What is the Best Dog Food for Diarrhea?

Uh oh. You’re walking your dog and they squat down. That’s when you realize: they have diarrhea! What do you do?!

Some dogs have sensitive stomachs, while others may get sick because they’ve eaten something bad or they have a virus. 

a cuddly Alaskan Malamute puppy with toilet paper
An Alaskan Malamute puppy entangled with toilet roll

Regardless of the cause, giving your baby a diet that is formulated for sensitive stomachs can help bring your dog back to good health. 

Top 5 Picks for Best Food for Dogs with Diarrhea and Loose Stools in 2021

  Dog Food Recipes Our Rating
Best Overall Dog Food for Diarrhea (All Life stages) Instinct Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Diet

  • Limited ingredients for sensitive stomachs
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • No allergens like dairy, eggs, poultry, chickpeas, wheat, corn, or soy
5
Best Budget Dog Food for Diarrhea Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken, Whole Brown rice Recipe 

  • Contains real produce like pumpkin, kale, spinach, and coconut
  • No cheap fillers
  • No animal by-products
5
Best Premium Dog Food for Diarrhea Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet 

  • Limited ingredients and no grains for sensitive stomachs
  • Single source protein
  • Contains glucosamine and omega fatty acids
5
Best Dry Dog Food for Diarrhea Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food 

  • Lots of whole fruits and veggies
  • No corn, soy, wheat, or artificial flavors or colors
  • Made for dogs with food sensitivities
5
Best Wet Dog Food for Diarrhea Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Dog Food 

  • Limited ingredients for sensitive stomachs
  • Chicken and potatoes make up the bulk of the food
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
5

Best Dog Food for Adult Dogs with Diarrhea

If your pupper isn’t feeling well, these foods are all formulated to support a sensitive stomach and ease your dog’s intestinal distress.

If you know that a certain ingredient irritates your dog, avoid it. Otherwise, give one of these a try and see how your dog tolerates it. 

Best Dry Dog Food for Diarrhea

an overhead shot of a dog with a bowl with kibbles
A dog waiting to eat his dry dog food

1. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Formula (Lamb & Oatmeal)

Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Lamb

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Lamb, Oatmeal, Barley
Type: Dry

This food is formulated with real lamb as the main protein source, along with ingredients like oats and rice to ease upset tummies.

It contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, along with vitamins and minerals to help your dog’s coat shine. 

Pros:

  • No common allergens like corn, soy, wheat, or poultry by-products
  • Live probiotics and natural prebiotics for gut health

Cons:

  • Dried egg product is a vague egg ingredient
  • Canola is typically a genetically modified organism

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food 

Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Salmon, Barley, Ground rice
Type: Dry

Purina’s FOCUS line is made without corn, wheat, or soy so that dogs with sensitive stomachs won’t have a reaction to these common allergens.

The first ingredient is salmon but it also contains animal fat and fish oil. There’s no chicken, which many dogs are allergic to.

Pros:

  • Contains live probiotics and natural prebiotics
  • No soy, corn, wheat, or poultry
  • Contains rice to ease upset tummies

Cons:

  • Canola may be a GMO product
  • Animal fat is a vague ingredient

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. IAMS Sensitive Naturals 

IAMS Sensitive Naturals Ocean Fish

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Ocean fish, Brewers Rice, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum
Type: Dry

This recipe is made for adult dogs with sensitive stomachs to help ease diarrhea.

It’s certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to contain no fillers, grains, corn, soy, or by-product meal. It has real fruits and veggies to provide healthy carbohydrates.

Pros:

  • Blueberries, peas, carrots, and apples provide antioxidants
  • No common allergens like corn, soy, wheat, or poultry

Cons:

  • Vague ingredients like fish digest and dried egg product
  • Contains beet pulp, a cheap filler

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Instinct Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Diet

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Salmon

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Salmon Meal, Salmon, Peas
Type: Dry

This food is coated in freeze-dried raw cod to give your dog a boost without upsetting its delicate stomach. It’s made in the USA and is both grain and gluten-free.

It has just one animal protein source and one vegetable, so it’s less likely to set off your furry friend’s allergies.

Pros:

  • Real salmon is the first ingredient
  • Limited ingredients for sensitive stomachs
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • No allergens like dairy, eggs, poultry, chickpeas, wheat, corn, or soy

Cons:

  • Contains a high level of tapioca
  • Contains canola, which may be a GMO product

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Potatoes
Type: Dry

This food is made with just a few high-quality, limited ingredients so it’s less likely to trigger your dog’s digestive issues and cause diarrhea.

It has probiotics and prebiotic enzymes to balance its digestive system, as well. 

Pros:

  • Limited ingredients and no grains for sensitive stomachs
  • Single source protein
  • Contains glucosamine and omega fatty acids

Cons:

  • Contains tomato pomace, a controversial ingredient
  • Contains canola

CHECK PRICE HERE

6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin

Our rating: 4
Top ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal
Type: Dry

For dogs that are prone to diarrhea, this food helps ease intestinal issues.

Made for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin, this high digestible recipe contains prebiotic fiber and a host of other quality ingredients like chicken, flaxseed, apples, cranberries, and oats.

Pros:

  • No fillers like corn, soy, or wheat
  • Contains healthy amino acids
  • Recommended by veterinarians

Cons:

  • Contains “egg product” 
  • Contains soybean oil
  • Contains beet pulp

CHECK PRICE HERE

7. Blue Buffalo Basics Grain-Free Formula

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free

Our rating: 4
Top ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Potatoes, Turkey Meal (Source of Glucosamine)
Type: Dry

With limited, natural ingredients, dog owners can feel safe that this food won’t cause diarrhea, and it might be perfect for any pooch suffering from a bout of runs.

It contains Blue’s LifeSource Bits formula, which contains antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. No allergens like eggs, chicken, beef, corn, soy, dairy, or wheat.

Pros:

  • Contains pumpkin and flaxseed
  • Cranberries and blueberries provide healthy carbs
  • No corn, soy, or wheat

Cons:

  • Contains canola
  • Contains tapioca, pea, and potato starch

CHECK PRICE HERE

8. Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken, Whole Brown rice Recipe 

Nutro Natural Choice Adult 1+ years

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal
Type: Dry

Chicken and brown rice are ideal for dogs who are suffering from a little bit of diarrhea because they’re both bland enough not to upset tummies (unless your dog has an allergy, of course).

Contains antioxidants and omega fatty acids, as well as non-GMO ingredients, if you are avoiding GMOs. 

Pros:

  • Contains real produce like pumpkin, kale, spinach, and coconut
  • No cheap fillers
  • No animal by-products

Cons:

  • Contains beet pulp
  • Chicken and eggs are a common allergen

CHECK PRICE HERE

9. Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Adult Health Lamb Meal Recipe

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Lamb meal, Oatmeal, Peas
Type: Dry

This food is made specially to aid in improving digestive health and ease stomach problems. Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients like lamb, papaya, cranberries, pumpkin, and oats.

Pros:

  • Lots of whole fruits and veggies
  • No corn, soy, wheat, or artificial flavors or colors

Cons:

  • Contains beet pulp

CHECK PRICE HERE

10. Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal
Type: Dry

Merrick Grain Free is formulated with real poultry and sweet potatoes to provide your dog with high-quality protein, 84 percent of which comes from animals.

Pros:

  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Lots of whole fruits and veggies like blueberries and peas

Cons:

  • High protein may be too high for some dogs

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Wet Dog Food for Diarrhea

a Dachshund sitting giving the puppy eyes
Meet Barney, a hungry Doxie ready to eat breakfast – Image source

11. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Dog Food 

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Potatoes
Type: Wet

This food is made with lean proteins, so dogs who are sensitive to rich and high-fat protein sources like the liver will enjoy this low-fat food. Made just for dogs with food sensitivities to be highly digestible. 

Pros:

  • Limited ingredients for sensitive stomachs
  • Chicken and potatoes make up the bulk of the food
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Cons:

  • Contains canola
  • Lower protein than some foods
  • Contains Guar gum and carrageenan

CHECK PRICE HERE

What are the most common causes of upset stomach and diarrhea in dogs?

a Dutch Shepherd laying on a couch
Meet Bandit, a sleepy Dutch Shepherd puppy – Image source

Dogs can have loose stools for a number of reasons, ranging from no big deal to deadly.

Many times the issue is food-related, whether that means they’ve had a sudden change in food or they have an intolerance or allergy that is causing problems. 

Here are some of the things to look out for. 

Too much protein in a dog’s food can cause diarrhea. That may sound strange since dogs are primarily meat-eaters, aren’t they?

Nope. Dogs are omnivores and they don’t need the same amount of meat as their wolf ancestors. 

Stick to at least 22 percent protein and up to 39 percent, but no more to be on the safe side. 

Loose stools can also be caused by the wrong balance of vitamins and minerals, too much fat, or the wrong kind of fiber.

An allergy to their food is also a concern. Many dogs have food allergies, with meat and dairy being the top culprits. 

Have you changed your dog’s diet suddenly that can cause loose stools? Did they eat non-food items like socks and toys? Or perhaps your dog went garbage diving and ate something they shouldn’t? 

If you have poisonous plants around the house and your dog decides to take a nibble, then that can cause diarrhea. So can eating other harmful substances like household cleaners or medications. 

Some medications can cause loose stools, particularly antibiotics. Your vet may prescribe a probiotic to help with this if your dog is taking antibiotics. 

It isn’t always diet, however, that causes the problem. It could be something as simple as a change in routine that causes your dog’s intestines to be thrown out of whack. 

Anxiety can also cause stomach issues. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, which can cause all sorts of tummy troubles.

Come home and find a pile of loose stools on your rug? This could be the problem. 

It could also be medical conditions like colitis, liver disease, or cancer. 

Less common, but potentially more serious, causes of stomach irritation and diarrhea include:

Illness caused by parasites, worms, or bacteria. If your dog has come in contact with other dogs or feces, they could get parasites like roundworms and tapeworms.

Or they may contract a bacterial or viral infection from being around other infected animals. 

If your pup likes to drink from rivers, lakes, or puddles at the dog park, they could get giardia or leptospirosis. 

It could also be that they were poisoned, intentionally or not, or that they have a viral fever. Some dogs accidentally ingest human medications like Tylenol, which can be deadly. 

Signs and Symptoms of Diarrhea in Dogs

Two adorable Labrador puppies cuddling to sleep
Meet Winston and Charlie, two cute English Labrador puppies resting – Image source

How do you know your dog has diarrhea? Well, besides the tell-tale loose stools or watery feces, they may have flatulence and vomiting, with or without a loss of appetite.

Some dogs might eat grass to help make themselves vomit whatever is bothering their stomachs. 

You may see your pup straining to defecate and they might have an increased volume of poop. 

Some dogs may become weak or show fatigue, while others may have behavioral changes like a lack of interest in the things around them that they used to love. 

Also, watch for a dog that licks its lips or swallows repeatedly. 

More Serious Symptoms

Your pup may have even more serious symptoms like a fever or shivering.

They might have bloody stools or mucus in their poop. If your dog suddenly loses weight or appears listless and lethargic, that’s another sign. 

Finally, if they appear to be in pain, especially if you gently prod their tummy, it might be diarrhea. Get your dog to a vet right away if they have any of these signs. 

Signs of and Treatments for Dehydration in Dogs

Just as humans can become dehydrated if they have diarrhea, so can dogs. The AKC says you should watch for signs like loss of skin elasticity.

If you pinch your dog’s skin and it doesn’t immediately return to normal, that means your dog has lost elasticity. 

They may also lose their appetite and become lethargic. While a dry nose isn’t always a sign of trouble, it can be something to watch for. Also look for thick saliva and dry, sticky gums. 

Benefits: How Can a Good Dog Food Help With Soft Stools and Chronic Diarrhea in Dogs?

If the issue isn’t viral, bacterial, or otherwise medical, you can often just change up your dog’s diet. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or allergies, switching food is a good idea.

A portion of good dog food can stop diarrhea and prevent inflammatory bowel disease.

A balanced diet can also reduce allergic reactions and support your dog’s immune system with the right nutrition.

On the right food, your dog will be more active, their skin will look healthy, and their stools will be firm and medium brown. 

Complete Best Dog Food for Diarrhea Guide

a Dachshund with raw carrots
Meet Digit, a veggie-loving Doxie with carrots – Image source

The benefits of a well-balanced diet go well beyond easing a sensitive tummy and helping your dog digesting their food.

A balanced diet can help extend their life and keep them healthier longer, along with providing them the energy they need to run and play. 

So how do you choose the best product? We’ll cover that below. 

Dog Nutrition 101: What kind of food for diarrhea does your dog need?

Remember that dogs need different foods depending on their life stage. A puppy needs a different ratio of fat, protein, and carbs than a senior dog, for instance. 

The foods above are all formulated for adults, though you can use them temporarily for a senior or puppy if your vet gives you the go-ahead. 

Things to look for when selecting dog food for diarrhea: What should dogs eat for diarrhea?

When your pup has the runs, the best option is to give them a bland, easy-to-digest diet. It should have a high fiber content to help them move things along and bulk up their stools.

It should also have a moderate fat content since high-fat diets can make diarrhea worse. 

The food shouldn’t have any additives, since these can irritate a dog’s tummy.

Probiotics are a good addition since they help restore your dog’s intestinal flora. Many commercial dog foods have added probiotics these days. 

Boiled chicken and brown rice help alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea because it allows your dog’s stomach to settle.

While you wouldn’t want to feed them this diet long-term, it’s great for a short time to aid them in feeling better. 

Human Foods to Give Your Dog When They Have Diarrhea or an Upset Stomach

Pet owners always want to know if they can give their dogs human food when their pet isn’t feeling well.

While you should avoid giving them too much, you can supplement their diet with some human foods. Of course, white rice or brown rice and boiled chicken meat are fine. 

You can also try giving your dog pumpkin, which may aid in easing their stomach.

Mashed potatoes, boiled and mashed carrots, baked and mashed sweet potatoes, boiled eggs, oatmeal, cottage cheese, watermelon, and bananas are also fine. 

Try to give them probiotic supplements, as well. 

Avoid giving them anything rich like red meat or organs, as well as peanut butter, dairy, or anything that is poisonous for dogs, like chocolate, grapes, or onions.

Wet, Semi-Moist, or Dry? Which food is best for your dog suffering from diarrhea?

When it comes to wet or dry food, the key is to give your dog whichever works better for their particular body. Some dogs tolerate wet food better, and some dry.

If your dog has been on dry food, you might want to stick with it. However, wet food can help rehydrate a dehydrated dog.

Dry or wet food doesn’t cause loose stools, but the ingredients inside can. 

To grain or not to grain: Do dogs need grain-free food for diarrhea?

Grain-free dog food isn’t necessary for a dog with diarrhea unless it is the grain causing their stomach problems.

In fact, grains like oats and rice can help dog diarrhea because soluble fibers slow the digestion process and add bulk. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

a Jack Russell Terrier standing on a toilet bowl
A cute Jack Russell Terrier showing off his toilet

What to Do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea 

What can you do for a dog that has diarrhea from changing food? Give them time. Their digestive issues should go away on their own after a few days. 

Should you continue to feed a dog with diarrhea? Maybe not. Try fasting your dog for a day to see if that helps.

Then end the fast by feeding a bland diet of chicken and rice. Once you switch to commercial food again, give them small portions at a time. 

Take your time when transitioning back to a normal diet. 

Be sure to give your dog plenty of water at all times to help them rehydrate.

You may also want to give them supplements as necessary to give them the vitamins and minerals they aren’t getting through food. Supplement with probiotics, as well. 

If the problem doesn’t go away after all these steps and a few days of watching, call a vet. Also, call a vet if the issue gets worse. 

How can you safely adjust your dog’s diet?

When switching your dog to a new food, you must do it slowly! On days 1-2, give them 75% old kibble and 25% new kibble.

On days 3-4, give a 50/50 split between old and new kibble. Days 5-6, make it 25% new kibble and 75% old kibble. Day 7, they can be 100% on their new kibble.

Can you give homemade food for diarrhea to your dog?

Good old plain boiled rice or oatmeal and lean chicken is perfect for a sick dog for a few days. Give them an equal mix of the two.

Then, you can add in some other ingredients like pumpkin, bananas, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes as your dog are feeling better.

This video shows a good recipe for a homemade bland diet: 

What should you feed your dog with loose stools or bloody diarrhea?

To harden a dog’s loose stools, give them soluble fiber like oats and rice.

What medicine can you give a dog for diarrhea?

Don’t give your dog over-the-counter medicines if they have diarrhea. Talk to your vet for medication. 

Tame Fido’s Tummy Woes

When it comes to helping a poor pooch who isn’t feeling well, you can’t go wrong with any of the foods listed above.

Limited ingredient recipes like those from Natural Balance, Wellness, and Instinct are a great place to start. 

Foods formulated with easy-to-digest ingredients like Hill’s Science Diet are also tried-and-true options. 

These foods have been carefully formulated to help your dog feel better as their tummy is healing, or they eliminate many of the ingredients that cause diarrhea in the first place. 

Hopefully, your little pal will be feeling better soon. Be sure to let us know which food you pick and how your dog did. 

If Your Dog has Diarrhea, Talk to Your Vet Before Choosing a Dog Food

a Labrador puppy laying on a table with a vet checking
A Labrador puppy on his vet examination

Remember, you should always talk to a veterinarian if your dog has diarrhea for more than a few days.

It might be the food that they are eating, and switching their food will help. But it could be something that requires treatment that is making them ill. 

Your vet will be able to recommend the right food to help the process along. You can even show them this list and see which they would select. 

Want to support your dog’s health through diet? Here are some other helpful guides

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