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How to Treat Puppy Diarrhea

Puppies are a whole lot of work and we want them to have the best start in life possible. When I took my first puppy home, stress caused her to have very bad diarrhea.

Gladly, I could treat it at home but more severe cases can end deadly for your puppy. That’s why it’s very important to learn what causes diarrhea and when to go to the vet.

Why does my puppy have diarrhea?

Causes for puppy diarrhea may include the swallowing of indigestible objects, an unbalanced diet, a virus or parasite, or simply stress. Treatment for puppy diarrhea can involve withholding food, lots of water, and a special diet.

Keep reading to learn how to spot if a vet is necessary, what you can do to treat your pup at home, and how to prevent puppy diarrhea from happening in the future.

Symptoms of Puppy Diarrhea

The most obvious symptom of diarrhea is a loose stool. The form can range from pudding-like to watery. Diarrhea is usually accompanied by loss of appetite, vomiting, pain, and lethargy.

Causes of Diarrhea in Puppies

Every dog owner who has googled puppy diarrhea in the past has probably stumbled upon the long list of severe illnesses that can cause this problem.

But don’t panic, it’s quite common to be simply caused by stress or other minor issues that can easily be resolved at home.

Sudden puppy diarrhea can be caused by internal parasites, viral infections, stress, and digestive problems. We will look closely at each cause and how to treat it.

If your puppy is suffering from chronic diarrhea, he will have to be checked by a vet. The causes include cancer, allergies, pancreatic disease, worms, and bowel disease.

Indigestible Objects

Puppies are incredibly curious and just like babies, they explore the world with their paws and mouth.

My puppy used to pick up everything and anything so I knew that we have to teach her “leave it” and “drop it” immediately.

Check my post on puppies eating stones (more common than you might think) for more information.

The environment provides everything from garbage, other dog’s poop, poisonous plants, or plastic.

If you think that your puppy might have consumed something toxic or poisonous, call the emergency center.


Many puppies are already born with parasites like roundworms and hookworms. You can read more about dog worms here.

The best way to treat them is with the right medication because otherwise, they can get really dangerous. Worms should always be checked with your vet.


Puppies have very sensitive digestive systems and any sudden change in their diet will cause problems. Even changing the feeding schedule can throw off many puppies.

They often develop food allergies or will respond poorly to certain dog food brands. The easiest way to find out is to gradually change the food you are feeding your puppy and try to avoid common allergens like dairy, wheat, and beef.

Also, consider changing your dog’s diet to raw food later on as you will have much more control over his meals that way.


The parvovirus and distemper virus are the most concerning diseases that cause puppy diarrhea.

The immune system of a young dog is still developing and prone to infections. Your puppy could also suffer from bacterial infections.

Nonetheless, you should quickly see a vet when you notice other symptoms like fever or loss of appetite.


Stress is inevitable when bringing home a new puppy and it is very normal. We want to make it as pleasant as possible for both you and the puppy.

Make sure to check out this blog post on a puppy’s first night at home for more tips.

If your puppy’s diarrhea occurs right after meeting another dog or an exciting play session, you should check out my post on how I calmed my overexcited Rottweiler.

Although my dog didn’t have diarrhea due to this but it’s very common and the approach to fixing overexcitement is the same.

Vet Visit For Puppy Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a critical disease, especially in puppies and old dogs, so consulting your vet can never be wrong.

There are certain symptoms that will require immediate veterinary attention.

  • Very watery stool
  • Fever
  • Severe pain
  • Blood in stool or foul smell
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss, weight loss
  • Tar-like stool consistency
  • Lethargy, depression
  • Diarrhea for more than one day
  • Refusing to drink water

You should also visit a vet when your puppy hasn’t received all his vaccinations as the parvovirus might be the issue then.

Check this article if your dog’s diarrhea is accompanied by throwing up white foam.

Home Remedies for Puppy Diarrhea

If your puppy is seemingly well and has a pudding-like stool, home treatments may be enough to cure it.

Be sure to withhold any food for 12- 24 hours.

Once his digestive system had a rest, start with mild food remedies like cooked chicken and white rice. A chicken broth also does wonders.

Provide your dog with plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If he refuses to drink, add something tasty like beef broth so he will be encouraged to drink.

If your dog has vomited, withhold food for 12 hours and provide him with plenty of water.

Feed him small pieces of cooked chicken after that and if he doesn’t vomit, slowly increase the amount of food.

Parasites like worms need to be treated by the vet. The treatment depends on the type of parasite but most worms can be eliminated by deworming your dog.

Coconut oil or rumen can work wonders for puppy diarrhea too.

If your puppy has eaten something indigestible, it might resolve on its own. Pay attention to your puppy and if any of the symptoms occur from above, bring him to the vet.

A bland diet should cure an upset tummy in a couple of days.

If diarrhea holds on for more than 24 hours and no progress has been made or the symptoms even get worse, call your vet immediately.

How to Prevent Diarrhea

You cannot always prevent diarrhea from happening but there are a few totally preventable things that can cause puppy diarrhea.

  • Feed your dog a healthy diet and exercise him frequently.
  • Do not feed your puppy with inappropriate food like human food (table scraps) or food for adult dogs.
  • Watch what he puts into his mouth and remove it if necessary before he swallows it. Introduce basic obedience commands like “leave it”.
  • Don’t give your puppy small objects to play with as he could swallow or even suffocate from them.
  • Provide him with a calm and stress-free environment and a place of retreat for his own.
  • Remove all cables, garbage, chewable objects, and chemical cleaners out of the puppy’s reach.
  • Do not suddenly change his diet.
  • Keep your puppy’s crate, dog bed, and blankets clean and bacteria-free.
  • Avoid having to travel with your dog in the first months.
  • Always take your dog to the vet for deworming and vaccinations.

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Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.

kalpana S

Thursday 28th of November 2019

Informative blog. Diarrhea can be associated with viruses like parvovirus and distemper. I observed symptoms and causes of this disease. Also you have suggested some treatment methods to prevent this diarrhea such as feed healthy diet food and avoid travelling with dogs etc. Thanks for sharing.


Tuesday 30th of July 2019

I love it when people come together and share opinions, great blog, keep it up.


Monday 24th of June 2019

great information thank you

Ladonna Naki

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

thanks for sharing