Wellness

13 min

What To Do When Your Puppy Has Diarrhea: Causes & Solutions

If your new puppy is experiencing diarrhea, you might be unsure of how to handle the problem. Here’s how to help your pet so they can be happy and healthy. 

Bridget Reed

Updated March 17, 2022 • Published August 30, 2021

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What To Do When Your Puppy Has Diarrhea: Causes & Solutions

There are a lot of exciting things about owning a new puppy. There are also some more difficult situations you’ll have to deal with as a pet parent. One of them is when your pet isn’t feeling well.

If you’ve noticed that your puppy has diarrhea, you might start to panic. After all, it’s upsetting to see your new pet feeling under the weather. But before you do that, Pawp encourages you to take a read and try to understand why your puppy might have diarrhea

Of course, there’s no substitute for consulting a vet if you’re concerned about your pet’s health. But it's important to be knowledgable about what your pup is experiencing and how you can help relieve their discomfort.

Learn why your puppy has diarrhea, what you can do to help, and how you can prevent it moving forward.

Why your puppy has diarrhea

First, let’s run through some reasons why your puppy might be suffering from diarrhea. While this is a relatively common problem to run into, there are some puppy diarrhea causes that are more serious than others. 

Keep in mind that even after reading, in order to confirm why your dog has diarrhea, you should speak to a trusted vet. At Pawp, the team knows how important it is for your vet to be accessible to you the moment you need them. And that’s why our vet team offers 24-hour, around-the-clock care for your pet.

If your puppy has diarrhea, there’s no reason to wait until your local vet’s office opens up the next day. Instead, talk to a vet through Pawp and get the answers you need and your pup deserves.

Infections and viruses

If your puppy has diarrhea, you should look into viruses and infections as potential causes. There’s a very simple reason for this. Your pup’s immune system isn’t entirely developed.

They typically do not have all of their vaccinations yet, either. In other words, they’re more vulnerable to certain illnesses than older dogs might be.

If one of these is the cause, you will probably also see other changes and symptoms. Some dogs get fevers; others become lethargic and have a loss of appetite. Whatever the case may be, these are dangerous illnesses. It’s best to treat them as soon as possible. 

Internal parasites

Internal parasites are also sometimes to blame for your dog’s diarrhea. Some of these include giardia or roundworms. These can be acquired from a pup’s mother right after birth. In addition, your puppy might have picked these up from infected water or even the ground while walking around outside. 

If you fear these are the culprit, you should reach out to your vet. Most of these are able to be treated with medication, but if you don’t treat them, there could be serious health repercussions. 

Stress or anxiety

If you recently got your puppy home and they were separated from their littermates and mother, they are likely experiencing stress. This can be intensified due to unexpected smells, sounds, new foods, schedules, or other pets in their home.

One way that you can help your pet is by providing them with a predictable, regular schedule. This should include feedings, exercise, and lots of love. 

Diet

Lastly, your puppy's diet might be why they are experiencing diarrhea.

Your dog’s digestive system is still developing at their young age, and a lot of times, puppies have sensitive bellies. They might even have a difficult time with a certain brand of food. Oftentimes, a quick dietary change could also be attributed to diarrhea.

You should also consider the possibility that your new dog might have allergies. These could potentially cause belly aches. You can reach out to a vet to get their opinion on the dog food that you’ve selected for your pet. If it’s not the right match, they can advise on some better dog foods. 

Keep in mind that your new puppy could have gotten a hold of something they weren’t supposed to. Puppies can be rather curious, and are apt to ingest something that seems fascinating to them. 

This can be dangerous if your pet accidentally eat something that’s toxic to dogs. Some items can cause internal blockages, and this can also be expensive.

This is why keeping a watchful eye on your dog is so important.

What to do when your puppy has diarrhea

If your puppy has diarrhea, the first thing that you should do is reach out to a trusted vet. The way to treat diarrhea depends on what has caused it, so it’s essential that you get to the bottom of that, first and foremost. 

In addition, you should also clarify that it’s not a more severe problem that you’re dealing with. Since some of these potential causes are more dangerous than others, getting help immediately can be the difference between your pet being OK and your puppy getting seriously hurt.

If it’s urgent and your vet isn’t open, or if you're looking for answers quickly, you can talk to a Pawp veterinarian no matter what time it is. Think of it as telehealth visits for your animal. 

How to help treat your puppy with diarrhea

Once your vet has determined the cause of your puppy's diarrhea, you can take an appropriate course of action.

For dogs that are dealing with parasites, you might need to give them medication. For others whose diarrhea was caused by diet, simple changes in food could help rectify the issue. 

Nevertheless, sometimes home care is appropriate for treating diarrhea. 

For example, if your pet is acting normally and their diarrhea has been occurring for under three days, and it looks pudding-like, you can probably treat your pet’s illness at home.

Give lots of water

One way to ensure that your dog doesn’t get dehydrated — which is extremely easy for a dog with diarrhea — is to offer them some ice cubes. Diarrhea can remove a large amount of fluid and electrolytes from your puppy’s body, so you should be sure to replenish that. You could even offer them Pedialyte or Gatorade that’s half diluted with water. 

Feed your puppy a bland diet

Keeping a bland diet for the next few days is a good way to ensure that your dog’s belly has a chance to go back to normal. You can give them some plain food, such as white rice or soft macaroni in a no-salt chicken broth. You can even stir some low-fat cottage cheese or plain yogurt into the mix. 

Withhold food

You can withhold food from your puppy for a maximum of 12 hours if they are between 6 months and one year of age. This is to give your dog’s gut an opportunity to rest in hopes that the irritation could potentially heal in this time. It’s essential that you don’t do this for more than 12 hours, though. In addition, you should always ensure that your dog has water. 

Withholding food for puppies between 0-6 months old is not recommended.

A tip from Pawp veterinarian

When discussing the causes of puppy diarrhea, Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson has this important note, “Diarrhea is never normal for a puppy, just like it is never normal for us. There are many causes for diarrhea in puppies, but... If you are worried about your puppy’s bowel movements, then we advise making an appointment with your veterinarian. If in doubt, it is always worth a visit to your veterinarian, especially if your dog is also exhibiting other symptoms such as vomiting, not eating, or acting lethargic.”

How to prevent your puppy from getting diarrhea

Unfortunately, there sometimes isn’t a way to prevent your puppy from getting diarrhea. Sometimes it’s a result of an external factor, like something they ate or picked up from the world beyond your home. Other times, you can work to ensure it doesn’t happen.

The best way to help prevent diarrhea is to give your puppy balanced food and provide them with exercise on the regular. You should transition your pet to a new diet slowly, especially when puppies are very young. 

You can also look into the fact your dog might be getting spoiled food in the garbage can, so be mindful of that. You should also never give your dog any human foods that are toxic, and be sure to be attentive to vaccinations your puppy might need. 

A stress-free, clean environment is also key to your dog’s health. You should be sure that you’re providing your dog with that. In addition, a regular schedule could help ensure that your dog isn’t nervous and stressed. 

Your puppy will feel better soon

Your puppy feeling sick can be extremely anxiety-inducing, but we hope that this guide will help you know how to handle this situation next time it arises. Remember: reach out to a vet, don’t panic, and your puppy will be on the road to recovery soon.

PUPPY DIARRHEA SOURCES: 

What to Do if Your Puppy Has Diarrhea | The Spruce Pets

Signs Your Dog is Stressed and How to Relieve It | VCA

Bland Diets for Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide | The Spruce Pets

Puppy Schedule: Daily Routine for New Puppies | AKC 

​​Diarrhea in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital vcahospitals.com 

Is Pepto-Bismol Safe for Dogs (Along with Other OTC Medications)? | AKC

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