What To Give A Dog For Diarrhea

what to give dogs for diarrhea

An upset stomach and diarrhea, whether in a human or an animal, is a sign that something is not well. Not all signs of discomfort in dogs are related to an upset stomach or diarrhea. But there are specific signs that can help you identify if this is the problem. In this article we will talk about the causes of canine diarrhea and potential treatments to give your dog.


Causes of Upset Stomach and Diarrhea in Dogs

Food and Diet: A dog’s stomach stores and breaks the food down into small particles. These smaller particles provide all the energy, nutrients and vitamins the body needs to function. A dog’s intestines absorbs these small particles and sends them throughout their body. Each cell in the dog’s body absorbs the nutrients and minerals they need. If your dog has an upset stomach or diarrhea, it could be a sign that something is wrong in your dog's stomach or intestines.

Dogs are also scavengers.

They pick up almost anything they can find that smells appealing to them (even in the trash) and eat it. Those are the most common causes of upset stomach, digestive issues and diarrhea in dogs. If your dog has the habit of eating almost anything this might be the reason they regularly have an upset stomach or diarrhea. They likely eat some food that is not good for them. This includes spoiled food and dangerous toxic human food such as bones, chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, and more! Dogs also sometimes ingest plastic, cans, shoes, laces, underwear, or toys. Typically this results in gastrointestinal (GI) upset. If this is the case, and you know they ate an object like this, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Sudden Changes to Your Dog’s Diet

These can also cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. You should change a dog’s diet gradually in a process called titration. This means giving the old diet in larger proportions with small additions of the new diet at the beginning. Slowly add more parts of the new diet and phase out the old food. This process should take about 2 weeks. This allows the dog’s digestive system to get used to the new formula. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or a medical condition, they should eat a special diet food. These conditions include food intolerance or allergies to certain proteins. Vets can prescribe a bespoke diet to avoid acute diarrhea.

A prescribed diet can help decrease gastrointestinal tract triggers and prevent serious health issues later. Visit a veterinarian to find out if this is just a one-time case of upset stomach and diarrhea. They can tell you if it is a serious medical condition. Vets typically examine your pet and discuss with you the best treatment. They will also give advice on what to give a dog for diarrhea.

The way a dog eats can also increase the likelihood of it having an upset stomach. Eating too much, too little or too fast (bolting) can contribute to the discomfort of healthy adult dogs.


An upset stomach and diarrhea caused by viral infections are more serious and need immediate attention. Viruses like parvo and corona are particularly notorious for this. Their symptoms can start as any other common upset stomach and diarrhea but worsen in hours. If your vet does not treat these viral infections then your dog's health could be endangered. Usually a dog's condition gets worse fast. This can even lead to death from dehydration and other complications. If your dog is not up to date with vaccinations and vomiting and diarrhea are severe, seek veterinary care immediately. High vomit volumes and abnormal colors like red or black should also draw your attention. 

The dog’s age, immune system and overall condition

Older dogs, convalescing animals, and puppies are more likely to have problems with their digestive system. They likely have compromised immune systems. Some conditions require a special diet. Any deviation from it can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea in your dog.


Just as with humans, dogs suffering a stressful situation can trigger upset stomachs and diarrhea. Typically car trips, fireworks noise, and separation from their owner can cause stress and anxiety in your dog. This leads to an imbalanced gut micro-flora (dysbiosis) and results in “stress colitis”.


Deworming your dog is as important as feeding it a good diet. Parasitism in dogs can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea in canines of all ages, breeds, and sizes.


Symptoms of an upset stomach and diarrhea in dogs and how to help a dog's upset stomach

There are some general clinical signs and symptoms of an upset stomach and diarrhea that you can look out for. Note that these signs can be associated with other health problems and only a veterinarian can tell you what to do or what is the right treatment for your dog

  • Loss of appetite
  • Hearing loud rumblings noises from the dog’s tummy
  • Dog producing excessive gas (flatulence)
  • Fever
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Dehydration, especially if this goes along with vomiting or diarrhea. (You can test this by lightly pulling up on the skin between their shoulders creating a “skin tent” and releasing it. If it stays elevated for longer than 2 seconds, that means that your fur baby is dehydrated.)
  • Depression, dullness and a general loss of interest in their surroundings. For the example, a normally playful dog may become quiet.
  • Excessive grass eating. Eating some grass is normal for dogs. Grass has a soothing effect on their digestive system and most dogs eat grass once in a while. However, eating excessive grass is a sign that your dog’s digestive system needs some help to function well.
  • Loose stools (a dog’s stool should be firm with a shape that is easy to pick up- it should not be watery or runny) or stools with blood in it.

Other Symptoms Include

  • Different color stools – a dog’s stool will reflect their diet. If a dog eats carrots or beetroot you will find his stools to be a little orange. If your dog only eats dog food, your dog stool should have a dark brown color. Stools that are yellow, green, red or pitch black are a concern. They indicate that there is an infection in your dog’s digestive system. Seek veterinary help immediately.
  • Frequent vomiting. If it contains blood, white foam/bubbles, yellow colored bile or pieces of chewed items that should not be in there (such as shoes, plastic etc) it is usually a sign that there is something more serious going on. Seek veterinary help.
  • Swelling / Bloating of the abdomen with or without pain is an emergency situation. Do not wait. In some cases, your dog makes gagging motions, but does not vomited up anything. This often comes before bloating of the abdomen and is a sign to you need veterinary intervention.

Usually, if you can guarantee that your dog has not ingested anything apart from his/her regular diet, you should monitor your dog for the next few hours and see if the signs of discomfort persist. If the signs do not go away, or if you think that your dog has eaten anything out of his diet, especially foreign objects, see your veterinary doctor immediately. 

Diarrhea, vomiting, swelling of the abdomen and visible signs of pain are warning signals. Sensitivity like whining or crying when you touch a sensitive part, may indicate something more serious is happening in your dog’s body. Any of those signs or if your dog is not behaving as they usually do, take your dog to a vet immediately.

what to give dogs for diarrhea


What to Do When Your Dog has Diarrhea and What Do You Give a Dog with an Upset Stomach?

For dog owners who have never experienced a dog with an upset stomach and diarrhea before, it can be overwhelming. Many owners ask themselves, “What should I do? When should I take my dog to see a veterinary doctor?”. Here some easy ways to treat your fur baby at home. These tips also help with chronic diarrhea.


The first thing to do with a dog showing visible signs of stomach upset is to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours and observe their behavior. This is helpful because sometimes the dog’s stomach just needs to rest after an upsetting episode. After the fast give your dog just little food, especially for the first normal meal in-take. Observe your dog carefully. If they can hold on to the food and do not vomit or have diarrhea, you can repeat the process. Try to give them small portions until they eat normal again. Your dog well let you know when their appetite returns and they are happy to go back to their regular diet. 


Give your dog access to clean drinking water and watch how he drinks. If he drinks less or much more than usual, or if he vomits after drinking water, seek veterinary care immediately. Do not wait longer than 12 hours after observing the first symptoms to take your dog to a veterinary hospital. Your dog could be dehydrated. This can lead to serious complications, especially if it is a puppy or a senior. On hot days ice cubes are ideal for hydration. 

Bland Diet 

If your dog goes through the fast from their regular food and shows no sign of pain, continue treatment. Give them a bland diet for the next 24 hours. If your dog still acts sick after fasting and symptoms remain, you should see a veterinarian immediately.

Examples of bland diets that you may give to your dog include cooked or boiled white rice, cooked white pasta with no sauce, boiled mashed potatoes, boiled carrots and boiled chicken as they are easily digestible. Note that when you cook these items, do NOT season them, not even with salt or pepper. This can lead to salt toxicity which can intensify your dog's dehydration. You can also request from your veterinarian a special dog canned food to aid their recovery. 

Baby food is a secret tip. It is easily digestible and highly nutritious. If your dog likes it, then that's a great way to help him through this difficult period.

Gas Relief

One of the common signs of digestive upset is the release of excessive gas. If that is the only thing you notice in your dog, then there may not be a serious problem. This often results from a change in diet or bad feeding habits. Ask your veterinarian what you can give to your dog to help you with this matter. Self-medicating can be dangerous. Your dog may have other health issues that may get worse with the administration of a non-veterinarian prescribed medication, even if it is over the counter. More natural options to strengthen your dog's gut health include dog probiotics

What are Other Options to Give my Dog for Diarrhea or What to Give Your Dog for Upset Stomach?

  • ProbioticsProbiotics are microscopic bacteria that boost the efficiency of the immune system and aid digestion in your dog’s body. They are the “good bacteria” that your dog's body need to keep a healthy digestive system. Click here for a detailed article on natural probiotics for dogs.
  • ParsleyFeeding your dog fresh parsley leaves also helps reduce the release of excessive gas.
  • ExerciseSometimes, all your dog needs is just a stroll, but body weight can play a role too. How often do you take your dog on a walk? Overweight dogs that do not exercise regularly release more gas. Regular exercise helps reduce this uncomfortable condition.
  • Digestive EnzymesDigestive enzymes are proteins that aid digestion and are beneficial for your dog’s health. Amino acids, trace minerals, and digestive enzymes are all part of the Rockwell Pets Pro Natural Vitamins. Find out more about Natural Dog Vitamins
  • Healthy Diet: What to feed your dog with diarrhea is an important question. Some fruits and vegetables that we may consider as healthy for us may not be good for dogs. Examples of toxic vegetables and fruits for dogs include garlic, avocados, onions, grapes, pineapple etc. Any of these may not only cause an upset stomach but can cost your dog his/her life. Consult your veterinarian for an appropriate diet plan for your dog. They can tailor a diet protocol for your individual pet’s needs.
  • Feeding habitsHow does your dog eat? Does he eat too much, too fast? If he does, then he may be swallowing air along with his food which would cause the release of excessive gas. Give your dog food in small amounts. There are some special food bowls and apparatuses that help a dog eat slower. They incorporate mental stimulation i.e. puzzles to unlock food.

Consult Your Veterinarian

Pets experts will help you make the best decision for your dog’s health and diet. Your veterinarian has the medical history of your dog. With the proper information, they are able to diagnose what is wrong with your pet and prescribe treatments. They can also recommend any other necessary steps you need to take to improve your pet’s health. You should report any cases of severe stomach upset (with or without blood) – such as vomit or diarrhea – to your veterinarian immediately.

Finally, you should know that prevention is better than treatment. Feed your dog the right food, vaccinate them for common viruses, deworm them if necessary, and report any problems to your veterinarian as soon as they start. This should explain and answer any question on what to give a dog for diarrhea and upset stomach.

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