Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea? 10 Potential Causes

Why does my dog have diarrhea? When you go from one feeding to several soft, watery stools within 24 hours, it’s clearly not normal and could be a sign of something more serious. Diarrhea can also be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder such as allergies, bacterial or viral infections, inflammatory intestinal disease, organ dysfunction, or other systemic illness. Stress can also cause acute diarrhea. If you suspect your dog has diarrhea due to stress, try one of these quick tips to find relief and get back to better health quickly.

1) Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The most common symptoms of IBD are diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. However, some dogs with IBD may also have vomiting, flatulence, and/or bloody stools. IBD can be a difficult condition to diagnose because there are many other potential causes of GI inflammation. Treatment of IBD typically involves a combination of dietary modification, anti-inflammatory medications, and, in some cases, immunosuppressive drugs.

2) Parasites

There are many potential causes of diarrhea in dogs, but one of the most common is parasites. Parasites are tiny organisms that live off of other animals, and they can cause a number of problems for their hosts. Dogs can get parasites from contact with contaminated soil, water, or other animals. Symptoms of parasites include weight loss, poor appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and anemia. If you think your dog may have parasites, it’s important to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

3) Food Allergies

Food allergies are one of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs. If your dog has diarrhea and you suspect a food allergy, talk to your veterinarian. They will likely recommend an elimination diet, which involves feeding your dog a limited ingredient diet or novel protein diet for 8-12 weeks. During this time, you will need to closely monitor your dog’s diarrhea and be prepared to see a gradual improvement. If your dog continues to have diarrhea after eliminating specific foods from their diet, they may have some other underlying cause of their symptoms.

4) Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a condition that occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is a small organ located behind the stomach that produces enzymes that help with digestion. Pancreatitis can be acute, meaning it comes on suddenly and lasts for a short period of time, or chronic, meaning it develops over time and can recur. Acute pancreatitis is often caused by alcohol abuse or gallstones, while chronic pancreatitis is often caused by heavy alcohol use or other disorders such as cystic fibrosis. Symptoms of pancreatitis include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and rapid heartbeat. Treatment for pancreatitis depends on the severity of the condition and may involve hospitalization, antibiotics, pain relief, and rest.

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5) Liver Problems

Liver problems are one of the most common causes of chronic diarrhea in dogs. The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the blood, so when it’s not functioning properly, those toxins can build up and cause a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea. Liver disease can be caused by a number of things, including genetics, infection, cancer, and more. If your dog has liver problems, it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. One option is surgery to remove the diseased part of the liver, which should help relieve their symptoms (though their body will still need time to heal).

6) Adhesions from Surgery or Injury

One potential cause of your dog’s diarrhea is adhesions. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that form between tissues and organs after surgery or injury. They can cause blockages in the intestines, which can lead to diarrhea. Treatment for adhesions usually involves surgery to remove the scar tissue. If you notice an increase in bowel movements as soon as you get home from a long car ride, you may have noticed this sign from your dog as well.

7) Gluten Sensitivity (Celiac Disease)

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s what gives bread its chewy texture and pastry its flaky consistency. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients from food. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the villi, which are tiny fingerlike projections that line the small intestine. This damage prevents the absorption of nutrients, causes inflammation, and leads to diarrhea.

8) Diabetes Mellitus Type 1

Also called insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live. The condition develops most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Scientists think a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, such as viruses, triggers the disease. In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body produces no insulin at all. A small number of people with type 1 diabetes produce very little insulin. Either way, without enough insulin, glucose cannot get into the body’s cells for use as energy.

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9) Kidney Failure and Ureterolithiasis

Ureterolithiasis, also known as a kidney stone, is a condition that can cause severe pain in your dog. If your dog has ureterolithiasis, it means there is a stone in their ureter (the tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder). The stone can block the flow of urine and cause pain, inflammation, and even infection. Kidney failure is a serious complication of ureterolithiasis and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

10) Cancer

Cancer is a broad term used to describe a wide variety of neoplasms that develop from abnormal cells in the body. These abnormal cells grow and divide uncontrollably, eventually forming a mass or tumor. Cancer can affect any area of the body, and is often fatal if left untreated. Common symptoms of cancer include fatigue, weight loss, and pain. However, early detection is often difficult as symptoms may not appear until the cancer has progressed to a more advanced stage. There are many different types of cancer, each with its own set of causes, symptoms, and treatment options. If you suspect your dog may have cancer, it is important to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

The most important thing you can do for your dog if they have diarrhea is to keep them hydrated. This means offering small frequent meals of a bland diet and making sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink. You can also try adding a little bit of electrolytes to their water. If your dog is showing any other signs of illness, or if the diarrhea persists for more than a day or two, it’s best to consult your veterinarian.

They will be able to determine the cause and provide the appropriate treatment. Here are some additional tips that may help you get through this difficult time:

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1) Be extra vigilant about flea control. Your dog may be scratching due to fleas

2) Use pet safe pesticides as needed on bedding, floors, furniture

3) Make sure your dog has easy access to clean drinking water at all times

4) Offer food only in dishes that are designed specifically for dogs (i.e., not regular dishes)

5) Limit treats and table scraps during the duration of diarrhea

6) Provide adequate space outside for elimination with immediate removal of stool so that bacterial growth doesn’t occur

7) Keep crates and cages very clean with liberal use of hot water, soap, disinfectant and air drying

8) Clean up feces immediately after eliminating inside and outside.

How to Prevent Diarrhea in Dogs

  1. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or human food. These can upset your dog’s stomach and cause diarrhea.
  2. Keep an eye on what your dog is eating when outdoors. If you suspect they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  3. Make sure you’re feeding your dog a high-quality diet that is appropriate for their age, breed, and activity level. Talk to your vet about which food is best for your dog.
  4. Avoid sudden changes in diet as this can also lead to diarrhea. If you need to make a change, do so gradually over the course of a week or two. 5. Increase the water intake by adding more fresh water to your dog’s bowl and offering ice cubes made from filtered water. The goal should be one gallon per day per 50 pounds of body weight.
  5. Add canned pumpkin to your dog’s diet twice a day until symptoms resolve if your dog has occasional bouts of mild diarrhea (1-2 times per month).


If your dog has diarrhea, it’s important to figure out the underlying cause. There are many potential causes, some of which are more serious than others. The most common causes are dietary indiscretion, virus, and stress. However, there can also be more serious causes such as allergies, bacterial infections, or inflammatory intestinal disease. If your dog has any other symptoms along with the diarrhea, or if the diarrhea persists for more than a day or two, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.