Being a puppy parent is often just as stressful as it is exciting. Worrying about accidents on the rug, chewing on shoes, and mischievous exploration is part of the journey. But if they have diarrhea, it can be even more nerve-wracking.
Did my pup accidentally eat something they shouldn’t have? Do they have a severe health issue that needs medical attention? What can I do to help?
Just like humans, sometimes your pup will get sick to their stomach. It is common for puppies to have diarrhea as they grow, get used to their food, and develop stronger immunity. But when is diarrhea a cause for concern?
It is important to remain calm if you notice your pup has diarrhea. There is likely a simple explanation. Puppies are more susceptible to this kind of stomach illness than grown dogs as their bodies are less equipped to fight off whatever may be triggering it. Even though it is likely not an emergency, it is good to know why it is happening, how you can mitigate it, and what to look out for to see if there is a more extensive medical issue that needs attention.
Why does my pup have diarrhea?
As disheartening as diarrhea may be, it is not unusual. Puppies can experience many bodily changes in their first few months, and stomach side effects might follow.
Because diarrhea in dogs – at any age – is a side effect of many medical issues, it can be hard to tell whether it is just indigestion or a medical emergency.
Let’s look at the typical causes of diarrhea in your pup
- Diet – What you feed your pup is vital to their growth and health – but it could also be why they have diarrhea. Finding the perfect food for your puppy can require trial and error and might cause diarrhea as their stomachs adjust. If you haven’t changed their food, they might have developed an insensitivity to an ingredient in their current food. If you suspect your pup’s food is making them sick, consult your vet about how you can resolve the issue and change their diet accordingly.
- Bacterial Infection – Your puppy is still growing, and its immune system is still developing. Puppies can get a bacterial infection from drinking water from a puddle or even from another dog’s infected urine. Diarrhea is a common side effect of infection, and a good thing to look out for is if there is blood in their stool. If you see blood, contact your vet and get your pup tested for any possible bacteria they might have in their system.
- A Parasite – Your pup’s diarrhea might be a symptom of a parasite in their system. Puppies can be born with parasites or get them from contaminated food or water. Different types of parasites can cause stomach issues and should be treated as soon as possible by your vet.
- Stress – The first months of your puppy’s life are full of new experiences, people, and environments. Diarrhea could be a natural reaction to heightened stress as the body naturally exhibits anxiety. The adjustment period could be causing diarrhea, so don’t fret. Your puppy probably just needs to get used to its new way of life!
- Ingesting Something Harmful – Puppy’s curious nature can lead them to eat or swallow things they are not supposed to. From a sock to a piece of human food that didn’t sit right, their stomachs might react with diarrhea to expel whatever makes them sick. It is good to know what foods are unsafe for dogs and keep any scraps, small items, or medicines out of your pup’s reach.
- Viral Infection – Because puppies aren’t fully vaccinated until they have gotten all their shots, yours might have caught a viral infection such as distemper or parvovirus. Both pose a serious threat to your pup and require emergency attention. It is essential to look out for other viral infection symptoms alongside diarrhea, such as a fever, coughing, paralysis, or vomiting. If you notice any of these, contact your vet immediately.
When does diarrhea require emergency medical attention?
Even though diarrhea is typically explainable by something that isn’t serious, it is good to be aware of signs that your puppy is experiencing a medical emergency.
- Symptoms that might indicate a more significant medical issue
- Excessive thirst
- Blood in their stool
- Pale gums
- Diarrhea for longer than a day
- Black, tarry stools
If you notice any of these things or you know that your dog has ingested something toxic or inedible, call your vet so your puppy can receive immediate treatment.
How can I help? Is there anything I can do to prevent diarrhea?
Because diarrhea is not unusual in puppies, it can save you and your pup some trouble knowing how to stop and prevent it.
The first step is getting to the root of the cause. After you have figured out what is giving your puppy diarrhea, it will be easier to help them feel better.
You can also take steps to promote overall good health for your puppy, which will work to prevent diarrhea by targeting the things that might upset your pup’s stomach.
Treating Diarrhea at Home
If your vet has ruled out any severe conditions, your puppy’s diarrhea could be from stress or just a reaction to food. So don’t worry, solutions for this are simple!
To help your pup feel better, make sure they drink lots of water. You can give them bland food until the issue is resolved. White rice and boiled chicken are great foods to help their stomachs calm down, and pumpkin can help resolve diarrhea. You can also switch them to food geared for dogs with sensitive stomachs if the diarrhea is not going away.
- Vaccinations – This measure is preventative. Making sure your puppy is on schedule for their vaccines will keep them protected from viral infections and any other illnesses they might get from outside of your home. Even stagnant water on the sidewalk can contain harmful things for your puppy. It is crucial to keep up to date on their shots to prevent sickness.
- Change Diets Slowly – Because a sudden change of food can upset your dog’s stomach, it might be helpful to ease them into a new food to let them adjust. An abrupt switch can cause a young puppy’s sensitive stomach problems.
- Beware When Outside Until They Are Fully Vaccinated – A lot of these infections are picked up outside from the excrements of other dogs. It is good to stay alert and keep your puppy away from other dogs’ urine or feces until they are fully vaccinated. Doing this can protect your pup from picking up diseases or viruses from others. Always make sure to pick up after your dog to protect others!
Stay Protected & Prepared
Your puppy will most likely have diarrhea at least once during their adolescence. Don’t worry but stay aware of other possible symptoms of medical conditions. Always consult your vet if you’re concerned. With Spot dog insurance plans, you can get vet visits covered and get preventative care plan options, so you can always be prepared to help your puppy deal with any unforeseen medical issues.
The Causes, Treatment, and Symptoms of Puppy Diarrhea | (akc.org)
Bacterial and Fungal Infections In Dogs | (wedgewoodpharmacy.com)
Puppies and Parasites: What You Need To Know | (1stpetvet.com)