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What to Do If My Dog Has Diarrhoea?

What to Do If My Dog Has Diarrhoea?

Seeing your furry companion suffer from excessive soft stool or diarrhea can be distressing. Diarrhoea in dogs is a common ailment that can be caused by various factors, including:

Dietary Changes

Abrupt changes in your dog's diet, introduction to new foods, high fat foods or consuming spoiled or unfamiliar items can trigger acute diarrhoea.

Food Intolerance or Allergies

Dogs can be sensitive to certain ingredients in their food, leading to gastrointestinal distress. The most common allergens are protein sources, typically animal proteins are the most problematic. This can result in acute onset diarrhoea or gradually progressive chronic diarrhoea.


Viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections can lead to acute and chronic diarrhea in dogs

Stress or Anxiety

Dogs are sensitive creatures, and stress or anxiety can manifest as stress colitis, resulting in acute diarrhoea.

Ingesting Toxic Substances

Consuming toxic substances, plants, or chemicals can result in acute diarrhea.

Underlying disease

Diarrhea is a non-specific sign and can be caused by a large number of both acute and chronic disease processes.

If your dog experiences diarrhea, there are things that you can do to help alleviate their discomfort and support their recovery:


Diarrhea can quickly result in loss of fluids from the excessive water loss. Make sure your dog stays hydrated by providing access to clean and fresh water at all times, and add water to their food to increase their fluid intake. Adding palatants to water to entice them to drink more can also be helpful.


There used to be a recommendation to restrict food to let the gut 'rest', but this out-dated practice does not hold up to our modern understanding of the gut and the cells that line it. The cells of the gut wall, called enterocytes, require nourishment from within the gut, so restricting food can actually result in detrimental changes to the gut architecture and result in a longer course of diarrhoea before the problem resolves. Instead, offer a bland, easily digestible diet using foods that your dog is familiar with and has demonstrated tolerance to.

When your dog is experiencing diarrhea, it is crucial to provide gentle, easy-to-digest foods to soothe their upset stomach. Here are some foods that can help:

Cooked Rice: Plain white rice is rich in easily digestible starch and can help provide a ready source of energy.
Oatmeal: Plain, cooked oatmeal can be beneficial for your dog's digestive system. It is a good source of soluble fiber, which can help bind moisture in the stool, ease bowel movements, as well as acting as a prebiotic to nourish the microbiome, providing beneficial postbiotics to help the gut heal.
Pumpkin or sweet potato: Like oatmeal, plain, unsweetened canned pumpkin or sweet potato, or fresh cooked pumpkin flesh or sweet potato (with the skin!), contain soluble fibre and all its associated benefits. These vegetables also contain insoluble fiber that can help to bulk up the stool, as well as being rich in antioxidants and vitamins and have a gentle flavour many dogs like.
Probiotics: Even if the diarrhea is not associated with a bacterial infection, rapid transit time and frequent defecation can result in losses of beneficial gut microbes and disruption to the gut microbiome. Supplementation with probiotics can help to restore this balance and may reduce severity and/or speed up recovery from diarrhea.
Gastrointestinal Support SupplementSpecifically designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs, this supplement contains plant-based EPA and DHA from algae oil and organic turmeric, providing beneficial soothing anti-inflammatory effects for the gastrointestinal tract. It also includes carefully selected organic prebiotics and probiotics to balance healthy flora.

Veterinary Attention

If diarrhea persists for more than 24-48 hours, or if at any time your dog shows other concerning symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy or blood in the stool, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Alves JC, Santos A, Jorge P, Pitães A (2021) The use of soluble fibre for the management of chronic idiopathic large-bowel diarrhoea in police working dogs. BMC Veterinary Research 17, doi:10.1186/s12917-021-02809-w
Battersby I, Harvey A (2006) Differential diagnosis and treatment of acute diarrhoea in the dog and cat. In Practice 28: 480-488
Herstad HK, Nesheim BB, L'Abée-Lund TL, Larsen S, Skancke E (2010) Effects of a probiotic intervention in acute canine gastroenteritis - a controlled clinical trialJournal of Small Animal Practice 51: 34-38.
Lawrence Y, Lidbury J (2015) Symptomatic management of primary acute gastroenteritis. Today's Veterinary Practice Nov/Dec: 46-52
Scazzocchio B, Minghetti L, D'Archivio M (2020) Interaction between gut microbiota and curcumin: A new key of understanding for the health effects of curcumin. Nutrients 12, doi: 10.3390/nu12092499
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