Why Does My Puppy Have Diarrhea?

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Diarrhea isn’t a day at the beach for anyone, including pets. As our puppies navigate an unfamiliar world, they are exposed to new environments filled with irritants and dangers. Many substances are vying for our pet’s attention, and not in a positive way.

Most dog owners know the perils of puppy diarrhea, as it’s highly likely that your dog will get it at one point in their life. When it happens, it’s messy and unfortunate. Too bad we can’t just get a procedure done to stop diarrhea like we can for other puppy issues.

Learn the root causes of puppy diarrhea and how they can be prevented or treated.

Common Reasons for Puppy Diarrhea

There are several reasons why a puppy may experience diarrhea, but here are a few specific examples.


There are many nasty parasites that can torment your dog; tapeworms, heartworms, and hookworms are some of the most common. When your dog ingests these little bugs, they can wreak havoc on the belly, leading to unfortunate bowel movements and terrible diarrhea.

Parasites inhibit the dog’s ability to properly absorb water and nutrients. They can lead to distended bellies and can make the dog feel lethargic for long periods.


Dogs can ingest toxins via poisonous plants, chemicals, or certain types of food.

There are gastrointestinal signs like diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea, as well as more drastic signs like kidney or liver failure.

Many types of food can cause blockages in puppies, especially while they are still building their immune system.

Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections present issues for dogs just as they do for humans. The most common infections include campylobacter infection, parvovirus, giardia, and salmonella.

Any sort of gastroenteritis can be treated by rehydrating the dog via electrolytes. At worst, antibiotics can be used.

A more serious infection would be the parvovirus. This can lead to extreme issues for a young puppy’s immune system, including diarrhea, weight loss, elevated fever, and fatigue.

There is a vaccine available for the parvovirus.


Yes, stress diarrhea is a real thing for some dogs. Inflammation of the colon makes it harder for dogs to store feces, causing the need for a quick release.

They might have separation anxiety when their owner leaves the house or they get uneasy about being adopted by a new family.

Change in Diet

Switching food types can induce illness in your dog, whether it’s diarrhea or vomiting.

When you’re trying to switch up their diet, do it slowly, over a 1-2 week period.

The Hazards of Puppy Diarrhea

Puppies are still in the early stages of life and they don’t have much experience when it comes to handling health issues. While most dogs can easily relieve themselves, puppies might not understand what’s going on with their body which makes them more prone to accidents.

Additionally, young puppies might require medical attention faster than more mature dogs. Keep an eye out for bloody diarrhea, extended periods of poor appetite, or gums that are turning pale and have clearly been dehydrated.

Treatment for Puppies with Diarrhea

Puppies can be treated for their diarrhea issues by being given a more generic diet to give their digestive system a rest.

Staying hydrated is key, so if the puppy continues to act sick it should be handed fluids regularly. If your dog is a reluctant drinker you could add a little bit of low-sodium bouillon to the water in order to increase fluids.

On the prevention side, it’s critical to keep from feeding the dog table scraps. Keeping them supervised is important so they don’t ingest anything bad. If you have a yard, make sure there are no toxic plants.

If you need to take your puppy to the vet, it could be helpful to bring them a stool sample so the physician can quickly diagnose the dog’s condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for puppies to have diarrhea?

Yes, puppies are in the early stages of development and they need to build their immune system. It is extremely common for puppies to have a few bouts of diarrhea or vomiting as they navigate the new world.

Can overfeeding a puppy cause diarrhea?

Overfeeding your dog can potentially lead to diarrhea issues. By overloading the digestive system, the dog will be unable to absorb the correct nutrients.

How many days does puppy diarrhea last?

Most bouts of diarrhea will last less than a week. If conditions worsen beyond that time period, a visit to the vet may be needed.

What food gives dogs diarrhea?

Thick foods, especially fatty or dairy products can lead to pancreatitis or gastrointestinal problems.

What does unhealthy dog poop look like?

Diarrhea and other unhealthy excrement can be yellow or green, even gray or greasy in some cases.