There are several ways you can treat diarrhea in puppies, and for the occasional, mild bout of loose stools it's usually a pretty simple fix IF the problem is being caused by something simple....
......such as 'dietary indescretion' (ie your curious puppy has eaten something he shouldn't have), a sudden change in diet, or stress.
Severe diarrhea that is frequent, watery, foul-smelling or contains blood or mucus requires a much more proactive response and a professional, veterinary consultation - and should always be taken seriously.
It's very important to find out what's causing your pup to have an upset tummy, and the frequency, color, and consistency of the diarrhea can point you in the right direction.Before you decide on a course of treatment, I'd recommend check out my All About Puppy Diarrhea page so that you know what you're dealing with.
If your puppy has had a couple of loose stools (looking like soft, unformed 'piles' or a dollop of chocolate pudding) but doesn't seem to be feeling sick, or showing any other signs of illness, chances are it's being caused by something he's eaten, or stress.
Here are some simple steps you can take to treat this type of diarrhea at home. They should show results within 24 hours or so.
But, if your puppy starts to vomit, appears lethargic or shows any other symptoms of illness... or her stools haven't improved after 24 hours it's important to get her a veterinary exam right away.
You can't be too careful in this situation.
If a puppy's tummy is upset because of a dietary indiscretion,one of the quickest ways to help her feel better is to give her digestive system a rest.
You can achieve that by fasting her for a short period.
For a puppy of 16 weeks and up you can usually withhold food for 24 hours without too much trouble.
If your pup is only 8 - 16 weeks old you might want to give her a couple of plain, dry dog biscuits or a handful of plain, cooked, white rice before bed to prevent her vomiting from a build up of acid in her tummy.
Although she won't be getting fed, you need to make sure that your pup gets plenty of fresh water to drink.
Dehydration is the number one issue caused by diarrhea and is responsible for weakening a puppy's immune system and compounding the problem.
After the 24 hours is up, you can start by feeding your pup a small amount of plain, boiled, white rice with a little chicken broth added.
Adding a teaspoonful of canned pumpkin (not the pie filling variety) can also help to firm up the stools. Actually adding a little canned pumpkin to her food works well for a constipated puppy as well - interesting and useful to know!
If that is tolerate okay and the diarrhea is improving, then you can add a little plain boiled chicken to the rice for her next meal.
Over the following day or two, slowly reintroduce her usual puppy food by adding it to the chicken/rice mixture a little at a time.
If your puppy's diarrhea started because you suddenly changed from one food to another, next time remember to make the transition more slowly, gradually increasing the new food and decreasing the old over about a week.
For a little bit of extra help settling her tummy,you can give your pup liquid Pepto Bismol, 1/2 teaspoon per 10lbs of body weight, every 3 to 4 hours.
Don't expect your pup to lap this up though, you're going to need to use a small syringe or dropper to get it into her mouth! This is fine for puppies over 6 weeks old.Something else that is helpful in rebalancing your puppy's digestive system is to use a probiotic.
This will encourage the growth of 'good bacteria' in the gut, and can settle things down.
I'd recommend Nutramax Proviable Health Supplement Kit for Medium and Large Dogs it's also available for small dogs
Anytime that your puppy's diarrhea is frequent, watery, projectile and smelly you need to consider illness.
Puppy diarrhea of this kind is much more dangerous than the 'pudding stools' I talked about earlier on this page.
Moderate to severe diarrhea poses a very real threat to your puppy's health, and puts him at almost immediate risk of dehydration.
Getting enough fluids into her is VERY important if your pup has watery diarrhea and the first thing you need to do is get her drinking.
Plain, fresh water is good, but for repeated diarrhea it's even better if you can give her a rehydrating solution.
Pedialyte (which is designed for children with vomiting/diarrhea) can be found in most big grocery stores and pharmacies.
Give your pup this instead of water (the unflavored variety is the one that your pup is most likely to drink!). You can dilute it half-and-half with water, or give it full-strength if she'll drink it that way.
If your little one refuses to touch it even when diluted, try adding a little bit of flavoring such as chicken broth or the commercial 'dog food flavorings and gravies' that are sold in pet stores.
It's also good for puppies and dogs in very hot weather, or after vigorous exercise.
There are also a couple of really excellent all-natural products that you can use to help strengthen your puppy's immune system, eliminate toxins and fight infection....Vibactrais a natural antibiotic and Vibactra Plus also includes a herbal anti-parasitic.
I wouldn't recommend using these products as an alternative to mainstream veterinary care if your puppy has moderate to severe diarrhea, but for a mild case either of them can be very effective.
For Parvo itself, there's another all-natural, product called Parvaid. A blend of anti-microbials and herbs that fight the Parvo virus.
When a puppy is vomiting as well as having diarrhea the danger is multiplied, because any water she drinks is likely to be vomited back up before any is absorbed into her body. If your pup is in this situation she needs to get to a veterinarian immediately as she probably needs IV fluids.
Watery diarrhea that contains mucus or blood (either as streaks of red, or a dark brown/black tarry consistency) means that there's some serious inflammation.
Although some of the causes of this type of diarrhea aren't life threatening, this is no time to take a 'wait and see' attitude.
A puppy with repeated diarrhea like this (with or without vomiting), needs to be seen by a vet without delay. Even if there are no other signs of illness.
If in addition to the upset tummy she seems sad or depressed, is lethargic or totally disinterested in food, toys or treats, or has a fever, get her to a vet immediately.
If your puppy has severe diarrhea, with or without other signs of illness, you need to get her to your veterinarian for an exam.
Dehydration can set in very quickly and the worse the diarrhea and the younger the puppy, the more likely it is to quickly develop into something serious.
Usually your vet will take a stool sample to test for parasites and bacteria or viruses and give IV fluids to combat dehydration.
Once there's a diagnosis treatment can get started.
IV antibiotics are often given for Parvo, alongside continuing IV fluids and sometimes anti-nausea medications as well.
This is usually called 'supportive care' because as Parvo is a viral condition there is no 'cure', it's a case of supporting the puppy and trying to head off secondary infection until her immune system fights off the virus... if she can.
Giving your puppy Parvaid (if she can keep it down) is a good way to help her fight back.
For Coccidia your vet will likely prescribe the antibiotic Albon.
Giardia is generally treated with Metronidazole.
These medicines are usually effective, but they need to be given regularly and as your vet recommends.
Parasitic infections like these can be stubborn and often a puppy needs more than one round of treatment to get rid of the problem.