Q: I've heard that my puppy will probably get diarrhea when she comes home. Is that true? Is it dangerous? Could it be from "worms"?
A: Loose stool is fairly common with puppies going to their forever homes! There are many reasons for this. First, it is very stressful for the little guy. It is his first time away from his "pack" of both dogs and people! This transition can stress him out a bit and cause him to have loose bowels.
Also, many families choose to swap the puppy's diet too quickly. The puppy is weaned onto a certain food here, then swapped suddenly to a whole new food. This can cause loose bowels even in adult dogs. Food transitions should be made gradually.
Feeding the puppy very greasy treats (like hotdogs or pizza) can cause an upset tummy.
Also reactions to vaccines are a very common cause of puppy diarrhea!
There is a BIG difference between "loose stools" or "watery stools" and diarrhea though!
If your puppy seems ill that is time to see a veterinarian! Your puppy should not be going very frequently (1-3 times a day, generally) and the poop should not be forceful. If your puppy seems to be "shooting" out poop, you see mucous in the poop or anything that looks like bright blood or anything black and tarry (blood from higher in the intestinal tract or stomach) or anything that looks like "worms" or pieces of rice (unless you're feeding him rice, of course). You should see a vet asap and give me a call!
If your pup seems listless go to the vet immediately!
If your pup is having diarrhea or watery stool it could be that he/she might be having an adverse reaction to food she has consumed the last couple days. I'm not sure what food you're mixing with the food I sent, but it is possible she is sensitive to it. Some dog foods contain ingredients that frequently make dogs sick. Also, some dogs get very sick from a new food even when that food is a wonderful and expensive variety.
There is always the concern that a puppy will get watery stool if they are fed too much milk (yogurt is better and some say that canned condensed milk, reconstituted is also easier on the stomach since some of the proteins are broken down during the heating/evaporation process)
Most commonly, animals get runny stools when they are stressed out. A whole change in environment, their first night away from their litter mates and their normal surroundings can be quite new and scary for these little guys!
Also check your house for poisonous houseplants and chemicals used on the floors as cleaners and other dangerous things that may be ingested by the little thing. Make sure your sweet little children don't slip the new puppy any "treats" that aren't safe for dogs! Puppies like to chew, so poisonous/toxic plants in the yard can be an issue as well (which is why I only use non-toxic plants in my yard)
It is also very possible for your puppy to be having an adverse reaction to her vaccinations. I've seen pups (and cats and human babies) have adverse reactions to vaccinations up to three weeks after a round of shots. If there is no nailed down cause for this you may need to be very vigilant about watching her for another bad reaction to her shots the next time she gets them!!! Look in the blog for my article on dog and puppy vaccines. There are some vaccines that are just down right dangerous for your pet, and many others are given far too close together!!
Soft stools or a bit of diarrhea can be from stress of the transition, watery or frequent diarrhea is NOT from stress! And vomiting and being listless? That is NOT from stress unless you've allowed your little angel to scream and cry desperately in her crate during the night for hours on end... Yikes! Poor little sweetie. You should do the "tent" test on your puppy to check for hydration. Pinch a bit of loose skin in between her/his shoulder blades to make a little tent (don't worry, this doesn't hurt, this is how Mama carrie them, and I carry them like this all the time. You aren't putting all puppy's body weight on this skin so this won't hurt... and remember that a squirming, playful or objectionable puppy is a whole lot better than a listless puppy who doesn't respond to anything. Tent up this skin and release it. The skin/fur should "snap" back, it should return to its normal position readily. Skin that remains in this "tented state" for longer than just a few seconds is a dehydrated puppy. You should give your puppy an electrolyte solution by mouth with a child's type medical syringe (no needle) or eye dropper or even a baby's bottle if you cannot get her/him to drink from a bowl. If your puppy is vomiting you need to run, not walk, to the closest veterinarian, and call on the way so they know you're coming.
If your puppy has lost fluids you should not hesitate to bring her in for subcutaneous fluids (this is just a shot of lactated ringers solution (sterile water and electrolytes) that goes under the skin and is absorbed quickly.) This is a better way to give such a small animal fluids than an IV and is easier and less traumatic.
If you think your little one has more than just one or two soft mushy stools don't hesitate to call me right away and also call your veterinarian!!
Talk to you soon!!!
---Incomplete--not edited fully-mishmash of several emails and articles written as all of these are!!--