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Why does my dog get diarrhea on walks?

Why does my dog get diarrhea on walks?

Most neighborhoods require you to scoop your dog’s poop. It’s considered part of being a good member of the community and a responsible pet owner. However, this becomes more difficult and downright disgusting when they have diarrhea on walks. It leaves you wondering why they get diarrhea on walks, and what you can do about it. 

Why does my dog get diarrhea on walks?

There are many potential reasons your dog gets diarrhea on walks. Figuring out what’s causing it is your first step to preventing future incidents. 

Defining Diarrhea

Your dog’s stool should be firm and log shaped, without appearing hard or dry. If their poop is the consistency of soft serve ice cream or water, they are experiencing diarrhea. 

Frequency can also indicate diarrhea. It’s normal for a dog to go between 1-3 times a day. If they are going 5 or more times a day, they have diarrhea. 

If your dog has diarrhea only on walks, the problem is likely loose or watery stools. This is usually caused by waste traveling too quickly through the digestive tract. The intestines are designed to remove water and nutrients from the waste before it is expelled as poop. When it moves too quickly, the body doesn’t have time to draw out the moisture. This causes the poop to be soft or watery because of it’s high moisture content. 


A change in diet can cause your dog to have diarrhea. Your dog may have diarrhea at other times as well, not only when you are walking them. However, walking can bring an already sensitive digestive system over the edge, so it’s possible for it to be the only time your pooch has the poops. 

If you’ve recently changed your dog’s diet, this is likely to culprit. It’s best to change your dog’s food over a period of one week, instead of all at once. 

If you’ve given your dog a high fat food, particularly human food with lots of fat or grease, this can also cause them diarrhea. Dogs who aren’t accustomed to eating wet food can have loose stools if you switch from dry to wet food. 


Stress is one of the leading causes of diarrhea for dogs. You may have experienced an upset stomach when you were really emotionally stressed or upset. You may have even heard it referred to as a “nervous stomach”. 

This is because the body releases certain hormones, including noripenipherene, when stressed. These hormones stimulate the digestive system, and increases the speed that food and waste moves through the intestines. This leads to increased moisture, which causes diarrhea. 

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea at other times, then the stress may be coming from their everyday environment. Has their been a change to their schedule? Has a new person or pet moved in? Has their been a move or a loss in the family? Any of these situations can cause lots of stress for your pooch, and cause them to have diarrhea. 

If your dog is only experiencing diarrhea on walks, it’s possible they are becoming stressed on the walk. Is there a larger or aggressive dog on your route? Are there loud noises that startle them? 

Stress and excitement are closely linked as well. If your dog seems very excited on walks, this can also be the cause of their diarrhea. Over-excitement causes many of the same hormones to be released as stress, so it can cause similar physical symptoms. 

Marking Territory

When you think of your pooch marking their territory, you probably picture them holding their leg up and peeing. If you have a female, perhaps you picture her squatting on a tree marked by another dog. You may not realize that dogs also use their poop to mark territory. 

In fact, poop can send an incredible amount of information to other dogs. They have anal glands that release fluid onto the poop as it comes out. This, along with the poop itself, functions like a social media profile. 

Other dogs can identify your dog’s sex, sexual maturity, health status, and recent meals through their poop, as well as identify them by their smell. You can think of pee as the canine version of a tweet, and poop like a long email. 


Exercise stimulates the digestive tract. When your dog is moving, it causes the digestive system to get moving as well. It’s possible for this to get things going too much, and cause diarrhea. 


Some smells will stimulate your dog to poop. You’ve probably smelled something that made your mouth water. For dogs, certain smells can also cause their bowels to move. This usually occurs when it’s something unhealthy for the dog. The body may think it’s been consumed, so it forces the poop out quickly to be safe. 

Other Dog’s Poop

If your dog smells other dog’s poop, this can also make them poop. This occurs for a few reasons. First, smelling other dog’s poop can make your pooch want to mark their territory by pooping. 

Second, dogs are creatures of habit. If they smell poop in an area, this signals to them it’s a good place to poop. You probably know to take care when cleaning up potty accidents, because your dog will keep returning to the scene of the original crime. 

Once your dog smells poop in an area, no matter if it’s theirs or not, they may poop in that spot. 

Multiple Poops 

If your dog has multiple poops on walks, you may have noticed something strange. Your dog’s poop starts out normal at the beginning of your walk. However, near the end, the poop is very runny. How did your dog go from healthy stool to diarrhea in a course of a walk?

When your dog poops several times in quick succession, it means the waste is moving quickly through the digestive tract. The first poop has had plenty of time in the intestines, and has had the excess water removed. 

The third poop, however, will not spend much time in the intestines, so it will contain a lot fo water when it comes out. Of course, this will turn the poop into a very loose or watery stool. 

How do you get rid of dog diarrhea from walking?

Diarrhea can be difficult to clean up. You can’t leave your precious pooch’s pile when you are walking, but you can’t scoop it up like typical poop either. What’s a pet owner to do? 


In some situations, water is all you need to clean up your pet’s mishap. If it’s very watery or in the grass, you can use water to dissolve it. It will soak into the ground, so it won’t find its way onto the bottom of your neighbor’s shoe. 

If it’s on pavement or sidewalk, you can use a hose to spray it into the grass or dissolve it. 

Bleach and Soap

Bleach and soap allow you to clean and sterilize the area. This is a great option if your pet has went on the pavement or sidewalk. Simply dilute the bleach in water, and add some dish detergent. You can also mix it beforehand into a spray bottle. 

You may need to rinse the area with water first to remove the majority of the poop. In addition to cleaning it, bleach and soap can help prevent staining. 

Cat Litter

Cat litter is another option, no matter if it’s semi-solid or a puddle of liquid grossness. Cat litter is designed to absorb liquid and clump. When you apply it to semi-solid poop, it should create a pile you can pick up. 

If it’s liquid, you may need to sweep it up once it’s been absorbed. If there’s still a residue, another application can remove it. 

Compressed Air 

Compressed air is a unique but effective option. It’s particularly effective for a semi-solid poop that is too loose to pick up. Simply spray the pile with compressed air. 

The quick cooling caused by the air from the can will essentially freeze the poop. You can then pick up the frozen poop circle. It will hold its shape because it’s in a frozen state. 

Can I prevent my dog from getting diarrhea on walks?

No dog owner wants to clean up diarrhea, and it’s not a lot of fun for your pooch either. The good news is there are some things you can do to help your dog stop having diarrhea when on walks. 

Check Their Diet

First, take a look at their diet. Has their been a recent change to their dog food? Have they been eating more treats or people food than usual? 

If you’ve made any changes to their diet, this is likely the cause. If it’s a new food, try adding the new food slowly. Begin with 1/4 new food and 3/4 their old food. Over a week, slowly increase the ratio of new food to old, until they are only eating the new food. 

If they’ve been eating human food or treats, you may need to cut back on these and see if that solves the problem. 

Poop Before Walking

Most pet owners consider pooping to be one purpose of walking. However, if your pooch has diarrhea, begin encouraging them to go before your walk. 

This can clear their system before they get stressed or excited, which can cause diarrhea. 

Shorter Walks

Shorter walks may be the answer, particularly if your dog poops multiple times on a walk. If they poop once or twice normally, but the third is a big mess pile, simply have them home before the third poop. 

With a little trial and error, you will learn how far they can walk before you risk diarrhea. 

Different Route or Time

If stress is the culprit, a different route or time may be all you need to curb the curbside poops. If you can avoid the cause of your dog’s stress, it should eliminate the stress poop. 

If it’s busy traffic, avoiding high traffic periods of the day is wise. If it’s another dog, take a route that avoids them. 


It may be helpful to time your dog’s walks at a time when they don’t have to poop. Dogs typically have a poop schedule, and should poop around the same time each day. Your dog may poop once a day or three times a day, but they should do it at predictable times. 

If you can take them for a walk after a normal poop, this may prevent diarrhea. 

Is it normal for dogs to get diarrhea on walks?

It is common for dogs to get diarrhea on walks. With all the potential causes, it’s easy to see how it can be a frequent occurrence. If this is the only time your dog experiences diarrhea, try the tips listed above to solve the problem. 

If your dog has diarrhea at other times, not just on walks, for more than 48 hours, or shows signs of illness, call your vet. If they only experience it on walks, it’s not a serious concern. If the problem continues, work with your vet to find a solution.