Puppy diarrhoea

Dog looking sad

Puppy diarrhoea can be unpleasant to deal with. The last thing you want when house training your puppy is to throw diarrhoea into the mix. Not only this, but no owner wants to see their puppy suffer.

Recognising what type of diarrhoea is serious and which can easily be dealt with can also be tricky.

What causes puppy diarrhoea?

There are a number of different triggers for diarrhoea in puppies. The majority of these triggers are not serious and can be easily addressed in order to stop your puppy suffering.


The first trigger that may cause a puppy to have diarrhoea is stress. When a puppy first comes to a new home it’s likely they will be stressed. This is because they are in completely new surroundings and do not recognise the people around them. Over the first few days of your puppy being home this stress should disappear.

Changes to diet

A puppy with diarrhoea may be struggling to adapt if you change their diet. It is important to allow 7-10 days for any changeover from one diet to another, to help avoid tummy upsets. Keeping your puppy on the food they came with from the breeder will help to avoid issues in the first few weeks while your puppy is settling in.

Your puppy will also need to change from puppy to adult food after their first year, and this change could cause diarrhoea – which is completely normal. Within a few days or so your puppy’s stomach should become used to the new food and the diarrhoea should stop. If it doesn’t, you should get in touch with your local vet.


Young puppies can easily catch parasites, which could cause puppy diarrhoea. Parasites can often be found in unclean conditions, so keep this in mind when choosing a puppy to take home. Parasites can also be passed on from mother to child, just one reason why it’s important to see a pup’s mum in the breeders home, before you purchase the pup. If you suspect a parasite could be the problem causing your pup to suffer from diarrhoea, you should take them to your vet to get them checked out.

There are many other causes of diarrhoea other than the above. Viral infections, and a change in water, are amongst a few of the other reasons your puppy may be suffering from puppy diarrhoea.

When should a puppy with diarrhoea visit the vet?

If your puppy has diarrhoea it can be tricky to know whether or not it warrants a visit to the vet. There are however a number of different signs you can watch out for to determine whether or not you should take them.

The first and perhaps most common is to check that there is no blood present in the stools. Blood in diarrhoea is never a good sign and is something that should be taken seriously; if you see this, take your puppy to see your local vet as soon as possible.

Are their stools black and tarry? If so this could be the sign of a more serious problem. This type of stool becomes present when a pup has the presence of digested blood in their intestines. It could also mean that there is some type of internal bleeding going on in their body.

There are a number of other signs to watch out for, including loss of appetite and frequent vomiting. If your puppy has not displayed any of the above signs whilst suffering from diarrhoea, it’s likely that they do not need to see the vet, unless their diarrhoea is frequent or has lasted longer than two or three days.

How to treat a puppy with diarrhoea

There are a number of different treatments you can use to help a young dog suffering with diarrhoea. The first and perhaps most effective is to feed them a bland diet for a few days.

You should begin by feeding them small portions of boiled white rice. If this goes down well you can add a small amount of boiled chicken into their next meal.

This diet should help settle their stomach and within a day you should see your puppy’s waste turn back to its normal consistency. It is important to remember that if your puppy’s condition does not return to normal or seems to worsen, then you should take them to visit their vet as soon as possible.

If you have any concerns about your puppy suffering from diarrhoea, you should take them to your vet to get them checked out.

How do I know if my puppy has diarrhoea?

See below for a guide on how your puppy's poop should look – ideally falling between numbers 2 and 3. Anything from 4 and above is considered diarrhoea.

Poo chart

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