Does Wet Dog Food Cause Diarrhea? It Depends On The Dog

A bowl of wet dog food from the can

Wet dog food does not cause diarrhea. If your dog experiences diarrhea after eating wet dog food, it’s not because of the wet food; it’s because of the change in diet. If you’ve been feeding your dog dry kibble, then switch to wet food, your dog’s digestive tract needs time to adjust.

There are many types of dog food on the market. All of them have different benefits and levels of nutrients. While most of them will work to keep your dog well-fed, you will find that your dog may feel better eating certain types of food.

You are probably most familiar with wet and dry dog foods. While both of them are likely to get your dog the nutrients they need, the way they get them will differ. In some cases, one type of food might be easier or harder for your dog to digest.

Some people claim that wet food causes diarrhea, but is that really true? The short answer is: no, not necessarily. When starting wet food, however, your dog’s digestive system might react. There are ways to make the switch easier on their stomach, though.

Types of Dog Food

Let’s start by outlining some of the most common diets for dogs these days. There are many different ways to feed your dog, and what works for one might not work for another. You may have to try different options before finding what your dog likes best.

Wet Dog Food

The first is what we are focusing on in this article: wet food. Wet food contains more water than dry food. Wet food is usually canned. It is easy for any dog to eat, regardless of age or digestive issues, because it has such a high water content.

Dry Dog Food

Dry food, also called kibble, is a more long-lasting and cost-effective option. It contains less water than wet food and often dried meats to make up the protein in your pup’s diet. Kibble comes in large bags and is very easy to find. The bags last a long time and do not have to be stored in any particular manner.

Alternative Diets

A popular alternative diet for your dog is the raw food diet, which consists primarily of raw cuts of meat. This is one of the more expensive options and is not suited for every dog. It is especially popular with hunting dogs. This is not often a great option for the everyday dog owner’s lifestyle.

Pros and Cons to Wet Dog Food

There are many different types of wet dog food on the market. Of course, each brand is a different type and has different ingredients. However, most wet dog food has similar benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the more common ones that can help you decide whether wet food is right for your dog.

Pros

  • Preservatives: Wet dog food is usually formulated with fewer preservatives. This is because the can is air-tight.
  • Protein: In many cases, depending on the brand, wet dog food has a higher protein concentration.
  • Enticing: Most dogs are more attracted to wet dog food than dry food. This means that even picky dogs are likely to eat it.

Cons

  • Volume: Because wet food contains more water, you need to give your dog a higher volume of wet food than dry food.
  • Cost: Since your dog will need more wet dog food, it can often prove to be more expensive, especially in the long term.
  • Storage: Wet food does not last as long as dry dog food because of the lack of preservatives. This means more trips to the store to stock up. Additionally, if opened, a can needs to be stored in the fridge and can not be left out.

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

There are many reasons that your dog may have diarrhea that might not be linked to dog food. Common causes include diet changes, stress, or sickness. All of these could be reasons that your dog’s stomach is acting up.

Changes in Diet

If you have just switched your dog from dry to wet dog food, they may have a sensitive stomach for a while. This is entirely normal while your dog gets used to a new diet. This would likely also happen if you started your dog on new dry food.

Your dog can also get diarrhea from eating something bad or something that they are sensitive to. Make sure they have not eaten something bad for them before assuming that it is because of the wet food.

Stress

If other changes are happening in your dog’s life, your dog’s digestion may be affected. Stressors are likely to affect your dog in many ways. Many dogs suffer from either constipation or diarrhea when things in life are changing. It is important to keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to make sure they are not anxious.

Medical Issues

If none of these things have happened, there may be a medical reason causing your dogs diarrhea. If it is a consistent issue, you should consult your veterinarian to make sure it is nothing severe. It is better to be safe than sorry!

To know if it is a medical problem, you should observe your dog’s other behaviors and give your dog a physical look-over. If they have a fever or seem to be more sedentary than usual, this is a common sign of a medical issue. Additionally, you can often tell by your dog’s gums if there is anything out of the ordinary. They should not be pale or dry.

Some medical causes of diarrhea include bacterial infections, viral infections, or parasites. All of these can cause gastrointestinal upset in your dog.

How to Prevent Diarrhea from Wet Food

If your dog does get diarrhea from wet food, there are ways to prevent it. In most cases, when switching from one food to another, your dog’s stomach may be a little upset. This is normal. The change in diet is the cause of diarrhea, not wet food.

Here are a few ways to prevent diarrhea during the adjustment from dry to wet food

Plain Rice

Plain rice is a great and easy option to bulk up your dog’s food and get them through the adjustment period. It is a good option for your dog when they have a sensitive stomach or feeling under the weather.

Plain white rice (make sure that you do not salt the rice!) is a neutral option to help your dog’s stomach settle. After a few days, you can try to wean your dog off the rice. Your dog should be able to handle the wet food better.

Canned Pumpkin

A way to prevent diarrhea is by adding canned pumpkin to your dog’s wet food. It is an excellent stabilizer for your dog’s upset stomach. Make sure you use plain pumpkin. It is effective for any type of upset, both stool that is too loose and too hard.

Mixed Diet

A great way to transition your dog from dry to wet food is to mix wet and dry food. This is a great way to get your dog to eat their kibble, which may get boring in the long term. It adds some variety to their meal and makes them more likely to finish all their food.

Adding kibble to wet food can also help solidify your dog’s stool and prevent diarrhea. This is a long term solution you can try if you find that your dog’s stomach is upset even after adjusting to the wet food.

The best part about mixing dry and wet food is you’ll save a lot of money compared to wet food alone.

Wet Food Does Not Cause Diarrhea

While wet dog food does not necessarily cause diarrhea, the switch to a new dog food may cause your dog’s digestion to act up. Additionally, the excess water content in wet dog food could loosen up your dog’s stool if they do not usually drink a lot of water.

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