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My Dog Has Orange Diarrhea: 2 Vets Explain What to Do

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This article was updated on November 11th, 2023

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As veterinarians, we see dogs with diarrhea every week. The color of your dog’s diarrhea is one of the first questions that we ask to help understand what is going on.

Orange diarrhea can sometimes resolve on its own without any treatment. However, it can also be a symptom of life-threatening medical conditions such as liver or gallbladder disease. This article will discuss when to be concerned and when not to worry.

What It Looks Like

Orange diarrhea can range from a brownish orange to a very bright orange color. Many times, dogs with orange diarrhea will have a stool that is runny, mucousy, and has no shape or form, as seen on the picture below [Warning: Graphic Image!].

dog with orange diarrhea on the floor in a park

5 things to know if your dog has orange diarrhea

Our veterinarians Dr. Sara Ochoa & Dr. Chryle Bonk have shared the following important tips:

1. You don’t need to worry if this is your dog’s first orange stool and they’re acting normal

“If this is your dog’s first orange stools and he’s otherwise acting normal, feel free to wait until you witness another abnormal bowel movement before you take action. This is especially true in dogs that prefer to “taste” their world and aren’t afraid to put anything into their mouths or stomach (such as carrots or even an orange crayon!)”

Dr. Sara Ochoa

Veterinarian at

Common foods that dogs will eat that are orange are:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes and
  • Pumpkin

All of these foods, in high amounts, can cause your dog to have orange diarrhea. Dogs who ate orange foods will not show any other signs of illness, and this will easily clear up on its own.

2. Feed your dog a bland diet with probiotics

“If one of my dogs has more than one episode of diarrhea, I give probiotics for a couple of days. If the diarrhea continues and they are still eating, I start feeding a bland diet of chicken and rice in small amounts 3-4 times a day. If the diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days or if their signs get more severe, it’s time for a workup.”

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian at

Probiotics are a great way to restore the normal bacterial balance in your dog’s gut. These products or supplements contain healthy bacteria that are essential for recovery. One example is “Purina FortiFlora Probiotics for Dogs”:

Purina Fortiflora Probiotics for Dogs, Pro...
  • Open four-arm frame design protects the blade and does not trap dirt in the case

Plain chicken, rice, pumpkin and white fish are all bland, easily digestible foods for dogs that shouldn’t cause any further harm to your dog’s gut. Learn about the best remedies to stop dog diarrhea.

3. Call your vet if your dog has a second bout or if the diarrhea lasts longer than 48 hours

“If a dog’s diarrhea lasts more than 48 hours, no matter the color, it’s typically cause for concern. Mild causes of diarrhea, such as eating something they shouldn’t have, usually clear up within that 48 hours, so by that three day mark, you’re probably looking at something a little more serious.”

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian at

This is even more true if your dog has other signs of illness, such as vomiting, lethargy, a fever, or abdominal pain. If your dog’s diarrhea lasts for more than two days, is getting worse, or is accompanied by other signs, see your veterinarian as soon as possible for a complete workup.

4. Repeated orange diarrhea may be due to liver or gall bladder issues

“The main cause of your dog having ongoing orange diarrhea is an issue with their liver or gall bladder. When all is normal in a dog’s digestive tract, bile is released into the small intestine. If bile isn’t released normally in the small intestine or if it isn’t resorbed properly, orange diarrhea can result.”

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian at

Bile is produced by the liver, stored in the gall bladder, and helps to further break down and digest food products. As the food products move through the intestines, that bile is resorbed, leaving its trademark brown color staining the feces. If bile is not properly released or resorbed in the small intestine, it can cause orange diarrhea.

Reasons that bile isn’t added to the food products are:

  • Gall bladder inflammation or blockage
  • Liver disease

Reasons bile isn’t absorbed include::

  • Intestinal infection that affects absorption
  • Inflammation of the intestine

If your dog has liver or gallbladder issues, you may also notice that your dog’s skin and the white part of the eye are a yellow color. Other issues you will see with dogs with liver and gallbladder disease are:

  • Vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Lethargic
  • Enlarged abdomen

Some less common reasons for orange diarrhea in dogs is increased red blood cell destruction from an autoimmune or infectious disease. Hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, is reddish-orange in color and can stain a dog’s diarrhea orange if in high levels in the waste product.

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5. Monitor your dog’s diarrhea closely

“Liver and gall bladder diseases can be life-threatening, and if you think that your dog may have issues with these organs, you should take your dog to your vet right away. They can run bloodwork to see what is causing your dog to be so sick and start them on medications to help.”

Dr. Sara Ochoa

Veterinarian at

The orange color isn’t necessarily an issue, especially if your dog likes to snack on carrots or other carotenoid-rich foods. However, if you combine the orange color with the abnormal consistency of diarrhea, and the diarrhea lasts for more than 48 hours, it’s time to do some digging.

Diarrhea is usually a result of excess fluid in the colon as a result of improper absorption or moving too quickly through the digestive system.

You’ll want to add a little extra concern and call your vet right away (not waiting for 48 hours) if you’re noticing any other signs, such as:

  • vomiting,
  • a fever,
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes,
  • not eating,
  • or abdominal pain

These symptoms can all indicate that something more serious is going on with his digestive system, liver, or gallbladder.

Diagnosis at the vet

At the clinic, your vet will perform an exam and other diagnostics of blood work, imaging, and fecal tests to pinpoint the exact cause.

Some causes of orange dog diarrhea may require a hospital stay or surgery. In case of any doubt, call your vet to get their advice.

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  • Dr Sara Ochoa, Veterinarian

    Dr. Ochoa earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from St. George University in 2015, and completed her program with excellent scores. She has more than 7 years of experience practicing as a veterinarian for Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, TX.

  • Dr Chyrle Bonk, Veterinarian

    Dr. Chyrle Bonk received her Master in Animal Science from the University of Idaho and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University in 2010. She has over 10 years of experience in small animal veterinary practice, working for a veterinary clinic in Idaho.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

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