Skip to Content

Why is my dog panting and has diarrhea?

If your dog is panting and having diarrhea, you are probably concerned. Our dogs can’t tell us what is wrong, so it’s up to us to determine the problem and the best course of action. 

Diarrhea and panting can occur from a wide number of issues, from simple stomach upset to life threatening bloat. 

Why is my dog panting and has diarrhea?

Both panting and diarrhea can have a wide number of causes. When they occur together, it can indicate a serious condition. The good news is that these symptoms don’t always indicate a health crisis. 

Stomach Upset

Stomach upset can occur from several causes. A change in their diet, food poisoning, food allergies, or a stomach virus can all upset your dog’s tummy. 

If your dog is panting and having diarrhea due to stomach upset, they will likely have nausea or vomiting as well. In this case, the vomiting or nausea is what’s causing the panting. 

GDV (Bloat)

Bloat is a scary condition that can quickly become life threatening. It’s cause still isnt’ completely understood. It occurs when the gas that is created during digestion can’t be released from your dogs system. 

The gas continues to build, putting immense pressure on your dog’s stomach. If it continues, the stomach can twist. If this occurs, immediate veterinary care is the dog’s only hope of survival. 

The symptoms of bloat include attempting to vomit without being able to, or vomiting up only foam. They may have diarrhea, or seem to be straining to poop with no results. 

Their stomach will swell, which is where the term bloat comes from. 

Other signs of bloat include restlessness, whining or signs of pain, and excessive drooling. 

Dogs with a deep or barrel chest are at a higher risk of bloat. Dogs who eat their food too quickly are also at increased risk. 


An obstruction is a rare cause of diarrhea in dogs. It’s more likely to cause constipation, preventing waste from moving through the intestines. However, a partial obstruction can cause diarrhea. An obstruction becomes very painful, leading your dog to pant as well. 

Other symptoms of an intestinal blockage or obstruction include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. 


Pancreatitis can also cause diarrhea and panting. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The job of the pancreas is to release digestive enzymes. 

When it’s functioning properly, these enzymes only activate when they reach the intestines. Panceatitis causes them to activate early, which causes damage to the pancreas and surrounding organs. 

In addition to diarrhea and panting, pancreatitis can cause fever, vomiting, lethargy, and decreased appetite.

Dogs may also get into a praying position. They will place their front half on the ground, and raise their butt into the air. 

Heat Stroke

If your dog has been in hot temperatures, heat stroke can be the cause of their panting and diarrhea. Heat stroke occurs when the environment causes your dog’s temperature to go too high. 

Other signs of heatstroke include vomiting, bright red gums, and confusion or disorientation. Severe heat stroke can cause your dog to lose consciousness or have seizures.  

Stress or Anxiety

Stress or anxiety can also be the cause of your dog’s issues. You are probably aware that stress can cause a human stomach to be upset. This is also true for your dog. Anxiety can also cause your dog to pant. 

Stress affects the sympathetic nervous system. This affects many things, including breathing, pooping, and peeing. This is why stress or anxiety can also cause a dog to pee themselves. 

The symptoms of anxiety or stress will vary from dog to dog. Common signs of anxiety include pacing, restlessness, yawning, destructive behavior, and drooling. 

What to do if my dog is panting and has diarrhea?

If your dog has panting and diarrhea, how you handle it will vary greatly based on the cause. In some cases, you can treat the symptoms at home. In other cases, your pooch may need immediate veterinary care. 


If your dog has symptoms of bloat, including gagging, severe stomach pain, and bloating, you’ll need to get them to the vet immediately. If bloat isn’t treated, it can be fatal within hours. 

If you suspect your dog may have bloat, but aren’t sure, contact your vet for advice. 


A bowel obstruction also requires quick treatment. An obstruction can take 24 to 48 hours before symptoms appear. If your pooch ate something they shouldn’t, like a ball or string, they may have an obstruction. 

If your pooch has the symptoms of an obstruction, including vomiting, lethargy, and a loss of appetite, they may have a bowel obstruction. However, diarrhea is uncommon with an obstruction, making it an unlikely cause. 


Pancreatitis also requires veterinary care. Some dogs have recurring pancreatitis, known as pancreatitis. A single episode of pancreatitis is known as acute pancreatitis. 

In addition to a checkup with the vet, you may need to change your pooch’s diet. A high fat and high carb diet will increase the risk of pancreatitis.  

Heat Stroke 

If your dog has heat stroke, you’ll need to get them out of the heat immediately. If possible, bring them into the air conditioning. If this isn’t an option, move them to a shaded area out of the sun. 

Next, pour cool water over them. Do not use cold water. This can send the dog into shock. Another method is to place cool washcloths on your dog. These will need to be replaced as soon as they begin to warm. 

If your pooch is seriously disoriented, unconscious, or breathing erratically, they need immediate veterinary care. Once you’ve started the cooling process, bring them to the vet. 

Another way to determine how severe the heat stroke is involves taking your dog’s temperature. If their temperature is 106 or higher, they should see a vet. If it’s been 103-105, this indicates milder heat stroke that can be treated at home. 

Stress or Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can be tough to treat. It helps to pinpoint the source of the stress. Once you’ve identified the source of stress, do your best to limit or eliminate it. 

You can also redirect your pooch when they are stressed. For example, if loud cars scare your dog, have their favorite toy or treat ready. When the loud car comes, you redirect their attention to the thing they like. 

Giving your dog plenty of mental and physical stimulation can also help. We know that exercise helps humans feel calmer, and this also applies to your pooch. 

Boredom can also be a stressor, so providing mental stimulation is also important. You can do this by playing games with your dog, or getting them a puzzle toy. 

If anxiety is severe, your vet may recommend putting your dog on medication. You can also consult an animal behavioralist for help with severe anxiety.

Stomach Upset 

If your dog is panting and having diarrhea due to simple stomach upset, its best to treat the symptoms. Most causes of digestive upset will resolve themselves within a few days. 

However, if your dog is vomiting repeatedly or has had diarrhea for more than 48 hours, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet. 


One cure for stomach upset is pumpkin. The best method is to pick up a can of pumpkin from your local grocery store. Be sure that it is plain pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling. 

A small dog can have between 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin. Large dogs can have up to 4 tablespoons per serving. The fiber in tone pumpkin can help calm diarrhea. It’s also great for the digestive system overall. 


You can treat your dog’s diarrhea with immodium. You can give them .04 mg per pound of body weight. So, a 25 pound dog would need 1 mg, or half a capsule. 

Instead of capsules, you may want to give liquid immodium. It’s easier to adjust the dosage, and liquid is often easier for your dog to swallow. 

 You can repeat the dosage every 8 to 12 hours as needed. 


Famotide is an antacid that can also help calm your dog’s stomach. You can give them .5 mg per pound of body weight. You can repeat the dosage in 12 hours as needed. 

Bland Diet 

A bland diet can also help ease your pooch’s diarrhea and panting. To do this, you’ll give them 2 parts rice to 1 part chicken. Simply cook the rice and boil the chicken. Then, you can measure out portions. 

If you feed your dog one cup of food, you would give them 2/3 a cup of rice and 1/3 a cup of chicken. 

You may want to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours before feeding them a bland diet. Once you begin feeding them a bland diet, you can slowly transition them back to their regular diet. 

Start by giving them 1/4 cup regular food, and 3/4 bland food. Increase the regular food by 1/4 every 1 to 2 days, until your dog is back to their regular diet.