Does Canned Dog Food Cause Loose Stools? The Truth Revealed

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Loose stools in dogs is not a strange occurrence. After all, dogs like humans, also suffer the occasional upset stomach. But if your favorite pet suffers loose stools for an extended period, you are bound to get concerned about their diet. Could canned dog food be the root cause?

Canned dog food causes loose stools if your dog is eating this food for the first time. This is because food switching could lead to diarrhea if it happens too fast. Still, other factors such as food allergies, gluten, a sensitive stomach, or a new food brand could also contribute to this.

In this article, we will uncover the truth behind whether canned dog food leads to loose stools, how to remedy this situation, and the steps to take to avoid future recurrence.

Why Canned Dog Food Causes Loose Stools

Let us examine why your dog’s canned food could cause diarrhea:

A New Brand of Canned Dog Food

Dogs typically eat the same food every day. As a result, they are sensitive to diet changes.

While the canned food your dog consumes might not be the direct cause of the loose stools, a new type of food or ingredient could lead to bouts of diarrhea.

To prevent this, mix the old dog food with the new one. Gradually increase the quantity of fresh food while reducing old food during the next 7-10 days.

Sensitivity to Ingredients in Canned Dog Food

In dogs, food allergies are caused by sensitivity to a particular food ingredient. Therefore, they are not so easy to pin down. For example, your dog could be allergic to specific proteins like chicken or chemical substances in the dry food ingredients.

Unfortunately, processed foods contain a high percentage of processed grains and complex carbohydrates. The result? Many dogs are increasingly becoming allergic to grains, as well as commercial food.

Food allergies can cause skin conditions such as hives or itchiness or gastrointestinal reactions like vomiting and diarrhea. Loose stools, in this case, are due to an inflammation in the dog’s gut.

In most cases, dogs suffer from food sensitivity or intolerance. This doesn’t usually cause an immune response but rather a gradual reaction to an ingredient in your dog’s food, for example, beef, eggs, or milk.

If the loose stools persist, pay a visit to your vet who will advise you on the diet changes you need to make. Also, the vet may perform various food trials to try and determine the discomfort- causing ingredient.

Wheat Gluten in Canned Dog Food

Should you opt for gluten-free food for your dog?

Your dog can digest both grains and glutens well. Thus, an exclusively grain-free diet is not necessary for healthy and regular metabolism. Still, wheat gluten can cause loose stools in certain dog breeds such as Irish Setters.

While not all grains contain gluten, gluten-free dog food may or may not be grain-free. Some proponents of grain-free diets believe that grains are not a natural source of dog nutrition. Gluten is present in dog treats, dry foods, bread, pasta, or biscuits.

The Wrong Diet

Your dog could also be suffering from consuming the wrong diet. A primary culprit here is dry food. Note also that dry food rots dogs’ kidneys since it contains lots of salt. Also, if your dog forages in the garbage, they might end up consuming something nasty.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, he/she could react to fatty meat hence experiencing loose stools. Lean beef is therefore recommended, or reduced portion sizes if fatty meat is offered.

Irrespective of whether your dog consumes wet or dry food overfeeding could also lead to loose stools. Provide small amounts of food and increase portions accordingly.

Other causes of diarrhea in dogs include:

  • Toxins
  • Food chemicals
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Disease or infection
  • Consuming food designed for humans
  • Stressful events such as moving home or adopting another dog

It’s advisable to provide your vet with a stool sample to check if there is anything else that might lead to your dog’s malaise, such as intestinal parasites.

How to Treat Loose Stools in Dogs

Now that we have explored what could cause diarrhea in your dog. Let’s discuss how to treat the ailment:

Home Remedies for Dog Diarrhea

Interestingly, the solutions for loose dog stool are much the same as you would take for humans.

You can manage a mild case of diarrhea at home by having your dog fast and rest for a day. Next, offer your dog a diet of plain boiled chicken breast with plain white rice. Do this for 2-3 days or until the symptoms subside. Then, gradually resume a regular diet.

To help rehabilitate the gut, provide your dog with rainwater or distilled water- to ensure it has no chlorine that can eliminate good gut bacteria. Also, add salt and honey to the water. Salt helps to add electrolytes, while honey is good for troubled guts. You may also include a fiber supplement in the diet to help firm up the stool.

Finally, bone broth is excellent for maintaining a healthy gut. Rice water and pumpkin are also known to help.

When to Seek Medical Assistance

Mild cases of diarrhea will respond to the above home remedies, but if your dog doesn’t look right, make a trip to the vet.

You are best placed to tell if something is wrong since you know your dog. See your vet in case you notice any of the below symptoms:

  • Diarrhea persists or worsens
  • Blood in the stool
  • Vomiting, lethargy, or lack of appetite

Note that dehydration is a cause for concern when your dog is suffering from persistent diarrhea. Hence, persistent diarrhea should be addressed before it becomes a medical problem.

The Right Food to Feed Your Dog

In their natural setting, dogs are scavenging carnivores who eat small mammals, birds, insects, and carcasses. However, their basic food is raw meat and bones.

Your dog should consume appropriate, species-specific food. As such, an ideal diet should consist of fresh meat (up to 5 times more), bone, organ meat such as liver, heart, or kidney, and some vegetables.

Better yet, you can prepare your dog food. This way, you get to know what they’re feeding on. Besides, it’s a cost-effective way to feed your dog.

So, how do you go about this?

How to Prepare Your Dog Food

This is easy. Buy your meats, organs, and some plants. For the vegetables, you can add broccoli or green beans after blending them in a food blender. Next, chop the meat, mix everything up, and store in the freezer in appropriate portions.

You can also purchase ready-mixed meals which you then cook. This is convenient since you don’t have to worry about whether you are doing the right thing.

Nevertheless, ensure that your food package contains lots of organic lean meat (to avoid chemicals), an array of organ meats, bones, and vegetables too.

Ultimately, the ideal diet for your dog is one that provides him/her with a healthy coat and good body nutrition.


In order to avoid loose stools in your dog, there are specific steps you can take. Try the following:

  • Avoid dry, over-processed foodstuff. This is the root cause of your dog’s gut problems.
  • Feed your dog with a diet of fresh meat, bone, natural additions, or vegetables. This forms the simplest, easiest, and most cost-effective base diet.
  • Maintain a strict diet. If identified, avoid the food that causes diarrhea.

So, If your dog happens to suffer from loose stool, don’t worry. Follow the above recommendations, and your dog should start feeling better sooner than later.