There are several puppy diarrhea treatment options and which route you choose depends on the type, duration, severity and cause of the diarrhea.
The occasional, mild bout of loose stools is usually a pretty simple fix... IF the problem is being caused by something simple.
But more serious, or chronic, diarrhea in puppies and dogs needs veterinary help to avoid dehydration and find/treat the root of the problem.
In order to make sure the diarrhea treatment you give your puppy is the right one, it's very important to first find out what's causing the problem.
The frequency, color, and consistency of little Fidos' diarrhea can point you in the right direction and before you decide on a course of treatment I'd recommend checking out my All About Puppy Diarrhea page so that you know what you're dealing with!
Use these links to jump directly to the info. you're looking for, or simply scroll down to read it all:
If you changed your puppy's food suddenly, diarrhea can happen due to a simple tummy upset.
Unfamiliar edible toys/bones/chews can cause the same problem, and stress can also trigger loose stools.
If your puppy has had a couple of loose stools, but isn't showing any other signs of illness, chances are it's being caused by one of the above.
There are some simple steps you can take to treat mild to moderate diarrhea at home and you should see results within approx. 24 hours.
However, if within that 24 hours your pup starts to vomit, act lethargic or show ANY other symptoms of illness OR the diarrhea gets worse OR if after 24 hours there's been no improvement then it's vital to get a veterinary examination asap.
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 this 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 because diarrhea causes dehydration.
Dehydration is the number one issue caused by diarrhea and is responsible for weakening a puppy's immune system and compounding the problem.
If she doesn't want to drink plain water, try adding a little unsalted chicken broth to it for flavor.
Dehydration also an imbalance in electrolytes and it's important to rebalance these as quickly as possible.
Some puppies and dogs will drink unflavored pedialyte.
Alternatively you can make 'rice water' by boiling one cup of WHITE rice (not brown rice or the 'Minute Rice' variety) in four cups of water for about 20 minutes.
Strain to remove rice and let the water cool. Once cool it's a good source of valuable electrolytes for your pup.
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.
If he tolerates this well and his bowels are returning to normal you can go back to giving him his regular food after another 24 hours.
Adding a teaspoonful of canned pumpkin (preferably organic, and not the pie filling variety) can also help to firm up the stools.
Adding a little canned pumpkin to her food works well for a constipated puppy as well - interesting and useful to know!
A small amount of pureed sweet potato has the same effect.
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.
There are a few things you can do to help a pup who just has the 'squirts' due to a minor upset....
Some products that are designed to help deal with occasional, mild to moderate diarrhea in puppies and dogs include
Adding NaturVet Digestive Enzymes (or another similar product) to your pup's food can also help rebalance your little one's gut and reduce loose stools.
There are a couple of 'people' products that you can give to your puppy which may help with a mild case of diarrhea.
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.
** Never give Immodium puppies or dogs without explicit vet approval and instructions because some breeds, and dogs with certain health conditions, can react very badly to the active ingredient.
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 Supplement for Dogs and Cats
Anytime that your puppy's diarrhea is frequent, watery, projectile and smelly you need to consider illness.
Moderate to severe 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.
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 watery and/or bloody diarrhea (with or without vomiting), needs to be seen by a vet without delay.... even if there are no other signs of illness.
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.
fresh water is good, but for repeated diarrhea it's even better if you
can give her a rehydrating solution which also replaces lost electrolytes.
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 low sodium chicken broth.
Or make up some rice water (directions here) and try to get your puppy to drink it to replace valuable electrolytes.
If your veterinarian diagnoses a non-serious cause for your puppy's moderate to severe diarrhea then give any medications or follow any advice your vet has given you.
You may also follow the tips and advice given above for mild to moderate diarrhea in puppies.
There are also a selection of really excellent all-natural products that you can use to help with diarrhea and digestive upsets....
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 and Vibactra (if she can keep it down) is a good way to help her fight back.
For puppy diarrhea caused by Coccidia your vet will likely prescribe the antibiotic Albon.
If Giardia is the root of the problem it 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.
Diarrhea in puppies MAY be caused by something simple but it could also be a sign of serious illness.
Mild diarrhea that lasts less than 24 hours can often be treated at home
Moderate to severe diarrhea or mild diarrhea which lasts more than 24 hours or is accompanied by other signs of illness (loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy) MUST be evaluated by a veterinarian right away.
Treating Diarrhea In Puppies