What to feed a dog with diarrhea

If you’re worried about your dog’s upset stomach, we can help you find out the cause and help you get them back on track

What to feed a dog with diarrhea

Quick takeaways about dog diarrhea

  • If your dog has diarrhea, don’t panic, it’s common and can often be easily treated.
  • To help them recover, opt for bland food like boiled chicken or white rice that’s easy to digest.
  • Some probiotic pastes can also help to heal the gut and soothe the upset.
When your dog has diarrhea, it can be worrying. You might notice that your dog’s poos are sloppy, that they’re going to the toilet more often or creating more poo than usual.

And when a pet isn’t feeling right, they might go off their food too.

Just like humans, pets can get an upset stomach without it always being a serious cause for concern.

The good news is that diarrhea usually has a simple explanation and often clears up by itself within a few days.

“However, if you have any concerns about your dog’s poo, always contact your vet to speak with them for advice,” says a veterinary nurse and educator for Natures Menu, Melanie Sainsbury.

There’s plenty you can do to help your pet feel better too.

Key symptoms to look out for

A healthy poo is log-shaped and firm (but not hard). So, the most obvious symptom of diarrhea is soggy or runny poo.

You might also notice that your dog is:
  • Pooing more than usual
  • Less hungry
  • Less lively or more sleepy.
The colour of their poo might also be different from normal.

“Normally, the step is to ensure your dog is free from internal parasites like worms. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your dog and their lifestyle,” says Mel.

“While occasional mucus in dog poo can be normal, especially if they’ve eaten something different to normal, too much can be a sign to have them checked by a vet.”

In some rare cases, diarrhea might be a sign of something more serious. If your dog has any of the following symptoms, speak to your vet as soon as you can.

  • Red streaks of blood in their poo, or very black poo
  • A lack of energy
  • Regular vomiting
  • Weeing or drinking much more than normal
  • Diarrhea that lasts for a few days and isn’t getting better
  • Off food and drink
  • Straining to poo or wee
If your dog is a puppy, very old, or has an underlying health condition and has an upset tummy, speak to a vet to put your mind at rest.

Although puppies can get diarrhea more often than adults, it’s always worth checking it out.

Top causes of diarrhea in dogs

Dogs can get diarrhea if they eat something they shouldn’t, including anything they find when out on a walk.

“If you’re concerned about something your dog has eaten on a walk, speak with your vet as soon as you can,” says Mel.

“They can often give medication that helps to induce vomiting before the item can cause any serious harm.”

A change in diet can also cause an upset stomach – including if you’re transitioning their food. Food allergies and intolerances can also cause diarrhea.

Feeding your dog highly processed, unhealthy food can sometimes cause problems too for certain dogs.

They can easily pick up tummy bugs, caused by bacteria, a virus, or a parasite like worms. While sudden diarrhea can be the result of stress, dehydration or heatstroke.

Less likely, but more serious causes include:
  • Bowel disease
  • Eating something poisonous
  • A blockage caused by a foreign body
  • Liver or pancreas problems
If you’re worried about your dog, always speak to a vet who can help to identify the cause of the issue.

What to feed a dog with diarrhea

A good first step is to stop food altogether so their digestive system can recover. This includes treats and bones.

Always make sure they have access to clean, fresh drinking water to avoid dehydration, as diarrhea causes lots of water to be lost from a dog’s system.

Try offering small amounts of bland food, like boiled, skinless chicken or fish with plain rice.

Mashed potatoes, boiled carrots and cooked porridge oats (cook in water and don’t add anything!) are also healthy options. These foods are easy to digest and are high in fibre, which absorbs water. Remember to let cooked food cool.

Home remedies and treatments to try

Some dog owners find that unsweetened pumpkin helps. This contains prebiotics that help the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Vets might also recommend trying a probiotic paste to help heal the gut. You can add it to food or use a syringe to feed your dog directly.

How to prevent diarrhea in the future

The best way to keep your dog healthy is to give them a well-balanced, top-quality diet, without sudden switches.

Avoid giving your dog human food and treats, which can be full of fat, salt and additives, and try not to let them snaffle things when they’re out on walks.

As a dog owner, it’s also important to learn what types of human food are toxic, like chocolate and chewing gum. And, be mindful of other dangers in the house and garden such as toxic plants.

It’s also a good idea to check your dog’s poo regularly and keep up to date with any worming treatment.

Diarrhea in dogs – FAQs

How long should diarrhea last?

Most cases of doggy diarrhea resolve within 1-2 days. If you’ve followed the advice above or your dog is showing other symptoms, and things aren’t getting any better, call your vet.

Can I give my dog probiotics for diarrhea?

There are special products with probiotics that can improve dog diarrhea. Vets will usually recommend a binding paste to be taken orally.

What are the signs of dehydration in dogs?

Dogs can lose water when they have an upset stomach. Signs to look for include panting, vomiting, loss of appetite, reduced energy levels, dry-looking eyes, a dry nose, mouth and gums.

What if my dog gets diarrhea when switching to raw?

Sometimes changing your dog’s diet may affect its tummy. It’s perfectly normal for this to happen when you switch foods. This is why we recommend transitioning to raw food gradually, over 7 days.

Substituting just one of your dog’s old meals with their new, raw food for a week will help ease the transition. On day 8, you can feed 100% raw.

Keeping your dog on a healthy, consistent diet can help to prevent stomach upsets. Try Nature’s Menu meal plans for hassle-free delivery on repeat.