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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. Your dog will probably not want to eat his usual food, to make matters worse. 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 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 and advice on how to prevent it. Let’s get started!

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

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Why Do German Shepherds Get Diarrhea?

Causes of German Shepherd diarrhea are parasites, viruses, bacterial infections, illness, stress, or medication. GSDs are also prone to a sensitive stomach. Other causes include eating toxic or moldy food, a sudden diet change, food allergy or intolerance, and overeating.

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 it shouldn’t or may have caught a mild stomach bug.

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

Learn More on the Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs…

It is essential to recognize whether your German Shepherd has a common stomach upset or 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 severe 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
  • Liver failure
  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Heatstroke
  • Dehydration
  • Some types of cancer
  • Medications
  • Pancreatitis

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

How to Treat Diarrhea in German Shepherds

To treat German Shepherd diarrhea, stop feeding for an initial 12 hours to allow whatever is in your dog’s system to work its way through but keep your dog hydrated. You can then feed bland binding foods like plain white cooked rice, little and often.

However, if your German Shepherd has not vomited and has mild dog diarrhea with no other symptoms, treatment consists of slowly feeding the white rice with some cooked lean chicken meat.

Vets recommend feeding 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 (DVM), Pet Health Network

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

  • Pasta
  • Potato and sweet potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Banana
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Yogurt

Pro-Tip! Always cook potatoes as raw potato contains a compound called solanine that is toxic to dogs.

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

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You must also offer your German Shepherd frequent small amounts of water to ensure he doesn’t get dehydrated and flush out his system.

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

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

How to Treat Diarrhea in German Shepherds. A sleeping GSD.
My German Shepherd – Willow

Is Rice Good for German Shepherds?

Rice is one of the most popular staple foods globally, and there are many different varieties.

Rice is good for German Shepherds, is a valuable energy source, and contains some macronutrients. However, it is a carbohydrate and should only be fed in moderation. Cooked white rice (not brown) is recommended to feed a dog with diarrhea, although you can give both varieties to healthy dogs.

“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

Carbohydrates have become an essential part of a German Shepherd’s diet and are 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.

Why do vets recommend cooked plain rice 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 exceptionally bland – helps settle the gut
  • Easy to digest
  • Low in fiber
  • It helps to bind the stools
  • Quick and easy to prepare

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

Your vet may advise your German Shepherd to fast for up to 24 hours. 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.

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

How to Prevent Diarrhea in German Shepherds

It would be impossible for your German Shepherd to never suffer from the odd case of diarrhea. But there are some things you can do.

To prevent diarrhea in your German Shepherd, feed a complete and nutritious diet, and avoid table scraps and titbits that your dog is not used to. Avoid anything toxic and ensure your GSD does not get into the garbage. Ensure worming treatment and vaccinations are up to date.

Follow these simple guidelines to prevent diarrhea:

  • Make sure you know all the dangerous poisonous foods for your German Shepherd.
  • Ensure your GSD keeps to its usual diet. Don’t feed any human leftovers that your dog may not be used to.
  • Transition food gradually if you wish to switch your dog’s usual diet.
  • 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. The Pet Poison Helpline has a complete 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, which also helps prevent bloat.


How Long Does Diarrhea Usually Last in German Shepherds?

Acute diarrhea, which is the most common type, usually lasts for one to two days and can sometimes last up to two weeks. Chronic diarrhea, on the other hand, lasts for at least four weeks. The duration of diarrhea in German Shepherds can vary depending on the underlying cause.

Is It Safe To Switch My German Shepherd’s Food If They Have Diarrhea?

It is generally not recommended to switch your German Shepherd’s food if they have diarrhea, as this can further upset their digestive system. It’s best to stick with their current diet until the vet determines the underlying cause of the diarrhea.

In some cases, a temporary change in diet may be recommended by a veterinarian to help manage the diarrhea, but this should only be done under the guidance of a professional.

Final Thoughts

Even healthy German Shepherds can get occasional diarrhea, so you mustn’t be worried. Feed your dog plain, easily digestible food such as chicken and rice to get him back on his feet again.

I hope you found the above prevention tips helpful, which will minimize the risk of this unpleasant and messy occurrence! If you stick to the above home remedy advice, I’m sure your doggo will be back on track in no time at all.


  • Sharon Waddington

    Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Find her on Linkedin!