how to treat puppy diarrhea

How to Treat Puppy Diarrhea

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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 very bad diarrhea. And she had a few problems with it afterwards because she puts everything in her mouth.

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

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.

This infographic will help you indicate the cause of your puppy’s stool texture and color:

Source: Petmd

Causes of Diarrhea in Puppies

Every dog owner that has googled puppy diahrrea in the past has probably stumbled upon the long list of severe illnesses that can cause this problem. But don’t panic, often times it is 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 chronical 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.

The environment holds everything from garbage, other dog’s poop, poisonous plants or plastic. If you think that your puppy might have consumed something toxic o poisonous, call 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 otherwise they can get really dangerous. Worms should always be checked with you 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.

When to See the Vet

Diarrhea is a critical disease especially in puppies and old dogs, so consulting your vet could 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.

What You Can Do at Home

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.

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 then 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 diahrrea.

  • 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 if necessary before he swallows 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 puppies 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.

Disclaimer: This blog post doesn’t substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. If your dog shows any signs of illness, call your vet.

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