Diarrhoea is a sign of an unhappy gastrointestinal tract and is characterised by watery or loose bowel movements. It may also have mucous or blood in it. Diarrhoea is just a symptom and can be the result of many underlying causes. In this case, we need to find the cause of the diarrhoea so that we can treat your puppy’s problem (not just the symptom). This will help us reach the best treatment plan too.
Some of the underlying causes of diarrhoea in a puppy might be:
- Infectious disease (bacteria, viruses, protozoa)
- Parasites (intestinal worms)
- Gut problems (inflammatory bowel disease, intussusception, tumours, obstructions, food intolerance or food allergies)
- Dietary change (pups need gradual transitioning to new foods)
- Stress induced
- Dietary indiscretion (aka what many puppy owners know all too well – they will eat anything and everything!)
Some causes can be severe (ie poisoning), and others mild (ie dietary indiscretion). It can be mild and improve without much intervention but it can also be severe and if left even a short time can lead to dehydration which a puppy is particularly susceptible. With puppies it’s always better to lean to the side of caution.
If your pups diarrhoea continues for more than a day, or if he is lethargic, vomits, has a reduced appetite, or has dark coloured or blood in the stool, a hands-on examination from your local Vet would be a great place to start, and as soon as possible.