Does Wet Dog Food Cause Diarrhea? 

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Ever wondered if that bowl of wet dog food might be the culprit behind your pup’s tummy troubles? 

“Does wet dog food cause diarrhea?” I bet that’s a question that many dog owners have asked before, and luckily, it’s not as scary as you might imagine.

In this post, I will be digging deep into the belly of the beast to unravel the truth behind this canine conundrum, covering the potential causes, managing the situation, and a few useful tips to help you prevent this from happening again.

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Wet Dog Food and Diarrhea: Separating Fact From Fiction

Wet Dog Food and Diarrhea

You’ve probably heard some pet owners talking about how their dogs got diarrhea from eating wet dog food, or even experienced it yourself

This has sparked discussions among dog lovers, causing some fur parents to now avoid serving wet food to their pups.

But before you take that as gospel, read on to find out the truth.

Is it true that wet dog food causes diarrhea?

No, serving your pet wet dog food is not the sole cause of diarrhea in dogs. 

Instead, there are various reasons that could be causing tummy troubles in our furry companions.

Why does my dog have diarrhea after eating wet food?

Wet food can sometimes contain preservatives, flavorings, and sugars that might lead to diarrhea if your dog overindulges. 

Additionally, making a sudden switch to a new dog food can unsettle your pup’s digestion. 

It doesn’t matter whether that food is wet or dry, as long as it’s new, it could take a while for your pet’s digestive system to adjust to it.

In my experience, diarrhea in dogs can stem from various factors (which I’ll cover in the next section).

It’s not solely about the type of pet food you serve them but rather a combination of factors that can upset your dog’s tummy.

Exploring the Causes of Dog Diarrhea

Ever wondered why your furry buddy occasionally faces a bout of the runs? As I mentioned, it could be caused by one or more factors. 

What are the various factors that can lead to diarrhea in dogs?

  • One big factor that can cause your pup to suffer from diarrhea is a sudden change in their diet. If your pet is already used to their food and you suddenly introduced wet food into the mix, their sensitive stomachs might not be able to handle it. This is why experts suggest introducing diet changes gradually. It gives your pet’s system time to adjust to their new food. You can do this by mixing their old and new food.
  • There’s also overeating. Yep, just like us, dogs can go overboard with snacks and meals, and that can upset their stomach and lead to diarrhea. 
  • Food intolerances or allergies are also possible reasons. Some dogs just can’t handle certain ingredients, and their bodies react with diarrhea.
  • And then there are infections, parasites, or other health issues. If your furry pal falls ill, they can have diarrhea as one of the symptoms.

How does sudden food change contribute to digestive problems in dogs?

Dogs are routine-loving creatures, and it turns out their digestive systems are too. 

Our pets have special helpers in their tummies, like enzymes and a team of microorganisms called microbiome, that work together with the food they’re used to.

But if you suddenly switch their food to something completely different, like a different brand or type of protein, it’s like their tummy gets a big surprise it wasn’t expecting. 

This can make their stomach walls get all inflamed and cause problems like throwing up and having diarrhea. 

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Does Adding Water to Dog Food Cause Diarrhea?

Adding water to your dog’s dry food doesn’t typically cause diarrhea. 

Aside from keeping your pup hydrated, this practice can also be helpful in making their meal more palatable.

However, it’s crucial to use clean water for this purpose. If you accidentally add unclean or dirty water to your dog’s food, it can indeed lead to diarrhea. 

Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, dogs’ stomachs are not big on changes. 

If your dog is used to eating dry food, adding excessive water can potentially upset your dog’s stomach and result in loose stools.

Benefits of Adding Water to Dry Dog Food

Adding water to your pet’s dry food is a great idea, as doing so boosts the moisture content of the meal.

This is very helpful especially if your pooch is not fond of drinking water.

It guarantees extra hydration for your pet!

The kibble’s flavor and aroma are also enhanced by moistening it. This makes the food more appealing for your picky eater.

On top of these benefits, adding some water aids in the digestion of food. It makes the dry kibble easier to break down. 

This allows your furry pal’s body to absorb the nutrients from what they eat more efficiently.

When you add water to your pet’s dry food, it tends to swell up, making your pet feel fuller without consuming extra calories, making this an effective way to help your pet lose a few pounds. 

Cons of Adding Water to Dry Dog Food

Cons of Adding Water to Dry Dog Food

While adding water to your dog’s kibble can have its perks, there are some cons you should be aware of. 

First off, it can lead to spoilage if your pup doesn’t finish the meal within 30 minutes or so. Nobody likes wasted food, right?

Moisture also creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. And when there are bacteria in food, your pet could get hit with food poisoning. 

Then there’s the mess factor. Wet dog food can be a bit messy and challenging to handle, especially if your dog is a messy eater. Cleaning up after mealtime might become tedious.

Moist food sticks to your pet’s teeth. This can lead to more plaque buildup. To avoid any dental problems, you’d need to brush your furry pal’s teeth more often.

Lastly, adding water to dry dog food may cause some nutrient loss, as some of the good stuff might get diluted. 

Alternative Diets and Their Impact on Dog Stools

Alternative diets for dogs are like special food plans that are different from regular dog food you buy at the store. 

These special diets can be homemade, include raw foods, or be vegetarian or vegan. 

Lots of fur parents pick these diets for various reasons. Most popular of those are allergies, personal choices, or concerns about regular dog food ingredients. 

To make these special diets, you carefully choose and prepare ingredients to ensure they give dogs the right nutrients.

How do factors like alternative diets and food changes affect stool consistency?

Some alternative diets can change the consistency of your pet’s poop. Let’s check out some popular diets so you have an idea of what to expect.

First up, we’ve got the raw diet. This means serving your furry pal uncooked meat and veggies. Dogs on raw diets often end up with smaller, firmer stools.

Another option is the grain-free diet, chosen by many pet owners for dogs with grain allergies or intolerances. Grain-free diets, with higher protein and fat levels, can lead to firmer stools compared to traditional diets.

There are also probiotic-rich diets. Foods like yogurt or kefir have helpful bacteria for digestion. Your pet will enjoy better intestinal health and poop regularly as a result.

Vegetarian diets involve giving your pet lots of plant-based food. Some of the preferred foods for this particular diet are sweet potatoes and lentils. The fiber makes stools softer for dogs when they go potty.

Lastly, alternative kibble options, like cold-pressed or roasted-then-dehydrated nuggets made with human-grade ingredients, can also affect stool consistency due to their higher protein and fat content.

Managing Dog Diarrhea Due to Diet

Managing Dog Diarrhea Due to Diet

Is your pet suffering from loose and uncontrollable bowel movements because of their diet?

Below are some top tips that I found to work for my pets.

How can you effectively manage and treat diarrhea caused by diet changes?

Keeping your pet feeling comfortable is your primary goal if they’re experiencing diarrhea because of dietary changes. 

If your dog develops sudden diarrhea after switching to a new diet, consider temporarily letting them fast for 12 to 24 hours, allowing their digestive system to settle. 

After this fasting period, reintroduce a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice, which is gentle on their stomach and provides necessary nutrients. 

Gradually transition them back to their regular diet over a few days to avoid triggering diarrhea again. 

You can also try including probiotics in their diet. The supplement promotes a healthier gut. It can help harden the stool and lead to a speedier recovery.

What are some home remedies for dog diarrhea?

We have a few tried-and-true options, like these. If your pet has a stomach ache, one of these home remedies could help.

Canned pumpkin, packed with fiber, can help firm up your dog’s stool. Bone broth, loaded with nutrients, can provide relief to their digestive system. 

Instead of water, try giving your pet tea. Chamomile tea, for example, has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm your furry pal’s rumbling tummy.

You can also give them apple cider vinegar. This can help balance the flora in your dog’s intestines. It will help improve their digestion.

These natural remedies can be gentle yet effective in managing dog diarrhea.

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When should you seek veterinary assistance for dog diarrhea?

Diarrhea may not be such a serious condition, but there are times when you need the assistance of your trusted vet. When do you treat the condition at home and when should you go for professional reinforcement? 

If your poor pup’s diarrhea persists for more than a few days, especially if accompanied by symptoms like vomiting, unusual lethargy, or bloody stool, it’s time to contact your veterinarian. 

Puppies, senior dogs, and canines with underlying medical issues need extra attention. Their bodies are frail so you’d want to fix the problem ASAP.  

Pain is another red flag that you shouldn’t dismiss. Immediately bring your pet for a check-up if they are limping, whimpering, or refusing to move altogether. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you mix wet and dry dog food?

Yes, you can combine wet and dry dog food. Doing so will give your pet’s meals new flavors and textures. To ensure appropriate nourishment, just be cautious of how much food you give your dog.  Additionally, check their water intake, as wet dog food contains more moisture.

How long does diarrhea last in dogs after changing food?

The duration of diarrhea in dogs after changing food varies depending on the cause. The majority of instances go away in a day or two. However, if the condition persists for more than 3 days, it’s best that you bring your pet to the animal clinic for a quick check. This is especially true if they’re also suffering from vomiting or lethargy.

How fast does pumpkin work for dog diarrhea?

Pumpkin’s soluble fiber quickly absorbs excess water in your dog’s stool, promoting better digestion and firmer stools within hours. Your pet will feel a bit better with this natural diarrhea remedy. 

Will my dog’s diarrhea go away on its own?

Dog diarrhea often gets better on its own in a day or two. If the condition persists after that, there may be a more significant health problem that you need to consult with your pet’s vet. A food allergy or an illness might be the cause.

In Conclusion: Does Wet Dog Food Cause Diarrhea

While wet dog food can be a convenient and tasty option, the bottom line is to consider your pup’s individual needs and sensitivities before making a decision.

Now that you are a semi-expert, you can make informed decisions about your dog’s diet and ensure their digestive comfort!

Hey! If you found this post useful, check out these dog care tips too:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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