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Help! My Dog Has Diarrhea

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“Help! My dog has diarrhea!” That was all that was in the email I recently got from a reader. And it’s not the first time I received an email like this. I get a few of these every month.

Help! My Dog Has Diarrhea

I can relate. I have dealt with my dogs getting the dreaded runs over the years and just last week Lucy had them.

Believe me, it’s not fun dealing with it in a long haired chihuahua. I can’t tell you how many times I had to wash her little butt and hind legs off until she got better.

Diarrhea can be quite scary, not to mention messy and smelly. And the causes of diarrhea can vary quite a bit.

Some causes are minor and will go away on their own or with a bland diet. Other causes can be quite serious and may require medical intervention.

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs


  • Changing your dog’s diet too quickly can cause gastric distress. If you want to try out a new food, do it gradually by giving them 1/4 the new food and 3/4 the old food. After a few days, you can do half the new and half the old. Keep going until eventually it’s 100% the new food.
  • Your dog may have developed an allergy to something in his or her food.
  • Your dog may have eaten some people food that was too rich or something that is fine for people, but not dogs. Things such as  grapes, chocolate, coffee and avocados can be toxic to your fur baby.
  • Your pup may have eaten something else that is toxic such as mulch, house or garden plants, medicine, etc.
  • Your dog ate something that isn’t edible such as a rock, a small toy, a bone, etc. that is causing a block.

For more info on toxic things to keep away from your dog, read:
20 Dangerous Things To Keep Away From Your Chihuahua
Holiday Dangers for Dogs
March is Poison Prevention Month


Your dog may have worms. Check their poop and if there are any tiny white dots in it, that’s a sign of worms. Of course they may still have them and you don’t see the dots. Preventing dog worms is not as hard as you think. 

Viral or Bacterial Infection

Just like people can pick up a virus or bacterial infection, so can dogs. Usually this will run its course with a little rest and care. Just keep an eye out for dehydration which can happen quickly in small dogs.

There are more serious viruses that require immediate medical care such as parvovirus.


Recent life changes, being left alone too long and other stressors can cause diarrhea.

Diseases or other Health Issues

Heart issues, liver and pancreas problems cancer and other serious health issues can cause diarrhea so if your dog has chronic diarrhea, please see a vet as soon as possible.

The Color of Dog Poop

Check your dog’s poop because it can tell you a lot of what’s going on inside.

Here are the colors and what they mean:

  •  Brown This is the color it should be.
  • Green  Your dog has been eating grass. Dogs often do this when they have upset tummies.
  • White Spots Like I mentioned earlier, this could be a sign of worms.
  • Yellow usually means there is an issue with the liver, gall bladder or pancreas.
  • Red If there is some red mixed in the poop it is likely to be blood, in the stool, it’s a sign that there are cuts on the inner wall of your dog’s anus.
  • Black is the worst, as it could mean that there are some sort of inner bleeding, which could be a result of an indigestible object ingested by your dog.

If your dog has poop that is the last 4 colors on the list, get them to a vet immediately.

sick chihuahua laying on couch

Treatment for Dog Diarrhea

  • Let their system settle down some before trying to give them food.
  • Do try to get them to drink some water so as not to get dehydrated.
  • When it’s meal time, try giving them some diluted warm beef or chicken broth.
  • The next time it’s meal time, you can give them small amounts of white rice mixed with plain boiled white meat chicken.
  • See how they do for a day or two on this diet and if there is improvement, you can start adding a little of their regular food until they are eventually back on it completely.
  • If they do not improve, are vomiting too or showing signs of dehydration, get them to a vet.

Have you had to deal with your dog having diarrhea yet? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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