diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. It’s essential to seek veterinary care right away, as bacterial infections can become severe and lead to dehydration and other complications.

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection and advise you on the best diet and hydration strategies to help your pup recover.

Bacterial infections


5. Viral infections

Viral infections are one of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs, and understanding how they work can help you prevent and treat this distressing issue. Some of the most common viruses that can cause diarrhea in dogs include parvovirus, coronavirus, and distemper.

These viruses can be spread through direct contact with infected animals, contaminated food or water, or even through the air. Symptoms of viral infections often include lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can quickly lead to dehydration and other complications.

If your dog is showing signs of a viral infection, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately.

Viral infections


6. Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can be one of the underlying causes of your dog’s diarrhea. Just like humans, dogs can become stressed or anxious due to various reasons such as changes in routine, unfamiliar surroundings, or loud noises.

These factors may lead to the release of stress hormones, which then affect the digestive system, causing diarrhea. However, other factors might cause diarrhea in dogs, including food allergies or intolerances, infections, parasites, or eating non-food items.

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea for more than a few days, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian to identify the root cause and treat it promptly.

Stress and anxiety


7. Poisoning

Poisoning is one of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs. While it can be a scary situation, there are steps that pet owners can take to recognize and address it.

Poisoning can occur from ingesting toxins such as human medications, chocolate, pesticides, and household cleaning products. Keeping harmful substances out of reach from pets is crucial to prevent accidental ingestion.

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance on treatment. With prompt and proper care, most dogs can recover fully from poisoning.



8. Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs. This condition occurs when the lining of the intestine becomes inflamed, leading to chronic diarrhea and other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

IBD can make life uncomfortable for your beloved pets and affect their overall well-being. There are several treatments for IBD, including medication, special diets, and probiotics, which can reduce inflammation and help your dog’s digestive system function properly.


9. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a serious condition that affects many dogs and can be a painful experience for them. The pancreas is responsible for producing digestive enzymes, and when it becomes inflamed, diarrhea is a common symptom.

There are many potential causes of pancreatitis, including a high-fat diet, obesity, and certain medications. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea due to pancreatitis, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

Your veterinarian can suggest dietary changes and other treatments help alleviate symptoms and prevent future episodes of pancreatitis.



10. Colitis

Colitis is a common cause of diarrhea in dogs and is marked by inflammation of the colon. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including food allergies, bacterial infections, and stress.

Dogs with colitis may show signs such as frequent bowel movements, straining to defecate, and passing mucus or blood in their stools. To stop colitis, it is important to identify and treat the underlying cause.

Your veterinarian may recommend changes in diet, medication, or other interventions to help manage the condition. With proper care and attention, most dogs with colitis can recover and return to good health.



11. Intestinal blockages

Intestinal blockages are one of the causes of diarrhea in dogs. A blockage occurs when something gets caught in your dog’s intestine, preventing food and other materials from passing through the digestive system.

This can cause a range of symptoms, including vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Common causes of blockages include ingesting foreign objects like toys or bones, as well as consuming non-food items like stones or socks.

If you suspect that your dog has an intestinal blockage, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary care. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage and prevent further complications.


12. Kidney disease

Kidney disease can unfortunately lead to diarrhea in dogs. This is because when the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, waste products can build up in the body and cause intestinal distress.

Some common causes of kidney disease in dogs include genetic predisposition, infections, or exposure to toxins. To prevent diarrhea caused by kidney disease, it’s important to keep your dog’s kidneys healthy through proper diet and regular vet check-ups.

Your vet may recommend a special diet or medication to help manage kidney disease and minimize the risk of diarrhea. Early detection and treatment of kidney disease can go a long way in keeping your furry friend healthy and happy.


13. Liver disease

Liver disease is a potential cause of diarrhea in dogs and is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. The liver is responsible for a variety of functions, including producing bile to aid digestion, removing toxins from the blood, and storing nutrients.

In liver disease, the liver is unable to perform these essential functions, which can lead to a range of symptoms, including diarrhea. Dogs with liver disease may also experience loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and jaundice.

Treatment of liver disease involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause, as well as supportive care to manage symptoms.

If you suspect that your dog may have liver disease, it is important to seek veterinary care promptly to ensure the best possible outcome for your furry friend.

Liver disease


14. Medications

As a pet owner, it can be concerning to see your furry friend experiencing diarrhea. Medications are a common cause of diarrhea in dogs and it’s important to take note of any new medications or changes made in dosages.

Some commonly prescribed drugs such as antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and even over-the-counter pain relievers can lead to diarrhea in dogs.

If you suspect that your dog’s diarrhea is a result of medication, consult with your veterinarian immediately. They may recommend adjusting the dosage or switching to a different medication altogether.

It’s crucial to follow the recommended treatment plan closely to prevent any further complications.


15. Overfeeding

Overfeeding is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs. While you may have the best intentions when it comes to feeding your furry friend, it’s important to remember that overfeeding can lead to a number of health problems, including diarrhea.

Dogs have sensitive stomachs and giving them too much food can cause their digestive system to become overwhelmed.

So, how can you stop overfeeding your dog? The key is to feed them smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals.

You may also want to consider switching to high-quality, easy-to-digest dog food to ensure that your pup is getting all the nutrients they need without overloading its system.



In conclusion

Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, from diet changes to underlying health conditions. While some cases can be treated at home with dietary adjustments or over-the-counter medications, others may require veterinary attention. It is important to monitor your dog’s symptoms and behavior closely and seek professional help if necessary.

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