Pet Care

When Is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency?

Dog Diarrhea

Dogs getting diarrhea every once in a while is normal. But as a pet parent, it becomes your responsibility to know when to take your pooch to a vet for a checkup. The tricky part is that diarrhea could mean anything. It could be triggered by your dog eating some trashy food or can be a sign of something very severe like cancer. 

A simple answer to when is dog diarrhea an emergency is that it is when your dog has frequent episodes of diarrhea within 24 hours. Two to three diarrheal stools are when it starts to become concerning. Dive into this guide to understand when pet owners should take their dogs to a veterinary doctor.

When Is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency?

Common Causes of Diarrhea

Several different dog health problems can cause diarrhea. But what happens when your pooch has diarrhea is the normal movement of the gastrointestinal tract becomes too rapid as it is trying to get rid of something unwanted in the body. It is the body’s defense mechanism. 

Depending on how badly this defense mechanism is triggered, your dog gets severe or mild diarrhea. Let’s differentiate the two in the following: 

Mild Cases of Diarrhea

Mild diarrhea is usually not life-threatening for a pet. Your dog’s immune system tries to get rid of any illness-causing elements. Such diarrheas could be triggered by your pet eating something out of a trash can or spoiled food. In some cases, your pet may fall sick because of the new dog food you just introduced it to.

But if the diarrhea does not go away on its own, it could be a sign of a serious problem. Also, too many episodes of diarrhea in your pet can cause dehydration. Therefore, it is important to observe your pet and take the necessary action (taking it to a vet) in due time. 

The following can be examples of mild diarrhea:


Eating something that your dog is generally not used to eating can result in your dog getting pancreatitis. The pancreas, besides creating insulin, also creates digestive enzymes. When your dog eats a trashy or unfit diet (like scraps of remaining food), it may face inflammation of the pancreas. When this happens, your dog will have loose stools and vomiting. Such a condition may require you to make a trip to a veterinary clinic. 


Parasites of the intestine can trigger diarrhea. Common intestinal parasites that cause diarrhea in dogs are giardia, whipworms, and hookworms. All of these are known to cause diarrhea in dogs. 

Veterinarians diagnose intestinal parasites by analyzing the stool of your furry friend. Once they know which parasite it is, they prescribe the best treatment. Parasite infestation in your dogs can lead to serious issues. Therefore, you should get your pet checked by a veterinarian.  


Stress activates the fight or flight mechanism in your dogs. If you are wondering how it causes diarrhea, the answer is dogs get rid of whatever food is in their stomach. The general behavior and body language of your pet can also be good signs when your dog is stressed. As a good pet parent, it becomes your responsibility to make things better for your dog. 

Side Effects of Medication

Certain medications for your pets can also result in diarrhea. If your pet has faced this problem for a long time, you should consult a vet. Your veterinary doctor may suggest some medication for diarrhea or alter the dosage. 

Serious Cases of Diarrhea

Your pet may have a serious case of diarrhea when some toy, bone, or something else gets stuck inside your dog’s intestine. Your pet may need surgery in such a case. 

Besides the blockage of the intestines, your dog may get diarrhea from viral or bacterial infections. Salmonella or parvovirus can cause serious harm to your canine. Bad diarrhea can be your cue to take your dog to the vet. 

Lastly, diseases of the kidney, liver, and even cancer can have symptoms like loose bowel movement (diarrhea). Other symptoms of such diseases include weight loss. Veterinary doctors may suggest blood work and a range of tests to diagnose your pet’s problem. 


Diarrhea in your canine can be a sign of several problems. It is important to observe your pet and see how many bouts of diarrhea your dog has. If your dog has frequent episodes, you should seek medical assistance for your furry friend ASAP.