Puppy Has Diarrhea But Still Playful: 4 Solutions From a Vet

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This article was updated on May 5th, 2023

Some puppies that I see will have diarrhea. Often these puppies are still very playful, eating and acting normal. These instances can indicate the beginning of health issues such as parvovirus but can also be due to changes in diet or parasites that can easily be treated. If your dog is ever lethargic and having diarrhea, they should see a vet right away. For puppies that are still very active and eating, there are a few at-home remedies that you can try to help stop your puppy from having diarrhea.

Will Puppy Diarrhea Go Away on Its Own?

If you just got a new puppy and just brought them home, the stress from the new environment or the sudden change in puppy food can cause them to have diarrhea. This type of diarrhea will go away on its own or with simple home remedies for dog diarrhea. If your dog has parasites, diarrhea will not stop until you treat the parasite infestation.

Puppy Has Diarrhea But Still Playful — Should You Worry?

Diarrhea is very common to see in puppies. Puppies will always put things in their mouths or find things in the yard to eat. These can cause your puppy to have diarrhea. Your puppy’s diarrhea should clear up very quickly if the diarrhea is due to something they ate that they shouldn’t have. If your puppy has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours and has not improved with any at-home tips and tricks you should take them to your vet.

Also read: Dog Has Diarrhea but is Acting Normal

Things that would indicate that your puppy’s diarrhea is more serious are:

  • Blood in the diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Lethargic
  • Painful when pooping

All of these are instances when you should skip any at-home remedies and see your vet.

Why is My Puppy Having Diarrhea: Top Causes

These are 5 of the most common reasons for a puppy to have diarrhea and what you should do about it.

5 Main Reasons for a puppy to have diarrhea and still be painful

  1. Sudden change in diet
  2. Parasites
  3. Early stages of Parvovirus
  4. Your puppy ate something they should not have
  5. Stress

Sudden change in diet

Many people when they get a new puppy will start them on the dog food that they have researched and would like them to eat. This sudden change in diet can cause your puppy to have diarrhea. Usually, this will slowly start to improve after a few days of eating the new diet. If you are going to switch your puppy to a different diet, you should slowly make this transition over 5 to 10 days.


Puppies commonly have parasites. Common parasites seen in puppies are roundworms, hookworm, and whipworms. These parasites can cause your puppy to have diarrhea yet act perfectly normal. There are some over-the-counter dewormers that you can give to your puppy if they have worms. If you do not know if your puppy has worms, your vet can check a fecal sample. This fecal check will cost you less than $100 and they can prescribe you medication to help clear the diarrhea.

Early stages of Parvovirus

In the early stages of parvovirus, some of the first signs that you will see are diarrhea and a normal acting puppy. Some puppies will also be vomiting. As the disease progresses you may notice blood in their stool, and they will become more lethargic. If you think that your puppy may have parvo, it would be best for them to see your vet. They can test your puppy for parvo and start them on treatment for this disease.

Your Puppy ate something they should not have

Puppies love to explore the world around them. Many times, this is done by tasting everything. Puppies are known for eating things that they should not have. This could be a piece of food you accidentally dropped from the table or a bug or stick they found outside. This will usually cause your puppy to have diarrhea and occasionally vomit. Most of these puppies will be very active and energetic. These dogs will usually quickly recover after a day or two without any treatment. If your puppy’s diarrhea is very bad, you can add probiotics to their diet to help rebalance the normal GI flora in their intestines.


When you first get your new puppy, they may have diarrhea for the first few days. The stress of traveling from one place to another, a new environment, and a new family can cause them to have diarrhea. Stress diarrhea usually goes away after a day or two without the need for any treatment.

4 Veterinarian Tips to Help Your Puppy with Diarrhea at Home

There are a few things that you can do at home to help your puppy who is having diarrhea.

  • Feed them a bland diet: Some dogs will eat more willingly if they are offered human food. Things like chicken and rice. Also adding a scrambled egg to their food will help. When cooking any human food for your puppy, try to make it as bland as possible. No fats, oils, butter, or seasoning should be used as this can make your puppy’s stomach issue worse.
  • Give them a Probiotic: If your puppy is having diarrhea, they have disrupted the normal bacteria flora found in their stomach and intestines. Common probiotics that you can find at the pet store are FortiFlora and Proviable.
  • Give them a dewormer: There are many over-the-counter dewormers that can be used. These will treat the common parasites. If you are seeing worms, then you know which dewormer to get for the worms that you are seeing. If you do not see worms, your vet can check your puppy’s fecal sample for signs of parasites.
  • Give them over-the-counter GI medications: Some GI medications used for people can also be given to puppies. Things like Pepcid and Imodium can help dogs with GI issues. Imodium can help decrease your puppy’s diarrhea. Before starting any new medications ask your vet to make sure your dog can take these medications.

These 4 at-home tips can help clear your puppy’s diarrhea in a few days. You should start to see improvement in just a few hours. If there is no improvement or if the diarrhea gets worse within 24 hours, it is best to see a vet.

When Should You Call the Vet (If Your Puppy is Still Acting Playful)?

Sometimes it is okay to try at-home remedies for diarrhea for your puppy and there are sometimes that you should skip any at-home treatment and take your puppy to the vet. These are some instances when you should take your puppy to the vet right away.

  • Lethargic
  • Not eating or drinking
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydrated
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea does not improve after 24 hours

All of these signs can indicate a serious health issue that will need a vet visit right away.

Vet Diagnosis for Puppies Having Diarrhea

At the vet clinic, your vet will perform a complete examination and check a fecal sample from your puppy. This will be to determine if your dog has parasites. Depending on the history that you tell them will also determine if there are any other tests that need to be done such as parvo testing or bloodwork.

Vet Treatment for Puppy Diarrhea

The treatment for diarrhea in puppies will depend on the cause of the diarrhea. If your puppy is dehydrated, they may recommend that they stay in the hospital with IV fluids. If your puppy is also lethargic or showing any other signs of illness, your vet will prescribe medications to help stop your dog’s diarrhea and treat the underlying condition. Depending on the underlying cause the cost of this treatment may be under $100 but for more severe cases can be over $1,000+. Your vet will be able to give you an estimate of the cost of treatment after they have diagnosed the underlying condition.

What You Should Know Before the Vet Visit

If you have an appointment at your vet for your puppy with diarrhea, it is best to try to bring them a fresh fecal sample. Also taking a picture of the diarrhea can help your vet determine the severity and color of the diarrhea. This can all help make their jobs easier for them to figure out exactly what is causing your puppy’s diarrhea.

If you think that your puppy has eaten something that they should not have been sure to mention things that your puppy could have gotten into. Also, make sure to tell your vet the food that your puppy is eating and note any sudden change in diet.

FAQ About Puppy Diarrhea with Sara Ochoa, DVM

What should I feed a puppy with diarrhea?

It is best to try to stick to their normal diet. If they are not wanting to eat feeding a bland diet such as chicken and rice can help with their diarrhea and help entice them to eat.

What should I do if your puppy has diarrhea with blood?

Bloody diarrhea is a concern for parvovirus. It can also indicate that your puppy has a high parasite load. If your dog is having bloody diarrhea, it would be best that they see the vet.

How much will vet care cost for a puppy with diarrhea?

The cost of the vet visit will depend on what is causing the diarrhea. The cost can be very inexpensive for puppies with parasites or changes in diet whereas parvo treatment can easily cost over $1,000+

How long does diarrhea last in puppies?

Diarrhea in puppies can last a few days. If your puppy has diarrhea for more than 24 hours with no improvement with these at-home remedies or seems to be getting worse, it would be best that they see your local vet for prescription medication.

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  • Dr Sara Ochoa, Veterinarian

    Dr. Ochoa earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from St. George University in 2015, and completed her program with excellent scores. She has more than 7 years of experience practicing as a veterinarian for Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, TX.

    View all posts

Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

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