When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Diarrhea?

Gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea is one of the vets’ common ailments when working with pets.

Some people don’t mind rushing their puppies to a clinic at the slightest change in texture in their pup’s stool, but is this always necessary?

Should you be Concerned about your Dog's Diarrhea

While some folks may be trying to avoid cleaning up more than they would like, others are genuinely concerned about their pet’s health.

Keep reading for signs that your dog’s upset stomach isn’t something to take lightly.

Loss Of Appetite Or Thirst

It is essential to understand your dog’s feeding pattern so that you can spot when they are eating and drinking less than they usually would.

Diarrhea can become so inconvenient that your pup loses interest in food or water.

If you notice this is the case with your puppy, their diarrhea is worth more attention.

Signs of a reduced appetite include refilling their bowls less frequently than usual.

If your dog has a healthy appetite but begins to lose interest in mealtime, you should be concerned about their diarrhea and take them to a vet.


A lethargic pooch is a telltale sign that something is bothering them.

Lethargy or depression causes your dog to lose interest in things they usually enjoy.

Activities such as playing, going for walks, and any other thing they love to do with you fail to steer up any excitement in them.

Lethargy is sometimes associated with diarrhea in dogs, and it is a clear indicator that you should be worried about your dog’s diarrhea.

Size, Age, Health Status

These factors play a significant role in determining whether you should be concerned about your dog’s diarrhea.

If your dog is very small or young, they are at higher risk of falling to complications from diarrhea.

The same applies to dogs with underlying medical conditions.

Because their immune system is not as strong as it should be, common ailments that typically go away without treatment, such as diarrhea, could pose a significant problem to their health.

Their bodies may not cope with diarrhea’s more severe symptoms, such as dehydration, loss of appetite, and weight loss.


Remember that diarrhea is seen as an ailment everyone contracts now and then, even dogs.

It usually does not need any treatment as it goes away or subsides within the first two days.

However, your dog’s diarrhea should raise serious concerns when it lasts too long.

The severity of diarrhea is determined by how long it lasts and how many other clinical symptoms accompany it.

Acute diarrhea is mild and resolves itself within two days to 2 weeks.

On the other hand, chronic diarrhea could last up to a month with symptoms that come and go.

Often chronic diarrhea hints at much more serious medical attention that needs immediate treatment.

It may be more serious and you should seek medical attention right away if your dog has severe bloody diarrhea or other more generalized symptoms of illness like weakness, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, or dehydration.

As an illustration, diarrhea is one of the initial symptoms of parvovirus, a viral infection that can result in a life-threatening illness in susceptible dogs.

Bloody/Dark Stool

Abnormal stools may result from any alteration or obstruction of the flow of nutrients or water across the intestinal lining.

For instance, if your dog eats something that is not typically a part of his or her diet, the normal bacteria that normally reside in the intestines may change, which can result in acute diarrhea.

Along with other medical conditions, diarrhea can indicate liver disease, parvovirus infection, and pancreatitis (pancreatic inflammation).

The mechanisms causing diarrhea in these situations are intestinal lining damage or inflammation.

That is why it is important to observe the poop’s color.

The bloody or dark stool is a glaring sign that you should be worried about your dog’s diarrhea.

If you notice any of these things, you should visit your veterinarian immediately.

Bright red blood in your dog’s stool is called hematochezia.

Large amounts of blood or consistent blood in stool signify a severe underlying condition such as an infection or even cancer.

Darker stool that appears blackish or like tar is called melena, and it could be caused by parasites or possibly cancer.

Whatever the case, your dog’s stool can tell a lot about the overall health status of your puppy.

Associated Vomiting

Vomiting is a sign that your dog is suffering from diarrhea.

Firstly, it contributes to their feeling of dehydration.

Dehydration in dogs with diarrhea will also cause them to urinate less frequently or not at all, which can also be a problem.

When Should I be Concerned about my Dog's Diarrhea

Your puppy may experience a period of constant scrotal discharge, followed by vomiting, depending on what upset their stomach.

Ingesting a poisonous item could be the cause of your dog’s sickness, and in the body’s attempt to eject these harmful substances from its system, your dog begins to vomit and develops diarrhea.

Bacterial infections in your pet’s digestive tract could also contribute to vomiting and nonstop stooling.

Reduced Or Absent Urination

A common symptom associated with diarrhea is dehydration.

Because of this, almost every treatment for the condition starts with making sure your body gets enough fluids.

Panting and a dry nose are telltale signs that your puppy is dehydrated.

Through constant stooling, your dog loses a lot of water from its system, and this, in turn, leads to reduced or absent urination.

Your dog’s kidneys are trying to retain as much water as they can to avoid total dehydration.

If your dog has diarrhea and urination becomes less frequent, you should be concerned about the severity of their diarrhea.

Weight Loss

You should give your dog’s diarrhea another look if you notice they are losing weight.

The weight loss shouldn’t be a surprise if they have already lost their appetite.

Reduced food and water intake will unavoidably lead to some weight loss.

If this is the case with your pet, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Diarrhea could also be a pointer to a much larger problem such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

This disease affects your dog’s digestive tract.

A dog with IBD will experience difficulty with food absorption because whatever they eat passes through them, causing diarrhea and eventual weight loss.


Fever is another symptom that should cause some concern about your dog’s diarrhea.

A dog’s average temperature is higher than humans; its normal body temperature ranges from 101 -102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once their temperature exceeds 103 degrees Fahrenheit, they are diagnosed with a fever.

Dogs can get a fever when dealing with an upset stomach.

Usually, a fever is a sign that your body may be fighting off an infection, but in this case, a fever isn’t a pleasant sign for a dog already suffering from diarrhea.

Abdominal Cramps

As the name implies, abdominal cramps are pains your dog feels within its chest region.

These pains could be dull, sharp, or cramp-like.

If abdominal pains accompany your dog’s diarrhea, you should be concerned.

Usually, diarrhea on its own is nothing to fear, and it clears on its own within a matter of days.

However, frequent, constant, or severe abdominal pain indicates that your dog’s diarrhea is severe, and you should seek medical attention immediately.

You can tell that your dog has abdominal pain if you notice extreme changes in its posture, breathing difficulties, and vocalization of pain. Some dogs may even cry depending on how severe the pain is.


Diarrhea is a common sickness in people and animals.

It usually isn’t something to worry about because it subsides or stops within a few days.

But sometimes, your dog could be facing something more severe than a simple upset stomach.

Hopefully, this article has educated you on signs indicating your puppy’s health is at stake.

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to rush your dog to a clinic or reach out to your vet for medical attention.