Diarrhea in puppies is quite common but should not be ignored. A puppy's tummy is more sensitive to a new diet, the stress of moving to a new home, infections or a virus and especially parasites.

Inactive larva can be transmitted to puppies while in gestation or when being nursed by the mother. Puppies also come in contact with parasites by eating things like bugs, mice or feces. Roundworms, tapeworms, giardia and cocidia are very common. Giardia and cocidia are not worms but microscopic organisms which infect the intestines and can be transmitted to humans. Contaminated water from lakes and streams and feces are the largest segment of exposure, along with fleas which spread tapeworms or mosquitoes that can spread heartworm.

There may be no signs of illness in adult dogs but puppies because of their weak immune systems will show signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, blood in the stools, loss of appetite, weakness, bloated or descended stomach and if they have worms the eggs may appear in their stool or fur. If the puppy is vomiting and has diarrhea dehydration can happen quickly so it is important to see your veterinarian immediately.

At two weeks of age your puppy should be dewormed and have a standard schedule for deworming with your vet. On the other hand if your puppy has giardia, fenbendazole or metranidazole will be given as these organisms are not worms, so worming medicine does not work. Sulfadimethoxine or Albon, trimethoprim-sulfadiazine and amprolium are usually used in treating cocidia.

To avoid contamination for your animals, yourself or children you should always keep food, water and bedding very clean. Make sure you are using heartworm medicines on a regular basis along with flea medications. Keep your pet's feces picked up and make sure you do not walk without shoes or let your children play where pets go to the bathroom. Keep your dog in the yard when you cannot supervise him so that they do not eat or are exposed to rodents or dead animals which can carry parasites and disease.

If your pet does not have diarrhea because of parasites you can withhold solid food for a minimum 24 hours so that their intestinal tract can rest. Just make sure your dog has plenty of water or broth so they do not become dehydrated. After 24 hours introduce food slowly only if they are showing signs of improvement. Boiled chicken and rice is excellent and can be added gradually to their dry food as their appetite increases.

Another good idea is to give your puppy probiotics which can replace and maintain beneficial bacteria to help with his digestion and the intestinal track, making them less vulnerable to organisms. You don't need a special or an expensive type of probiotics; dogs love the chewable tablets available in most stores that carry vitamins.

There are also other holistic remedies for diarrhea in puppies like plantain helping the digestive system and mucous membranes or lady's mantle for firm stools. These remedies are also excellent for use when the puppy has been dewormed as harsh medicines destroy the good bacteria.


by Rebecca Shelly