Do Greenies Cause Diarrhea in Dogs?

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Greenies are one of the most polarizing dog products: some believe that it’s one of the best dog dental treats clean out a dog’s teeth. Others believe that Greenies are one of the major reasons for indigestion (and diarrhea a result). I chewed a bit deeper to settle the do Greenies cause diarrhea in dogs controversy once and for all…

So, do Greenies cause diarrhea in dogs? Yes, but not for the reasons that we expect it to. Whenever we think of diarrhea, the word is often associated with food poisoning, a sickness that is caused by pathogens or harmful bacteria. However, Greenies cause diarrhea because of indigestion: when dogs don’t chew enough before swallowing, their digestive systems do not have enough time to fully break down the snack. Their form of diarrhea is caused by clogged intestines.

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  • Contains one (1) 36 oz. 36-count pack of GREENIES Original Regular Size Natural Dental Dog Treats; Natural Dog Treats Plus Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients

So should you be worried about treating your dog with Greenies, a dental product that might cause diarrhea? What other alternatives are there? Which method is the best method?

Do Greenies Cause Diarrhea: Should You be Worried?

Do Greenies Cause Diarrhea?

No, you shouldn’t. There is nothing inherently wrong with Greenies as a product; it’s simply a wheat-based dog treat that is chewy and is designed for your dog’s dental health.

What you should do, however, is pay attention to your dog’s eating habits as the owner, ration the treats properly, and purchase the appropriate size for your dog.

1. Your Dog’s Eating Habit

First, paying attention to your dog’s eating habits is key. This is important not only for Greenies but also for your dog’s digestive health in general.

The main reason why Greenies causes diarrhea for dogs is because owners let their dogs chew on the product unsupervised.

Though this doesn’t mean that you have to keep your dog under the radar whenever it eats, products like Greenies are not meant to be swallowed in large sizes.

This means that if your dog usually likes to eat things in a haste, Greenies is probably not the right dental care option for you.

2. Ration The Treat

It’s also essential that you ration the treats properly, meaning you know how much Greenies you should be feeding to your dog per day. On the Greenies website, it’s mentioned that you shouldn’t be giving the treat more than once a day. This is important to maintain nutritional balance!

As we said earlier, Greenies is a wheat-based product. Unlike humans, carbohydrates are not essential for dogs. A small wheat-based product per day shouldn’t do much harm, but more than that would be another reason why the treat might cause diarrhea.

After all, you might be catching your dog’s digestive system in surprise with excessive amounts of carbohydrates. 

3. Finding The Appropriate Size

Finding the appropriate Greenies product for your dog is another easy way for you to reduce your dog’s risks of suffering from diarrhea.

If your dog is considered a large dog, purchasing Greenies for smaller dogs wouldn’t be the best idea. Large dogs tend to swallow the smaller versions of the dental product as the whole object fits into its mouth.

Unfortunately, swallowing might cause major problems in their digestive systems as their stomachs would have problems digesting such a large amount of carbs in a short amount of time.

The same applies to smaller dogs. Though they have to chew on Greenies for a long time, they still are very susceptible to experiencing digestive problems as they’re likely going to chew on a piece that’s too large for them.

Finding the appropriate size for your dog will help avoid these problems.

Greenies Alternatives for Your Dog

1. Traditional Brushing

There are many different reasons as to why we don’t recommend you using the traditional brushing method,  but the two main ones are that you will be putting yourself at risk and there are no guarantees as to what kind of effects your dog will suffer from afterward. 

Usually, before brushing the teeth, you will have to get your dog anesthesia treatment before being able to clean out the plaques completely.

First, this isn’t a practical solution for everyday teeth/gum cleaning.

More importantly, we’re still not entirely sure as to what kind of effects anesthesia might have for dogs. Our medical technology hasn’t focused on anesthesia for dogs as much as they did for humans. Therefore, some risks of anesthesia are heart problems and digestive issues for dogs. 

The other negative aspect of this method is how you have to risk your safety as you brush your dog’s teeth.

If you do end up not using anesthesia, you have to put your finger/hand in your dog’s mouth.

Now, if your dog is calm, they might not react to you being rough with the brush, but most of them will close their mouths out of reflex. Obviously, this has the possibility of serious injuries. 

Therefore, though it might seem economical, we don’t see this method to be very practical unless you have professionals that can help you with this task. Never put your hands in your dog’s mouth!

2. Regular Dental Chews

Though these products are high in calcium and are effective at getting rid of plaques, we do not recommend you using regular dental chews.

These dental chews, when dogs first start gnawing on them, are very hard and brittle. This means that though it is effective at getting rid of residue stuck in your dog’s teeth, they are also terrible on your dog’s gum and, holistically speaking, dental health. 

First, these products greatly agitate your dog’s gum.

Although they work fine when your dog is chewing on it with their front teeth, as soon as they bring it back to chew on it with their cheek teeth, that’s when the gums are scratched and harmed. Because of how brittle this product is, the cleaning experience is very painful, especially for older and younger dogs that have weaker gums. 

Moreover, it’s never good for dogs to bite on something as hard as these products. It’d be like humans biting into rocks. Granted, they have stronger teeth and the dental treats are not as hard as rocks go, but if this continues for a prolonged amount of time, your dog may experience toothaches. 

At the same time, these products do have their benefits, with the largest one being its nutritional value; it’s high in calcium. However, it’s only effective if your dog consumes the dental chew, which is unlikely because of how painful the chewing process is for your dog. 


Nothing should really deter you from using Greenies.

Yes, it does have some dangers of causing diarrhea and other digestive issues, but these tend to be easily preventable.

It’s just like every other dog food:

It’s never good to eat too much of it too quickly.

On the other hand, the two methods have consequences that you don’t have control over: negative effects of anesthesia and gum damages. Therefore, we recommend that you simply pay special attention to your dog while treating its teeth and gums with Greenies!

Related Questions

Are Greenies bad for your dog?

Only if your dog eats it up too quickly. This might lead to diarrhea and other digestive issues, so make sure to watch it and help it pace itself.

Do Greenies make your dog sick?

Like all edible things, Greenies can make your dog sick. However, this is only if your dog overeats or if your dog swallows the treat way too quickly. All things in moderation!

Are Greenies digestible?

Yes, they are digestible. They’re primarily made out of wheat, so they should be very safe for your dog.

Can Greenies cause blockage?

Yes, this is possible but highly unlikely. We suggest that you just have to make sure your dog isn’t eating the treat in a haste and that the Greenies isn’t too big for your dog!

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