Common Causes Of Puppy Diarrhea

Those of us with puppies or kittens would have experienced at least one episode of diarrhea. Mild diarrhea usually resolves with lots of fluids, rest and a bland diet. If your pup suddenly develops watery bloody stools, seek immediate veterinary care. Young animals can  become dehydrated and very ill in a matter of hours.


THE stressED OUT PUP – give him a break

Your new puppies and kittens are going through a certain amount of stress. They are removed from their families and taken to a completely new environment, surrounded by new people, new scents, new sounds, new sights.

Reduce your new pup’s stress by holding off visits from excited family members & friends. No matter how cute he is!

Just like in humans, stress can weaken the immune system and cause diarrhea in animals. Help your puppy or kitten settle in well by reducing stressful encounters.

  • Bring back a familiar object if possible (e.g. toy, towel or bowl your pup has been using).
  • Provide a quiet cosy area for rest.
  • Monitor the amount of handling by family members, especially children who may rough-handle puppies unintentionally.
  • Hold off visits by excited family members and friends. Your pup should get familiar with your immediate family first.

the pampered pooch – TOO MUCH NEW FOOD and treats

A sudden change in diet can cause diarrhea, even when you are switching to a higher quality diet. Always find out what food your new puppy has been eating and have enough supply for a gradual 2-week switch if you intend to change his diet.

Avoid feeding too much treats – don’t fall for those puppy eyes!

Start by adding just a small amount of new food to his current diet. Over 2 weeks, gradually increase the amount of new food while decreasing the amount of original food until the switch is complete.

THE nosy SCAVENGER – don’t eat that!

Puppies love to explore the world. Like human babies, they put anything and everything into their mouths. Puppy proof your home to keep your curious buddy safe.

Bentley was down with diarrhea but looking bright as a lark. His family suspected he ate something from the garden.

  • Do not leave anything on the floor you don’t want your pup to chew on. Dogs have been brought to the vets after swallowing objects like coins, jewellery, clips, rubber bands.
  • Keep all medication out of pup’s reach.
  • Keep garbage and human food out of pup’s reach, especially those that are toxic for dogs (e.g. chocolate, coffee, tea, onions, grapes, raisins, avocado, alcohol, chicken bones.)
  • Always supervise your pup in the garden.
  • Learn to identify and remove toxic plants.
  • Keep fertilisers, detergents, insecticides, paint and oil out of pup’s reach.
  • Check your garden for hazardous objects like glass, nails, plastic pieces.

If your pet swallows a foreign object or toxic food, take him to the vet immediately. Click here for a list of foods our dogs should not eat.

the unlucky one – worms and other parasites

Your puppies may be infected with intestinal parasites from the environment or their infected mothers. Maintain good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of parasites to other pets and family members. Remove any faeces immediately. Wash and disinfect your hands after handling your pup.

Baby Max is feeling lethargic because he is infected with the intestinal parasite giardia

Faecal examinations are done to determine the type of parasites present and the appropriate dewormer or medication given. Common organisms causing diarrhea in puppies are:

  • “Non-worm” protozoan parasites: giardia and coccidia
    Like many other intestinal parasites, dogs get infected by ingesting faeces from infected animals or faeces-contaminated water. Puppies from crowded puppy mills or pet shops commonly carry the giardia parasite.
  • Intestinal worms: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms
    Some worms and eggs can be seen in the faeces – tapeworms look like specks of rice and roundworms look like strands of spaghetti. Have your puppy dewormed promptly and speak with your vet about a proper deworming schedule.

Puppies with heavy-load of worms look bloated with a swollen abdomen.

the very sick pup – viral infections

Diarrhea is a common symptom of several canine viral infections including the highly contagious parvovirus. The virus is is transmitted by contact with infected dogs or contaminated faeces. It invades the lining of the intestines, affecting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and causes foul-smelling bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Young animals quickly become severely dehydrated.

Viral diseases like parvovirus is often fatal in infected puppies. They should be treated by a vet immediately.

Most puppies infected with parvovirus require hospitalisation. Treatment is focused on preventing secondary bacterial infections and providing supportive care (e.g. intravenous fluids and medications to control vomiting and pain).  Speak with your vet about vaccinations to protect your puppy against parvovirus.

If your pet is having severe and bloody diarrhea, seek veterinary care immediately. For after hours emergency, take your pet to Mount Pleasant After Hours & Emergency Clinic at 232 Whitley Road S297824. Telephone 6250 8333.