Help! My Dog Has Diarrhea And Won’t Drink Water: Causes And Solutions 

If your dog has diarrhea and stopped drinking water, this is a cause for concern. It is common for dogs to have diarrhea once in a while, but diarrhea and lthe loo of the need to drink water is unusual.

If your dog has diarrhea and won’t drink water, we outline the potential causes of dog diarrhea and won’t drink water, as well as what to do and when to seek help.

Here’s why dog a dog with diarrhea won't drink water

Dog diarrhea itself can lead to loss of appetite and the need to drink water. These symptoms commonly occur together and can be due to a number of illnesses and health issues which include diet change, illness, gastrointestinal infection, poisoning, stress,  and medication side effects.  

Dog diarrhea and won't drink water

Dog diarrhea and won’t drink water: Causes

A dog stopping to drink water is a common symptom of a dog suffering from diarrhea which occurs alongside the loss of appetite. A dog may experience both diarrhea and not drinking water as a result of an underlying condition. 

The possible causes of dog diarrhea and refusal to drink water are:

Underlying illness

Diarrhea and not drinking water can be symptoms of a wide range of illnesses in dogs, including viral or bacterial infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and systemic diseases.

There are many factors that can cause a dog not to drink or eat when they are ill, which include pain, nausea, digestive problems, and emotional distress

Pain due to an illness can cause a dog to avoid eating or drinking. In addition to this, many illnesses can cause nausea which can make them feel too sick to eat.

Digestive problems due to illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea can also lead to a lack of appetite or refusal to drink water. Emotional distress experienced when they are ill can cause them to not drink water or eat.

Related: Dog diarrhea and excessive drinking of water (Explained)

Gastrointestinal infection

Gastrointestinal infection by bacteria, viruses or intestinal parasites can cause dog diarrhea and refusal to drink water or eat.

Gastrointestinal infections can cause a dog to not drink water due to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and discomfort. These symptoms can lead to a loss of appetite in a dog.

Change in diet

A change in your dog’s diet can cause diarrhea and refusal to drink water or eat 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. 

The stress can lead to digestive upset which causes diarrhea and other symptoms and a dog not drinking water or eating due to :

  • Taste preference: Dogs have preferences for certain flavors and textures of food, and if their new diet is not appealing to them, they may refuse to eat it.
  • Digestive issues: Switching to a new diet can cause digestive upset, such as diarrhea or constipation, which can cause a dog to feel sick and not want to drink water or eat.
  • Food allergies or intolerance: Some dogs may have allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients in their new food, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and loss of appetite as well as refusal to drink water.

If you are planning to change your dog’s diet, it is important to do so gradually over a period of several days to allow their digestive system to adjust. 


A stressed dog also experiences diarrhea including not drinking water, which may appear at the same time. 

Stress can cause a dog to not drink water or eat in different ways. One way is stress can affect a dog’s digestive system, causing nausea, stomach discomfort, and other digestive issues

This can lead to a loss of appetite as a dog associates food with discomfort or they may simply not feel hungry or want to drink water.

Stress can cause changes in the dog’s hormone levels, particularly the stress hormone. Elevated levels of the stress hormone can cause a dog not to drink water and a decrease in appetite. 

Chronic stress can also suppress the immune system, leading to other health problems that can further affect their appetite and the desire to drink water. 

In addition to this, stress can lead to depression or anxiety, which also causes loss of appetite and the decreased urge to drink.

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 range of symptoms, including diarrhea and not drinking water. This is because many poisons can cause gastrointestinal upset causing diarrhea and also affect a dog’s desire to drink water or eat.

A dog may not drink water and also lose an appetite because of:

Nausea and/or vomiting: Many poisons can cause nausea or vomiting. When a dog feels sick, they may refuse to eat or drink.

Mouth ulcers and irritation: Certain toxins can cause ulcers or irritation in a dog’s mouth. This can make it painful for the dog to eat or drink.

Organ damage: Some toxins may cause damage to a dog’s liver, kidneys, or other organs which can lead to a loss of appetite and drinking less water as well as other symptoms.

Neurological problems: Some poisons can cause neurological symptoms such as seizures or tremors which can make it difficult for a dog to drink water or eat.

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, loss of appetite, and other symptoms.

Side effects of medication

Medications can sometimes cause side effects in dogs, including diarrhea and refusal to drink and also eat. Many medications can cause gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can lead to a decreased need to drink. 

The taste or smell of the medication can also be unpleasant, making a dog reluctant to drink water or eat.

Some medications also affect a dog’s sense of taste or smell, altering the way water and food tastes or smells, which can reduce their desire to drink and eat. 

A dog’s mood and behavior can also be affected by some medications which lead to a decrease in appetite and the urge to drink water as a result of anxiety or depression.

Dog diarrhea and won’t drink water: What to do

If your dog is experiencing both diarrhea and not drinking water, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. This is because they are at risk of dehydration which can lead to severe complications in their health.

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 in the stool, this could be a sign of a serious underlying condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.

Other symptoms: Other symptoms may accompany diarrhea and not drinking water, such as vomiting. If your dog is vomiting along with diarrhea, this can quickly lead to dehydration and other complications. This also requires immediate medical attention. 

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

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.

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

Dog diarrhea doesn’t have to be a source of stress. Our comprehensive guide on dog diarrhea is here to empower you with knowledge and practical solutions. Visit the article to access a wealth of information and learn how to effectively manage dog diarrhea.

Key Takeaway: Dog diarrhea and won’t drink water

Diarrhea and the refusal to drink water can be caused by a variety of factors. Occasional diarrhea is normal in dogs, however persistent diarrhea alongside not drinking water or eating is a cause for concern.

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.