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Can Dogs Get Diarrhea?


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So you want to talk about....ahem...the “big D”? No one likes that embarrassing run (or sprint) to the bathroom. In the case of your dog, it is the inevitable run to the door or a whoopsie on the floor!

As you may already know (shhhhh!), diarrhea in humans can be quite uncomfortable. It includes a queasy stomach and a loose stool. It can become a serious condition when a person gets dehydrated or has a dark, bloody stool.

With humans, diarrhea can be a run-of-the-mill condition, but it can also become something more serious. This article outlines this uncomfortable condition when it comes to dogs.

Can Dogs Get Diarrhea?


If you are one of the lucky few that has never had the lovely experience of cleaning up your dog’s diarrhea on the floor, you might be a skeptic, but it is true, dogs can get diarrhea. Although the canine digestive system works differently than a human’s, the symptoms of diarrhea can be much of the same.

Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is not hard to diagnose because the product (the poo) is hard to miss. Contrastingly, it can be hard to diagnose the causes of your pet’s runny stool.

The symptoms of dog diarrhea are much like human diarrhea:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Loose stool

  • Dehydration

The causes of diarrhea in your dog can be set in motion by many different pieces to the puzzle that is your dog’s digestive system. Most commonly, it is caused by your dog eating something that they shouldn’t have (including non-food items and poison). Other factors can be part of your dog’s nutrition, including a change in diet or an allergy to food. This can also be caused by bacterial infections, illness or disease, and antibiotics or other medications. Your dog can also get diarrhea from stress-related causes, such as a new environment.

Find more ideas about how to treat diarrhea and how to know when to seek veterinary care at Lack of Bowel Control in Dogs.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Diarrhea?

The very first step to treating your dog’s diarrhea is to withhold food. This allows the cause of the upset to get out of your dog’s system safely. You should let your dog have plenty of water during this process to avoid dehydration. Be careful with this process with puppies and older dogs, because they sometimes need extra nutrition. In your pet’s recovery, feed them bland foods like unseasoned, boneless chicken and white rice in small increments.  

If your dog continues to suffer from diarrhea, here is a guide to help you understand this condition more completely: Diarrhea (Long-Term) in Dogs

How is Diarrhea Similar in Dogs and Humans?

The symptoms and diagnosis of diarrhea are often the same between people and dogs. There is usually little notice of when you will need to use the bathroom, much like your dog, so be patient and understanding if they have an accident. Also, this can be painful and uncomfortable for your pet. Dehydration can happen in both humans and canines, so drinking a large amount of water is very important.

How is Diarrhea Different in Dogs and Humans?

The biggest differences between diarrhea in dogs and people are the causes. People don’t eat the kinds of things that dogs do, like garbage or animal feces. Also, dogs’ digestive systems work much differently than people’s digestive systems. They have enzymes to ward off nasty food (or nonfood for that matter) items that they might ingest.

Case Study

A typical case study for diarrhea in dogs deals with either severe symptoms or a long-term condition. In this case, the veterinarian looks for a parasitic infection and treats the pooch with deworming medication. The parasite passes without issue and the dog has a full recovery. The owner follows up with veterinary checkups and watches what the dog eats, taking away any sources of trash or garbage the dog might eat, including raw meats.

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© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.