Diarrhea in Canines

Diarrhea can occur in canines for numerous reasons - some as minor as a change in diet, others as serious as infectious disease. Treating dogs with diarrhea is very successful so long as pet owners address the issue in a timely manner. Acute and chronic are two different severities of canine diarrhea, and each requires specific attention and care.

Acute diarrhea can last for a couple days to a couple weeks. In most cases, it is caused from a sudden change in food, an allergy, or bacteria. There is no need to be alarmed; symptoms typically subside after some time, and most dogs still appear happy and active despite having diarrhea. Once acute diarrhea has lasted beyond two weeks, it is classified as chronic diarrhea, and the situation is deemed much more serious. Continual diarrhea can initiate essential nutrient loss, making the body become toxic, lowering immune system function, and obstructing a dog’s ability to heal itself. As the immune system’s functionality is impaired, secondary disorders are able to develop, causing the body to deteriorate.

When to take your dog to the veterinarian: 

  • Abdomen is sensitive to touch or pressure. 
  • Frequent and excessive vomiting.
  • Gums are dry or sticky (sign of dehydration).
  • Have a fever. 
  • Have large amounts of blood in fecal matter. 
  • Have visible bloating. 
  • They show extreme lethargy.

If condition worsens or persists after 2 weeks, please contact our office immediately to schedule an appointment.

At-home treatment for acute diarrhea: 

  1. The first step to alleviate a diarrhea problem is to implement a change in diet. You want to be feeding your dog something that is easily digested and free from extra fat and oil - absolutely NO PEOPLE FOOD. A diet consisting of skinless, boiled chicken with rice is usually best until the diarrhea has subsided. Slowly reintroduce pet food. 
  2. Add a probiotic supplement to your pet’s diet to aide in regulating gastrointestinal health.
  3. The most important step is to keep your dog hydrated. If necessary, dilute sports drinks (half sports drink, half water) to keep your dog interested in drinking fluids. Diarrhea causes a loss in electrolytes and replenishing those electrolytes is critical.

What causes chronic diarrhea?

Chronic diarrhea is usually caused by a food allergy, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, parasites, or a more serious (but often rare) condition that the vet will need to diagnose.

As diarrhea symptoms continue, you might notice that your dog’s coat becomes rough or wiry, your pet has less energy, and/or your dog seems dehydrated. All of these are side effects of chronic diarrhea and will continue until treatment is implemented.

Treating chronic diarrhea

If your dog is experiencing chronic diarrhea, we recommend you call and schedule an appointment immediately. Our veterinarian will examine your pet for internal parasites and disease, conduct blood tests, and assess dehydration levels. Complete diagnostics might also be necessary. After completing a thorough exam, we will be able to distinguish what is causing the diarrhea and will be able to develop an effective treatment plan.


Read what people are saying about us.

read more


We took our 5 month old puppy in to get neutered today and had a great experience. They educate you on expenses without making you feel guilty if you decide against extra options. We were able to pick him up 5 hours after dropping him off which was also amazing. Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a vet.

Chelsea G.'s

Dr. Genova has been my 4 legged daughter's doctor for her whole life (10 years). He is very personable, informative and kind. I seriously cannot say enough positive things about him.. Why else would I trust him to take care of my baby girl?

The rest of the staff is also very kind. Most of them have changed throughout the years but one thing that hasn't is that you can immediately tell how much they all love animals.

This is definitely one of this places that I wish I could give more than 5 stars to.

John L.

We had our first experience at Village at Main Veterinary Hospital today and I couldn't wait to write a review because of how pleased I was with the entire staff and environment. I arrived way early for my appointment but they took me anyway since it was open with no problem at all. As soon as we walked in the door my puppy and I were greeted with smiles and even staff that didn't run the counter came out and greeted and loved on my puppy as well which really put her at ease. Every staff member acknowledged our presence at some point. We were taken back to an exam room and we saw Dr. Tran who was warm and loving toward my puppy, she really took her time and you could easily see that she loves what she does. Dr. Tran covered all of my questions I had planned to ask as well as asked if I had any others. I would highly recommend this clinic to anybody who has had a bad experience at another clinic because it will totally make up for it as it did in our case. Thank you so much again for making us feel right at home and loving what you guys do, I will continue to drive 30 minutes just to have my pooch continue to see you guys :)

Tiffany B.

View More