How to Deal With Puppy Diarrhea
People who have puppies will sooner or later have to deal with puppy diarrhea. Diarrhea is the abnormal and often frequent passage of loose stools. It might be a scary experience, depending on how loose your puppy's stool is and how frequently your puppy is moving its bowels. There is no need to panic. Diarrhea is a symptom of a number of medical factors, some of which are temporary and most of which are successfully treatable. Know what to look for to better identify the cause of your puppy's diarrhea.
When dealing with puppy diarrhea, the first thing to do is to examine the diarrhea's characteristics. You can make educated guesses about what is causing your puppy to have loose bowel movements by taking note of the diarrhea's color, consistency, smell and frequency. Based on your findings, you might decide to try to treat the puppy diarrhea with a bland diet before resorting to taking it to the veterinarian. Keep in mind that no matter what is causing your puppy's diarrhea, if it continues for more than 24 hours or worsens in any way, you must consult a veterinarian to ensure your puppy is treated.
Characteristics of Puppy Diarrhea
- Yellow or greenish stool is an indicator of bowel hypermotility. When food passes through the bowel too quickly it passes in liquid form. It is the most common cause of diarrhea in puppies and adult dogs.
- Black, tarry stool is an indicator that your puppy's upper intestinal tract is bleeding. Collect a stool sample and take it and your puppy to the vet.
- Bloody stool indicates that your puppy's lower intestinal tract is bleeding. Collect a stool sample and take it and your puppy to the vet.
- Light-colored stool indicates that there is a lack of bile.
- Gray stool indicates improper digestion. This type of diarrhea often smells rancid.
- Watery stool indicates that there is an extreme case of bowel hypermotility and that the bowel's wall is irritated. It might smell like sour milk.
- Foamy stool indicates that your puppy is suffering from a bacterial infection and will require antibiotics to treat it. It will likely smell putrid.
- Greasy stool indicates malabsorption of food. It will likely smell like sour milk.
Causes of Puppy Diarrhea
Causes of puppy diarrhea due to hypermotility, where the puppy's bowel lining becomes irritated, may be a result of something as simple as a sudden change in diet. Ideally, when changing your puppy's food to a different brand, you have to mix the two for at least one week, mixing a little of the new food into the old brand and increasing the amount until you eliminate the old brand completely. Doing so helps prevent the onset of diarrhea in your puppy by getting its digestive system used to the new brand.
Drinking water out of the toilet or an outdoor source, such as from a puddle or a fire hydrant, may cause your puppy to get diarrhea. The water may be contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli or Leptospirosis. Always carry water with you when traveling long distances with your puppy, and be vigilant about the water sources to which your puppy has access.
Puppies are excitable, and if they become extremely excited or stressed, their hormones might cause bowel hypermotility and lead to puppy diarrhea.
Puppies are also mischievous. Therefore, puppy diarrhea may be a result of your puppy has eaten something it shouldn't have eaten, including decaying animal parts, garbage, grass, and insects. Puppies exhibiting severe diarrhea and vomiting may have ingested something toxic, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical intervention.
Your puppy may be allergic to its food, leading to food malabsorption caused by an inflamed bowel wall. You will need to work with your veterinarian to determine the allergens causing your puppy distress and look into hypoallergenic diet plans.
Intestinal parasites are a huge cause of puppy diarrhea. These parasites include roundworms, hookworms and whipworms, which are visible in your puppy's loose stool. You must take your puppy to the vet immediately so your vet can deworm the puppy and treat it with the appropriate medication.
Your puppy may have diarrhea because of serious infections, including parvovirus, infectious hepatitis, Leptospirosis and E. coli. Your puppy requires immediate medical attention so that your veterinarian may do blood work and properly identify the infection and determine the necessary treatment.
Treating Puppy Diarrhea
Once you examine diarrhea's characteristics, note its frequency and attempt to determine the cause, you may attempt to treat it at home. Ideally, you should call your veterinarian and discuss with him or her your puppy's condition and the course of action you plan on following.
Withhold all food for 24 hours for puppies that are 8 weeks or older. Withhold all food for no more than 12 hours if they are younger than 8 weeks, or their blood sugar will drop to dangerously low levels. To prevent your puppy from becoming dehydrated, make sure to give it small amounts of ice water often throughout the day. Drinking more than ¼ cup at a time may make your puppy move its bowels again. Speak to your puppy's veterinarian first before giving it anything intended for human consumption, such as Pedialyte.
After the 24-hour period, if your puppy's diarrhea has improved or gone away, start him on a bland diet or boiled chicken and cooked rice (no salt or oil). Give your puppy small amounts of food at a time, splitting it into six meals throughout the day so its stomach gets used to it. Your puppy's stool will start to firm up if it is responding well to the bland diet. Once your puppy's stool is normal again, begin adding a small amount of his regular food into the chicken and rice. Start increasing the ratio of dog food to bland food throughout a seven-day period until your puppy is back on its dog food only.
Remember that if in 24 hours, your puppy still has diarrhea, or if within the first 24 hours the severity and frequency increase, you must take it to a veterinarian immediately, and don't forget to take a stool sample with you.