Common German Shepherd Diarrhea Issues

Find out why your German Shepherd might have diarrhea.
Find out why your German Shepherd might have diarrhea.

Why does your German Shepherd have diarrhea?

German Shepherds are well known for their stature, intelligence, and. . .sensitive stomachs. Unfortunately (for both dogs and their owners), this can sometimes lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea is loose or mushy stool, usually occurring more frequently than typical bowel movements.

Diarrhea is a common problem for all dogs, not just German Shepherds (also called Alsatian, abbreviated GSD), and in many cases it is quite mild.

If your dog ate something he shouldn’t have eaten, you may just need to wait for him to pass out. However, sometimes diarrhea can accompany more serious health problems. Knowing what to look for is important to know if your dog needs to go to the vet.

Diarrhea in German Shepherd Puppies

Diarrhea problems may be more common in puppies. Their digestive systems are still developing, and playful puppies are more likely than adult dogs to get into things they shouldn’t.

If your pup has occasional diarrhea, especially while he’s adjusting to his new home, don’t worry. Follow the steps below to settle your pup’s stomach.

Don’t punish your pup if he has a diarrhea accident inside the house; they may not have been able to control themselves. If diarrhea is a recurring problem, he may need to try different foods. However, if your pup has frequent diarrhea for more than 24 hours at a time, it could be a sign of a more serious problem and you should contact your vet.

GSD puppy diarrhea.
GSD puppy diarrhea.

Diarrhea in adult dogs

Unfortunately, the days of diarrhea may not end when your German Shepherd gets older. As an adult, your dog may still have diarrhea from time to time. Especially when going through any change, from moving to trying a new dog food, diarrhea can set in.

Use the following information to assess the cause of your dog’s diarrhea and whether you need to see a vet.

common causes

It can be difficult to figure out what caused your dog’s diarrhea. Acute diarrhea, or diarrhea that comes on suddenly and lasts less than a day, has several common causes:

  • Eating something they shouldn’t: Sometimes German Shepherds are too smart and may search for a piece of trash, forbidden food, or even roadkill. Or maybe a piece of human food was knocked out of your hands at dinner. Some of these off-limits foods may give you diarrhea, but you’ll be fine once your stomach settles. If his diarrhea continues, it could be a sign that he has eaten something toxic and needs to go to the vet.
  • Stress: Any change in your dog’s routine can cause stress, including moving to a new home, new pets, new people, and new work schedules. Your dog’s stomach should settle as he adjusts. To help, make sure your dog gets plenty of quiet time and gets plenty of sleep.
  • Diet changes: Whenever you make changes to your dog’s food, transition gradually by mixing a small amount of the new food with the old and increasing the amount of new food over time. If you switched brands suddenly, your dog’s stomach may have been upset.

If your dog has chronic diarrhea, it may be due to a more serious underlying problem:

  • allergies: Your dog could have an allergic reaction to an ingredient in his food or medication, or even seasonal allergies. Particularly if you have introduced something new into their lives, check with your vet about the possibility of allergies.
  • Parasites: Parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and giardia are especially common in puppies. They can usually be diagnosed with a simple stool sample test and treated orally.
  • Viral infection: If your dog has an infection, he will likely display other signs, including fever, lack of appetite, low energy, vomiting, and mucus in his stool. If you notice any of these signs along with the diarrhea, call your vet. Some viral infections, such as Parvo and Distemper, can be fatal, so it’s important to take these symptoms seriously.
  • IBD: Just like humans, dogs can get Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If your dog’s diarrhea keeps coming back, this could be the culprit.
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: This is a chronic disorder in which the pancreas stops producing enough enzymes for production. It produces yellowish diarrhea with a particularly unpleasant odor.

Other issues: Diarrhea can be an early symptom of other serious problems, such as thyroid disease or intestinal cancer. If your German Shepherd’s diarrhea is chronic without explanation, see your vet. These serious problems may be more common in older dogs.

Home remedies

Any dog ​​suffering from diarrhea is also susceptible to dehydration. Make sure your dog has constant access to fresh water. You will want to change their water more often than usual and encourage them to drink. If they are reluctant to drink, PetMD recommends mixing a little chicken or beef broth into the water.

Stick to drinking only water for 8-12 hours to give your dog’s stomach a chance to settle. Then, instead of their usual meal, give them a special bland meal of boiled chicken with cooked white rice (rice and rice water are known to help with runny stools), pumpkin, or sweet potato. Keep the portion small. If your dog eats it and doesn’t experience diarrhea or vomiting within a couple of hours, you can give it another small meal.

Over the next few days, gradually mix some of his normal food into this soft food until he is eating normally again. If your dog has a chronically sensitive stomach, your vet may recommend a special formula.

There are a few things you can try at home to soothe your dog's tummy.
There are a few things you can try at home to soothe your dog’s tummy.

Chronic diarrhea

If your German Shepherd has diarrhea for a week or more, it is called chronic diarrhea. This can be due to a serious underlying health problem and should always be treated by a vet.

Over time, chronic diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, weight loss, or more serious problems. Diarrhea can also be a sign of a larger problem with your dog’s health, so be sure to make an appointment with your vet if your dog’s diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours.

When to call a vet when your dog has diarrhea

If you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to diarrhea, you should call your vet immediately:

  • vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Signs of pain (whining, does not want to be touched)
  • If your dog is very young or old
  • If your dog has another health condition, having diarrhea could exacerbate ongoing health problems.
  • The stool contains blood (a very small streak doesn’t necessarily mean it’s serious or a real problem, but to be sure, talk to a vet and/or get checked out).
  • The stool is dark and tarry.

You know your dog best. If something doesn’t seem right, take your dog to the vet. If you’re not sure if he needs an appointment, you can always call for your vet’s advice.

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