The most common causes of diarrhea in puppies are:
3. Abruptly changing from one food to the other, or giving a puppy new puppy treats or
Diarrhea in puppies can be serious and life threatening if the puppy becomes
dehydrated. As long as you are making sure that the puppy is getting plenty of fluids by
giving water through the syringe we provide you with when you pick-up your puppy, and
also giving the pup Fortical/Nutrical, then you can avoid a costly Emergency Room visit
on the weekends. Your regular vet can do simple fecal tests to determine whether the
pup has coccidia or giardia, and effectively treat the pup.
What is Coccidiosis?
Coccidia is a protozoa that causes diarrhea in puppies and occurs usually when they are
stressed. We have seen it every now and then when we wean, and when puppies go to
new homes, although with our recent preventative care program, it has become rare.
How do pups get Coccidia?
Puppies are born with a sterile gut, and their mother seeds their gut with good bacteria
during cleaning and care. However, puppies can also get coccidia from their moms. As
a puppy ages, he tends to develop a natural immunity to the effects of coccidia. As an
adult, he may carry coccidia in his intestines, and shed the cyst in the feces. About 60%
of all puppies have coccidia parasite in their digestive systems. Many puppies are never
physically affected by coccidia unless they are stressed. For example, the stress of a pup
leaving its litter mates for a new home, air travel, climate change, etc., all can cause the
coccidia to flourish, and lead to diarrhea. In extreme cases, the puppy can get severely
dehydrated, and so in our opinion it is best to medicate preventively while our pups are
What are the Symptoms?
You will notice a watery, mucous-like diarrhea that has a very distinctive odor. As the
condition progresses, the pup may exhibit bloody diarrhea with an inability to hold it, in
addition to a weakened/lethargic state.
I've seen references that indicate that ALL kennels have coccidia, which is why most
breeders put in their contract that they are not responsible for coccidiosis. Like most
people that raise puppies, and that have educated themselves, we treat preventively for
coccidia because it is very hard to avoid having it on the property. It can be carried by
bugs (especially flies), rabbits, mice, cats, dogs, and other animals. So, when dogs and
puppies play in the yard, they can pick up the oocytes. Since we don't believe in keeping
puppies inside 24 hours a day/7 days a week, we know they will be exposed. Yours will
too, when you allow your pup to walk on grass in your yard or at parks. Because
coccidia are always present in dogs and puppies, we take measures to prevent them from
ever becoming an issue. We use CocciGaurd (a powder added to the food) with our
mom’s and pups. Our pups are also treated with Toltrazuril (Baycox), which effectively
kills the coccidia. The food that we give you when you pick up your pup will also
What is Giardia?
Similar to the protozoan Coccidia, Giardia is a single cell protozoa that typically affects
pups. And like coccidia, it most often appears during weaning or when puppies get to
new homes. Giardia is harder to diagnose than coccidia in a fecal exam because infected
pups pass the organism only intermittently, and a fresh stool sample may be negative
even when giardia is present. Some dogs may not show signs of illness themselves, yet
are infected and spread the parasite.
What are the Symptoms?
Pups will have diarrhea sometimes mixed with mucus and blood and a strong odor. The
stool may also be soft and light colored, and pups may appear bloated with a tummy
swollen from gas.
How Do Pups Get Giardia?
The infective cyst stage of the organism lives in the environment, most usually in
standing water. Pups tend to contract the parasite by drinking from mud puddles,
standing water in potted plants, or other contaminated water sources. The disease is
also spread through contact with infected feces.
Prevention and Treatment:
We treat our pups preventively at 6 weeks with three days of Safegaurd (Fenbendazole).
Metronidazole traditionally has been used to treat Giardia, but lately there has been
resistance, and one study shows only a 60% efficacy. Safegaurd (Fenbendazole) is 96%
effective in treating giardia when used for 6 days in a row. Bathing is also important, as
the giardia is sticky, and will stay on the hair, particularly the back legs. If you don’t
bathe them, they will just re-infect themselves while grooming, making your treatment
Safely Switching to a Different Dog Food
We feed Eagle Pack Small Breed Chicken Meal & Pork Meal Formula. Our adults get the
Eagle Pack Lamb 50% and Fromm Gold Weight Management 50%. We feed two in case
their is a recall on one of them. Both Eagle Pack and Fromm Gold Weight Management
have a 12% Fat content which is acceptable for Schnauzers. They both also use USDA
inspected protein sources that are fit for human consumption, which is very important.
When switching to another dog food, we suggest you always check the first item in the
ingredient list. It should say Chicken or Lamb. If it says Chicken or Lamb By Products,
then I would look for another food. The word "By Product", means that the entire
chicken is ground up into the food; beaks, feet, EVERYTHING. The other important
item when picking a dog food is the fat content. Schnauzers have a naturally high
cholesterol level, and so they are more prone to diabetes and pancreatitis. The growing
puppy needs a higher fat content, but once they are a year old you need to keep the fat
content at 10-12%. Never feed fatty table foods to your Schnauzer. We feed apples and
carrots, which are non fat and very good for your pup.
We also suggest that if you want to switch to another food, that you do it gradually so as
not to cause your dog to have diarrhea or an upset stomach; The first three or four days,
mix two-thirds our food with one third of your new food. The next 4-5 days, mix both
50-50. The next 4-5 days, mix two-thirds new food with one third of our food. This will
gradually introduce the new food, and your pup will most likely not experience any
What Causes Dehydration?
Dehydration occurs as a result of any illness that causes diarrhea, vomiting, high fever,
The obvious sign of dehydration is a loss of skin elasticity. A pup’s skin normally fits
like a comfortable coat, with some room to move particularly in the shoulders. If you
grasp the skin over your pups’ neck and shoulders, and gently lift; when normally
hydrated, the skin will quickly spring back into place upon release. The skin will slowly
retract when the dog is 7-10 % dehydrated. A dehydration of 10% or more is serious, and
the skin will remain in a tent or ridge when retracted, and not spring back into place.
Another measure of hydration is capillary refill. Gently press a finger against your pup’s
gums. This briefly blocks blood flow so the tissue turns white when the pressure is
quickly released. When your pup’s hydration is normal, it takes less than two seconds
for the white to return to normal pink pigment. 7-8% dehydration will delay the return
time for 2-3 seconds. Longer than 4-5 seconds indicates severe dehydration. Pups will
also exhibit sunken eyeballs, involuntary muscle twitches, and cold extremities.
Puppies suffering from moderate to severe dehydration require immediate veterinary
attention if they are to survive. Fluid therapy will be required to rehydrate the puppy
and return his electrolyte balance to normal. Your vet may show you how to administer
fluid therapy to your puppy at home by giving subcutaneous (Under the skin) fluid. In
mild cases where vomiting is not a problem, simply getting the dog to drink water will be
helpful. When you pick up your puppy, we provide a 12 cc syringe that will be helpful in
forcing water to rehydrate your pup should you ever need. You can alternate water with
Pedialyte, which also will provide lost minerals. Treatment will obviously also include
treating the underlying cause of the diarrhea.
Puppies are very susceptible to heatstroke during the summer months. Dogs do not
sweat like humans, except for a small bit from their footpads. They depend on panting
to help cool them. They also don’t know not to run around the yard in 90+ degree
temperatures. So it’s important to monitor their outside exercise when high
Heatstroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous
membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often
vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C). The dog becomes
progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shock sets in, the lips and
mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue.
If the rectal temperature is above 104°F, begin rapid cooling by spraying the dog with a
garden hose or immersing him in a tub of cool water (not ice water) for up to two
minutes. Alternatively, place the wet dog in front of an electric fan. Cool packs applied
to the groin area may be helpful, as well as ice packs to the paws. Monitor rectal
temperature and continue the cooling process until the rectal temperature falls below
103°F (39°C). At this point, stop the cooling process and dry the dog because further
cooling may induce hypothermia and shock.
Following a heatstroke, get your dog to a vet as soon as possible.