How to Treat a Puppy with Diarrhea

Treatment of Diarrhea in Puppies

Diarrhea is a common complaint for puppies and there are many potential causes. Many cases of diarrhea can be successfully treated at home. Let’s talk about some tips to help you treat your puppy if he does have diarrhea.

Feed a Bland Diet to a Puppy with Diarrhea

If your puppy has diarrhea, try feeding a bland diet. A diet consisting of broiled skinless chicken shredded and mixed with boiled white rice is a good choice for a temporary diet to control diarrhea. Hamburger can be substitued for the chicken, but choose lean hamburger and drain the fat before mixing with the rice. Other good choices for a bland diet include cottage cheese or commercial diets such as Hill’s I/D®.

Feed the bland diet only until the puppy’s feces are back to normal. Though these diets are good for firming up the feces in the face of diarrhea, with the exception of commercial diets such as Hill’s I/D®, these diets are not balanced and should not be fed long-term. When you do get ready to switch your puppy back to a high quality puppy food, make the change gradually over the course of 7 days. Do not suddenly change your puppy’s diet or the diarrhea may return.

Probiotics Can Be Useful in Treating Puppies with Diarrhea

Probiotics are a type of food supplement that are useful in restoring the health of the intestinal system. Probiotics supply “good bacteria” to the intestinal tract. These medications are useful in correcting the changes that occur in a puppy’s intestinal tract as a result of stress, parasites, a change in diet, or other intestinal disease.

When choosing a probiotic, it is advisable to choose a product that is formulated for dogs as opposed to a human probiotic product. Though the concept is similar, the bacteria normally found in the intestinal tract of a dog is different than that found in a person. The probiotic products chosen should contain bacteria that are native to the species being treated, in this case the canine species.

Calming Remedies Can Sometimes Help Cure Puppy Diarrhea

Stress is often a factor in causing diarrhea, particularly for new puppies. There are a number of options that can help calm your puppy and make the adjustment to his new home and new family easier.

  • DAP® is a calming pheromone that is produced by the mother dog to calm her puppies. Because it is a pheromone, your puppy will be able to smell the product but you will not. DAP® is a good choice for new puppies that need help adjusting to their new home and can help resolve diarrhea resulting from stress.
  • Calming music can also help ease the transition. Through a Dog’s Ear is music specifically written for the purpose of providing a calming effect on a dog.
  • There are numerous herbal remedies that can be used to help calm an especially fearful puppy. These remedies can help your fearful puppy adjust to his new home and may be helpful in resolving diarrhea caused by anxiety and stress.

While many cases of diarrhea will successfully resolve with home treatment, be aware that puppies can become dehydrated very quickly. In addition, some causes of diarrhea are much more serious than others and will require veterinary care. If your puppy experiences severe diarrhea, has blood in his feces, has persistant diarrhea lasting more then 24-48 hours, is not eating, is vomiting or is not acting himself, you should schedule a visit with your puppy’s veterinarian for an examination.

All puppies, regardless of whether they have diarrhea, need to visit their veterinarian for an initial examination, vaccinations, dewormings and other medical care such as spaying or neutering.

Photo courtesy of AirBeagle/

About Lorie Huston, DVM

Lorie Huston, DVM has written 88 posts in this blog.

Lorie Huston is a veterinarian with 20+ years of experience with dogs and cats. She is also a talented free-lance author and blogger and has contributed to numerous publications, including Pet Sitter's WORLD, FIDOFriendly, Dancing Dog Blog, Dawg Business and many others. Lorie is the featured pet care writer at, a contributing writer in Dog and Cat Diseases and Conditions at and the National Pet Health Examiner at In addition, she is a host of the popular podcast/review site, Animal Cafe.



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