Yogurt for dog diarrhea

Dog diarrhea can have several causes, treatment should be done according to the cause of this symptom. Can yogurt help reduce diarrhea in dogs? To answer this question, this article will talk about the main causes of diarrhea in dogs and what can or cannot be done.

Yogurt for dog diarrhea

Yogurt can be offered to dogs with diarrhea. However, some yogurts are not recommended due to the presence of fat and lactose that can make diarrhea even worse in dogs. And the amount of yogurt per dog weight must be respected. Yogurt can be offered to dogs, even so it must be plain yogurt, lactose-free and skimmed.

What is yogurt?

Yogurt is a type of dairy product. Yogurt is basically composed of milk and bacterial culture. The microorganisms present in this culture may act as a probiotic for dogs. However, other yogurt compounds such as lactose, fat and coloring and flavoring agents used in some commercial yogurts can harm the health of dogs.

Yogurt can be ingested by dogs, but for these animals the use of yogurts without coloring and flavorings is indicated, natural and plain yogurt can be used for dogs.

In addition, dogs can be considered lactose intolerant. Dog milk has less lactose when compared to cow’s milk. And after the puppy stage, dogs stop producing the lactase enzyme that is responsible for the degradation of lactose. Yogurts with lactose can further stimulate diarrhea in dogs.

What causes diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea in dogs can happen due to several factors such as: 

  • Infectious diseases;
  • Food allergies;
  • Food poisoning;
  • Sudden change in diet.

Infectious diseases

Some diseases caused by viruses, parasites and bacteria can lead to an imbalance in the dog’s microbiota, leading to diarrhea.

  • The main viruses that can lead to diarrhea in dogs are canine distemper virus, coronavirus, rotavirus and parvovirus in puppies.

In general, the viruses replicate in the gastrointestinal mucosa cells and can lead to lesions, thus reducing the absorption of liquids and nutrients that are excreted in the feces that become more liquid. Some virus diseases can lead to blood in the dog’s feces.

When leading to mucosal injury, changes in the gastrointestinal microbiota can also occur, which further worsens diarrhea in dogs. Viral diarrhea can be prevented by vaccines. In general, these diseases have no treatment for dogs, but treatments for secondary changes can be prescribed.

  • About the diseases caused by bacteria, Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Shigella are the most frequent bacteria to lead to diarrhea in dogs. The canine gastrointestinal microbiota is mostly made up of bacteria.

When foreign bacteria start to replicate in the gastrointestinal tract, the microbiota try to avoid this replication. However, the excess of foreign bacteria causes a dysregulation of the microbiota, reducing the absorption of nutrients, leading to diarrhea.

The treatment for bacterial diarrhea may involve the use of some antibiotics and the reconstitution of healthy microbiota for the intestine of dogs.

  • Parasitic diarrhea can occur mainly due to parasites such as Giardia, Ancylostoma caninum, Toxocara canis and Dipylidium sp. These parasites have different cycles, but they all affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal system leading to diarrhea.

Parasitic diseases can be avoided through periodic feces laboratorial examinations and the use of oral antiparasitic drugs. Treatment consists of antiparasitic drugs, microbiota replacement and nutrient supplements when necessary.

Food allergies

Food allergies can affect some breeds of dogs, it can be a hereditary trait, so you should avoid breeding these dogs.

Dogs with food allergies should see a veterinary gastroenterologist to find out the cause of the allergies through testing. After the diagnosis, the dog should avoid consuming the food that causes the allergy.

For some dogs it may be necessary to consult with a veterinary nutritionist so that a balanced natural diet is prescribed. For other dogs it may also be necessary to use specific industrial diets for the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, avoiding allergies that lead to diarrhea.

Food poisoning

Consumption of spoiled or contaminated food can carry toxins into the gastrointestinal tract. These toxins can unbalance the microbiota leading to diarrhea.

Intoxicated animals should see a veterinarian. In many cases, dogs can receive fluid therapy to reduce the effects of toxicants. Procedures such as gastric lavage can be performed in some situations.

Treatment includes replacement of fluids, gastrointestinal microbiota, and nutrients. Some dogs can become dehydrated quickly due to increased symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Emergency care by a veterinarian is required.

Sudden change in diet

Changing the dog’s diet without an adaptation can led to changes in the composition of the dogs’ microbiota, which can result in diarrhea.

Changing the dog’s diet should be done progressively as shown below:

  • 1st and 2nd days: 75% Old food + 25% New diet.
  • 3rd and 4th days: 50% Old food + 50% New diet.
  • 5th and 6th days: 25% Old food + 75% New diet.
  • 7th day onwards: 100% New diet.

What to do when the dog has diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be symptoms of various diseases and can have many causes. That’s why dogs with constant diarrhea should be taken to the veterinarian for a consultation.

In general, dogs with diarrhea can lose a lot of fluid and electrolytes that can lead to dehydration. And dehydration can kill the dog. Therefore, the consumption of liquids and balanced foods by the dog should be encouraged.

The treatment of diarrhea may vary according to the cause, and it is important not to administer any medication to dogs without a veterinarian prescription.

Diarrhea prevention can happen with the provision of adequate food for dogs. Constant visits to the veterinarian for vaccinations and exams to assess whether the animal has any worms.


Yogurt can be used in dog diarrhea as a natural probiotic. However, some types of yogurts and in excessive amounts can worsen diarrhea in dogs. When a dog has diarrhea, a veterinarian should be consulted even before starting the use of yogurts. Thus, the animal can have a correct diagnosis of the causes of diarrhea in addition to the appropriate treatment, avoiding the death of the animal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Yogurt for dog diarrhea

What to give a dog when he has diarrhea?

It is recommended to stimulate the dog’s consumption of liquids, avoiding dehydration. Fresh water can be offered, or even a physiological solution. A good option is to offer your dog coconut water, as it is rich in potassium and is appreciated for the dog’s taste.

What to do when the dog has diarrhea?

The tutor should seek a veterinarian immediately. Since the loss of water and nutrients can lead the dog to dehydration and death.  

And with veterinary treatment, the animal tends to improve and go home healthy.

What foods are toxic for dogs?

Common foods that are highly toxic to dogs are:

  • Grapes and Raisins;
  • Xylitol;
  • Chocolate;
  • Tea;
  • Coffee;
  • Onions;
  • Garlic;
  • Alcohol.


Feliciano, M. A. R., Saad, F. M. O. B., Logato, P. V. R., Aquino, A. A., José, V. A., & Roque, N. C. (2009). Efeitos de probióticos sobre a digestibilidade, escore fecal e características hematológicas em cães. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, 61, 1268-1274. Chicago  

Macedo, H. T., Vendramini, T. H. A., Rentas, M. F., Risolia, L. W., Oba, P. M., Zafalon, R., … & Brunetto, M. A. CAPÍTULO X MICROBIOMA DE CÃES. Novos Desafios da Pesquisa em Nutrição e Produção Animal, 190.

Oliveira, J. C. V. D., Cian, D. M., Bettini, C. M., & Lazaretti, R. M. J. (2011). Agentes etiológicos que causam gastroenterite em cães com mais de um ano de idade no município de Maringá.

Picture from flickr.com