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Puppy diarrhea: learn how to take care of your little one!

Black and brown puppy with a leaf advice
© Shutterstock

Puppy diarrhea ranks at the top of common puppy diseases. All pet owners need to be familiar with the symptoms and treatments of this illness

By Daniel Mar

Puppy diarrhea is quite common in puppies. Therefore, dog lovers should become experts on this matter. According to veterinarians, there are mild and dangerous cases of diarrhea. Even though diarrhea is not a disease per se, it can be caused by different factors. If it is not properly treated, it can be very deathly for puppies.

Learning about puppy diarrhea

Diarrhea is commonly associated with viruses like parvovirus and distemper. Furthermore, it is also caused by intestinal parasites like hookworms and whipworms; protozoa like giardia; and bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Many of these parasites and bacteria can be very difficult to detect even by a veterinarian. Sometimes, puppy diarrhea is a result of a sudden new change like:

  • Diet change
  • Home moving
  • Diet increase
  • Garbage eating

To determine what is causing diarrhea, you need to get a veterinarian consult.

Types of puppy diarrhea

Once at the vet, a full-body check will determine which type of diarrhea is your puppy suffering from. As of now, there are two types: mild and severe. Mild diarrhea is easier to treat and it is not as harmful. Puppies with this type are still playful, active and hungry. This type can be treated at home.

However, if diarrhea lasts more than a week, it is more serious. Severe diarrhea presents itself completely liquid. It can also have blood. You may notice that your puppy is very weak and might even vomit. This type of diarrhea is deathly because it leads to dehydration, severe pain, loss of appetite and oddly looking waste (black with the consistency of pudding). Only with the help of professional care can your puppy improve.

How to treat puppy diarrhea?


As you can see in the video, there are various ways to treat puppy diarrhea. When it comes to mild puppy diarrhea, your vet will indicate how you can treat it with home remedies. Simple treatments can help to ease the discomfort and set your puppy’s gut back on track. You can try these home remedies:

  1. Bland foods: if a puppy has diarrhea, bland foods like white rice can be good for the stomach. Just mix some rice with salt-free chicken or vegetables (to improve the flavour). You could also include cooked sweet potato and canned pumpkin which help to normalise stools.
  2. Beneficial bacteria: it has been proven that yoghurt has beneficial bacteria that can help restore balance in your dog’s intestinal tract. Be careful though, because some dogs don’t like the taste and/or texture of yoghurt. You can mix it up with dried food to make it more appealing.
  3. Prescription medicine: you can also treat puppy diarrhea with anti-diarrheal medicine like Pepto Bismol. You can consult your veterinarian for the dosage. Remember it has to be in agreement with your puppy’s size, age and breed. Some medicine cannot be administered to puppies under six weeks of age.
  4. Water and other liquids: dehydration is the main issue linked to puppy diarrhea so you need to give your puppy plenty of water. If your puppy acts reluctant, you can offer ice cubes to lick on. Vets also recommend Gatorade half diluted with water to counter dehydration.

Severe diarrhea needs special treatment that only your vet can provide. Don’t be surprised to see how aggressive and intense these treatments can be. For example, serums, meds and 24-hour care are mandatory.

Prevention of puppy diarrhea

The best preventive measures are a healthy and balanced diet plus daily exercise. Try to maintain a stable diet, and if you are planning to change it, do it slowly. Puppies’ stomachs are weak, so great care is needed when raising them. Likewise, keep your dog from eating food from the garbage can! Plus, don’t feed your puppy any human food scraps.

In addition, try to keep a constant routine for your puppy. Avoid causing any stress. Go on walks, instruct some early obedience, play with him/her. Lastly, stay up to date with vaccines. These are important to prevent parasites and bacteria.

Puppy diarrhea can be very dangerous and messy. If your puppy is showing any signs of diarrhea, you need to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment can be very simple, but it is up to your vet to decide the course of action. Remember to carry out preventive measures to keep your pet as healthy as possible. During these early months, puppies tend to be susceptible to all kind of diseases!