Puppy Has Diarrhea But Still Playful
There is nothing better than welcoming a loving puppy into your home. While the excitement of raising an adorable furry friend is immeasurable, your happiness can come to a sudden halt when they begin to have diarrhea.
Even more perplexing than a sudden case of diarrhea, is a puppy that is still playful, acting as if nothing is wrong. So what could cause this?
In this article we will discuss the details of diarrhea in puppies, and help you better understand why your pup is still playful despite their current stomach troubles.
Does Diarrhea Always Make A Puppy Feel Sick?
So before we get into the details of diarrhea in puppies, it’s important to understand that every puppy will handle GI upset differently.
This will vary based on the cause of the diarrhea, your puppy’s age, and even your puppy’s size.
A larger Golden Retriever puppy can handle diarrhea better than a Teacup Chihuahua pup, as it doesn’t dehydrate them as quickly.
This doesn’t make their diarrhea any less serious, but can lead to some dogs remaining playful with a diarrhea spell.
Not all puppies with diarrhea will become lethargic or weak once diarrhea sets in, but it does not mean you should ignore it.
Diarrhea is usually a sign of underlying complications in your pup, whether they ate something unusual or have been exposed to something contagious, like Parvovirus.
To help you better understand diarrhea in your puppy, let’s discuss some of the most common causes below.
Why Is My Puppy Having Diarrhea?
Just like diarrhea in adult dogs, there are multiple potential causes of diarrhea in our growing puppy friends.
Puppies are a bit more vulnerable to the world around them, and there are triggers for GI upset all around them.
To help you get to the bottom of your puppy’s diarrhea, let’s get into the most common causes.
Eating Things They Should Not
Puppies love to explore the world around them with their noses and their mouths. This often leads to them eating things they shouldn’t, whether it’s something edible or not.
A dog’s gut has a balance of intestinal flora that can easily be thrown off when consuming strange things. Due to this, diarrhea can be a common result.
If a puppy’s diarrhea is due to simply eating something outside of their normal diet, they may still appear playful and unbothered.
Sometimes this diarrhea even resolves itself without medical intervention, as it may just be a short term GI upset.
If your puppy has a habit of trying to eat everything that crosses their path, their acute diarrhea may be due to this troublesome habit. If it does not resolve in 24 hours, or your pup begins to show other signs of illness, it’s best to contact your vet.
Getting Used To New Diets
Many puppies will develop diarrhea when being brought into a new home. This can be due to the stress of stepping into a new life, but can also develop as a result of switching to a new food.
Many owners are unaware of how slowly you should transition your pup to a new food, as this can quickly lead to GI upset.
For example, if your puppy is currently eating a certain diet before you adopted/purchased them, you will need to transition them to the new food over 1 week.
By slowly introducing them to the new food, this helps to avoid any disturbance in intestinal flora.
If your puppy’s diarrhea developed once they switched over to a new food, this can be the culprit behind their stomach troubles.
It may be worth switching to a bland diet of your vet’s choice until the diarrhea resolves, or discussing the best plan of action based on the severity of their diarrhea.
One of the more serious causes of diarrhea in puppies are intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites, or worms, can cause sudden and severe diarrhea in the puppy affected, leading to a slew of GI complications to follow.
Intestinal parasites are extremely common in growing puppies, as there are multiple methods of exposure when they are not adequately protected.
Puppies can be exposed to worms when nursing on their mother, when being around their mother’s infected stool, being around contaminated soil, drinking contaminated water, and even having current or previous fleas.
These intestinal parasites in question include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia.
If a puppy is having diarrhea due to having worms, they may still appear playful initially. Their energy will typically decline as their condition worsens, and you may begin to see other signs of GI upset as well.
If your puppy has not been dewormed or screened for intestinal parasites, this is always a possibility.
Infectious illness is a serious cause of diarrhea in our puppy friends. Though most puppies with a contagious illness will not be playful throughout the condition, they may still feel okay in the early stages.
A puppy who has just begun to experience the first signs of a condition may still seem like themselves, often declining as the days go on.
Infectious illnesses that can cause diarrhea in puppies include Parvovirus, Rotavirus, Distemper, Leptospirosis, and more.
Diarrhea may not be the main symptom of each condition listed, but each can lead to GI upset in some form.
These conditions are serious in our canine friends, and require immediate medical attention to offer a chance at recovery.
The best way to prevent infectious illness in puppies is by having them vaccinated as directed by your veterinarian, and not bringing them to public settings until they are fully vaccinated.
If you think your puppy may have been exposed to a contagious illness, we suggest contacting your vet ASAP.
What To Do If Your Puppy Has Diarrhea But Is Still Playful
If your puppy has watery diarrhea but is still playful, you may be wondering how you can best help them. As a veterinary technician that has worked with plenty of puppies with diarrhea, intervention during the playful stages of diarrhea is always best.
Ignoring their diarrhea until they are lethargic makes it more difficult to get ahead of, as these pups have likely become dehydrated already.
While you may think your pup is fine if they are still acting playful, this is actually the best time to step in.
First, it’s important to closely examine your puppy and their general behavior. Search for any changes in their normal behavior, examine their appetite, and keep a close eye on their bathroom habits.
This can help you stay on top of any decline in their health, as well as have an understanding of when they are starting to improve.
Next, you will want to step back and think about any potential causes. Are they fully vaccinated? Have they been dewormed? Did they eat something strange? Could they have gotten into the trash?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you determine whether or not your dog needs an immediate trip to the vet, as some of these situations are serious.
If you don’t think infectious disease or intestinal parasites are a possibility, there are a few at-home treatment options to use as a first line of defense.
You can start by switching them to a bland diet for 5-7 days, making sure they stay adequately hydrated, promoting rest as much as possible, and even adding approved probiotics to their meals.
However, if your puppy’s diarrhea does not improve within 24 hours, or they begin to decline in any way, it’s time for a trip to the vet.
Dehydration can creep up quickly on a growing puppy, especially if they are dealing with any serious medical complications.
What To Do If Your Puppy Has Bloody Diarrhea
While we briefly discuss a few at-home treatment options above, this goes out the window if your puppy is having bloody diarrhea.
Bloody diarrhea is a sign of serious GI irritation in your canine friend, and can dehydrate them at a rapid rate if it is not addressed immediately.
Bloody diarrhea is a symptom of a few serious complications in puppies, each of which require immediate medical attention to resolve.
If your puppy is having bloody diarrhea, we suggest contacting your vet as soon as possible.
When You Should Take Your Puppy To The Vet
If your puppy is still playful and acting themselves while having diarrhea, when is it time to take them to the vet?
Though it is always recommended to give your vet a quick call at the onset of any GI symptoms, you should take your puppy to the vet if their diarrhea does not improve within 24 hours.
It’s important to note that there are a few scenarios in which you would need to visit your vet sooner than the suggested 24 hour mark.
You should take them to the vet sooner if your puppy is having multiple rounds of diarrhea in a 24 hour period, if they are not eating normally, if their energy declines in any way, if they are vomiting, or experiencing any other changes in their standard behavior.
Many beloved pups will experience GI upset at some point throughout their puppyhood. Be sure to review the information above, and you can better help your canine friend going forward.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.