Best Dog Food for Diarrhea from Viral Infection

Best Dog Food for Diarrhea from Viral Infection: Effective Dietary Solutions

best dog food for diarrhea from viral infection

When your dog suffers from diarrhea due to a viral infection, choosing the right food is crucial. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, making it vital to find a dog food that supports intestinal health and restores proper hydration. The best dog food for diarrhea should be easy to digest and help to bind the stool, while also providing essential nutrients and hydration to aid in recovery.


Managing diarrhea in dogs also involves careful attention to their overall care and diet. While viral infections like rotavirus primarily cause mild to moderate watery diarrhea, severe cases may result in significant health issues, such as extreme weight loss and dehydration. To ensure your dog gets back to health, it’s important to offer a diet that is not only palatable and nutrient-dense but also formulated to support digestive health and immune function during this sensitive time.

Key Takeaways

  • Select dog food that aids digestion and stool firming during viral-induced diarrhea.
  • Ensure the diet maintains hydration and replenishes lost nutrients effectively.
  • Monitor your dog’s response to dietary changes and consult a veterinarian for persistent symptoms.

Understanding Dog Diarrhea

When your dog experiences diarrhea, it can indicate a range of issues from infections to dietary indiscretions. Accurate diagnosis and proper treatment are essential for their health and well-being.

Causes of Diarrhea

Infections: Viral infections such as parvovirus and coronavirus can lead to severe gastroenteritis and diarrhea. Parasites, like whipworms and roundworms, and bacteria such as Salmonella also contribute significantly to this condition.

Dietary Issues: Consuming inappropriate food or sudden changes in diet can upset your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

Underlying Health Conditions: Conditions such as kidney disease, tumors, or the presence of foreign bodies can cause diarrhea. Inflammation of the stomach or intestines often plays a role as well.

Symptoms and Diagnosis


  • Frequent and loose stools
  • May contain blood or mucus
  • Vomiting
  • Increased urgency or accidents

Diagnosis: Your vet will conduct a thorough physical examination and review your dog’s medical history. Tests may include:

  • A complete blood count (CBC) to check for inflammation or infection
  • Electrolyte tests to ensure your dog’s hydration levels are normal
  • X-rays or ultrasound to detect foreign bodies or tumors

Dietary Management and Nutrition

In managing diarrhea in dogs, selecting an appropriate diet and making the necessary dietary adjustments are crucial for recovery.

Choosing the Right Dog Food for Diarrhea

When choosing dog food for diarrhea, focus on options that are easily digestible and low in fat. Look for diets that include boiled chicken, canned pumpkin, and sweet potato, which can soothe your dog’s digestive system. Foods that are high in fiber can help firm up stools, while proteins should be lean and not exacerbate the condition. Always avoid ingredients that may lead to food sensitivities or allergies, such as those that are not grain-free if your dog has a known intolerance.

  • Recommended Ingredients:
    • Boiled chicken
    • Sweet potato
    • Canned pumpkin
    • Lean protein sources
    • Soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Ingredients to Avoid:
    • High-fat contents
    • Known allergens
    • Complex grains if sensitive

The Dog Food Advisor’s best dog food brands for diarrhea for December 2023 include brands that meet these criteria and may prevent the recurrence of symptoms.

Dietary Adjustments for Recovery

Your dog will require dietary adjustments as they recover. Start with small, frequent meals of a bland diet, such as one composed of boiled chicken and sweet potato, to not overwhelm their system. Gradually reintroduce their regular food by blending it with the bland diet over a week. If your dog’s condition worsens at any point or they exhibit new symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately.

In managing a dietary change, monitor your dog closely for signs of improvement or any adverse reactions. A gradual transition to a new diet helps prevent further irritation. Brands like Purina offer specific formulas designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs that may aid in the transition to regular food. Remember, slow and steady dietary changes support effective recovery.

Treatment and Home Care

In addressing dog diarrhea from a viral infection, focus on maintaining proper hydration and knowing when to seek veterinary care. An effective treatment plan often includes a combination of home remedies and professional advice.

Hydration and Rehydration

You must ensure your dog stays hydrated. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which exacerbates health issues. Offer your dog fresh drinking water continuously to prevent dehydration. For rehydration, consider giving your dog an electrolyte solution to replenish lost fluids, including potassium. Check for signs of dehydration such as dry gums, lethargy, and sunken eyes.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

Consult a veterinarian if your dog’s diarrhea persists beyond 24 hours or if you observe severe symptoms such as bloody stool or vomiting. A veterinarian may prescribe medications, which could include antibiotics if a bacterial infection is suspected, or recommend probiotics to restore intestinal flora. For viral infections, antibiotics are ineffective; thus, supportive care like hydration becomes crucial. Your vet may advise a highly digestible diet after a day of fasting to ease your dog’s gastrointestinal system. Avoid home remedies for dog diarrhea without your vet’s approval, as some can cause harm. Keep in mind that dietary indiscretion is a common cause of diarrhea, so it’s vital to monitor what your dog ingests.

Supplementation and Medication

When addressing diarrhea caused by viral infections in dogs, it’s essential to consider both supplementation with probiotics and digestive enzymes, and the use of specialized prescription diets. Achieving optimal digestive health may require integrating these options into your dog’s wellness routine.

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes

Incorporating probiotics into your dog’s diet can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is crucial for digestion and overall health. Probiotics specifically formulated for dogs can aid in recovering from acute diarrhea by restoring intestinal flora. Similarly, digestive enzymes are beneficial as they assist in breaking down food components, making them easier to digest and absorb.

  • Recommended Supplements:
    • Probiotics: Ensure they are canine-specific.
    • Enzymes: Focus on products enhancing protein, fat, and carbohydrate digestion.

Additionally, dogs with conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis may find relief through digestive enzyme supplementation, as it eases the digestive process and helps prevent malabsorption.

Prescription Diets and Over-the-Counter Options

For more severe cases, such as when diarrhea is due to liver disease, cancer, or persistent viral infections, your veterinarian might recommend a prescription diet. These diets are carefully formulated to provide a precise balance of nutrients, including vitamins and controlled amounts of sodium, and are often easily digestible to reduce the strain on your dog’s digestive system.

  • Prescription Diets:
    • Purina EN: Offers low-residue formulas to minimize bowel movements.
    • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet: Tailored for various health issues.

Over-the-counter options also exist for dogs with sensitivities or lesser digestive troubles. These options often come as limited ingredient diets, such as the Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet, designed to provide nutrition without the common irritants that can exacerbate gastrointestinal upset.

When selecting food for your pet, especially during periods of digestive upset, it’s crucial to avoid products with an excess of artificial additives or toxins and instead opt for diets that promote wellness and simply nourish. Always consult your veterinarian before starting or changing over-the-counter medications and supplements, as they can provide guidance tailored to your dog’s specific needs, including those with diabetes or other chronic conditions.


Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you’ll find specific advice on dietary adjustments and treatments to support your dog through viral diarrheal infections.

What are the recommended dietary changes for a dog experiencing diarrhea?

You may need to temporarily switch to a bland or prescription diet specifically designed for gastrointestinal issues. This diet often includes easily digestible ingredients to soothe your dog’s system.

How can specialized dog food promote recovery from viral diarrheal infections in dogs?

Specialized dog food for diarrhea often contains prebiotics and probiotics to restore gut flora balance, boosting recovery from viral infections that cause loose stools.

What should be considered when selecting canned dog food for a dog with loose stools?

Opt for canned dog food with a high moisture content to aid hydration and select formulas with limited ingredients to reduce the risk of aggravating your dog’s digestive system.

How long should you wait before feeding a dog that has just recovered from diarrhea?

You should wait at least 12 to 24 hours before reintroducing food after diarrhea, starting with small, frequent meals of a bland diet to ease your dog’s digestive tract back to normal.

What is the role of dietary fibers in managing canine diarrhea and firming up stools?

Dietary fibers, particularly soluble fibers, help absorb water and add bulk to your dog’s stool, which can be beneficial in managing diarrhea and encouraging more formed stools.

What are the treatments available for dogs with infectious diarrhea?

Treatments can include hydration therapy, anti-nausea medications, and a carefully managed diet. Always consult your veterinarian for a tailored treatment plan appropriate for your dog’s specific condition.


Related Articles in Causes of Dog Diarrhea Due to Viral Infections:

What Viruses Cause Dog Diarrhea?
Puppy Viral Diarrhea Symptoms
Treating Dog Viral Diarrhea
Can Dogs Catch a Diarrhea Causing Virus?
Do Antibiotics Help Viral Dog Diarrhea?
Viral Fecal Test for Dog Diarrhea
Viral Diarrhea Dog Dehydration Risk
Is Bloody Viral Dog Diarrhea Dangerous?
Viruses Causing Canine Hemorraghic Gastroenteritis Diarrhea

Dr. Jeff Kordell, DVM is a practicing veterinarian in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Veterinary School. Dr. Kordell owns Animal Medical Center at Fort Sheridan and has had his own private practice for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of K&S Veterinary Labs LLC the maker of DiarRice.