Dog Diarrhea: When to See a Vet

Diarrhea is an unpleasant experience, especially when it happens to our beloved pets. As a dog owner, it’s natural to be concerned when your furry friend experiences diarrhea. Although diarrhea can be a common occurrence in dogs, it can also be a red flag for a more serious underlying condition. So, when should your dog see a vet for their diarrhea?

You should bring your dog to the vet if their diarrhea is paired with symptoms such as fever, lethargy, stomach pain, loss of appetite, or vomiting. Additionally, if your dog’s diarrhea is bloody, black or tarry, or if it doesn’t go away in 2-3 days, you should see the vet.

when should my dog see the vet for dog diarrhea atlanta ga

In this article we are going to discuss when to bring your dog to the vet for diarrhea. Furthermore, we will also discuss what to expect at the vet as well as treatment options for your pup.

Different Types of Diarrhea Your Dog May Experience

Acute diarrhea

Acute diarrhea is characterized by a sudden onset and short duration which could be caused by factors like diet changes, ingestion of inappropriate food, or viral and bacterial infections.

Chronic diarrhea

Chronic diarrhea is ongoing. Typically, it lasts for more than two weeks and can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.

Bloody diarrhea

If your dog’s diarrhea contains blood or is black with a tar-like appearance, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately as this can be a sign of a serious condition such as parvovirus or gastrointestinal bleeding.

When Should My Dog See The Vet for Diarrhea?

Now that we’ve discussed the different types of diarrhea, let’s talk about when you should see a vet. If your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms along with their diarrhea, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible:


If your dog is vomiting in addition to having diarrhea, it may be a sign of a serious condition like a gastrointestinal blockage. Additionally, the combination of these two symptoms leaves your dog at immediate risk of becoming dehydrated. Seek care immediately.


If your dog is unusually tired or does not respond to usual prompts, toys, treats, etc., it may be a sign that they are already dehydrated or that their diarrhea is causing discomfort.

Loss of appetite 

If your dog is not interested in eating, it may be a sign that they are not feeling well and need immediate veterinary attention.


In the event that your dog’s temperature reaches above 103°F, it may be a sign of infection and they should see a vet immediately.

Abdominal pain

If your dog is showing signs of abdominal pain or swelling such as hunching over, crying, uncharacteristic aggression, or not wanting to be touched, they should see a vet as soon as possible.

How to Prepare for a Trip to The Emergency Vet

Visiting a vet is an understandably nerve-wracking and sometimes scary thing for owner and pup alike. There are a few ways to make your time go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

During your visit, your vet will likely ask you questions about your dog’s diet, any recent changes in their routine, and any medications (and their dose amounts) or supplements they may be taking. Be sure to have this information prepared and ready to aid in the ease of the visit.

Your vet may also recommend diagnostic tests such as blood work, fecal analysis, and imaging tests to determine the root cause, which may or may not happen during your first visit. Your vet will talk you through the entire process to reassure you along the way. Mild sedatives and pain medications are also available for your pooch’s comfort. 

Depending on the underlying cause of your dog’s diarrhea, your vet may recommend treatment options such as medication, changes in diet, or even hospitalization. It’s important to follow your vet’s recommendations exactly as described to ensure that your dog makes a full recovery. 

How to Treat Your Dog’s Diarrhea at Home

In addition to seeking veterinary care, there are a few things you can do at home to help manage your dog’s (non-emergency) diarrhea at home.

Provide Fresh Water

As stated before, diarrhea can lead to dehydration very quickly and unexpectedly, so it’s important to make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times, especially when left home alone for several hours during the day. 

Adjust Their Diet

Depending on the underlying cause of your dog’s diarrhea, a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice may be recommended to soothe their stomach. This can also be helpful in ruling out diet as a potential aggravating factor. In some cases, a prescription diet will be recommended and provided. 

Monitor Their Behavior

Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior as closely as you can and make note of any changes. If they are not improving or are getting worse, it’s imperative to seek veterinary care right away.


Diarrhea is a common ailment that dogs inevitably face at some point. Knowing when to seek veterinary care is crucial to their health, safety, and well-being. As responsible pet owners, it is important to be aware of the different types of diarrhea and which symptoms warrant immediate attention from a vet. 

If you are looking for a veterinarian in the Atlanta, GA area, The Village Vets offers 24/7 Emergency Veterinary Care for your pets. Give us a call today at (404) 371-9774.

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