What To Do If Your Dog Has Diarrhea
A pug at the vet (Photo: Adobe Stock)
By Cat the Vet
Updated on April 11, 2019
Expert Content

It can be a worrying time as an owner if your dog has diarrhea.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s wellbeing, you should immediately call your local vet or the emergency vet to schedule an appointment.

While diarrhea may pass within hours or a couple of days, it can also be a sign that something is very wrong with your pooch.

It can be particularly alarming for people who have brought home a puppy, only to be confronted with a bout of explosive diarrhea.

Diarrhea is a sign that your puppy could be seriously ill, so you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your vet, especially if there is blood in its stool.

Cat the Vet will talk us through the potential causes of diarrhea in dogs and puppies, and the various treatments that can help resolve the situation.

We’ll break this article into the following sections:

• My new puppy has diarrhea
• Puppy Diarrhea Home Remedy
• Causes of Puppy With Diarrhea
• Parvovirus in Puppies Treatment
• Is Parvo fatal?
• What to feed dog with diarrhea?
• How long does diarrhea last?
• Anything else to consider?
• In conclusion

My new puppy has diarrhea

It can depend on the age of your dog. It’s really common for puppies to suffer from a bout of diarrhea. When people pick up a new puppy, they bring their little fluff ball home to a strange environment. The puppy can become stressed because it’s away from it’s mum and in a new place. They could also have picked up something from the mum. Worms could even have passed to the puppy from the mum in the womb. Not only are you bringing the puppy to a new environment, but you’re potentially giving it food that it’s not used to. So all of these factors can come into play. It’s common for puppies to get diarrhea, which often may not be anything serious. It could just be the stress the system is under.

Puppy Diarrhea Home Remedy

Yorkshire Terrier ready to go home (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Yorkshire Terrier ready to go home (Photo: Adobe Stock)

In situations where people bring home a new puppy for the first time, vets generally recommend trying to continue with the dog food that the breeder has been giving the puppy. Hopefully the breeder will give you some of the dog food and you can feed your pup with it for at least a week. This is provided it’s a good food! Hopefully if you continue with the same food, it should help to avoid your puppy from suffering from diarrhea. Sometimes people pick up their puppy and come straight to their vet for vaccinations. That can be stressful for the puppy as well. Generally, it’s better to give it a couple of days before you bring it to the vet so you’re not overloading the system.

Causes of Puppy With Diarrhea

Round worm are parasites that live freely in the intestine. They like to feed off of partially digested intestinal contents.

You want to make sure your puppy has been wormed. There are a few different worms that puppies can get. The most common is round worm, which vets can treat quite easily. It can cause problems if they’ve had a lot of them. It can make them unwell. There are different products available. Sometimes breeders will use products bought over the counter which isn’t as good.

Giardia is an intestinal infection that is caused by the parasite giardia, which is the most common intestinal parasite that is found in humans.

There are some illnesses that puppies can contract which are more nasty. You can get a parasite called Giardia. It can cause bloody poo as well as affect humans as well – so it’s important to be aware of! If a puppy has bloody poo, a vet will give them a wormer that covers them for that specific parasite. We say to people to be extra careful with their hand hygiene because some of these things can spread to people.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. It can cause intestinal problems and is potentially fatal.

The big one that puppy owners regularly hear about and will be frightened of is Parvovirus. Parvo is a really nasty virus. It can make a puppy very ill. They become really lethargic, depressed and they’ll usually have bloody diahrrea.

Generally, if a puppy comes in and it’s really bright and happy but it’s got runny poo, it wouldn’t be the first thing a vet might jump to. But it’s something you’ve got to keep in your mind. If a puppy isn’t vaccinated, it’s one of the key illnesses that vets vaccinate against. Sometimes they can pick it up before they’ve been vaccinated, so they don’t have any resistance to it.

Parvovirus in Puppies Treatment

If it’s present, a puppy will need some really intense treatment. They’ll go on a drip, potentially IV antibiotics. That’s one of the really serious ones. You can get an idea if it’s likely to be that depending on how they’re looking. You can check for it by taking a faecal sample. Thankfully, it’s not that common now. The problem is with more people importing puppies. It could make a come back. I’ve seen a few cases in the north and south of England in dogs that were imported from eastern Europe. It’s horrible.

Is Parvo fatal?

Once they get it, I haven’t seen many puppies actually survive. Thankfully, I haven’t seen any in the last year. It’s very upsetting for the owners. The puppy is so depressed and ill. Vets can give antibiotics if a puppy has Parvo, but that’s to protect against a second bacterial infection on top of it. All we can do is help their immune system, we can’t actually kill it. That’s why vaccination is so important, it’s in the vaccine and we can try to prevent it.

What to feed dog with diarrhea?

If it’s just a little bit [of diarrhea], you could wait a couple of days to see if it settles. You can just give them chicken and rice – or something bland – to see if their stomach settles. If you go into your vet, they should have some pre formulated food that’s very digestible. If the stool becomes bloody, the puppy is vomiting or their demeanour is depressed, that’s when you need to worry more.

How long does diarrhea last?

Generally a couple of days. If it’s an older dog, you don’t tend to worry so much. An older dog is less prone to getting an infectious problem. They generally have a good immune protection against it by then. With an older dog, it’s generally that they’ve picked up something that’s disagreed with them. In elderly dogs, it can be dietary. You could worry a bit more if it’s something else underlying. You’d expect to see other symptoms as well. It could relate to an internal problem with an organ or a cancer possibly.

Anything else to consider?

Some dogs can suffer from diarrhea if they’ve got an allergy to a certain type of food.

You may want to increase the fiber in their diet to firm up their stools.

If you opt for smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, it can help your dog to digest their food more easily.

However, we recommend contacting your local vet if you’re thinking about making a change to your dog’s diet.

In conclusion?

Golden Retriever is checked over by the vet (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Golden Retriever is checked over by the vet (Photo: Adobe Stock)

If your dog or puppy is suffering from diarrhea, it can be a worrying time for pet owners.

Especially if you own a young dog, diarrhea could be a indicator that your little pup is suffering from a serious illness.

Pup parents should be aware of the potential risks surrounding roundworm, giardia and parvovirus.

Sometimes feeding your dog or pup some bland food such as chicken and rice can help.

If you’re concerned about your dog or pup’s wellbeing, especially if you see blood in their stool, contact your vet immediately.