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Why does my dog have orange diarrhea?

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to your dog’s poop, until its abnormal. Perhaps you know that your pooch’s poop can tell you a lot about their health. Normal poop indicates your dog is healthy. However, orange diarrhea can indicate some serious health problems. 

However, it can also be caused by something as simple as eating orange food. Let’s take a look at the potential causes of orange diarrhea, and what you can do about it. 

Why does my dog have orange diarrhea?

Typically, orange diarrhea is caused because the bile in the digestive system. Normally, the bile breaks down food in the intestines, which gives the poop its signature brown color. If part of your dog’s body is malfunctioning, the bile may not be able to break down the food, which will cause orange diarrhea. 

It can also have simple causes. It can be caused by diarrhea itself, or something in your dog’s diet. 


Your dog’s orange diarrhea can be caused by diarrhea itself. Diarrhea causes waste to move through your dog’s system faster than normal. This can prevent the bile from breaking down the food and being reabsorbed. If this is the case, your pooch may only experience diarrhea. Depending on the cause, they may also have vomiting and lethargy. 

Liver Problems

What does your dog’s liver have to do with their poop? The liver is responsible for bile production. This means that liver malfunction also affects the production of bile. Changes in bile will cause changes in the color and consistency of your dog’s poop. 

Liver problems can be caused by many things, including cancer, infection, diabetes, trauma, and ingesting toxic substances. Liver problems can be chronic or acute. 

Acute liver issues typically come on suddenly. Chronic liver issues occur over time, and may not be noticed until symptoms become more severe.  

In addition to orange diarrhea, symptoms of liver problems include increased urination and thirst, vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, blood in their pee or poop, and stomach swelling. 

In addition to these symptoms, liver issues will often cause jaundice. This is a yellowing of the skin, tongue, eyes, or gums. 

Gall Bladder Problems

Bile is created by the liver. It’s then sent to the gallbladder. It’s stored in the gall-bladder until needed. When needed, the gallbladder releases bile into the intestines. There are several causes of gallbladder problems. One cause is gallbladder rupture. The gallbladder is a fluid filled sac. It can rupture due to trauma, or severe inflammation. 

The most common cause of gallbladder issues is gallstones. In addition to problems caused by gallstones themselves, they can cause a blockage, inflammation, or mucus buildup. Cancer can also affect the gallbladder. This typically occurs in older dogs. 

Just like liver problems, gallbladder problems can cause jaundice. Abdominal pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, and stomach ulcers can be asymptoms of gallbladder problems, in addition to orange diarrhea. 

Irritable Bowel Disease

Irritable bowel disease, or IBD, occurs when your dog’s digestive tract becomes inflamed. Humans can develop a similar condition, known as IBS. The cause of IBD isn’t clear. Vets have a few theories, including genetics, parasites, and food intolerances. 

However, there is no one clear cause of IBD. The inflammation caused by the disease changes the way food is digested and absorbed. Dogs with IBD can have orange poop, or orange diarrhea. It’s also possible for your dog to have normal poop with an orange coating. 

The symptoms of IBD include chronic vomiting and diarrhea, appetite and weight loss, fever, severe stomach pain, gas, bloating, and heart burn. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for IBD. However, your vet can help manage the condition through diet and medication. 


The best case scenario for your dog having orange pooop is simply something they’ve ate. Orange foods, including carrots and pumpkin, can cause orange poop. If your pooch ate something with food dye, this can also cause their poop to be orange. 

If they’ve eaten something that their stomach isn’t used to, or a large amount of a high fiber food, this can cause diarrhea. So a large meal of pumpkin, for example, could easily cause orange poop. 

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance can also cause orange diarrhea. This typically occurs when you change your dog’s food, and they react to a new ingredient. However, a dog can develop a food intolerance or allergy to an ingredient that they were previously able to eat. 

Symptoms of food intolerance include stomach pain, vomiting, indigestion, gas, and bloody poop in addition to orange diarrhea. If a food allergy is to blame, skin irritation or rash and runny nose can also occur. 


Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. A diet high in sugar, fat, or both, can increase the chances of developing the condition. The pancreas releases digestive enzymes. When it’s functioning properly, the enzymes activate once they reach the intestines. 

Pancreatitis causes the enzymes to activate when they are released. This causes damage to the pancreas and surrounding organs. 

The symptoms of pancreatitis include repeated vomiting, stomach pain and bloating, lethargy, dehydration, fever, and a hunched back.  

What to do if my dog has orange diarrhea?

Generally, orange diarrhea should be seen by a vet. However, there are situations where you can manage symptoms at home. If your pooch has severe diarrhea, vomiting, or other symptoms, don’t try to manage it yourself. Instead, bring them to your vet, or give them a call. 

If your pooch has mild symptoms, or only diarrhea, you may be able to treat it at home. 


When you have diarrhea, you probably reach for the Immodium. This can also calm diarrhea for your dog. However, there are some situations when you shouldn’t give Immodium. 

First, herding breeds can have a mutation that makes Immodium unsafe for them. Vets say, “white feet, don’t treat”. So, if you have a white footed herding dog, don’t give it to your pooch unless they’ve undergone the test for the mutation. 

Secondly, don’t give them imodium if you suspect they’ve ingested something toxic or have a severe infection. In these cases, diarrhea is the body’s way of flushing toxins from the system. 

Lastly, if your pooch has severe vomiting or liver problems, don’t give Immodium. Liver problems and being very sick increase side effects of Immodium. 

Fasting and Bland Food 

If your dog has diarrhea, it’s best to allow them to fast for 12 to 24 hours. This gives their digestive system a chance to rest. You’ll then want to feed them a bland diet, instead of their regular food. You can give rice water and a small amount of broth while your dog is fasting. 

Give your pooch 2 parts of rice to 1 part boiled chicken. This is tasty and easy for them to digest, which helps their digestive system heal. Once they feel better, gradually transition them back to their regular food. Begin by adding 1/4 of their regular food. Every 1-3 days, increase their regular food by 1/4, and reduce the chicken and rice by 1/4, until they are only eating their regular food. 


Pumpkin can ease both constipation and diarrhea in dogs, depending on how much they consume. For diarrhea, small and medium dogs should have 1-2 teaspoons. Large dogs may have 4 teaspoons. You can serve up pumpkin with their meals, or give it to them by itself if they are currently fasting. 

The easiest type of pumpkin to feed them is canned pumpkin. Be sure that you choose 100% plain pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling. 

When to see a vet about a dog having orange diarrhea

Generally, when to see a vet depends on how severe the diarrhea is, and any other symptoms your pooch is experiencing. Mild cases of orange diarrhea can be managed at home, but severe cases require veterinary care. 

When to Monitor Your Dog at Home

If your pooch shows no other symptoms, you can simply monitor them at home. It’s likely something they ate, and nothing to worry about. If they’ve had one or two episodes of diarrhea or vomiting, this can also be monitored at home, as long as they don’t have other symptoms. 

When to See a Vet Soon

There are some indications that you should make an appointment with your vet. If your pooch has a fever or lethargy, this also needs to be evaluated by a vet. If the vomiting or diarrhea occurs more than 3 times in an 8 hour period, they need to be seen quickly. These symptoms can indicate a serious condition that needs veterinary care. 

When to See a Vet Immediately

If your dog has jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes, this is a reason to get them to the vet immediately. It indicates severe liver or gallbladder problems.  If your pooch has severe vomiting and diarrhea, this also requires immediate care. Severe stomach pain, complete loss of appetite, refusal to drink water, and extreme lethargy also indicate a potential emergency. 

Because orange diarrhea can indicate serious problems, including organ malfunction, it’s important to take these symptoms very seriously.