dog diarrhea
Category_Dog Knowledge

The Most Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

by Andrew Ehlert

If you love dog pets, you should already be aware that the quality of your dog’s poop has a lot to say about its health.

Typically, a healthy dog’s poop should be compact, shaped like logs, and with a softer consistency. It should also have a chocolate brown color.

If your furry friend is releasing a chocolate brown puddle more frequently than usual, it could be a clear sign that they have a problem in their digestive tract or general body health.

Though you may not prevent your dog from suffering from this hectic condition, learning the different causes of dog diarrhea may help you reduce the frequency of its occurrence.

In this piece, we have compiled the various causes of dog diarrhea and other aspects of a dog’s health to help you enhance the health of your canine friend. Read on.

What Is Dog Diarrhea?

Dog diarrhea is a condition that forces dogs to pee large amounts of loose or unformed stool in irregular intervals. Contrary to what many dog keepers think, diarrhea is not a disease but rather a sign of various dog diseases.

Note: The culprit behind diarrhea may be a mild or a serious disease. While mild illnesses may go away on their own, serious diseases may cost not only fortunes but also your dog’s life.

With that in mind, you should always take any signs of loose stool in your dog seriously. Let’s first look at the various causes of diarrhea in dogs.

The Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

Below is a breakdown of the various causes of diarrhea in dogs.

Changes In Diet/ Food Allergy

Did you know that your dog can develop allergies to the food they have consumed for years? If your dog has experienced recurrent diarrhea and you can’t figure out the cause, the unsuspected culprit could be its diet.

To solve the problem, you should subject the dog to a hypoallergenic diet to see if diarrhea stops.

If the dog does not improve, you can call a veterinarian to attend to your furry friend. Besides diarrhea, the other food allergy symptoms in your furry friend may include itchy skin, ear problems, and hair loss.

Additionally, your dog may develop diarrhea due to an abrupt change in its diet. If you want to change your dog’s food simply because your friend recommended it, you should do it gradually so that your dog adjusts to the changes without experiencing any side effects like diarrhea.

Food intolerance is another leading cause of dog diarrhea. Food intolerance refers to the inability of the dog’s digestive system to digest food. If your dog is throwing up undigested food, you should subject it to the hypoallergenic diet or call your vet to attend the animal.

Internal Parasites

Another leading cause of diarrhea in puppies and young dogs is internal parasites like whipworms, Giardia, tapeworm, roundworms, and hookworms.

If your dog has diarrhea and changing its diet does not help, parasites like Giardia might be killing it slowly. You need a vet to test a fecal sample and treat any parasites present.

Your Dog Ate A Foreign Object/Food

During teething, young dogs would chew things like watermelon rinds or anything that comes their way to rub their itchy gums. Also, their larger counterparts would eat anything, including furniture, to work themselves up.

As they consume the items on the ground, the dogs may swallow indigestible objects that may get lodged in their intestines or the stomach, exposing them to a grave threat.

The other signs of foreign object obstruction in your fur baby may include abdominal tenderness, constipation, loss of appetite, lethargy, and aggressive attitude when touched.

Though the above symptoms may be accompanied by other problems such as bacteria and parasites, your vet should analyze all the issues in your canine friend and advise you on what to do.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that affects the digestive tract in dogs. It occurs when the inflammatory cells attack the dog’s intestines, interfering with the digestion of food.

It is characterized by symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, weight loss, and bloating.

Due to the severity of the condition, you should call a veterinarian to attend to your furry friend once you spot the unusual watery poop.

Bacterial and Viral Infections

Another cause of diarrhea in dogs could be bacteria from raw meat, improperly cooked food, or food left uncovered for a long time. Experts claim that your dog can also get bacterial infections if you kennel it with an infected dog.

You can detect bacterial infection in a dog if its watery stool has some blood spots or if its stool has shiny mucus on its surface.

One way to reduce food-related bacterial infections is to ask your dog expert about the best dog foods or read about the foods your dog should never eat.

On the other hand, dog diarrhea may result from viral diseases like distemper disease, parvovirus, coronavirus, and other rotaviruses. Besides diarrhea, you can detect viral infection in your dog by observing symptoms like fever, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing.

Note: viral infections are very contagious and fatal. You should address them immediately or, else, you risk losing your pet.

Side-Effects of a Medication

Dog medications can also cause diarrhea as a side effect. Examples of drugs that may cause diarrhea in your dog include N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor blockers and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Metacam Rimadyl and Meloxicam.

You need to discuss the dog’s previous medication with your veterinarian to enable them to administer an alternative medicine.


Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the dog’s pancreas. It can be caused by a high-fat diet, obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, toxication, etc.

The common symptoms of pancreatitis include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, fever, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. You can also suspect pancreatitis in your furry friend if it seems drained in energy and it stays in a praying position most of the time.

Pancreatitis is a severe disease, and you need to call your doctor immediately after observing any of the symptoms listed above.


Another cause of dog diarrhea is Colitis. Colitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the large intestines in dogs. It can be caused by stress and parasites like cryptosporidium, whipworm, Giardia, or even bacterial infections.

The condition is characterized by the release of loose and smelly stool/ diarrhea, usually accompanied by mucus and fresh blood.

Also, a dog that suffers from colitis may experience painful bowel movements due to the inflammation of the colon. Your vet should do fecal tests to identify the proper medication.

Liver Disease

If your dog has undergone bouts of recurrent diarrhea, which are non-responsive to medications, then it could be suffering from liver disease. Besides diarrhea, the other symptoms of liver disease in your dog may include weight loss, yellow eyes and lips (jaundice), loss of appetite, frequent urination, and drinking.

The disease may result from factors such as age, infections, and intoxication from certain medications. The other causes of liver diseases may include fatty foods, pancreatic issues, untreated heartworms, and diabetes.

What The Color Of Your Dog's Diarrhea Means

With various causes of diarrhea in dogs, it can be hard to guess the primary cause of the condition. However, familiarizing yourself with the different colors of dog diarrhea and their implication can help narrow down the list of the possible causes for testing.

The diarrhea colors that are worth your attention include:

Bloody Diarrhea

Bloody diarrhea indicates an infection in the dog’s digestive tract, especially in the large intestines. It happens when the tiny blood vessels in the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract break open due to inflammation and leak blood to the stool.

Yellow Diarrhea

Yellow diarrhea may result from dietary changes, especially if your dog is new to foods such as chicken and rice. However, yellow and greasy diarrhea with a foul smell may indicate malabsorption disorder, hence a problem in your dog’s small intestines.

Yellow diarrhea may also signify a liver problem in your canine friend. You should consult your vet to advise whether the yellow stool needs immediate attention or not.

Black Diarrhea

Black diarrhea indicates an injury, inflammation, or infection in the small intestines that causes bleeding. Black diarrhea or black spots in stool indicate digested blood. It can also be a red signal of a serious condition such as bowel cancer.

That said, you should call your vet as soon as you identify the black stool; else, you risk losing your dog.

White Spots in Diarrhea

The presence of white specks in your dog’s poop could be a red signal that your pet dog has tapeworm infestation. Normally, the tapeworm eggs take the size and color of small-grained rice and are visible to the naked eyes.

It is also important to note that you can’t see the tapeworm in the fecal matter unless your dog has a severe tapeworm infestation.

Grey And Greasy Diarrhea

If your pooch releases a grey and greasy poop with big and soft mounds, it could signal you of an underlying Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) or maldigestion.

However, if diarrhea has a normal color with mucus covering it, it could imply inflammation in the colon from dietary indigestion, parasite infestation, or bacterial infection.

Green Diarrhea

Green diarrhea could indicate that the dog has ingested plenty of green vegetables in its meal. However, if green diarrhea persists for more than a day, there could be a problem with your puppy’s gallbladder.

Diarrhea With Colored Objects

If you spot plastic objects, metals, or grass in your dog’s poop, it is a clear sign that your dog ate something they couldn’t digest. In that case, you don’t have to call a vet if the dog does not have difficulties when peeing.

However, eating everything on the floor and the garbage risks the dog of other infections. It’s always advisable to supply your furry friend with the best immunity and digestion dog supplements to boost their longevity.

Home Remedies for Dog Diarrhea

If your pooch has runny stools without any color or foreign objects, the chances are that it is suffering from indigestion or is allergic to the current diet. Fasting for 12 to 24 hours will help the dog clear the stuff in the digestive tract and recover.

After 24 hours, you can start feeding it with a hypoallergenic diet.

An excellent example of a hypoallergenic diet is plain rice mixed with canned plain pumpkin and a little chicken.

The other foods which may cool down your dog’s tummy include yogurt, cottage cheese, peeled boiled potatoes, etc.

You can visit our site to access the best dog foods, supplements, clothes, and answers to all your pet needs.

When to Visit or Contact a Vet

Sometimes, diarrhea in your dog won’t go away until it receives specialized treatment from an experienced vet.

For instance, if your dog is experiencing difficulties when pooing, and only a small water poop is coming out, the chances are that something is lodged inside its digestive tract. And, it will take skills and experience to rescue the dog safely.

Some other conditions like a bloody stool or colored watery stool may indicate a severe internal condition that may need the attention of a dog specialist or risk losing your dog.

In a nutshell, you should not hesitate to contact your vet if diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours.

Final Words

Dog diarrhea is a serious condition that may cost your pet’s life if ignored. Treating your dog at home may help, but it is not always the best option since you may not identify dog diarrhea’s culprits.

When diarrhea in your dog persists for more than two days, it signals you of a severe condition regardless of the color. And, you should call a vet to rescue your furry friend.
Better still, you can enhance your dog’s health by supplying it with immunity and digestive supplement from reliable suppliers.

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