What Causes Dog Diarrhea and Vomiting?

N. Madison
N. Madison

There are many things that can cause dog diarrhea and vomiting. Often, these symptoms develop because a dog simply has an upset stomach, but they can develop in relation to more serious illnesses as well. For example, a dog could also develop these symptoms because he has heat stroke or intestinal parasites, or if he has been poisoned by some type of harmful substance. A pet owner should not feel alarmed if his dog has occasional symptoms, as this is usually a sign of temporary stomach upset. If the symptoms are severe or chronic, however, the advice of a veterinarian is often recommended.

Veterinary care may be required to treat dog diarrhea and vomiting.
Veterinary care may be required to treat dog diarrhea and vomiting.

Most cases of dog diarrhea and vomiting are temporary and only occur occasionally. Usually, these symptoms are caused by something a dog ate that upset his stomach. In such a case, the dog may be intolerant to a food or other edible item he consumed. In some cases, his stomach may become upset because he has consumed a pathogen, such as through food that has been contaminated with viruses or bacteria. Fungi can be at the root of such a problem as well.

Vets may recommend a bland diet that includes cooked rice for a dog suffering from diarrhea.
Vets may recommend a bland diet that includes cooked rice for a dog suffering from diarrhea.

Parasites may also cause dog diarrhea and vomiting. Some of the most common intestinal parasites in dogs are tapeworms, giardia, and hookworms. Roundworms can cause this issue as well. While infection with parasites is unpleasant for the pet owner and the dog, especially if the parasites are visible in the stool, they are usually relatively easy to treat using dewormers. Most veterinarians recommend testing pets annually for parasites.

Sometimes poison is at the root of the problem when it comes to dog diarrhea and vomiting. For example, some plants are poisonous for dogs and can cause a dog to develop these symptoms if ingested. A dog could also consume chemicals or even human medications that can cause him to have an stomach upset. A dog might even ingest garbage that contains a toxin that causes him to become ill. To ensure a dog's recovery, its owners may do well to take him to a veterinarian.

Often, cases of dog diarrhea and vomiting are caused by heat stroke. This can occur when a dog is exposed to extremely high temperatures for a significant period of time or left out in the hot sun for too long. When this happens, the dog may vomit and develop seizures. Heat stroke can prove fatal and warrants swift veterinary help.

Food allergies are a common cause of blood in dog diarrhea.
Food allergies are a common cause of blood in dog diarrhea.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


My dog has loose stools and sometimes they are bloody and very slimy, but she seems well in herself.


@shell4life – Pumpkin is great for treating diarrhea in dogs. It is gentle on their stomachs, and you can add a little bit of it to their food.

Also, you can boil white rice and mix it in with the pumpkin. You could feed your dog just this for a couple of days and then work gradually back up to dry dog food.

I make pumpkin dog biscuits out of flour, eggs, milk, and canned pumpkin, and they go nuts over them. Just be sure you are getting 100% pumpkin puree and nothing with sugar and spices added.


My dog has diarrhea and vomiting, but it hasn't affected her appetite at all. Also, she still has plenty of energy. I don't know what is causing this.

Is there something I can feed her that might soothe her stomach and intestines? I've just been giving her regular dry dog food, but maybe she needs something gentler for now.


Parvo can cause bloody diarrhea in dogs. I think that once it turns bloody, the disease has worsened, so it is best to take your dog to the vet if he stops eating and is vomiting and having diarrhea.

My young puppy developed parvo, and she didn't make it. We waited three days to take her to the vet, and by then, it was too late. When my one-year-old dog started showing symptoms months later, we recognized them right away and took him immediately.

Little stomach upsets won't make your dog totally give up food, so if he ever refuses to eat all day, you can assume it's serious enough to warrant a trip to the vet.


My dog experienced vomiting and diarrhea when she had roundworms. I had been giving her a cheap worm prevention pill that I bought at a supermarket, but it obviously wasn't working.

She didn't throw up that often, so the only way I knew that something was wrong was when I saw her stool. It had little white worms wiggling around in it, and it came out like liquid!

Since then, I have been giving her worm prevention that I got from my vet. It is much more expensive than the kind at the supermarket, but this is because it actually works.

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