When is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency

When is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency?

Does your furry friend have diarrhea? Did it ever cross your mind that your pet will be fine if it has diarrhea? Or When dog diarrhea is an emergency? Well, mild bouts of diarrhea are not a serious concern and are prevalent in dogs. It is basically due to mild intestinal distress. But sometimes, it turns into a serious issue.

If you are a new pet owner and don’t know about dog vomiting and diarrhea or when dog diarrhea is an emergency, this extensive guide will answer all your queries. Also, don’t worry about pet medication costs if required; you can use a Free Pet Medication Discount card for medicinal purchases for your furry companion

Let’s get started!

What are the common causes of diarrhea in dogs?

Your canine might have diarrhea due to the following reasons:

1. Change in diet or treats:

You might have changed your pet’s diet, which it could not digest. The dog’s body system takes time to adjust to new changes, whether food or something else. You should gradually transition to the new dog diet and give time to the dog’s body system to adjust.

Dogs love treats. They consider it a token of love from their owner, but too many treats can shake up their digestive system, and they end up having diarrhea.

2. Stress or anxiety:

One of the reasons for your dog’s diarrhea is stress and anxiety. Just like humans, stressful situations upset gastrointestinal (GI). These stressful situations include adoption, separation anxiety from their owner, changes in the environment, boarding, and introduction of a new pet or family member.

3. Eating garbage or spoiled food:

Sometimes dogs eat spoiled food from the trash. Although it is harmless, it sometimes leads to vomiting and diarrhea.

4. Swallowing foreign objects such as toys, bones, and fabric:

Dogs are notorious and usually play with toys, bones, and even mats. They generally chew them, and there are chances that they might have swallowed any of these objects.

5. Ingesting toxins or poisons:

When dogs ingest lead-containing household objects such as paint and car batteries, lead poisoning occurs. They suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, drunken walking, reduced appetite, convulsions, blindness, and tremors. Rodenticides are a common cause of dog poisoning. In such a scenario, you must run to a vet.

6. Viral infections like parvovirus, distemper, or coronavirus:

A dog who catches a viral infection like parvovirus, distemper, or coronavirus can suffer from diarrhea, too.

7. Parasites – roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia, or Giardia:

Parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia, or Giardia infect the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Later, it leads to numerous digestive problems, and diarrhea is one of them. If your dog has a parasite infection, you must take it to the doctor. Untreated disease can result in a serious concern.

8. Bacterial infections – such as salmonella:

Bacterial infection in dogs like salmonellosis is not prevalent. Salmonella bacteria usually infect dogs with poor immune systems and puppies. Dogs infected with Salmonella infection generally have diarrhea containing blood or mucus.

9. Pancreatitis:

You must be thinking, “Can pancreatitis cause diarrhea in dogs?” Yes, it can. The most common symptoms of pancreatitis are nausea, fever, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.

10. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD):

Inflammatory bowel disease can affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, especially the stomach or the intestines. If it involves the stomach, the dog will experience chronic vomiting. In the case of intestines, dogs suffer from chronic diarrhea.

11. Colitis:

Colitis occurs due to inflammation in the large intestine. It is the foremost cause of large bowel diarrhea in all dogs. You can witness frequent, small volumes of semi-formed to liquid feces. The leading cause of colitis is stress, infections, parasite trauma, allergic colitis, and primary inflammatory bowel disease.

12. Liver or kidney disease:

Diarrhea is the most common sign when dogs suffer from liver or kidney diseases. The reason behind kidney diseases is age, trauma, parasites, amyloidosis, cancer, bacterial infections, and congenital disorders.

13. Intestinal cancer:

A dog with intestine tumors in the small and large intestines can have diarrhea. But it is sporadic and isn’t a common symptom.

14. Medications such as antibiotics:

Prescribed pet medications such as antibiotics help to recover from a wide range of infections like ear infections, Giardia, etc. Sometimes, dogs experience diarrhea due to the side effects of antibiotics on your dog’s digestive system.

The study published in the journal Today’s Veterinary Practice found that diarrhea was the most common gastrointestinal complaint in dogs, accounting for 20-30% of all veterinary visits.


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When is diarrhea a reason to contact an emergency vet?

If your furry friend has diarrhea at once and seems normal, it’s not a matter of concern.  But continue to watch its bowel movements to check if everything is okay. If it has more than two episodes of diarrhea, it’s a matter of concern and time to consult a vet.

Suppose our furry companion cannot pass a stool easily and passes only a small amount of watery diarrhea. It might be due to blockage or ingesting a foreign object, such as a toy, tissue, or paper. It is a serious concern, and your dog needs a vet’s attention.

Furthermore, frequent bouts of diarrhea in a short period could indicate a severe health issue. If your dog is very young, old, or has a weak immune system, it can be due to infections such as parvovirus, which are extremely serious.

Reach out to your vet immediately if your dog encounters recurring diarrhea episodes. If the dog shows other symptoms like blood in stool, unusual drooling, vomiting, weakness, lack of appetite, or diarrhea, you must contact a vet promptly.


As a dog owner, you must know about dog diarrhea and its possible reasons. It will help you to understand their situation and take immediate action. Also, never give human medications to your dog without consulting a veterinarian. If your dog has runny or soft stools, give it time to recover by fasting for 12 – 24 hours.

You can try plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken, or some canned plain pumpkin can help to make your dog’s stomach feel better. Regarding your doggie’s health, never compromise for less; take it to a vet before the matter gets serious.

Also, get instant discounts on prescribed medications using our Free pet prescription discount card and save up to 85% on your branded and generic meds at over 60,000 U.S. pharmacies.



Q.1 What are some signs that indicate dog diarrhea is an emergency?

Emergency signs include bloody diarrhea, frequent vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, dehydration, and a noticeable behavior change.

Q.2 Can dietary indiscretion cause dog diarrhea, and when does it require emergency attention?

Dietary indiscretion can lead to diarrhea. If the diarrhea is not severe and your dog is otherwise healthy, you can monitor it at home. However, seek emergency care if it’s painful, bloody, or lasts more than 24 hours.

Q.3 Can stress or anxiety trigger dog diarrhea, and when should I be concerned?

Stress or anxiety can lead to temporary diarrhea. It may not be an emergency if it’s brief and not accompanied by other concerning symptoms. However, if it continues or worsens, consult your vet.

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