Dog Diarrhea And Abdominal Pain: Causes And When To Worry

Diarrhea and abdominal pain can be distressing to a dog. While mild diarrhea is common and usually harmless, its frequency and intensity, and occurrence alongside other symptoms is a cause for concern.

It is helpful to understand what causes diarrhea and abdominal pain in your dog and when to seek medical attention.

We outline the potential causes of dog diarrhea and abdominal pain as well as what to do and when to seek help. 

Here’s why dog diarrhea and abdominal pain occurs

Dog diarrhea is a common symptom that sometimes accompanies abdominal pain due to underlying disorders that affect the gastrointestinal tract which includes illness, diet, intestinal parasites, poisoning, bacterial or viral infection, stress, allergies, medication, or dietary indiscretion. 

Dog diarrhea and abdominal pain are symptoms of a condition, rather than conditions in themselves.

Dog diarrhea and abdominal pain

Abdominal pain and diarrhea in dogs

Abdominal pain in dogs is discomfort or pain that is felt in a dog’s abdomen or stomach, which is the area of the body between the chest and the pelvis. 

Abdominal pain in dogs can be displayed in several ways, and it can be challenging to determine whether a dog is experiencing abdominal pain since dogs cannot communicate their discomfort directly. 

However, some of the common symptoms of abdominal pain in dogs include:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Whining
  • Hunched posture
  • Tenderness or sensitivity to touch
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Audible stomach noises
  • Bloating or distended stomach

Diarrhea in dogs on the other hand is a condition in which a dog’s stool is loose and watery, and which they pass more frequently than normal. 

Occasional episodes of diarrhea in dogs are common and normal, however, frequent diarrhea as well as with other concerning symptoms can be a sign of a serious underlying problem.

Abdominal pain and diarrhea happening at the same time can be due to a variety of causes. In most cases, these symptoms are accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and fever.

Managing dog diarrhea requires knowledge and understanding. Our guide on dog diarrhea serves as a valuable resource, providing a detailed roadmap to help you navigate this condition. Visit the article to unlock effective strategies for keeping your dog happy and healthy.

Possible causes of dog diarrhea and abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is a common symptom of a dog suffering from diarrhea. A dog may experience both diarrhea and abdominal pain as a result of an underlying condition. 

Frequent, constant, or severe abdominal pain and diarrhea in a dog may indicate a disease or a more serious medical issue.

The possible causes of diarrhea and abdominal pain are:


Diarrhea and abdominal pain can be symptoms of a wide range of illnesses in dogs, including viral or bacterial infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and systemic diseases.

These diseases and conditions include parvovirus, distemper, kidney or liver disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, colitis, or cancer.

Related: Dog diarrhea and panting (Explained)

Gastrointestinal infection

Gastrointestinal infection by bacteria, intestinal parasites, or viruses is the most common cause of diarrhea and abdominal pain in a dog.

Infections of the digestive tract cause inflammation and irritation, leading to abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some common symptoms of gastrointestinal infections include vomiting and loss of appetite.

Bacterial infections include Salmonella, coccidia, or Escherichia coli (E. coli) while viral infections include parvovirus and parasitic infections include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.

Related: Dog diarrhea and vomiting yellow foam: Here’s why

Change in diet

A change in your dog’s diet can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain due to food intolerance or allergy, an upset stomach, and stress.

This is because it takes time for your dog’s stomach to adjust to the new food and a sudden change to a new food may cause diarrhea. 

Dogs are also sensitive to changes in their routine and environment, and a sudden change in diet can be stressful. This stress can lead to digestive upset and other symptoms such as abdominal pain.

To avoid these problems, it is important to introduce changes to your dog’s diet gradually, over the course of several days or weeks, to give their digestive system time to adjust.

Also, it is important to choose a high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food that meets your dog’s individual needs.

See Also: Dog diarrhea and bad gas (Explained)


A stressed dog also experiences diarrhea including abdominal pain, which may appear at the same time. 

Stress and anxiety also cause a variety of symptoms including pacing, licking, drooling, yawning, crying, barking, and hiding.

Stress can come from a variety of sources such as a change in their environment or routine, new people or pets, loud noises, and other fear-related stressful situations.

Toxin ingestion

Poisoning in dogs can lead to a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea and abdominal pain. This is because many poisons and toxins can cause gastrointestinal upset and also affect the nervous system.

Dogs may accidentally ingest toxic substances such as household cleaners, contaminated food or water, pesticides, insecticides, poisonous plants or human medications, which can cause diarrhea and other symptoms.

Side effects of medication

Medications can sometimes cause side effects in dogs, including diarrhea and abdominal pain which may happen at the same time.

The side effects can occur due to irritation of the digestive tract, and allergic reaction which causes abdominal pain.

Dietary indiscretion

Dietary indiscretion refers to eating of non-food items or food that is not part of a dog’s regular diet. This can lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain in dogs due to the development of an upset stomach, bacterial or viral infection, gastrointestinal obstruction, and stress.

Dogs may eat non-food items or consume food outside of their regular diet due to stress or anxiety, which can also lead to digestive upset and other symptoms such as abdominal pain.

Dog diarrhea and abdominal pain: What to do

If your dog is experiencing both diarrhea and abdominal pain, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. 

Here are  other signs that indicate that you should see a veterinarian immediately:

Severe or bloody diarrhea: If your dog’s diarrhea is severe or if there is blood or mucus in the stool, this could be a sign of a serious underlying condition and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Other symptoms: Other symptoms may accompany diarrhea and abdominal pain, such as vomiting. If your dog is vomiting along with diarrhea, this can lead to dehydration and other complications and requires immediate medical attention. 

Other symptoms to look out for include lethargy, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, signs of pain or discomfort, fever, and signs of dehydration, such as a dry nose or mouth and sunken eyes.

Suspicion poisoning: If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

If your dog is a puppy or an older dog: Puppies and older are generally more vulnerable than healthy adult dogs so delaying treatment could result in their condition worsening or becoming more difficult to treat. Therefore, it is essential to seek immediate medical care.

Key Takeaway: Dog diarrhea and abdominal pain

Diarrhea and abdominal pain in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors.  While occasional diarrhea is normal in dogs, persistent diarrhea alongside other symptoms such as abdominal pain requires veterinary attention.

If you notice your dog showing these symptoms suddenly or for extended periods of time, consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. 

By addressing the underlying cause of the symptoms and providing appropriate care, you can help ensure that your dog remains healthy.