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What Diarrhea Can Mean in Puppies

The experience of raising a puppy is hugely rewarding and filled with memorable moments. There’s also some messy, less-than-pleasant moments. One of those includes your puppy having a bout of diarrhea. It’s pretty common for a puppy to experience a round of diarrhea, sometimes they may experience a few.

Due to the variance in severity in puppy diarrhea, it’s important for puppy owners to keep a close eye on their puppy. Especially very young puppies, who are more vulnerable to illness than an older dog. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can create several serious medical problems for your dog. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea and appears to be dehydrated, it’s best that you see a vet as soon as possible.

What does diarrhea mean for your puppy? What should you do if your puppy has diarrhea?

Causes for Diarrhea in Puppies

There are a variety of causes for a puppy having a bout of diarrhea. They include:


Like humans, animals can also get diarrhea as a result of stress. And puppies can experience quite a bit of stress as they transition from being with their mother and littermates to living with you and your family. The change in environment is usually very sudden for puppies. Adjusting to a new place and to new people can leave your new puppy stressed, with diarrhea being your puppies way of expressing the stress.

Your puppy being stressed by his new surroundings doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like you or your home, he’s simply adjusting. If your puppy is stressed and suffering from diarrhea you should continue to give him plenty of attention and love. Try and distract him from his stress by playing with him. Also make sure to keep fresh water available for him at all times. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration for your puppy. If your puppy appears to be not drinking their water, bring the water to them and give them space to drink. If the stress persists, consult your vet to explore additional ways to help your puppy adjust to his new surroundings.

Change in Diet

Another common cause for diarrhea in puppies is a sudden change in diet. Depending on where your puppy came from, you may or may not have received dietary information. If you don’t know what your puppy has being eating, the food you’re currently feeding her could be the culprit for her having diarrhea.

After your puppy is weaned off of her mother’s milk, her digestive system is going to start adapting to whatever food she is given next. If the ingredients of the dog food you introduce to her are different from the food she had been eating, her digestive system could struggle to adapt and cause a bout of diarrhea. The change doesn’t always reflect a quality discrepancy.

Even if your pup was being fed a low quality puppy food before and since was given a high quality diet by you, the sudden change can have digestive consequences.

Ideally, changes to your puppies diet should be gradual. When changing food types, it’s best to mix in the old food with the new food slowly. However, if you don’t know what they were eating, you need to try and stay the course and monitor your puppy’s diarrhea.

Eating a Foreign Object

While cats have more of a reputation for being curious, puppies are always very curious creatures. Part of the growing pains of having a puppy is getting through this curious stage when your puppy will try and bite or eat anything in sight. Wires, cords, shoes, purses, jackets; few household items are safe.

When your puppy chomps on one of your shoes or frays the end of a cord by biting it, the damage to the item is a bummer, but usually you puppy will be fine. However, there’s a number of things that your dog can eat that will cause health issues, including diarrhea.

Foreign objects, including several human foods, plants, and flowers, can all cause diarrhea for your puppy, and sometimes it can cause worse. Certain items can poison your puppy and cause serious blockage in their GI tract, causing an host of issues for their health.

To help protect your puppy from her own curiosity, try and keep dangerous items away from them. If you do catch them chewing something, do you best to get them to stop.

Learn More About Your Puppy at PetPlace

If your puppy is experiencing diarrhea for any of the above reasons, do your best to try and keep them hydrated during the process. Dehydration can cause a number of medical issues for your puppy. To learn more about your puppy’s health, check out PetPlace. We have thousands of vet-approved articles that will bolster your puppy knowledge!