Does your dog have diarrhea? Are you unsure what to do or how to treat it? Don't panic! Most of the time, this is a temporary and completely mild symptom. Dogs have sensitive digestive systems and commonly experience stomach upset. The cause can be either dietary, parasitic, or viral, but in order to determine the culprit, first you need to understand your dog's behaviour and needs. A dog with diarrhea may have simply eaten (or drunk) something unsuitable, or they could be suffering from a more serious illness. So, be careful. Your vet should always have the last word.

The Symptoms of Dog Diarrhea

Mild Symptoms

In mild cases, your dog won't suffer too much, but their poop will be very soft, even watery, and their bowel movements will be frequent. If your dog has mild diarrhea, they shouldn't exhibit any other symptoms.

Severe Symptoms

If you notice that, in addition to the soft poop and frequent bowel movements, your dog is also showing signs of depression, lethargy, a sore belly, or even panting or drinking more than normal, this may be a sign that your pooch has an infection or minor gastritis, for example.


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The Causes of Dog Diarrhea

Your dog's digestive system is sensitive to change, illness, or other traumas. As such, there are many possible causes of diarrhea in dogs.


There are 2 main reasons why food could cause dog diarrhea:

  • Your dog has eaten something unsuitable: In this case, it's possible that your dog has eaten (or drunk) an expired food, such as oxidised kibble, or something like milk that they're not used to. The food was simply not digested properly; this is nothing to worry about.

  • Your dog has undergone too radical a change in diet: If you recently changed your dog's diet, for example, to a very different dry food in terms of composition, or a homemade diet instead of industrial dry and wet food, the transition may not have gone so well.

What Should I Do If My Dog has Diarrhea?

If you notice that your dog has diarrhea, the solution to treating them will depend on the severity of their symptoms.

Mild Diarrhea

If the only symptoms are loose stools and frequent bowel movements, your dog’s diarrhea will probably pass. In this case, we recommend that you refrain from giving your pooch any more food for 12 to 24 hours, and just leave them a bowl of fresh water available. This will help to “drain” their digestive tract. You can also give them a little rice cooking water to drink. This provides natural, optimal hydration while helping to regulate their digestive system and restore proper bowel function.

After the 12-24 hour period is over, you can gradually start giving your dog food again. Opt for a slow return to solid food supported by prebiotics and probiotics, or even a little added activated charcoal.

Acute Diarrhea

If your dog is suffering from other symptoms, such as depression or stomach pain, take them to the vet immediately. They may administer your dog an oral intestinal protectant to help relieve their symptoms. Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics if they believe your pooch has a bacterial infection, or even rehydrate them via an IV drip.

It's very important to keep your dog well hydrated; their health depends on it. Make sure your pooch has multiple bowls of fresh water available so they don't forget to drink. You can also moisten their dry food by letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes in a little hot water before serving. This helps to facilitate digestion.


By the Hector Kitchen medical and scientific team


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