Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea at Night?

There is no doubt that dogs are part of the family. When they get sick, it feels like your child is getting sick. You feel bad and just want to do anything to make them better.

One common issue with dogs is diarrhea. As a dog owner, I know how frustrating it can be when your dog has diarrhea, especially during nighttime. It can be worse than other illnesses you will have to deal with as a dog owner, but how do you treat it?

Your number one question is, “Why does my dog have diarrhea at night,” and how can I help? Let’s dive into the causes and when to contact your veterinarian.

Why does my dog have diarrhea at night?

Diarrhea at nighttime in dogs can be due to a sudden change in food, parasites, or allergies. You can try some remedies at home. If the problem persists, it’s important to seek veterinary care.

What leads to night diarrhea in dogs?

There are many possible causes of nighttime diarrhea in dogs. Nighttime diarrhea can be caused by a host of things, like food intolerances, stress, or cancer. Before you think the worst, though, it’s important to rule out any sudden changes that may have happened recently that could be the cause, such as food, stress, etc.  

Dogs are more sensitive than some people may think; for example, if you have had any changes in the home, it can cause stress in a dog. Any type of overwhelm or anxiety can lead to diarrhea. If there haven’t been any changes in your home, the next thing to look at is the food you are feeding him.

Is nighttime diarrhea and eating before bed connected?

Night diarrhea is a common symptom of an upset stomach. It can be hard to tell what caused nighttime diarrhea in most cases. 

One thing that could be the cause is eating before bed. Eating late at night can mess with your dog’s digestive system and cause an upset stomach.

It may be worthwhile to try feeding your dog around dinnertime, instead of right before bed. Try that for a few days and see if the issue gets better. Having a routine will not only help the current issue you are having, but it will also help with weight management.  

Letting dogs eat all night and right before bed is not healthy. Dogs need a routine to know when they can expect their food and not overeat. Establish a routine that is ideal for your lifestyle, and it will benefit in different aspects for both you and your dog.

Is the type of food causing the stomach upset at night?

Dogs have sensitive stomachs. It’s vital to feed your furry pet a quality diet. A lot of the pet food on the market is filled with preservatives and artificial coloring, which can cause a host of issues. 

Your dog could also have an allergy to gluten or something else in the formula of the current food. A veterinarian would have to rule out any allergy, but you can try a healthier diet first to see if that helps.

Can intestinal parasites cause nighttime diarrhea?

Yes, canine intestinal parasites can lead to bouts of diarrhea, even at night. Simply changing the diet of your pup may not be enough. The reason is because the parasites will just continue living in the gut of your dog and continue causing him to have diarrhea.

To determine if your dog has intestinal parasites, a vet will need to rule it out by taking a stool sample and examining it under a microscope. This is because parasites are usually not seen by the naked eye; you almost always need a microscope or a test to rule out intestinal parasites.

If your dog does end up having parasites, your dog will receive medication and treatment to clear them out from his intestines, and it shouldn’t take long before he starts feeling better. If you find out that your dog does have parasites, be sure to get all of your pets treated as it can be highly contagious, depending on the type of parasite.

What are the more severe causes of nocturnal diarrhea in dogs

It’s best not to jump to conclusions and go to the most extreme case when your dog experiences nighttime diarrhea. However, it can be helpful to educate yourself, and if you notice any of the signs, you can bring them up to the vet to help with the diagnosis potentially.

One of the more severe causes is diabetes. You can usually spot a diabetic dog by having a dry mouth and excessive thirst. If you notice your dog going to his water dish more often than usual during the day, this is something you can bring up to the vet, and he can run a simple blood test to rule out this condition.

Another condition is a bowel disorder. A dog with a bowel disorder often experiences discomfort while going to the bathroom or experiences diarrhea and then goes back to normal. If you notice this, you can bring up your concerns to the vet, who may recommend a fecal sample and further examination. 

A disorder in the intestines can be painful and result in stress, making your dog more likely to bark at night. If your dog is barking in pain or anxiety, you need to take him to the vet immediately. 

Keep in mind, though; some dogs may simply be barking to get attention. If you give your dog attention when he barks and he doesn’t stop, then that’s a good indicator there is something wrong.

Infections can also be a cause of nighttime diarrhea. It can be hard to tell if your dog has an infection, but you may notice him acting lethargic, not eating much, and not acting like himself.

Cancer can also cause this nocturnal issue. However, this has to be ruled out by the vet with imaging tests and blood tests.

How can I stop my dog from having diarrhea at night?

Picking up diarrhea from your dog at night or waking up to it in the morning is no fun. It can be quite frustrating. Not only do you have the overwhelm of picking up the mess, but your dog has to deal with the discomfort.

Two things you want to make sure  of before you try any at-home remedies for your dog’s diarrhea at night:

  1. Make sure there is no blood in diarrhea, which could signal a more complex problem. If there is a noticeable red color, your dog should immediately go to a veterinarian. If not, try feeding your dog around dinnertime, or at least 3-4 hours before bed; that way they don’t have such a heavy stomach.
  2. If your dog is acting lethargic or dehydrated, you should take him to get checked out before trying any remedies at home. If he’s not drinking water at all, he will need to be seen and given some fluids.

If the problem persists after a few days of switching the time of feeding, then you may want to consider a more quality enriched dog food. Look for one without all the excess preservatives and artificial ingredients. 

Do your research to make sure you give your dog the best diet you can. Be sure to switch over the food gradually because that can cause further issues if you switch it all at once. Mix the new food with the old food and as the days go on, limit the amount of old food.

If you change the eating time, plus the type of food, and it still doesn’t work, you should bring your dog to the veterinarian to rule out any other issues.

Check out this video from the Dog Advisory Council on what to do, how common the issue is, and steps you can take:

FAQs

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

Eating garbage or things they should not get into, illness, parasites, quality of food, and stress

Why is my dog having diarrhea all night?

This could be due to bacteria, such as eating uncooked meat or spoiled food. 

Why does my dog wake up with diarrhea?

Dietary changes are the main culprit, or getting into the garbage and eating things they should not be eating.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are many answers to, “Why does my dog have diarrhea at night?”. If they eat too quickly, drink too much water, don’t get enough exercise, or have worms, the problem may be with what they eat.

A vet is the best person to help you figure out if this is the cause of your dog’s health problem. 

However, if your furry companion is not acting lethargic, dehydrated, and otherwise seems fine, you can try the at-home remedies above to resolve the issue.