If you’ve had puppies, you’ve certainly come to realize that diarrhea in puppies is not an uncommon thing and the phrase “puppy diarrhea” was probably high on your Google search history. It can be scary to adopt a new puppy and then realize that there might be something wrong. So, how do you know when is diarrhea normal, when is it not, and when is it time to call the vet? We’re going to take a look at the answers to these questions, as well as 3 simple steps to natural puppy diarrhea treatment.
Why do puppies get diarrhea?
Before determining what the best possible solution is for your pup’s upset tummy, you need to figure out what’s causing it. Just as in human babies, any ailment comes with those worst-case scenario search results, no matter what the symptoms are. However, the vast majority of the time it comes down to a simple, treatable explanation. Here are some of the most common reasons why puppies get diarrhea:
When it comes to puppies or full-grown dogs, the number one cause of diarrhea is diet change. Sudden changes to your dog’s diet will almost always make them sick, even if it’s just one meal. You may have decided to switch to a different brand, a higher quality kibble, or maybe you just ran out of your usual dog food and have bought an alternative until you can get some more. Because your pup consumes the same food every day. Pups generally have more sensitive tummies than we do so quickly changing your dog’s diet can and will cause an upset stomach. A sudden change in diet alters your pup’s gastrointestinal bacteria which results in an upset stomach, diarrhea, and/or vomiting. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening if you’d like to change your puppy’s food? Change it slowly. Start by mixing just a handful into your pup’s kibble and gradually increase the amount until it’s half and half, then three quarters, and then the whole amount. Monitor your pup to make sure you’re not switching too much too quickly.
Have you slowly changed your pup’s diet over and they’re still having an upset stomach? This may be due to the fact that the food you’re trying to switch them over to has an ingredient that does not sit right with your pup’s tummy. Surprisingly, some of the most common food allergens are foods that you’d expect to be completely safe for your pup. These include chicken, beef, lamb, and rabbit as well as wheat, dairy, egg, and soy. There also may be a deficiency or excess of certain nutrients as well as too much fiber, which is common in inexpensive kibble. If you’ve switched your pup’s food and their upset stomach isn’t going away, take a look at the differences between your pup’s old food and the new one and see if you can spot the culprit. You may want to speak to your veterinarian about conducting an allergy test for your dog and ask for their suggestions for a suitable food that is unlikely to cause problems in the future.
Is your pup constantly picking things up off the floor? (I’d be very surprised if that answer was no). Have they gotten into the garbage? If your answer to either of those questions is yes, you may have found the culprit of your puppy’s diarrhea. Your pup may have ingested something that they weren’t supposed to. It will likely pass through and return to normal after a couple days of eating their regular food. However, if there’s any chance your puppy has consumed something poisonous or toxic, you need to make sure that you call your vet immediately or take them to a veterinary emergency center. We can never be too careful with our puppy’s sensitive tummies and ingesting something toxic or poisonous can have life-threating consequences.
Parasites or worms are another highly common cause of diarrhea in puppies as puppies are prone to them. This is partly due to the fact that intestinal worms like roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms are passed from a nursing mother to her puppies. This is the reason why it is highly recommended that your pup goes through multiple rounds of deworming when they come in for their initial and booster shots. If you suspect that your puppy might have worms, take them into the vet right away. In addition to the fact that parasites and worms can cause a serious risk to your puppy’s health if left undertreated, they can also be transferred to humans.
Puppies are more susceptible to bacterial infections than adult dogs are due to the fact that their immune systems are not fully developed yet. Bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and clostridium can all cause bloody diarrhea as well as vomiting and other serious symptoms. This is another instance where your puppy needs to be taken to the vet or an emergency center right away for immediate treatment.
This is certainly one of the worst-case scenarios but, unfortunately, not a completely uncommon one for unvaccinated or partly-vaccinated puppies. Parvovirus, coronavirus, and the distemper virus can be potentially fatal to your pup. All three of these viruses can cause diarrhea and need to be treated with immediate medical attention.
Stress or excitement
The last common cause of diarrhea in puppies is stress or excitement. Some puppies have been known to get diarrhea even from the excitement of going out for a walk. Being a puppy can be a stressful time as they have been taken away from their mother, brothers, and sisters and are constantly being exposed to new people, places, and experiences. If you notice that your puppy is having diarrhea after a new or different experience or after a time where they’ve gotten overly excited, this is likely just a phase that they need to grow out of over time.
Natural Puppy Diarrhea Treatment
Now that you’ve hopefully narrowed down what’s causing your puppy’s upset tummy, it’s time to apply some natural remedies to treat it. If you have not narrowed down what the exact issue is, consult your veterinarian before moving onto our next steps. Here is our simple three-step process for curing puppy diarrhea naturally.
Bland and binding foods
Usually, the first step for curing diarrhea in dogs would be fasting them for 6-12 hours which includes both food and water. However, puppies, especially those under five pounds, should not fast. So, we move onto the next step which is providing a diet of bland and binding foods for your pup. The number one most common food to give your pup for an upset stomach is a small amount of white rice and boiled, white meat chicken that contains no bones or skin. This is to be given to your pup until their stool returns to its normal consistency which should be no more than 24 hours. Instead of rice, you can also give your pup pure sweet potato or pure canned pumpkin.. Be sure that it’s not pumpkin pie filling but pure, real pureed pumpkin).
Probiotics and healthy bacteria
If you’re looking for a natural solution to adding healthy bacteria back into your pup’s system, trying mixing some yogurt into their food or treats if they won’t take it by itself. Depending on the size of your pup, you shouldn’t give them more than a 6oz container of yogurt per day. Giving your pup yogurt will not only help restore some balance in your pup’s upset stomach but help to firm up their stools. Giving your pup a probiotic such as NUSENTIA Probiotic Miracle Dog Probiotics for Dogs is another great, natural way to reduce diarrhea and loose stool as well as deliver a variety of other benefits. This particular probiotic is made in the USA and contains no animal products or by-products, fillers, flavoring, rice, gluten, or dairy.
It’s safe to use not only on puppies but adult and senior dogs, too, as well as kittens and cats. These Miracle Dog Probiotics by NUSENTIA contains six probiotic species that work together to aid in your pup’s overall gut health as well as improving any skin issues and coat quality. It can also boost the immune system and increase nutrient absorption. If you would also like to go with a preventative option, the Synacore Digestive Support Maintenance Formula for Dogs is a great place to start. This daily supplement contains both probiotics and prebiotics as well as enzymes and vitamins to help prevent these kinds of digestive issues and treat them if they do occur. It also includes other benefits such as promoting healthier skin and coat and stronger bones.
Over the counter treatments
There are over the counter treatments that you can purchase that are specifically designed to help your dog or puppy to ease up on their diarrhea that are perfectly safe and veterinary approved. One of these treatments is the Anti Diarrhea Liquid by Essential Pet. This liquid has been formulated by veterinarians and is safe for both full grown dogs and puppies. It contains high-quality ingredients, including kaolin and pectin, which help promote absorption of toxins.
While this product is not advertised as being fast-acting, it should relieve symptoms of diarrhea in your pup in two to three days. It’s also made in the USA using globally sourced ingredients. The Anti Diarrhea liquid can either be administered directly into your pups’ mouth or poured directly onto their food. There are many similar products available that work in the same way, including Nutri-Vet Wellness Anti-Diarrhea Liquid for Dogs and Remedy + Recovery Diarrhea Control for Dogs which also promotes the replacement of electrolytes and rehydration.
When should you call the vet?
If your puppy has diarrhea for more than 24 hours or their condition worsens, it’s best to consult a veterinarian right away. However, if you see more than just a small streak of blood in your pup’s stool or it is frequently vomiting, seems depressed or in pain, or if their stool is dark and tar like, call your vet immediately. You can never be too careful, especially when it comes to puppies who are susceptible to a mild illness going downhill very quickly. It is also important when your puppy has diarrhea to make sure that they are getting plenty of water. They may not always want to drink it but having clean, fresh water nearby where they can see and easily get to it is extremely important. It is incredibly easy for your puppy to get dehydrated in this situation which will lead to further illness. Keep in mind that if your puppy’s diarrhea is due to food intolerance, chances are the diarrhea is not going to go away on its own and you must stop feeding said food to your puppy immediately.
You can never be too careful when it comes to your pup’s health. After all, they truly are just babies and they completely rely upon us to take care of them. Although vet visits can be time-consuming and costly, it is always best to have your pup checked out in case it is something more serious or, at the very least, give your vet a call and ask them for their opinion before bringing them in. This is especially important if your puppy has not had all of its shots or its immune system is compromised because it can easily become sick. If your pup has mild to moderate diarrhea caused by stress, ingestion, or a change of food, the above steps should take care of the problem in a day or two. Always remember to consult with your vet if you’re in doubt, and keep that pup hydrated.
I grew up in a household that was filled with animals. I believe that my fate as a dog-loving person was sealed in early childhood since my parents owned several dogs of varying sizes and breeds. There was no choice but to take care of and learn about dog habits and the best animal care practices — otherwise, I’d be clueless about how to go about the creatures I was surrounded by day and night.
As a life-long puppy lover, I know a thing or two about dogs and how to go about caring for them in the best way possible. Although I’m not a professionally trained dog behaviorist, trainer, or veterinarian, all of my knowledge and experience with canines comes from a place of love and a deep-rooted passion for dogs and animals in general.
Seeing as dogs kept me company throughout every stage of my life, I decided to follow a different path in my academic life and obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Marketing Management and Digital Advertising, which ultimately allowed me to combine my professional training and personal experience by creating the ultimate dog lover’s resource website! Along with my husband, Dave, I run MySweetPuppy for like-minded dog lovers who want to have a single, clear, and reliable information source about anything and everything related to dogs and their well-being.