Those of us who are lucky enough to have had a dog with us for many years know how common diarrhea can be in dogs. Diarrhea doesn’t always imply a health problem for your dog, but obviously, depending on certain factors it’s possible that he’ll need to take medication.

To use a treatment or home remedy to help your dog’s diarrhea, you need to first identify what is causing it. By following our tips on, you can learn how to easily cure your pup.

Why do dogs have diarrhea and how do they get it?

Generally speaking, our four-legged friends are very, very curious. When they’re walking outside, they like to smell everything and often eat things that they find on the street or in the park.

There are many reasons why dogs get diarrhea, and not all of them will require veterinary attention because you can solve it with some home remedies for diarrhea. But it’s very important to know what type of diarrhea your dog has, because in some cases it is necessary, mandatory even, to see your vet.

Diarrhea in dogs from bacteria/virus

This is caused when your dog has an imbalance in his intestinal flora, which is made up of millions and millions of different types of bacteria. The balance between the different types of bacteria will give your dog good digestive health, but when that balance gets thrown off for some reason, your dog can get diarrhea.

What can cause an imbalance in intestinal bacteria? It could be due to a virus that attacked the digestive system, a spoiled piece of food, a low-quality dog food, ingestion of bacteria that are harmful for dogs, etc. There are so many potential causes that it’s unusual to identify it correctly, although you should try in order to avoid it in the future.

Many common diseases in dogs, like distemper, parvovirus or even kennel cough (among many others) can also cause intestinal imbalances in your dog.

dog eating garbage

Diarrhea in dogs caused by food

Although it’s often thought that dogs can eat anything, the truth is they are just as sensible as humans are. A dog who has eating something in spoiled, expired, rotten, past its prime, or simply a food that’s toxic to dogs will have intestinal problems that could lead to diarrhea.

A cooked bone or the wrong type of bone can also cause diarrhea; same goes for milk and even bread. Not all dogs will tolerate the same foods and in general there is a lot of misinformation about what a dog can and cannot eat.

Dogs are predators, which is what makes them eat anything they see when they’re walking around on the street, in the park, in the mountains… And sometimes these things aren’t in good condition or aren’t appropriate for them, which can cause diarrhea.

Excess food can also cause diarrhea, as well as a poor quality dog food or a food allergy to some component in your dog’s diet.

Diarrhea in dogs caused by parasites

Along with bacteria, viruses, and diarrhea caused by food, parasites are one of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs, generally speaking. Many people mistakenly think that by simply giving their dog an anti-parasite pill every three months, their dog will be completely protected and free of parasites.

Obviously this is completely untrue, since there are many types of parasites that aren’t eliminated by these conventional pills and which need treatment with antibiotics. For example, giardiasis in dogs, which is capable of resisting these pills and can cause diarrhea in your dog.


What to do if your dog has diarrhea: Home remedies and steps to follow

Before starting to treat your dog, you should make sure it isn’t something serious; if your dog is sick, has other symptoms besides diarrhea, has blood in his diarrhea or extremely foul smelling diarrhea, if he has a fever or is feeling down… you should absolutely see your veterinarian.

However, if it’s just a simple case of normal diarrhea, you can try to solve it at home. If everything goes well, your dog should be cured in just one or two days, by following these simple steps:

  • Take away food for 24 hours (a complete fast)
  • Use natural probiotics
  • Keep your dog from eating things off the floor while fasting
  • Use gentle feeding over the next few days

If your dog has diarrhea today at this time, for example, 1:00 pm, you should keep your dog from eating anything for the next 24 hours. It’s very important to always have fresh, clean water available for your dog – not just important, it’s necessary.

This way, your dog would have nothing but water until tomorrow at 1:00, when you could give him his first solid food. You shouldn’t start with dog food because it’s heavy enough that it could cause him to have diarrhea again.

Personally, I like to use a little boiled rice and boiled chicken (without bone) at room temperature. I use this to feed my dog for the rest of that day, and the next day I’ll continue with the rice and chicken but also add a little of his dog food. I’ll gradually increase the amount of dog food and decrease the rice and chicken for another day or two, until finally he’s only eating dog food.

I like to use a probiotic they sell at the vet’s office called “pro-enteric”; it’s very effective and helps my dog regenerate his intestinal flora in just a few days. It’s like a paste that you add to their food or give them directly (they like the taste). Although you could also use a little bit of brewer’s yeast and aged cheese.

Yogurt is good for the gut, but when they have diarrhea it tends to make it worse, so I don’t recommend it in this situation. On the other hand, if you don’t want to use rice and chicken, you can buy cans of wet dog food for dogs with intestinal problems. Normally this sits very well with them and helps them get better:

  • Cans of wet food for dogs with diarrhea

By following these steps, your dog should stop having diarrhea in just one day, but if you see that the diarrhea isn’t stopping, it’s possible that the cause is a bacteria or parasite and required veterinary treatment.

sick dog

Types of diarrhea in dogs and what to do

This is just a short summary of what to do if your dog has diarrhea; it’s not a guide to medical treatment or a requirement, simply advice based on personal experience:

  • Diarrhea with mucous: Shiny, like it has a layer of mucous surrounding it. This happens when there is a loss of intestinal bacteria and/or excessive fat in his food. You can try to treat it with the tips described above.
  • Diarrhea with a strong smell and/or blood: This type of diarrhea is common when there is a serious illness, so it’s highly recommended that you see your veterinarian (mandatory, really).
  • Yellowish and/or greenish diarrhea: This is fairly common when some food didn’t sit well with the dog. You can try to treat it with the tips in this article.
  • Diarrhea in puppies: No matter what the cause, you should see a vet.

Remember that if your dog has diarrhea inside the house, you shouldn’t scold him or get upset with him – don’t even give him a dirty look. Just clean it up with water and bleach and give him lots of love, try to figure out what caused the diarrhea and take action.

Medications for diarrhea in dogs

There are many medications on the market that you can get without a prescription and which can be used on a dog with diarrhea, but we DO NOT recommend them under any circumstances. That’s because these medications don’t cure the diarrhea, they just make the intestine retain more water, preventing the dog from having diarrhea. But it doesn’t solve the problem, it just masks it, and, in many cases, makes it worse.

Some very famous ones, like Imodium/Fortasec or similar have this undesirable effect. It can be helpful in humans, but shouldn’t be used in dogs.


What to do if a puppy has diarrhea?

Puppies are particularly sensitive to bacteria, viruses and parasites. In general, their diarrhea is caused by parasites, but can’t be treated at home using conventional methods.

Because of their delicate health and the fact that they aren’t physically prepared to handle many of the common problems that dogs can have (illnesses), if your puppy has diarrhea, you absolutely must see a veterinarian.

There aren’t any home remedies or magic potions for puppies, and a simple case of diarrhea that isn’t controlled can cost them their life. We know that everyone wants to cure their dogs without the costs of seeing the vet, but we really insist that a puppy needs to be seen by a vet, no excuses.