What Do You Feed a German Shepherd with Diarrhea?


I think you will agree that your German Shepherd’s runny poop is unpleasant to deal with, but it’s normal for dogs to suffer from diarrhea now and again. To make matters worse, your dog will probably not want to eat his usual food. So, what do you feed a German Shepherd with diarrhea?

To feed a German Shepherd with diarrhea, give small frequent meals of bland, easily digestible foods such as white rice with cooked chicken. Other alternatives are pasta, pumpkin, sweet potato, or yogurt. Once your dog’s stools return to normal, start slowly transitioning to his regular food.

Luckily my German Shepherd rarely suffers from an upset stomach or diarrhea, but this may not be the case for your dog!

So, let’s dig deeper and look at what to feed a German Shepherd with diarrhea and how to go about it. This article will also investigate why German Shepherds get diarrhea in the first place and advice on how to prevent it.

What Do You Feed a German Shepherd With Diarrhea? German Shepherd feeling unwell.

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Why do German Shepherds get Diarrhea?

Firstly, let’s take a look at why German Shepherds sometimes get diarrhea. The German Shepherd breed is well known for having a sensitive stomach and can relatively quickly get diarrhea. But don’t worry, as your dog may have just eaten something they shouldn’t or may have caught a mild stomach bug.

Even if you always keep a watchful eye on your German Shepherd, it’s amazing how they sometimes manage to get hold of something they shouldn’t!

Check out this 2-minute video from “PetMD.” It details the reasons why dogs get diarrhea, what to feed a dog with diarrhea, and more importantly when to call the vet:

As described in the above video by veterinary expert Dr. Katy Nelson, it is important to recognize whether your German Shepherd is suffering from a common stomach upset or has something more serious. These are the common causes of diarrhea in dogs:

  • Overeating
  • Eating something they shouldn’t
  • A change in diet
  • Stress

And below are the less common or more serious causes of diarrhea in German Shepherds:

  • Ingesting a toxic food or substance
  • Bacterial or viral infection of the gut (e.g. gastroenteritis)
  • Parasitic infection of the gut (intestinal worms)
  • A food allergy or intolerance
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Foreign body blockage, e.g. socks, toys, plastic bags, etc
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver failure
  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Stress
  • Heatstroke
  • Dehydration
  • Some types of cancer
  • Medications

So, now we know the causes of diarrhea in German Shepherds, let’s take a look at how to treat this unpleasant stuff…

How to Treat Diarrhea in German Shepherds

If your German Shepherd has diarrhea and has vomited once or twice, the recommended initial home treatment is to stop feeding for an initial 12 hours. This will allow whatever is in your dog’s system to work its way out. You can then start to feed bland binding foods like plain white cooked rice.

If your German Shepherd has not vomited and has mild diarrhea with no other symptoms, you can start to slowly feed the white rice maybe with some cooked lean chicken meat.

It is recommended to feed small amounts throughout the day. Just boil the rice and don’t add any salt or seasonings:

“I think it is best to go with multiple smaller meals (say 4 a day) of something that’s easily digestible. That means a low fat, mostly carbohydrate diet.”

Dr. Mike Paul (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), Pet Health Network

Below are some other recommended bland foods that you can feed a dog with diarrhea. It’s also important to consult your vet first if your German Shepherd is new to any of these foods and make sure they are cooked where appropriate:

  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Banana
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Yogurt

Tip! You must always cook potatoes as raw potato contains a compound called solanine that is toxic to dogs.

Tip! Yogurt has beneficial bacteria that can help restore balance in your German Shepherd’s tummy and firm up stools.

Feed this bland diet to your German Shepherd until their stool consistency returns to normal. You can then start mixing your dog’s regular food in with the rice meals, slowly increasing the amount you feed until your dog is back on their regular diet. Most cases of diarrhea will pass quickly and usually within a couple of days.

You must also offer your German Shepherd frequent small amounts of water to make sure they don’t get dehydrated and to flush out their system.

Tip! Give your German Shepherd ice cubes if they are not interested in drinking. This is also a good idea in warm weather.

Tip! You can also invest in a dog water fountain such as the Petsafe Drinkwell from Amazon, which encourages hydration. I like this one as it’s multi-tiered and even includes carbon filters which remove bad tastes and odors from the water.

When should I consult my vet?

You must always consult your vet if the diarrhea is severe or persistent (more than 24 hours), or if your dog is a puppy, elderly or suffers from an underlying health condition.

Puppies can especially be at risk as they as more susceptible to infections that cause diarrhea and they can quickly get dehydrated.

Your vet may advise your German Shepherd to fast for up to 24 hours (depending on your dog’s circumstances), however, this may not be appropriate for puppies, small breeds or elderly dogs. Remember, all dogs are different, just like you and me!

You must also seek urgent veterinary attention if a dog of any age shows any of these additional symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite or thirst
  • Reduced or no urination
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Lethargy 
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Increased thirst or urination
  • Seizures 
  • Blood in poop
  • Signs of worms in poop

Your vet will treat diarrhea depending on the cause and further investigations may be required.

Tip: Never give your German Shepherd any anti-diarrhea medications (e.g. Pepto-Bismol or Imodium) before consulting your vet first to make sure these are safe for your dog and advice on specific dosage instructions.

Is Cooked Rice Good to Feed German Shepherds?

Rice is one of the most popular staple foods in the world and there are many different varieties. So what nutritional value does it offer?

Cooked, white, long-grained rice is composed of 68% water, 28% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and negligible fat. In a 3.5 ounce (100 gram) human serving, it provides 130 calories and is a valuable source of energy. It does contain some micronutrients however these are very minimal.

Carbohydrates have become an important part of a German Shepherd’s diet, along with protein and fat. Rice is a carbohydrate and is often added to commercial pet foods. Carbs are okay to feed your dog as long as you feed in moderation as too many can result in weight gain.

What Do You Feed a German Shepherd With Diarrhea? Cooked plain white rice

So, is cooked white rice good to feed dogs with diarrhea? A healthy dog can generally eat both cooked plain white rice and brown whole-grain rice. Brown whole-grain rice is the healthier of the two however you should feed only white rice if your dog has diarrhea as advised by the American Kennel Club:

“Brown rice is never prescribed for dogs having gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea. It is always white rice because our canine companions need the starch. Brown rice can be harder for a dog to digest because it is not as processed.”

American Kennel Club

Why is cooked plain rice recommended by vets to feed German Shepherds suffering from diarrhea? Cooked plain rice is often given to a dog suffering from an upset stomach and diarrhea for the following reasons:

  • It is extremely bland – helps settle the gut
  • Easy to digest
  • Low in fiber
  • It helps to bind the stools
  • Quick and easy to prepare

How to Prevent Diarrhea in Dogs

It would be impossible for your German Shepherd to never suffer from the odd case of diarrhea. However, if you follow these simple guidelines it will help prevent diarrhea:

  • Make sure you are aware of all the poisonous foods that are dangerous for your German Shepherd.
  • Ensure your GSD keeps to his or her usual diet. Don’t feed any human leftovers that your dog may not be used to.
  • If you wish to switch your dog’s usual food, transition gradually.
  • Prevent guests to your home from feeding titbits, especially toxic foods that they may be unaware of, for example, grapes or chocolate.
  • Be wary of feeding bones as they must be raw and be of the correct type and size for your dog.
  • Keep all toxic substances out of reach of your dog.
  • Make sure your garden doesn’t contain any poisonous plants. Pet Poison Helpline has a full list of these.
  • If your dog is the “scavenger” type, keep all garbage secure as moldy food is toxic.
  • Consider a muzzle when you are out in the woods or park to prevent your dog from scavenging if they are that way inclined.
  • Keep worming treatment up to date. Vets recommend every three months – but check for your breed.
  • Keep vaccinations up to date.
  • Exercise your German Shepherd regularly, especially if they suffer from stress.
  • Refrain from exercising your dog immediately before or after a meal. I like to give my German Shepherd a good hour on either side and this also helps prevent bloat.

What is the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds with Diarrhea?

Another way to solve your German Shepherd’s problem of loose stools or diarrhea is to make sure you feed top-quality food.

What Do You Feed a German Shepherd With Diarrhea? Poop Emoticon
“Nice and firm poop!”

I have fed my German Shepherd Guru Pet Food since she was eight weeks old. Guru is a cold-pressed dog food that has become very popular in the UK and Europe, although it has yet to hit the United States streets.

Owners are loving their dogs having both firm and non-smelly stools! I just thought I’d mention this here, seeing that this article is about diarrhea!

To find out more about Guru Pet Food, check out my in-depth review here. It includes the “cold-pressed” story, the health benefits of this food, and tips and tricks on feeding your dog.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned that even healthy German Shepherds can get diarrhea and so you mustn’t be worried. However, you are now not only aware of the common causes of diarrhea but what to feed your German Shepherd to get him back on his feet again.

I hope you found the ton of prevention tips really helpful, which will minimize the risk of this unpleasant and messy occurrence! If you stick to the above home remedy advice and feed bland foods such as chicken and white rice, I’m sure your best friend will be back on track in no time at all.

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Sharon Waddington

I am the owner of World of Dogz. I have a female German Shepherd named Willow, and I've worked with dogs for almost 30 years. I love spending time with her, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise of all things dogs on this site!

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