Yuck Dog Diarrhea !

A healthy dog might have an episode of dog diarrhea every once in a while, but usually it’s a quick bout and over in no time, and that’s the end of that. However if your dog is having diarrhea frequently, the problem can become chronic. This must be resolved, or your dog can become quite ill.

Dog diarrhea is not fun for you or your dog.

Excessively loose, watery and frequent bowel movements are a sign that the bowels are trying to eliminate toxic irritants.

I think we’ve all been there. The dog is at the door, asking to go out. He’s in a hurry! You can tell by the way he’s behaving.

Once out, he finds a place and let’s it gooooooooooo! Relief...but now he’s looking around, his posture is hunched and he’s straining to go again. More runny, smelly, liquid dog poop. Oh no!

Worse yet, you find he’s had a problem while you’ve been out. What a delightful surprise to be greeted with dog diarrhea all over the living room rug upon your arrival home. Your dog knows he’s been bad, even though it’s not his fault ( he was desperate !) and he’s hiding in the bedroom. No greeting at the door for you today!

Symptoms of Canine Diarrhea

  • Loose watery stool that is frequent and urgent.
  • Straining - Trying to go, and then an explosion of diarrhea. This is not dog constipation.
  • Low energy - Do you notice a change in your dog’s typical day to day behavior? Is he feeling kind of low, wants to sleep alot, not that interested in anything, including food.
  • Vomiting - together with a feeling of being generally unwell.
  • Fever - Does your dog feel warm to the touch?
  • Dehydration - Senior dogs and puppies are at a higher risk.
  • Lack of appetite - What’s this? He doesn’t want to eat? Something must be very wrong.

Causes of Dog Diarrhea

There can be many reasons why your pooch has dog diarrhea. Diarrhea affects peristalsis, the muscle contractions in your dog’s intestinal tract. This makes him feel like he has to go...again, and again. Here are some of the most common causes of dog diarrhea.

  • Dietary Indiscretion - This means, eating something he shouldn’t. You know dogs! They’ll eat what isn’t nailed down. Read... grass, rocks, sticks, tree bark, garbage, rotten decaying food, other dog’s poop, paper, plastic, that piece of chocolate cake that wasn’t put away, and other stuff. You get the picture.
  • Parasites - Giardia, a microscopic single cell protozoa, can cause dog diarrhea that comes and goes intermittently. Just when you think all is well, the diarrhea starts again. Various types of worms ( roundworm, hookworm, tape worm, whipworm, threadworm ) can be contributors as well.
  • Change in dog food – Think about this. If you have been feeding the same dog food for years, you have created set of circumstances where your dog’s digestive system has been ' conditioned ' to accept only one kind of food. This creates ' food intolerance '. Don't you eat a variety of food every day? Well your dog needs variety too. By doing this he gets a wider range of micronutrients, and his bowel becomes ' conditioned ' to accept different foods.
  • Food allergies – Are created by feeding the same protein source for a long time. Example : Chicken. Eventually, the dog develops an ' allergy ' from being overexposed to the chicken. Food allergies can be the source cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  • Pancreatitis – Inflammation and swelling of the pancreas frequently usually caused by the dog eating food higher in fat than usual. Characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weakness and shock. This is serious. See the vet. In the meantime, withhold ALL food. Nothing by mouth at all.
  • Bacterial and viral infections – Dogs are indiscriminate eaters, so infections are common.
  • Stress - What’s going on at your house? A change in routine maybe?
  • Drugs – medications such as antibiotics, dewormers, heart medications and NSAID’s ( Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs ) will cause a side effect of diarrhea ( among other side effects ).

A Dog Diarrhea Chart to Help You

yellow, greenrapid transitsmall bowel
black, tarryUpper GI bleedingstomach, small bowel
red blood, clotslower GI bleedingcolon clots
pasty, lightlack of bileliver
large, gray, rancidpoor digestionsmall bowel, nonabsorption
sour, foodlikerapid transit, poor digestion, malabsorptionsmall bowel
foul, rancidpoor digestion, fermentationpancreas, small bowel
wateryrapid transitsmall bowel
foamybacterial infectionsmall bowel
greasymalabsorptionpancreas, small bowel
shiny, jelly likemucouscolon
straining, many stools oftencolitiscolon
3 or 4 large stools a daypoor digestion, mal absorptionpancreas, small bowel
State of HealthCauseLocated
weight loss poor digestion, malabsorptionpancreas, small bowel
normal weight, normal appetitelarge bowel malfunctioncolon
vomitingenteritissmall bowel

Dog Diarrhea Treatment

Let’s look at some easy solutions for dog diarrhea.


The first thing I do if the runny dog poop does not resolve itself within a day’s time frame, is withhold food for 12 to 24 hours. This gives the digestive tract a chance to clear out, empty itself of food and whatever else might be causing the problem. This rest from food is called natural hygiene or fasting.


Next offer your dog some easy to digest food that is low in fat. I like to use lightly cooked ground turkey, mixed half and half with soft cooked sweet potato. You can use canned pumpkin too, if you haven’t got sweet potato. I don’t like to use rice because I don’t think it digests very well, and can sometimes increase gas and make diarrhea worse.

Feed your dog half his normal portion until stools are back to normal. Sometimes it's a good idea to offer three small meals in the course of a day. This could take three to five days to restore proper bowel function. Then resume your regular feeding regime.

Further help

I have some favorite natural remedies that I like to keep on hand for emergencies. Dog diarrhea often happens ' out of the blue ', and so, fall into this emergency category. Constant diarrhea is a symptom of inflammation in the bowel.

When using supplemental remedies for dog diarrhea, it is important to be able to choose the right remedy to ease this inflammation. Do you want to be able to:

  • absorb and pull toxins out of the bowel
  • stop fluid loss by using astringent herbs
  • kill infectious pathogens

You can find remedies for diarrhea by looking in my Herbal Medicine Cabinet.

After your dog is stable and bowel movements are back to normal and all is well again, it is a good idea to take some precautionary measures to reseed the gut with beneficial bacteria and replace lost mineral electrolytes.

If you must take your dog to the vet, please remember to obtain a stool sample first. Take it with you.

Your vet will appreciate it, and so will your dog.

It won’t make your dog very happy if the vet has to extract a fecal sample manually. Ouch!

You wouldn’t like it. Imagine how your dog will feel?!

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