My Dog Has Diarrhea But Is Acting Fine

If your dog is having diarrhea, you might be a little concerned. After all, any signs of illness in a dog can mean something much more serious if it’s not taken care of. However, if your dog is acting fine and doesn’t seem to be in pain, what does that mean? 

There are several reasons that a dog could have diarrhea, including food intolerance, a stomach bug, or a parasite. Always check with a veterinarian, but in many cases, it’s fine to feed the dog a specific diet and watch for further symptoms at home. 

my dog has diarrhea but is acting fine
My dog has diarrhea but is acting fine.

If your dog has diarrhea but is acting fine, they are probably not in any pain. Dogs are very good at telling humans when they’re in pain by whimpering or acting out of the ordinary. There’s no need to panic just yet; however, you should keep an eye on your dog for further symptoms. 

Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea? 

If your dog has diarrhea, you already know how much of a pain it is. Even if your dog isn’t in pain, you want to fix the problem (and save your floors) as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common causes a dog could have diarrhea and what to do about them. 

Of course, the first step is always to call your veterinarian. A medical professional who knows your dog is a great resource to have, and you shouldn’t take that for granted. It’s better to be safe than sorry and give your vet a call to get their opinion on your pup’s behavior. 

They Ate Something Bad

One of the most common reasons that dogs have diarrhea is that they ate something they shouldn’t have. We love our dogs and take care of them as best we can, but we can’t always prevent them from sneaking into the kitchen and eating the last vanilla cupcake. 

When a dog eats too much of something that their digestive system doesn’t handle well, their body will get rid of it as quickly as possible. This can be either vomiting or diarrhea. Once the dog’s body has successfully gotten rid of the foreign food, the dog will be totally fine and go back to normal

As long as the pet is acting fine and it’s a one-time issue, you are pretty safe to assume that the food is out of the system and the pup will be fine, although we know he probably won’t learn from the situation. 

a dog chows down on some good
A dog chowing down on some food. Some owners mix in proteins like salmon into their dogs kibble.

Stomach Bug

Just like humans, dogs can get stomach bugs. Whether it’s something they ate or a viral infection, they can have the runs and be uncomfortable for a few days. However, they might not show a few of the same symptoms as humans (such as vomiting or weariness). 

It’s always a good idea to see if something else is the problem. If a dog has diarrhea, you can give it plain and binding foods to help the stools solidify. These foods include: 

  • Plain boiled chicken
  • Cottage cheese
  • White rice
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta

If you use carb or starch, make sure to mix it with a source of protein. Dogs are meant to eat mostly protein and will get sicker on just starches. After a few days, put them back on their regular diet and watch them carefully for symptoms.

can puppy eat carrots
A puppy is eating a carrot on the floor.

Food Intolerance or Sensitivity

If a dog has a slight allergic reaction to something in their regular food, it will wear down their digestive system over time. Eventually, it will seem like all they ever have is diarrhea, even if the pup is acting fine. These allergic reactions might not even cause pain until much later.

In this case, a simple diet change might fix the entire problem. Try giving your dog a new kind of kibble or canned dog food and see if the bowel habits change. If they are sensitive to multiple types of dog food, try taking them in for a food sensitivity test.

A vet can tell you exactly which ingredients are irritating the digestive system and how to avoid messy stools. 

Jack Russell Terrier with bowl of food
A Jack Russell Terrier looking at the camera with his food.

Other Symptoms to Look Out For

However, if your pup starts showing any signs of physical discomfort such as whining, vomiting, or trouble walking, take them to a vet immediately. Pets can’t talk, so it’s up to us to decipher how they’re feeling based on their actions. 

If your dog has any of these symptoms, get them to a vet immediately: 

  • A bloated or distended stomach
  • Lethargy or unusual tiredness
  • Struggling with walking
  • Scooting their butt along the floor
  • Vomiting or heaving
  • Loss of appetite
  • Whining or yelping in pain

Any of these could be something serious, such as an internal parasite or bloat. A dog can have diarrhea every once in a while without repercussions. However, an illness like the bloat can lead to serious injury and death if it’s not dealt with at once. 

dog barking
A dog on a leash is barking.

What to Do if Your Dog Has Diarrhea? (Even if They’re Acting Fine)

Even if your pet is acting fine, extended diarrhea could cause concern. Your first step is to watch your dog’s symptoms and diet to ensure that they are eating foods to help the stool bind. If they have eaten a food item that they shouldn’t have, that could be your answer. 

Next, make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible and watch their symptoms. One day of diarrhea might not be a big deal, but multiple days could mean a bigger problem. Call your vet and set up an appointment if the loose poops last for longer than a day or two or are accompanied by other worrying signs. 

With any luck, your poor pup just got a hold of something he shouldn’t have and is paying the price. Within a few days, he’ll be fine and will have forgotten the whole thing (even if your nose hasn’t). Take good care of your pet, and he will take care of you.

After all, that’s what dogs do.