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5 Causes of Puppy Diarrhea

5 Causes of Puppy Diarrhea

Although diarrhea is a common problem in puppies and dogs, it can still be worrisome for pet owners. There are many different diseases and health problems that can cause puppy diarrhea, as well as different types of diarrhea in puppies. Pets can have two different types of soft stools--chronic diarrhea and acute diarrhea. Most cases of diarrhea in puppies are acute incidents. The key is to find the root of the issue and resolve it quickly.

Some common causes of puppy diarrhea include parasites, changes in diet, stress, bacterial or viral infections, and ingestion of a foreign object. Other causes can include antibiotic use, tumors, and conditions such as pancreatitis.

What Causes Diarrhea in Puppies?

1.  Parasites

There are a wide variety of intestinal parasites that can cause diarrhea in puppies, including giardia, coccidia, and worms. Some puppies may be born with parasites, or they may pick them up from their environment. In addition to diarrhea, parasites often cause vomiting, bloody stools, and fatigue. Puppies with parasites should be evaluated by a veterinarian, as they can cause serious issues.

2.  Changes in Diet or Food Intolerance

Sometimes puppy diarrhea is caused by a simple change in diet. Puppies need time to adjust to a new brand of food, and they may experience loose stools during the transition. If you’re transitioning your puppy to a new food, make sure you slowly introduce the new food into your dog's diets and mix the old food with the new if possible. Additionally, some puppies have an intolerance to certain foods and ingredients.

3.  Stress

In some cases, diarrhea in puppies is caused by stress. Life can be stressful for new puppies. They are trying to adjust to a new home, new people, new food, new rules, and house training. It’s important that you’re patient with your puppy and give him time to adjust to his new home and new routine. There are also a variety of solutions that can help with anxiety and promote calmness in pets.

4.  Bacterial and Viral Infections

Bacterial and viral infections can become serious issues in puppies. These infections include parvovirus, distemper, coronavirus, salmonella, and E. coli. In many instances, these infections also cause fevers, vomiting, and a loss of appetite. Because bacterial and viral infections can be deadly, it is best to consult your veterinarian for treatment.

5.  Ingestion of Table Food or a Foreign Object

Puppies are curious little animals, and who can blame them? The world is an exciting place for a puppy. Similar to a young baby, puppies learn and explore by putting things in their mouths and giving them a taste. This can cause puppies to eat things that they shouldn’t, like garbage, poisonous plants, and table food. Ingesting table food or foreign objects (otherwise known as dietary indiscretion) can upset a puppy’s tummy and cause diarrhea. If you think your puppy might have swallowed a foreign object, it’s best to have your veterinarian check it out as sometimes objects cause blockages in the GI tract.

Puppy Diarrhea Treatment

Treating puppy diarrhea will vary depending on the cause of diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by a change in diet or stress should resolve on its own. Puppies with parasites will probably need an antiparasitic, while a bacterial or viral infection may require an antibiotic.

To help soothe the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system, vets commonly recommend feeding dogs a bland diet of white rice and boiled chicken breast. When your dog's bowel movements start returning back to normal, then you can slowly transition to his normal food.

Visit Your Veterinarian

Diarrhea can be deadly in some cases, and you won’t be able to resolve all issues on your own. If you’re unsure if your puppy’s diarrhea is serious, Thomas Labs® always recommends that you call your vet, explain your puppy’s symptoms, and see what they think.

If your puppy’s diarrhea is not resolving, is streaked with blood, or is accompanied by vomiting or a fever, consult your veterinarian immediately. If the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours, you should also call your vet. Your pet’s veterinarian will be able to rule out common causes of puppy diarrhea through different tests, such as fecal tests and blood tests.

Hydration Is Important

Diarrhea can become a serious problem if it starts to cause dehydration in dogs. It’s important to be familiar with the common signs of dehydration in dogs and know the proper steps on how to treat dehydration. If your puppy has diarrhea, it’s crucial to keep him hydrated. A dehydrated puppy can quickly turn into a fatal situation.

Offering an electrolyte replacement supplement can help keep your puppy hydrated during episodes of diarrhea. HydrADE from Thomas Pet helps support normal hydration and encourages water consumption in puppies under stress or during times of fluid loss due to occasional diarrhea. It provides energy sources, Amino Acids, Dextrose, and Electrolytes to support hydration levels when puppies need it most.

If your puppy has diarrhea, the key is to get to the bottom of the issue as soon as possible. Remember to ensure your puppy is staying hydrated while you work on finding the cause of the puppy diarrhea and resolving the issue!


The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

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