How to Help Dogs with Diarrhea

As a dog caregiver, you’re no stranger to the occasional upset stomach or digestive issue in your furry friend. But when diarrhea strikes, it can be worrying and downright unpleasant for both you and your pooch. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to help your dog when they’re suffering from diarrhea.

1. Identify the Symptoms

Before you can effectively treat your dog’s diarrhea, you need to be sure that’s what you’re dealing with. Diarrhea in dogs can manifest in several ways:

  • Frequent, loose, or watery stools
  • An unusually high volume of stool
  • A sudden change in the color or consistency of the stool

2. Understand the Causes

Once you’ve identified the symptoms, it’s important to understand what might be causing your dog’s diarrhea. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Dietary indiscretion: Dogs are notorious for eating things they shouldn’t, and this can lead to an upset stomach.
  • Change in diet: If you’ve recently switched your dog’s food, their digestive system might be reacting to the new ingredients.
  • Stress: Just like humans, dogs can suffer from stress-induced diarrhea.
  • Medical conditions: Certain diseases and conditions can cause chronic diarrhea in dogs.

3. Implement a Treatment Plan

Now that you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time to implement a treatment plan. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Withhold food for 12 to 24 hours: This gives your dog’s digestive system a chance to recover.
  2. Gradually reintroduce a bland diet: Start with small amounts of plain, boiled chicken and rice.
  3. Monitor your dog’s progress: Keep an eye on your dog’s stool and overall behavior. If the diarrhea persists, it’s time to call the vet.

4. Prevent Future Occurrences

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some ways to help prevent future cases of diarrhea in your dogs:

  • Maintain a consistent diet: Avoid sudden changes in your dog’s food.
  • Limit access to potential hazards: Keep your dog away from trash, plants, and other items they might be tempted to eat.
  • Regular vet check-ups: Regular check-ups can help detect and treat potential causes of diarrhea before they become a problem.

5. When to Consult a Vet

In some cases, it’s important to consult a vet as soon as possible. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, call your vet immediately:

  • Diarrhea accompanied by vomiting
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 48 hours
  • Other signs of illness such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or fever


Q: How long does dog diarrhea last?
A: Most cases of diarrhea in dogs resolve within 24 to 48 hours.

Q: Can I give my dog Pepto-Bismol for diarrhea?
A: While it’s generally safe, it’s always best to consult with your vet before giving your dog any over-the-counter medication.

Q: What can I feed my dog with diarrhea?
A: A bland diet of plain chicken and rice is often recommended. Always reintroduce food slowly after a period of fasting.

Q: Should I walk my dog if they have diarrhea?
A: Yes, but keep the walks short and close to home. Your dog might need to go to the bathroom more frequently than usual.

Q: Can diarrhea in dogs be a sign of something serious?
A: Yes, chronic or severe diarrhea can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Always consult your vet if you’re concerned.