Does Wet Dog Food Cause Diarrhea? | The Truth Explained

Dogs are among the most loved pets in the world. As responsible pet owners, we always want to ensure our dogs get the best food with the necessary nutrients for their overall health. Wet dog food is a popular option for many pet owners, but some have expressed concerns about its impact on their dogs’ digestive system. One question often asked is, does wet dog food cause diarrhea? In this article, we will explore the truth behind this notion and its impact on dogs.

The Nutritional Content of Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food comprises high moisture content, making it easier to digest and suitable for dogs with dental problems or those who refuse to drink enough water. Additionally, wet dog food is rich in protein, which is essential for muscle growth, and has lower carbohydrate levels than dry dog food, making it a perfect option for diabetic dogs or those struggling to maintain a healthy weight.

The Impact of Wet Dog Food on Digestive System of Dogs

Some pet owners and veterinarians purport that wet dog food can cause diarrhea in dogs. However, the type of diet and feeding regimen usually causes stomach upset and not the wet dog food specifically. For instance, a sudden change of diet, overfeeding, or feeding a dog too quickly can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea.

The Role of a Dog’s Digestive System in Their Overall Health

A dog’s digestive system plays a huge role in their overall health. Apart from aiding food digestion and absorption of nutrients, the digestive system also produces immunity-boosting peptides, and its tracts are home to a significant population of beneficial microbes that protect against disease-causing pathogens.

Factors Contributing to Digestive Issues in Dogs When Consuming Wet Dog Food


Wet dog food, when exposed to air or at room temperature, can easily get contaminated by bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. These bacteria can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases, even pose a health risk to humans. Therefore, it’s crucial to handle wet dog food with clean hands and keep it refrigerated after opening.

Low-Quality Wet Dog Food

Low-cost wet dog foods may contain less quality meat or more fillers, preservatives, and additives, all of which can cause digestive problems in dogs. As a result, it’s essential to read and understand the ingredients label of wet dog food to know what you’re feeding your pet.

Food Allergies

Like humans, dogs can also develop allergies to certain food ingredients. Wet dog food may contain some allergenic ingredients such as dairy, wheat, or soy, which some dogs may be allergic to, leading to diarrhea, vomiting, and allergic reactions such as skin rashes.

How to Minimize Digestive Issues in Your Dog When Feeding Wet Dog Food

Gradual Transition to Wet Dog Food

If you’re introducing your dog to wet dog food, you should do so gradually while monitoring any possible adverse reactions such as diarrhea, vomiting, or allergic reactions. Gradual transition allows your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new diet gradually, reducing the risk of digestive issues.

High-Quality Wet Dog Food

Choosing high-quality wet dog food that is free from fillers, artificial preservatives, and additives can reduce the risk of digestive issues in dogs. Always read the label to ensure the food has recommended amounts of essential nutrients.

Proper Food Handling and Storage

Proper handling and storage of wet dog food can help minimize bacterial contamination, which can cause digestive problems in dogs. After opening, refrigerate the remaining food and ensure the feeding bowls and utensils are clean.


Wet dog food can form an essential part of a dog’s diet, and when chosen wisely and fed correctly, there is no risk of causing diarrhea. There are many factors that can cause digestive problems in dogs, but wet dog food, when handled and stored properly, is safe for dog consumption.

List of Common Questions and Answers about Wet Dog Food and Diarrhea

  • Can wet dog food cause diarrhea?
    • Wet dog food generally does not cause diarrhea. Digestive issues such as diarrhea may arise because of other factors such as feeding a dog too quickly, sudden diet changes, or contamination of food.
  • What can cause diarrhea in dogs after consuming wet dog food?
    • Some of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs include bacterial contamination of dog food, sudden diet changes, overfeeding, allergies, and low-quality dog food ingredients.
  • How can dog owners reduce the risk of diarrhea in dogs when consuming wet dog food?
    • Dog owners can minimize the risk of diarrhea in dogs by feeding high-quality wet dog food, proper storage, gradual transition to a new diet, and monitoring any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions.


  • Bermingham, E. N., Young, W., Kittelmann, S., Kerr, K. R., Swanson, K. S., & Roy, N. C. (2013). Dietary format alters fecal bacterial populations in the domesticated pig. Microbial ecology, 65(1), 203–206.
  • Levy, J., & Murphy, K. (2019). Feeding practices of dog owners and the risk of infectious disease. Preventive veterinary medicine, 172, 104749.
  • Swanson, K. S., Grieshop, C. M., Flickinger, E. A., Healy, H. P., Dawson, K. A., & Merchen, N. R. (2002). Effects of supplemental fructooligosaccharides plus mannanoligosaccharides on immune function and ileal and fecal microbial populations in adult dogs. Archives of animal nutrition, 56(4), 309–318.

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