Foods That Cause Diarrhea in Dogs

By Scott Morgan

Diarrhea in dogs is not always cause for alarm. Sometimes something as simple as a change in diet can trigger a bout of diarrhea. But some foods that are fine for people to eat do not work well in a dog's system, no matter how much your dog likes them.

Milk and Dairy

You'd be hard-pressed to find a dog who doesn't like cheese or ice cream. But while cheese, ice cream and other milk products are not actually toxic to dogs, dogs do not produce enough lactase to break down the lactose found in milk dairy products. Cheese slices and other dairy products can trigger digestive trouble in dogs, including diarrhea.

However, cottage cheese and yogurt in small amounts are fine for most dogs. Yogurt's live bacteria, in fact, can benefit your dog's digestion. Also not every dog is so lactose-intolerant that he can't eat a little cheese once in a while.

The key is small amounts. Give your dog tiny amounts of cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt and monitor his health. If he has no gastric issues, the occasional tasty dairy snack will be most welcomed.

Animal Products

Undercooked Eggs

Just as people should avoid raw or undercooked eggs, so should dogs. Salmonella bacteria in eggs can upset a dog's belly and cause diarrhea and other gastric discomfort. A good rule is, if it's runny at all, don't feed it to your dog.

Raw Meat and Bones

Whether to feed a dog raw meat is one of the most hotly debated avenues of canine nutrition. In general, canine health experts agree that dogs can eat raw meat, but only if the meat is pristine.

The trouble is, not all raw meat is pristine, and salmonella is usually the problem. Raw meat diets also can lead to severe nutritional imbalance if you don't ensure a more balanced diet for your dog.

Raw bones can upset a dog's stomach if she's not used to eating them. Bones often have high fat content, which can cause diarrhea and other stomach troubles. Splinters from bones also can cause digestive issues.

It's best to remove the marrow before giving your dog a raw bone, especially is she has pancreatitis. Marrow can cause severe diarrhea in such dogs.

Too Much Fat

Greasy gray diarrhea is a sign that your dog has eaten too much fat or grease. Foods high in grease, such as fried foods, or those high in saturated fats, such as dairy products, can trigger diarrhea. Trimmed fat from meats also can cause diarrhea, as the dog is only ingesting fats and not any nutrients from the meat.

Wild dogs hunt and eat live prey, but domesticated dog breeds are not the same as wolves or dingoes. Raw animal products can wreak havoc with your dog's digestive system.

Dangerous Foods

Some foods dogs should never eat, as they are toxic to canines:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions and garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Tomatoes, particularly the stems and leaves
  • Avocados
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Raw bread dough
  • Alcohol
  • Foods containing caffeine or xylitol

These foods in large amounts can harm or even kill dogs, but they are no good in small amounts either. Even small amounts of these foods can trigger vomiting and diarrhea. Avoid feeding them to your dog at all times.

Moldy and Spoiled Food

Your dog's keen sense of smell means that his schnoz will often find scraps of food in the garbage. When these scraps are moldy or spoiled discards, the result will often be a sick dog, complete with diarrhea.

Don't tempt your dog with smelly food scraps. Make sure your trash is secure and out of reach from your dog at all times.