What to Feed a Dog with Diarrhea: A Comprehensive Guide

icon September 18, 2023

As a pet owner, one of the most common and distressing issues you may encounter is your dog having diarrhea. Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary indiscretions, infections, food allergies, or underlying health conditions. While it's important to address the underlying cause of your dog's diarrhea, providing the right diet can help alleviate symptoms and promote a quicker recovery. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what to feed a dog with diarrhea, offering a range of dietary recommendations and tips to ensure your furry friend gets back to their healthy, happy self.

1. What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs: Common Causes

Before determining what to feed your dog with diarrhea, it's crucial to identify the underlying cause. Common causes of diarrhea in dogs include:

a. Dietary Indiscretions: Dogs are known for their curious nature, and they may ingest something they shouldn't, such as spoiled food, garbage, or toxic substances.

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b. Infections: Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections can lead to diarrhea in dogs. Common culprits include Salmonella, Campylobacter, parvovirus, and Giardia.

c. Food Allergies or Sensitivities: Some dogs may develop diarrhea as a result of food allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in their diet.

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d. Stress: Dogs can experience stress-related diarrhea due to changes in their environment, routine, or anxiety-inducing situations.

e. Underlying Health Conditions: Chronic illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatitis, or liver disease can cause chronic diarrhea.

It's essential to consult with your veterinarian to determine the specific cause of your dog's diarrhea so that you can address it effectively.

2. How to Stop Diarrhea In Dogs: The Role Of Diet

Diet plays a crucial role in managing and alleviating diarrhea in dogs. The right diet can help soothe the digestive system, provide necessary nutrients, and promote recovery. Here are some general guidelines for feeding a dog with diarrhea:

a. Fasting: In cases of mild diarrhea, it may be beneficial to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours to give the digestive system a chance to rest. Always consult your veterinarian before fasting your dog, as it may not be suitable for all situations.

b. Gradual Transition: When reintroducing food after a fast, or if you're changing your dog's diet, do so gradually to prevent further upset stomach. Start with small, bland meals and gradually increase the portion size.

c. Bland Diet: A bland diet is often recommended for dogs with diarrhea. It typically consists of a lean protein source and a bland carbohydrate. Common choices include boiled chicken and rice or boiled ground turkey and white rice. These options are easy on the stomach and provide necessary nutrients.

d. High-Quality Commercial Diets: Specialized commercial diets formulated for dogs with gastrointestinal issues are available. These diets are designed to be highly digestible and can be beneficial in managing diarrhea. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations.

e. Probiotics: Probiotic supplements can help restore the balance of beneficial gut bacteria, which may be disrupted during episodes of diarrhea. Consult your veterinarian for suitable probiotic options and dosages.

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f. Avoid Trigger Foods: If your dog has known food allergies or sensitivities, avoid feeding them foods that trigger these reactions. Common allergens include wheat, corn, soy, and certain protein sources.

Does Pumpkin Help Dogs With Diarrhea

Yes, plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling) can help dogs with diarrhea. Pumpkin is rich in soluble fiber, which can absorb excess water in the intestines and firm up stools. It can also help soothe an upset stomach and improve digestion. Feed your dog a small amount of plain pumpkin as part of their diet, and monitor their condition. If diarrhea persists or worsens, consult your veterinarian, as there may be an underlying issue that requires attention.

Can Dogs Have Yogurt For Diarrhea

Yes, dogs can have plain, unsweetened yogurt in moderation to help with diarrhea. Yogurt contains probiotics that can help restore the balance of beneficial gut bacteria, aiding in digestion and potentially reducing diarrhea symptoms. However, introduce it gradually and ensure it doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners or additives like xylitol, which can be harmful to dogs. Always consult your veterinarian if your dog's diarrhea persists or worsens.

What Home Remedy Can I Give My Dog For Diarrhea

While it's important to consult a veterinarian for persistent or severe cases of dog diarrhea, there are some home remedies that can help relieve mild diarrhea and provide comfort to your pet. Here are a few home remedies to consider:

  • Bland Diet: Transition your dog to a bland diet consisting of boiled white rice and lean, boiled chicken or ground turkey. This combination is easy on the stomach and can help firm up stools. Feed this bland diet in small, frequent meals.
  • Probiotics: Probiotic supplements or plain, unsweetened yogurt with live active cultures can help restore the balance of beneficial gut bacteria. This can aid in digestion and reduce diarrhea symptoms.
  • Pumpkin: Plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is rich in fiber and can help bulk up stools. Adding a small amount to your dog's food can be beneficial.
  • Boiled Potatoes: Boiled potatoes, mashed or in small amounts, can provide a source of easily digestible carbohydrates.
  • Fasting: A short period of fasting (12-24 hours) can give your dog's digestive system a break and allow it to recover. Ensure they have access to fresh water during this time to prevent dehydration.
  • Hydration: Make sure your dog stays well-hydrated. Offer clean, fresh water at all times and encourage them to drink. You can also try offering ice cubes or diluted low-sodium chicken broth to entice them to drink more.
  • Over-the-counter Medications: Over-the-counter medications like loperamide (Imodium) may be used under the guidance of a veterinarian, but the dosage should be carefully calculated based on your dog's weight. Never give human medications to your dog without professional advice.

Remember that these home remedies are suitable for mild cases of diarrhea and should not replace proper veterinary care if the diarrhea is severe, bloody, or persists for more than 24-48 hours. It's essential to monitor your dog's condition closely and seek veterinary guidance when necessary to identify and address any underlying causes of diarrhea.

3. Homemade Bland Diet Recipes

Homemade bland diets can be an effective way to provide your dog with easily digestible meals during a bout of diarrhea. Here are two simple recipes you can try:

Recipe 1: Chicken and Rice

- 1 cup of boiled, boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
- 1 cup of cooked white rice
- 4 cups of water

1. Boil the chicken in water until fully cooked. Remove any excess fat and bones.
2. Cook the white rice separately according to the package instructions.
3. Mix the cooked chicken and rice together.
4. Serve small portions of this mixture to your dog.

Recipe 2: Turkey and Rice

- 1 cup of boiled, lean ground turkey
- 1 cup of cooked white rice
- 4 cups of water

1. Brown the ground turkey in a pan, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Drain any excess fat.
2. Cook the white rice separately according to the package instructions.
3. Combine the cooked turkey and rice.
4. Serve small portions of this mixture to your dog.

Remember to let these meals cool before serving, and monitor your dog's response to ensure they tolerate the food well.

4. Hydration Is Key

Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so it's essential to ensure your dog stays well-hydrated throughout the episode. Offer fresh, clean water at all times and encourage your dog to drink. You can also provide ice cubes or ice chips if your dog is reluctant to drink water. Additionally, you can offer a homemade electrolyte solution by mixing water with a small amount of salt and sugar, but consult your vet for specific instructions.

5. Foods to Avoid

While you may be eager to help your dog feel better, it's equally important to know what foods to avoid during episodes of diarrhea:

a. Fatty Foods: High-fat foods can exacerbate diarrhea and may lead to pancreatitis in some cases. Avoid feeding your dog greasy or fried foods.

b. Dairy Products: Many dogs are lactose intolerant, which means dairy products like milk and cheese can worsen diarrhea. Avoid these during episodes of digestive upset.

c. Spicy or Seasoned Foods: Spices and seasonings can irritate the digestive tract. Stick to bland foods during diarrhea episodes.

d. Bones: Avoid giving your dog bones during this time, as they can cause further digestive issues or blockages.

e. Human Medications: Never administer over-the-counter medications meant for humans to your dog without consulting your veterinarian first. Some can be toxic to dogs.

6. When to Seek Veterinary Care

While many cases of diarrhea can be managed at home with dietary adjustments, some require prompt veterinary attention. You should contact your veterinarian if:

- Your dog's diarrhea is severe, persistent, or bloody.
- Your dog is vomiting along with diarrhea.
- Your dog shows signs of dehydration, including excessive thirst, dry gums, sunken eyes, or lethargy.
- Your dog has an underlying health condition or is on medication, as diarrhea can be a sign of a more significant issue.



Dealing with a dog with diarrhea can be concerning, but with the right approach to diet and care, most cases can be managed effectively at home. Remember to consult your veterinarian for guidance on the best course of action for your specific situation. Providing a bland diet, ensuring proper hydration, and avoiding trigger foods are essential steps in helping your furry friend recover from diarrhea and return to their usual playful self. Your dog's health and well-being should always be the top priority, so be attentive and seek professional guidance when needed to ensure a speedy recovery.

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