Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea in dogs can be a very distressing symptom for pet parents to cope with. If your pup is suffering from diarrhea you likely want to find a cure FAST! Today our Southeast Memphis vets explain some common causes, and how to stop diarrhea in dogs.


Diarrhea in Dogs

Our Southeast Memphis vets see a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for a range of reasons.

Mild bouts of diarrhea are very common in dogs and can be caused by mild intestinal distress due to your dog eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them, such as table scraps, or just from the simple act of switching to a new brand or flavor of food.

That said, there are also a number of more serious reasons why your dog could have diarrhea. 

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs

Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
  • Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
  • Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Medications such as antibiotics

But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?

When To Contact Your Vet

If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normal, it is likely not a cause for concern. Monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. More than 2 episodes could indicate a problem, so it's a good idea to call your vet if your pooch has two or more bouts of diarrhea.

If your pup is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage due to the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern and needs veterinary attention right away, contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care. 

Recurring bouts of diarrhea over a short period of time could be a sign of a very serious health issue, particularly if your pup is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. Infections such as parvovirus are extremely serious, contagious and life-threatening. Contact your vet right away if your pooch is experiencing repeated episodes of diarrhea.

Dogs showing other symptoms as well as diarrhea should also be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog has any of the following symptoms contact your vet right away to make an appointment:

  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weakness
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your pooch is displaying any symptoms that cause you concern, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary.

How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that work well for people can be toxic to dogs.

If your dog has had one or two runny or soft stools, you may want to give your dog some time to recover by simply fasting for 12 - 24 hours.

A bland diet for a day or two may help to resolve your pup's issue. Plain cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's tummy feel better. Once your pooch feels better gradually reintroduce their regular food.

Other things that might help to soothe your dog's upset tummy include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added, specially formulated dog foods, and medications prescribed by your vet.

When it comes to your best buddy's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. By taking your pooch in for an examination you give your vet the opportunity to determine the underlying cause of your pup's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment.

If your dog has diarrhea, contact our Southeast Memphis vets to book an examination for your pooch. Our vets at Southwind Animal Hospital have experience in diagnosing and treating the causes of diarrhea in dogs.

Causes of diarrhea in dogs and how to treat diarrhea in dogs, Southeast Memphis Vet

Looking for a vet in Southeast Memphis?

We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Related Articles View All

Should I microchip my dog?

If your dog is lost or stolen, a microchip sitting under their skin can increase their chances of being returned to you. Not sure if you should get your four-legged friend microchipped? Below, we look at some of the reasons why many vets recommend microchipping for dogs.

How Long to Quarantine Dog with Ringworm

If your dog has patches of hair loss with a crusty coating, it could be ringworm. Today, our Memphis vets explain the signs of ringworm in dogs, how it is diagnosed, and how to prevent the spread of ringworm to other pets.

Why does my dog's breath stink so bad?

If you love your pup but find yourself repulsed by their breath, it's time to take action and get your relationship back on track! Our Memphis vets explain a few causes of bad breath in dogs and why it's important for your four-legged friend to see a vet for a diagnosis.

Dog Intestinal Blockage Timeline, Surgery & Cost

Intestinal blockages in dogs are a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, caused by the ingestion of an object that becomes lodged in their digestive tract. Our Memphis vets discuss life-saving intestinal blockage surgery for dogs. 

What Are The Best Foods for Dogs with Allergies?

Food allergies are relatively uncommon in dogs, but when they do strike the symptoms can be uncomfortable for our canine companions. Today, our Memphis vets discuss the best foods to feed a dog with allergies.

(901) 362-8321 Contact