Should I take my dog into the vet for diarrhea?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – My dog started having diarrhea on Monday morning, she has never had this problem in the past, and I have not changed her diet. She is drinking water and eating, and it is now Thursday and she had a normal stool this morning, but now she has diarrhea again tonight.

I did give her hamburger and rice for two days, and tonight she started her normal food. I don't know if I should be taking her in to the vet, or if I should wait longer. She is full of energy and she doesn't seem sick, but at the same time diarrhea for 4-5 days is not good either?

Shawna Larson


Hi – thanks for your email Shawna. You wrote that your dog has had diarrhea, you were feeding a bland diet of hamburger and rice for a couple days, you resumed her normal diet and the diarrhea returned tonight. You also wrote that she seems full of energy and doesn't act sick.

The safest thing to do is to see your Veterinarian. He or she may want to run a fecal sample to ensure there are no underlying parasites as a cause for the diarrhea.

However, her condition does not sound life threatening. Sometimes owners change the food too quickly. I'd recommend feeding the bland diet for another day or two then GRADUALLY changing to a bland diet over 2 or 3 more days. Feed for another day or two then feed 75% bland diet and 25% her regular food, then 50/50 mix, then 75% regular diet and 25% bland diet before changing over.

An article that might be helpful to you is Acute Diarrhea in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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