As a pet parent, it's important to be prepared for the occasional bout of diarrhea. Diarrhea in puppies can be caused
by stress, viruses, parasites, or changes in diet or lifestyle. While mild cases can often be treated at home, more
severe cases may require veterinary attention. It's essential to be aware of the causes and potential risks of
diarrhea in dogs, so you can take appropriate action to keep your furry friend healthy and
Main causes of puppy diarrhea
There are various reasons why a puppy may experience diarrhea, some of which may be more severe than others. To prevent diarrhea in dogs, it's important to look at the most frequent causes of this issue.
Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites are a common cause of diarrhea in young puppies. These parasites can include worms, protozoa, and coccidia, which can only be seen under a microscope. Even if the worms themselves are not visible, their eggs may be present in the stool. Because of this, a fecal examination is usually one of the first tests a veterinarian will perform.
Puppies are particularly susceptible to GI parasites, which can drain nutrients and cause symptoms such as slow growth, poor-quality coat, pot-bellied appearance, diarrhea, and vomiting. As dogs age, they tend to develop some natural resistance to these parasites.
When trying to determine the cause of diarrhea in your furry friend, consider any unusual foods or treats that they may have consumed in the days leading up to the onset of symptoms. This can include changes in their regular diet, new treats, or human foods given to them. Introducing new foods or ingredients can lead to gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. Additionally, certain foods such as those that are high in fat or toxic to dogs can be particularly dangerous. Dogs may also develop allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients in their diet.
Eating Something Dangerous
When evaluating the potential causes of diarrhea, it's important to consider more than just your dog’s diet. Puppies often explore their environment using their mouths and may ingest a variety of toxins or foreign bodies that can lead to diarrhea. This can include things like pesticides, toxic flowers, pieces of plastic, or items from overturned garbage bins. As puppies tend to be curious and active, it's important to be aware of the potential for exposure to these types of toxins both inside and outside of your home.
Gastrointestinal bacterial infections are a common cause of diarrhea in dogs, often resulting from the consumption of contaminated food or water. These infections can be caused by various bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, Clostridium, and E. coli, among others. These infections can lead to diarrhea and other symptoms.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral infection that is a common cause of diarrhea in puppies. This virus can be spread through direct contact with other dogs, contact with contaminated feces, environments, or people. It is often fatal if not treated properly. Other viral infections that can lead to diarrhea include Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Adenovirus-1, and Canine Coronavirus (not the same as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19).
In addition to more serious causes, even stress can cause diarrhea in dogs. Dogs thrive on routine, so it's important to maintain a consistent schedule and make any necessary changes gradually to minimize stress on their delicate digestive system.
The causes of diarrhea in dogs can vary. The aforementioned causes are among the most common. The good news is that if the diarrhea is caused by stress or unusual food consumption, it will likely resolve within 24 to 48 hours. However, it's important to consult with a veterinarian if diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours or if there are other concerning symptoms present.
The Dangers of Puppy Diarrhea
It's important to remember that puppies are small and have limited reserves to help them through health issues. Diarrhea, particularly when combined with vomiting or loss of appetite, can cause a rapid decline in their condition. Knowing how to respond to a puppy with diarrhea is crucial.
If your puppy has any of the following risk factors, seek immediate veterinary care or contact an emergency on-call veterinarian:
• Being young (under 4 months of age)
• Being a toy breed
• Vomiting in addition to diarrhea
• Bloody diarrhea
• Abdominal pain
• Poor appetite
• Pale or tacky gums, indicating dehydration, anemia, or shock
• Watery diarrhea lasting for more than a day
It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your furry friend.
Deciding Whether to Go to the Veterinarian
If your dog has diarrhea, it is important to contact your veterinarian for guidance on how to treat it. Puppies may require different dosages of medication than adult dogs, and your vet can advise on appropriate treatment options. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Treatments for acute diarrhea may include fluid therapy to prevent dehydration, medications to slow bowel movements and manage vomiting, antibiotics to fight bacterial infections, and close monitoring for severely ill dogs. Your vet may also run tests to determine the cause of diarrhea, such as checking for parasites or the presence of parvovirus.
What to Do When Puppy Diarrhea Happens
When visiting the vet for your puppy's diarrhea, it is helpful to bring a stool sample. Collect some of the diarrhea in a sealed plastic bag or container, and include any other relevant evidence such as a chewed piece of plastic. It is best not to bathe your puppy prior to the visit, but you can use a dry towel to clean them up.
If your vet recommends home treatment for your puppy's diarrhea, it is important to follow their specific instructions. Some ways to help a puppy with diarrhea include:
- Encouraging them to drink water by providing access to fresh water at all times, and making it more appealing by adding low-sodium bouillon or liquid from canned tuna.
- Feeding them bland food or a prescription diet for intestinal issues recommended by your vet. Gradually transition back to their regular diet once diarrhea has resolved. Make sure that your regular diet is not the cause of diarrhea, otherwise, the same problem will renew. I recommend choosing high-quality food that is easily digestible, hypoallergenic, and provides the pet’s body with all essential nutrients. This food also contains Microzeogen, an element helping to remove toxins from the body.
- Keeping them clean. If your pup has smudged itself with liquid feces, wash it with natural skin and coat care products. Feces can contain bacteria or parasites, so it's important to remove them from your pet's fur and maintain good hygiene. Grooming tools can also help you to keep the fur clean. After bathing, comb the coat well to check for fecal remains and wash the fur again if there are any.
- Ask your vet if supplements or medications, such as canned pumpkin, Microzeogen powder, kaolin-pectin, or probiotics can be given.