Puppy Diarrhea – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Diarrhea in puppies is very common.

In the majority of the cases, diarrhea is nothing. But there are some severe consequences as well, depending on the cause. So be sure to contact your vet if you’re seeing soft or watery stools for more than a day.

In this article, we take a look at pretty much everything about diarrhea in puppies. Below are the topics that are covered.



The first and foremost sign you’ll come across is the stool (duh!).

If it is not the usual solid form and looks soft or watery, then you can consider it as diarrhea.

If this is the case for just a day, then there is nothing to worry about. But if it continues to last for a few more days, then the problem might be bigger than you anticipated.

There are other symptoms as well.

Your active puppy will look very dull. There will be a loss of appetite and severe dehydration. It is very important to make sure your puppy is dehydrated if he is suffering from diarrhea.

Diarrhea is nothing to worry about but can also be deadly in some cases. Either way, please be certain to take care of it as it can suck the livelihood out of your young friend.

My Puppy Has Diarrhea – What causes it?

I’ve been following my vet’s advice to the point, why does my puppy have diarrhea?

This is a common question among many people. It is okay because they have taken good care, and their pet’s sudden illness would make them feel bad.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#0e76bc” txt_color=”#ffffff”]If your puppy’s stool is black in color or contains blood/mucus, immediately contact your vet and start the treatment. Do not delay![/mks_pullquote]But the truth is there is nothing you can do about it.

Every puppy will have an episode of diarrhea no matter what. There are a number of reasons for that. Let us take a look at them for better understanding.

Change in Diet

Puppies usually stay with their families for a few weeks. During this stay, they have gotten used to a particular diet. It might be homemade food in the breeder’s place or puppy food from the shop.

Now that you have brought your pet to his new home, his food habits will undergo a change.

There will be this new diet that you think is safe for your puppy (of course, it is). This change can play with your puppy’s stomach.

The good news is this is the simplest situation to deal with.

All you have to do is to know what the puppy was given until that point and switch back to his old diet. If you are interested in changing his diet, then you will have to do it slowly.

Mix small amounts of the food you prefer with his old meal. Increase the amount gradually and see how his tummy reacts. When things look good, you can completely make the switch to his new diet.

Puppies are also allergic to certain foods. In case of diarrhea, also be sure to check if the food you are giving him is okay.

Foreign objects

Your house is filled with objects that your puppy shouldn’t take into his mouth.

But the very first thing he’ll do is just that. That’s his nature, and we can’t blame him.

Your puppy might try to eat papers on the floor, the dirt in your place, might sneak up on your garbage and other places as well. Most of the things are either not edible or even poisonous for a puppy’s health.

These things he takes in can upset his stomach. This will result in mild diarrhea that is mainly characterized by a soft stool. It isn’t the usual solid poo and also isn’t that watery as well.


Stress is easily one of the main reasons for diarrhea in puppies.

The feeling of leaving his family and going to a new home can cause stress in puppies. Everything the puppy knows till then changes.

People around him are no longer the same. He misses his mother and siblings. There is no one of his kind to play with him (unless you have other dogs in the house). If we were in his position, we would be very depressed.

If stress is the primary reason for the soft stools you are witnessing, then it is not a big problem. Make the puppy feel at home. Embrace him, nurture him and play with him like you always do. Diarrhea will subside after a couple of days.

Worms and Parasites

There are different kinds of worms in a puppy’s intestinal tract. They are present right from birth or acquired. The most common culprits here are the tapeworm, whipworm, and roundworm.

Diarrhea caused by worms can be easily treated with the help of a veterinarian. While the treatment is happening, be sure to give enough water to your puppy.

Next stop, parasites.

Every puppy has some amount of Coccidia present in its stomach. Their presence is made useless by a healthy immune system.

When the immune system goes down, these parasites take charge. The infection of this type usually leads to watery diarrhea (often accompanied by a foul smell) and can only be taken care of by the vet.

There is another protozoan parasite called Giardia. The infection and results are very similar to the parasite above-mentioned. The treatment, however, is different.

If you suspect that these might be the usual suspects, then take them immediately to your vet.

Kinds of Diarrhea in Puppies

You can classify diarrhea in puppies into three categories – mild, medium and severe.


Mild diarrhea is the simplest of them all.

It doesn’t stay for a long period and usually subsides after 24 hours.

The main reason for mild diarrhea in a puppy could be stress or change of diet or even an allergy.  The mild form of diarrhea has a soft or pudding-like stool as the result. This is nothing to panic about. Make sure your puppy is dehydrated and keep water near him all the time.

Medium and Severe

These two are more complicated and sometimes lead to deadly consequences.

They are caused by stress, worms, parasites and even viruses.

The diarrhea is very watery and sometimes might contain mucus or blood stains. If worms are the main reason, diarrhea might be accompanied by vomiting as well. This is serious, and you should take immediate actions.

Call your vet and fix an appointment. Make sure your pet drinks a lot of water. Since the stool is watery, it can take a lot of water out. If possible even mix small portions of an energy drink like Gatorade in your puppies’ water.

Here there is no case of a natural cure. The infection can only be treated upon by a veterinarian.

Puppy Diarrhea Treatment

Trying to treat your puppy’s diarrhea is a good thing if the problem is small. But be sure to check with your vet even if you think you have treated the problem right.

For severe cases, we recommend going to the vet right away. You can’t treat viral or bacterial infections with home remedies.

For Mild Diarrhea

If the diarrhea is soft like we have described earlier, stop giving your puppy any food for 12 hours. Extend it to 24 hours if the symptoms persist. Consult your vet about this period and get his nod before you go any further.

The idea is to stop any food from messing with the puppy, again. This will give ample time to heal the irritation in his stomach and make things better for your pet.

If your puppy is less than 7 weeks old, then don’t fast him. Prepare a bland diet like cooked white rice for very young puppies. Mix some vegetable broth if he finds the taste too bland.

Feed him lots of water and keep him hydrated. A dehydrated puppy will look very dull and inactive. You don’t want that. Since you are not providing him food, make sure he gets a lot of H2O.

You can also mix drinks like Pedialyte and Gatorade in the ratio of 50:50 with water. This is helpful in the cases when a puppy doesn’t want to drink water. The new taste can help. You can also give some ice cubes if he fancies that better.

For Medium and Severe Diarrhea

Everything that was mentioned in the treating mild diarrhea section applies here as well. It is the right way to start the treatment for any kind of diarrhea.

The only difference is, here the problem is more serious. Simple home remedies might not help in thoroughly treating the problem. A visit to the vet is a necessity and do not skip this part.

The vet will take a stool sample to find if there is any parasitic or viral infection. If that is the case, then he or she will prescribe the medicine to calm the storm.

There are over-the-counter solutions like Immodium AD, Pepto-Bismol, and Kaopectate. They can be effective in the case of a mild or a medium diarrhea but in the event of a severe diarrhea, it is always better to seek a help of a veterinarian.

Preventing diarrhea is not something you can always achieve. It is a mandatory event in a dog’s life. But treating it the right way is in your hands.

Be wary of the kind of diarrhea that hit your puppy and take the necessary steps. Remember to get the advice of your vet regardless of what type it is.

Did your puppy have diarrhea? How did it go? Share your story with us in the comment section below. Also, share this with your friends so that they can know what to do when their puppies get diarrhea.

Featured photo credit: agencyby/depositphotos