Managing German Shepherd Diarrhea

photo by FetchPetCare

The German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are every inch perfect. But did you know that unethical breeding is the result of GSDs predisposition to 50 diseases? Breeders were more focused on their physical features than their overall health. Unfortunately, GSDs’ gastrointestinal health are not spared from having hereditary diseases. This explains why GSDs have very sensitive gut. 

These hereditary diseases can be mild, severe or even fatal. Ulcers, Toxic Gut Syndrome, Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency all have a common symptom which is Diarrhea. 

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the most common digestive problems of GSDs because they are born with sensitive stomach. But how do we differentiate diarrhea from other gut illnesses? Here are some facts about diarrhea.

  • Diarrhea is the frequent passing of loose, watery or liquid stool
  • It is a symptom of an underlying illness or a simple intestinal infection
  • Condition may arise from the small intestine or the large intestine 
  • May cause dehydration if left untreated
  • It is the result of how the digestive system protects the body from irritants and other dangerous organisms by eliminating them out. The colon flushes water to the stomach, thus the watery stool.

Types of Diarrhea

There are two types of GSD diarrhea according to the vets; Acute Diarrhea and Chronic Diarrhea.

Acute diarrhea in German Shepherd puppies is very common. Onset is sudden and may last for a few days up to a few weeks. It may or may not be fatal. In mild cases, it may even resolve on its own within 24 hours.

What are the symptoms of Acute Diarrhea?

  1. German Shepherd diarrhea with mucus can be seen in acute diarrhea.
  2. Weight loss can affect GSDs due to the loss of appetite and nutrients.
  3. Gas pains and bloating may cause lethargy to GSDs.
  4. Uneasiness 
  5. There may be fever, especially if the GSD’s gut is infected. It may also be the onset of dehydration.
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Chronic Diarrhea

Recurring German Shepherd diarrhea for a week or more is called a chronic diarrhea. The volume of feces may be more than usual. It may be caused by severe underlying illnesses.

What are the symptoms of Chronic Diarrhea in German Shepherds?

Symptoms may differ according to the area where diarrhea originated. 

Small Intestinal Diarrhea Symptoms May Include:
  1. German Shepherd puppy vomiting and diarrhea can be observed
  2. German Shepherd diarrhea with blood that is black/tarry in color
  3. Passing of loose stool 2-5 times a day in large amounts
  4. Weight loss due to vomiting
  5. Stomach gas can be heard 
Large Intestinal Diarrhea Symptoms
  1. Frequent passing of loose stool for more than five times a day but in smaller amounts
  2. GSD dogs or puppies may pass stool with great difficulty and pain
  3. German Shepherd diarrhea with mucus and visible streaks of red blood

German Shepherd Diarrhea Causes

Diarrhea can affect both German Shepherd puppies and adults. Although it is more seen in puppies due to their underdeveloped immune system. Here are some possible causes from mild to severe.

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) and  Irritable Bowel Disease(IBD) are two different syndromes. In IBS, stress is the number one reason for German Shepherd puppies’ diarrhea. IBD is a hereditary disease that causes the stomach and the intestines to react to constant intestinal irritations.
  2. GSD puppies are very curious of their surroundings. They will lick and taste anything their nose can smell including spoiled food, foreign objects and even garbage.
  3. Change in diet and food intolerance will disturb GSD’s gut flora. Milk, too much fiber, cereals , corn and fats are some foods that may upset GSD’s stomach.
  4. Allergic reaction to some substances and medication will result in diarrhea.
  5. Young GSD puppies who aren’t dewormed yet can be attacked by intestinal parasites that will cause them to vomit and have watery stool. 
  6. Distemper and Parvo virus in GSD puppies are viral by nature. Distemper can affect puppies’ digestive, respiratory and nervous system while Parvo virus is an infection of the digestive lining. Both are potentially fatal. 
  7. One of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency’s symptoms is chronic diarrhea with yellowish foul-smelling feces. In EPI, the pancreas fails to produce enzymes for digestion. Without the production of these enzymes, GSDs can’t digest food properly, hence the result is diarrhea.
  8. Liver, pancreas and thyroid diseases can also cause chronic diarrhea.
  9. Intestinal Cancer in German Shepherds is very common. Most GSD intestinal cancer victims are male, ages between 6 to 9 years.
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German Shepherd diarrhea treatments may vary according to the causes. The key is preventing GSD puppies and dogs from dehydration. For mild to moderate diarrhea, home remedies can be very effective.

Home Remedies for German Shepherd Diarrhea

  • Give clean water to prevent dehydration. It should be given in small amounts. Iced cubes can be good, too.
  • Let your GSD’s stomach rest and recover by not giving him any food for 12 to 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, reintroduce solid food like boiled boneless chicken and white rice in small portions. Wait and observe for 2 hours after giving food. If your GSD did not vomit, then you can gradually increase the portion size and the number of feedings until the stool is formed.
  • German Shepherd diarrhea pumpkin purée is a great home remedy for diarrhea. It contains soluble fibre that can help form firmer stool. 
  • Giving bone broth can also help in soothing upset stomach and rehydrate GSDs. 
  • Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that can improve GSD diarrhea. Just make sure to use probiotics especially made for dogs since GSDs are known to be lactose intolerant.
  • Ask your vet for the best dog food for German Shepherd with diarrhea. Dog food for GSD with diarrheas have a special formulation that can help stop diarrhea while supplying necessary nutrients.


German Shepherd diarrhea is impossible to avoid, especially that this breed is prone to gastrointestinal diseases. All dogs can get diarrhea at least twice in their lives. Prevention will at least lessen the frequency of experiencing diarrhea.

  1. Always clean your surroundings. This can prevent your GSD puppies from eating garbage and other things.
  2. Give probiotics daily to protect your GSD’s stomach from bad bacteria.
  3. GSDs have the reputation of having sensitive gut, so feeding them with raw food may endanger them from developing life-threatening diseases.
  4. Always follow vaccination and deworming schedules according to your vet.
  5. It is good to check dog food labels before purchasing. Some ingredients may not agree with your GSD’s gut.
  6. If you plan to change your GSD’s food or give him new treats, remember to introduce the new food bit by bit. This can help you identify if your dog will develop allergic reactions to the particular food.
  7. Never give your GSD leftover food.
  8. Avoid foods that may trigger diarrhea like milk and fats
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Diarrhea can be mild or severe. Identifying the causes will help you treat and prevent it from happening over and over again. Although diarrhea is just a symptom, dehydration must be prevented. Watch out for signs of dehydration like dry and sticky gums, panting and sunken eyes. 

Diarrhea with blood in stool, lethargy, vomiting and loss of appetite in German Shepherd puppies may easily weaken their bodies that might become life threatening if left untreated. Immediate medical attention should be given to such situations. Visiting the vet as soon as possible will guarantee your GSD puppy’s’ health. 

Vets may require tests for proper diagnosis in some cases. 

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