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What to do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea and Vomiting

What to do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea and Vomiting


If you're a dog owner, you know how distressing it can be to see your pet experiencing diarrhea and vomiting. It's essential to address these symptoms promptly to ensure your dog's well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the causes of diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, along with effective remedies and preventive measures. So, let's dive in and learn what to do when your dog has diarrhea and vomiting.

Section 1: Understanding Diarrhea and Vomiting in Dogs

1.1 What Causes Diarrhea and Vomiting in Dogs?

Diarrhea and vomiting in dogs can stem from various causes, including dietary indiscretion, viral or bacterial infections, parasites, food allergies, or underlying health conditions. The ingestion of spoiled food, garbage, toxic substances, or sudden diet changes can also trigger these symptoms. Understanding the underlying cause is crucial for effective treatment.

1.2 How to Identify Diarrhea and Vomiting in Dogs?

Identifying diarrhea and vomiting in dogs is relatively straightforward. Diarrhea presents as loose, watery, or frequent bowel movements, while vomiting involves the forceful expulsion of stomach contents. These symptoms are often accompanied by abdominal discomfort, lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration. Monitoring your dog's behavior and stool consistency will help you determine the severity of the condition. 

1.3 When Should You Be Concerned?

While occasional episodes of diarrhea and vomiting may not be cause for immediate concern, certain signs warrant a visit to the veterinarian. Seek professional advice if your dog's symptoms worsen or persist for more than 24 hours, or if you notice blood in the vomit or stool, severe abdominal pain, weakness, or a significant decrease in water intake. 

Additionally, if your dog shows signs of dehydration such as dry gums, sunken eyes, or excessive lethargy, it's crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. These indicators may suggest an underlying condition that requires prompt attention.

Section 2: Immediate Steps to Take

2.1 Assessing the Severity of Symptoms

The first step in addressing diarrhea and vomiting in dogs is to assess the severity of the symptoms. Isolated incidents of mild diarrhea or occasional vomiting may not require immediate intervention. However, if the symptoms are frequent, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning signs, it's essential to take prompt action. Keep a close eye on your dog's behavior and monitor the frequency and consistency of their bowel movements and vomit.

2.2 Withholding Food and Water Temporarily

In most cases, temporarily withholding food and water can help your dog's digestive system rest and recover. This approach is particularly effective when your dog has just started experiencing diarrhea and vomiting. Withhold food for 12 to 24 hours, but ensure your dog still has access to fresh water to prevent dehydration. If your dog's symptoms improve during this period, gradually reintroduce a bland diet.

2.3 Consulting Your Veterinarian

While home care may be appropriate for mild cases, it's always recommended to consult your veterinarian, especially if the symptoms persist or worsen. Your vet will perform a thorough examination and may request stool and blood tests to identify the underlying cause. Based on the diagnosis, they can provide specific guidance and prescribe appropriate medications or treatments tailored to your dog's condition.

2.4 Check Your The Surroundings Signs of Distress

There may be obvious signs that your dog ingested something it shouldn’t have (chewed up cleaning bottles, piles of trash, piles of vomit).  This information can be critical for vets if time is of the essence. Taking the extra minute to check surroundings, take pictures if necessary, will provide the experts information that may be critical.

Section 3: Home Remedies and Treatments

3.1 The BARF Diet: Bland Food for Recovery

Once your dog's symptoms have improved and they are ready to eat, introducing a bland,evolutionary appropriate diet can aid in their recovery. The BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet is based on the fact that dogs evolved from wolves and should be eating a diet consistent with their wolf ancestors. Beef liver, heart, kidney, along with raw bones, eggs, and even green shelled mussels are packed with nourishment and dogs LOVE them.

3.2 Probiotics: Restoring the Gut Flora

Probiotics, available in various forms such as powders, capsules, or specially formulated dog food, can help restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in your dog's gut. These beneficial bacteria promote healthy digestion and can aid in resolving diarrhea and vomiting. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on suitable probiotic supplements for your dog.

3.3 Fluid Replacement: Keeping Your Dog Hydrated

Diarrhea and vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration in dogs. Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times and encourage them to drink regularly. If your dog is reluctant to drink, you can try providing ice cubes or bone broth to entice them. In severe cases of dehydration, your veterinarian may administer fluids intravenously to restore hydration levels. Always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication, even over-the-counter options.

3.5 Rest and Relaxation

Rest is crucial for recovery, and it's essential to ensure your dog gets enough rest and relaxation during the recovery period. Avoid overexerting your dog with vigorous exercise or activities that may cause stress or anxiety. Encourage your dog to rest in a quiet, comfortable area and provide them with extra bedding and blankets to keep them warm and comfortable.

Section 4: FAQs

4.1 Can I give my dog Imodium for diarrhea?

Imodium, a popular anti-diarrheal medication for humans, can be harmful to dogs and should not be administered without veterinary guidance. The drug can cause severe side effects, including lethargy, vomiting, and constipation, and can be toxic in high doses.

4.2 When should I worry about my dog's diarrhea and vomiting?

If your dog's symptoms persist or worsen for more than 24 hours, or if you notice blood in their vomit or stool, severe abdominal pain, weakness, or dehydration, seek veterinary care immediately.

4.3 Can stress cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs?

Yes, stress can be a common cause of digestive upset in dogs and may lead to diarrhea and vomiting. Changes in routine, travel, or anxiety-inducing situations may trigger stress in dogs and lead to digestive issues.

4.4 What should I feed my dog after they recover from diarrhea and vomiting?

Once your dog's symptoms have subsided, gradually transition them back to their regular diet over a few days. Introduce their regular food slowly and monitor their response to ensure tolerance. It's also essential to maintain good hydration levels and offer fresh, clean water at all times.

4.5 Can I prevent my dog from getting diarrhea and vomiting?

While it may not be possible to prevent all instances of diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, certain measures can reduce the risk. These include providing a balanced diet packed with organs like beef liver, heart, and kidney, keeping your dog hydrated, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding stress and anxiety-inducing situations. Other lifestyle factors like getting plenty of exercise (when healthy), proper sleep, and time for training and mental excercise all contribute to a thriving companion.


Diarrhea and vomiting can be somewhat common digestive issues in dogs and can be caused by various factors. While occasional incidents may not be concerning, persistent or severe symptoms may require prompt veterinary attention. Home care, including withholding food and water temporarily, offering a bland diet, and monitoring hydration levels, can help alleviate symptoms and aid in recovery. Additionally, consulting your veterinarian and administering appropriate medication or treatment can help identify and address underlying conditions. By taking proactive measures to address diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, you can help ensure your canine’s health and happiness.

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