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What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Puppies are delightful, playful, and cuddly creatures. However, if your little furry friend is suffering from diarrhea, it can be a cause for concern.

Diarrhea can be caused by different factors, including parasites, infections, food allergies, and stress. It is important to identify the cause of diarrhea as soon as possible and take the necessary steps to help your puppy feel better.

In this article, we will discuss what you can do when your puppy suffers from diarrhea, including home remedies and when to seek veterinary care.

What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

1. Assess the severity

What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

As pet owners, it can be a terrible experience to see our furry friends suffer from any health problems. One common issue that puppies often face is diarrhea. If this happens, it is essential to assess the severity of the situation.

Assessing the severity of diarrhea can help you determine the appropriate action to take. Here’s what you need to know:

Why Assessing Severity is Important?

Mild diarrhea can usually be managed at home. However, severe diarrhea may require immediate veterinary attention. Assessing the severity of diarrhea can help you determine if your puppy needs a vet visit or if you can manage their symptoms at home.

How to Assess Severity

To assess the severity of your puppy’s diarrhea, here are some things to look out for:

  • Frequency: Is your puppy having frequent bowel movements? If so, this may indicate a more severe case of diarrhea.
  • Consistency: Take a mental note of the consistency of your puppy’s stool. Is it watery, liquid, or a mucoid? The more liquid-like the stool is, the more severe the case of diarrhea may be.
  • Color: A normal puppy’s feces should be brown in color. Any abnormal colors (e.g., black or red) may indicate bleeding, and this should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately.
  • Other Symptoms: Are there other symptoms accompanying your puppy’s diarrhea, such as vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite? These symptoms may point towards a more severe cause of the diarrhea.
What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

2. Hydrate the puppy

One of the most crucial steps in managing a puppy’s diarrhea is to keep them hydrated.

Why Hydration is Important?

When a puppy has diarrhea, it can cause them to become dehydrated quickly. Dehydration can lead to more severe health problems, such as electrolyte imbalances and organ damage.

Hydration helps replace fluids lost through diarrhea and enables your puppy to recover more quickly.

How to Keep Your Puppy Hydrated

Here are some steps you can take to ensure your puppy stays hydrated:

  • Provide plenty of clean water: Ensure that your puppy has access to clean water at all times, and encourage them to drink more frequently.
  • Offer electrolyte solutions: Electrolyte solutions such as Pedialyte can help replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. Dilute it with water using a 50/50 ratio and offer it to your puppy using a syringe.
  • Ice cubes: Some puppies may be more interested in licking ice cubes than drinking water. Ice cubes can also have a soothing effect on your puppy’s inflamed GI tract.
  • Broth: Offer low-sodium chicken broth to your puppy, which will provide them with both hydration and some nutrients.
What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

3. Withhold food

When puppies suffer from diarrhea, it can be a distressing time for pet owners. Diarrhea can cause your puppy to feel uncomfortable, sick, and dehydrated.

To help your puppy recover faster, it’s essential to take the necessary steps. One of those steps is withholding food.

Why is Withholding Food Important?

When your puppy is dealing with diarrhea, giving them food can make the situation worse. Feeding fermented bacteria’s stomach contents will continue to feed the bad bacteria that are causing diarrhea.

It can also overstress the puppy’s digestive system, leading to additional problems such as gas and bloating. Withholding food gives the puppy’s digestive system time to heal and recover from the inflammation and irritation caused by diarrhea.

How to Withhold Food

The best way to withhold food from your puppy is through fasting. Fasting means withholding the puppy’s regular food for a specific period while still providing access to water, which can help prevent dehydration. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Length of Fasting Period: Fasting periods usually last for several hours, up to 48 hours. A fast of 12-24 hours is enough for most puppies to heal.
  • Water Consumption: Offer your puppy water throughout the fasting period to keep them hydrated.
  • Gradual Reintroduction: After the fast, you can reintroduce food gradually into your puppy’s diet. Start with small, easily digestible amounts of a bland diet such as boiled chicken and rice at first in small, more frequent meals throughout the day.
What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

4. Offer a bland diet

Dealing with your puppy’s diarrhea can be a tough time for everyone involved. One essential step in helping your puppy recover faster is by offering them a bland diet.

Why Offer a Bland Diet?

When your puppy is recovering from diarrhea, their digestive system is vulnerable and needs time to recover fully. A bland diet is one of the best foods you can offer to a puppy with diarrhea.

Bland food is easy to digest, gentle, and less likely to cause any stomach upset. It can also help restore the essential nutrients or vitamins that your puppy may have lost through diarrhea.

Types of Bland Foods To Offer

Here are some examples of bland foods that you can offer to your puppy:

  • Boiled Rice: Boiled rice is bland and gentle on the stomach, and easy to prepare. Offer cooked white rice in small portions and add a small amount of boiled skinless chicken breast to the meal for extra flavor.
  • Boiled Chicken: Simple, low-fat boiled chicken meat has high protein content and can help to give your puppy’s body the essential energy they need for recovery. You can mix boiled chicken meat with boiled rice for a more balanced meal.
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese contains protein that can help your puppy’s body to heal and recover from diarrhea. Offer plain cottage cheese without any added sugar or salt in small amounts.

When to Reintroduce Regular Food

It’s essential to reintroduce regular food back into your puppy’s diet gradually. Start by feeding small, bland meals of boiled chicken and rice for the first few days after your puppy recovers from diarrhea.

After that, gradually reintroduce your puppy’s regular diet over the course of several days, starting with small amounts. If your puppy’s diarrhea returns, revert to the bland diet and contact your vet.

What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

5. Gradually reintroduce regular food

If your puppy has recently recovered from diarrhea, it’s essential to reintroduce their regular food gradually. Here’s what you need to know:

Why Gradually Reintroduce Regular Food?

The aim of the bland diet is to help your puppy’s digestive system recover and heal from diarrhea. Gradually reintroducing regular food helps to avoid stressing the system.

Regular food may contain high amounts of fat, protein, and fiber that can cause the puppy’s digestive system to work harder than necessary.

It’s important to remember that the digestive system of a puppy is still developing and needs extra care and attention when dealing with underlying health issues.

How to Reintroduce Regular Food

Start by mixing a small amount of their regular food into the bland diet for a few days. Over time, you can gradually increase the amount of regular food until your puppy is once again eating their regular diet.

Here are some tips to help you reintroduce regular food to your puppy:

  • Monitor Their Stool: Observe your puppy’s bowel movements after each meal and keep a record of their firmness and frequency. This will help you ensure that your puppy’s digestive system is recovering well.
  • Avoid Treats and Table Food: Do not give your puppy any table food or treats during the reintroduction phase, as this can cause further problems with their digestive system.
  • Offer Small and Frequent Meals: Break meal portions into smaller meals, and offer them a few times a day instead of one big serving to help regulate their digestive system.
What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

6. Monitor the puppy’s stool

When treating your puppy’s diarrhea, monitoring their stool is a crucial aspect of their recovery process.

Why Monitor Your Puppy’s Stool?

Diarrhea can affect the digestive system of your puppy, and the presence of loose, watery, or bloody stool usually indicates a health problem.

By closely monitoring your puppy’s stool, you will quickly notice any changes, such as consistency or color, which will enable you to take specific steps to improve their condition.

How to Monitor Your Puppy’s Stool

When monitoring your puppy’s stool, pay attention to the following:

  • Frequency: The frequency of bowel movements can indicate the speed of recovery. If there is a significant increase or decrease in frequency, you should report it to your vet.
  • Consistency: Monitor the consistency of their stool to ensure they are no longer experiencing diarrhea. You can use the “Bristol Stool Chart” to help determine the consistency. Ideally, the stool should be soft but formed, with no visible mucus or blood.
  • Color: Check the color of the stool as it can indicate a digestive issue if there is any abnormal color, such as black or red.
  • Other Symptoms: Watch out for any other symptoms associated with stool changes, such as vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite.

What to Do with Your Observations

Based on your observations, you can adjust their diet and medication accordingly.

For example, if your puppy’s stool is still soft or watery, you may need to switch back to the bland diet or withhold food temporarily. If you notice any unusual colors in their stool, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately.

What To Do When Puppies Suffer From Diarrhea

7. Consider probiotics

When your puppy is battling diarrhea, you may be looking for ways to help them feel better faster. One option you may want to consider is probiotics.

Why Consider Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your puppy’s digestive system.

They also help to strengthen your puppy’s immune system, promoting overall health and well-being. Probiotics can be especially beneficial for puppies with diarrhea since their digestive system’s balance may have been disrupted.

How to Give Probiotics to Your Puppy

Here are some steps to consider when giving probiotics to your puppy:

  • Pick the Right Probiotic: There are numerous strains of probiotics, each with unique benefits. Talk to your veterinarian about which brand and strain is best suited for your puppy.
  • Follow Dosage Instructions: Always follow the dosage instructions provided on the probiotics packaging and consult with your vet before starting to administer them to your pet.
  • Add Probiotics to Food: Probiotics usually come in capsules or powders that can be easily added to your puppy’s food or water. Mixing the probiotics well into your puppy’s food will ensure that each scoop you offer the pup contains a sufficient amount of enzymes.
  • Avoid High Heat Temperature: Do not mix probiotics in any hot or high-temperature food or water, as heat may kill the good bacteria in the probiotics.

8. Consult with a veterinarian

Whether your puppy’s diarrhea is caused by a dietary change or an underlying medical condition, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Seeing the vet early on can help stop the problem from getting worse and reduce recovery time.

Reasons to See a Vet

Diarrhea in puppies is usually temporary and goes away quickly, but there are certain cases when it requires veterinary care. Here are some reasons that you should seek veterinary attention:

  • Persistent Diarrhea: If your puppy has diarrhea for more than three days, it could be indicative of an underlying health issue that needs further investigation.
  • The Presence of Blood or Mucus: Blood or mucus in your puppy’s stool may indicate an infection, colitis, poisoning, or parasitical disease. It is always recommended to take them to the vet if you notice any blood or mucus present in their stool.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: An unexplained decrease in weight can point to something more serious than simple diarrhea and should be addressed by a professional veterinarian immediately.
  • Lethargy: Combined with diarrhea, lethargy may suggest dehydration or other illnesses that require medical attention. Contact your vet if you notice any signs of fatigue along with diarrhea.

What Happens at Veterinarian Appointments?

At the appointment, your vet will perform a physical examination as well as run tests such as X-rays, urinalysis (through urine samples), fecal analysis (through fecal samples), and blood work.

Your vet may also ask questions about diet changes and any other symptoms observed throughout the episode of diarrhea to come up with an accurate diagnosis and effective plan of action for treating your pet’s condition.

9. Keep the puppy isolated

If your puppy is suffering from diarrhea, it is important to keep them isolated. Allowing other pets access to the area where you care for your sick pup could increase the risk of spreading infectious diseases and parasites.

Why Isolate the Puppy?

Isolating your puppy during an episode of diarrhea will help reduce the risk of contamination and prevent other pets in the house from catching it.

By isolating them, you will also be able to control their diet more easily and monitor their behavior better to identify any changes as they recover.

Where Should I Place My Isolated Puppy?

When isolating your sick puppy, select an area that’s easy to clean up and away from other animals in the house.

If possible, place them in an enclosed space like a crate or room with a child safety gate where they can rest without being disturbed and have access to fresh water at all times.

Sanitation Tips for Isolated Puppies

To maintain a healthy environment for your recovering pup:

  • Clean Up After Meals: Clean up spilled food or liquids after meals and sanitize any surface that comes in contact with them (including bowls or toys).
  • Change Bedding Regularly: Change bedding daily, or multiple times per day if needed. Wash bedding with hot water and soap, making sure not to leave any detergent residue behind.
  • Regularly Disinfect Surfaces: Disinfect areas that come into contact with your pet frequently such as floors and countertops using approved cleaning products like bleach solutions or hydrogen peroxide spray cleaners.

10. Clean up thoroughly

When caring for a puppy with diarrhea, it is important to maintain proper cleanliness and hygiene. Regularly cleaning up after your pup’s messes will help to reduce the risk of spreading germs and other infectious diseases.

Tips for Cleaning Up After Diarrhea

Here are some tips for keeping your pet safe and healthy when dealing with diarrhea:

  • Clean Accidentally Soiled Areas Immediately: Clean up any areas that your pup has soiled due to an accident or illness immediately with disinfectant solutions.
  • Dispose of Fecal Matter Properly: Make sure to dispose of solid stool immediately in an appropriate receptacle and wash hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Wash Your Pup’s Toys Regularly: Wash your pup’s toys regularly with soap and warm water as they may contain bacteria that can spread infection.
  • Sanitize Dog Bowls & Accessories: Sanitize dog bowls, beds, leashes, harnesses, etc. on a regular basis with recommended cleaning products like bleach solutions or hydrogen peroxide spray cleaners.

In Conclusion

Taking the proper precautions to prevent and reduce the spread of infection during a bout of diarrhea with your puppy is essential.

Isolation and proper cleanliness should be two top priorities when dealing with this issue so that other pets in your house stay safe and healthy.

Cleaning up after meals and accidents, disposing of fecal matter properly, washing toys, bedding, and accessories regularly, and sanitizing dog bowls are all important steps in maintaining a healthy environment for your pup.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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