Newborn Puppy Diarrhea
It’s concerning when your newborn puppy or kitten has diarrhea, especially during those first four weeks of life. Being 75 percent water, these babies are prone to dehydration. So what causes newborn puppy or kitten diarrhea and what are the best ways to treat and most importantly prevent it, because guess what? You don’t have to deal with newborn puppy diarrhea in every litter!
Newborn Puppy Dehydration
There are actually two different ages of concern when it comes to dehydration. If the puppy is under two weeks old, use a
cotton ball to stimulate urination. At this age, their urine should have little to no color at all. If their urine does have color to it, that’s an indication the newborn is dehydrated and needs help.
For puppies over two weeks old you can also use that cotton ball technique, but you can also look at their activity level and that’s a great indicator. Newborn puppies and kittens that are aggressively nursing are generally okay with minimal treatment, but if they aren’t wanting to nurse, you need to intervene.
What Causes Puppy Diarrhea
There are actually several possible causes of newborn puppy diarrhea and that is why it’s important to find out what is causing it, so it doesn’t keep happening over and over again. Having to treat for diarrhea costs you money, your time and occasionally the lives of the puppies. It’s important to discover the source of the problem.
Some of the common organisms that can cause diarrhea in newborn puppies and can be tested for are: cryptosporidium, giardia, coccidia, clostridium, salmonella, parvovirus, distemper, coronavirus, campylobacter, and E. coli. Your vet can usually help you
with testing for these or there are also some at-home test kits you can use to check for some of these organisms. The Abaxis VetScan® Giardia Rapid Test Kit or the Abaxis Parvo Test kit are just a couple examples of these at-home test kits and they are good at giving results fast, which is helpful so you can know what you’re dealing with sooner.
Can Overfeeding Puppy Cause Diarrhea?
Overeating diarrhea is a common issue with dog C-section moms. That happens because if mom is late with her milk, her babies are hungry! Once her milk finally does come in, the newborns end up overeating and that results in diarrhea.
What Do I Do If My Newborn Puppy has Diarrhea?
Dehydration is a huge concern if a newborn puppy or kitten has diarrhea. You need to replenish the fluids that are leaving the newborn’s body. An electrolyte such as Breeder’s Edge Puppy Late or Kitten Lyte is important to always keep on hand because it can be given to puppies and kittens as young as two weeks of age. When they are so little like this, it works well to warm the electrolyte in a warm bottle and let the newborn nurse it down. Warm electrolytes can also be given as an enema if the puppy won’t drink the bottle.
When puppies are very young, younger than two weeks of age, they can dehydrate very quickly. The best way is to give fluids is under the skin. You may want to contact your vet for help with this method.
Another great diarrhea option is Kaolin Pectin. It contains Pectin and Kaolin and will help coat the gut and help with cramping colic while also replacing those lost electrolytes.
Is it Normal For a Newborn Puppy to Have Diarrhea?
If you are finding you have multiple litters with diarrhea, give us a call and we can help you figure out what’s going on. Diarrhea is definitely something you don’t have to keep dealing with in every litter. You want to rule out viruses and manage mom so she doesn’t pass bad diarrhea-causing bacteria or parasites onto babies during pregnancy or post-birth.
A cat or dog probiotic is a great starting point for mom. The key to long term control is putting mom on a probiotic that is designed to pass through the stomach acid such as Doc Roy’s GI Synbiotics Gel or Granules. It’s best to start giving mom this probiotic
30 days before birth and two weeks after birth. By doing this you’re helping mom give only good bacteria to her babies. For the newborns, Breeder’s Edge Nurture Flora is a probiotic formulated specifically for newborn puppies and kittens and can be given from birth to three month of age.
Written by: Shelley Hexom
Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.