Archive for April, 2011

Bringing Home a New Puppy with Diarrhea

A reader asked me how to deal with a new puppy with diarrhea that they just brought home. If you get your puppy from a reputable breeder, or from a rescue or shelter, they should not allow anyone to bring home a puppy that has diarrhea. If you get your puppy from a pet store, or a backyard breeder, then they are just in it for the money and they don’t care if you have a sick puppy.

Sorry for that little rant. Anyway, even before you bring your puppy home, you should set up a place for them to go potty. Whether this is your back yard, or if it’s potty pads or paper set up on a balcony/deck, or in your home in your puppy’s confined area is up to you.

With that done, the very first thing you do when you get your puppy home is take him immediately to his potty spot. Start right away with your potty training. This goes for any new puppy, whether or not they have diarrhea, but especially if they do.

Then, follow my guidelines in house training a puppy with diarrhea.

Potty Pads or Paper for Puppy Potty Training

I have had clients ask me whether it’s better to use potty pads or newspaper for paper training their puppy. Really, the principle is the same, so there is no difference in that regard. You are training your puppy to go potty on a particular surface, whether that be pads or paper. There are a few differences that may help you make your decision.

Potty Pads

Potty pads are created to help your puppy go potty on them because they usually contain a scent which helps stimulate your pup to do their business. The top of the pads are soft synthetic material, and the bottom is nylon, which helps prevent leak-through.

You can put many of them together, and tape them to the floor. When they are used, you simply roll them up and toss them away. Then, just replace with fresh potty pads.

With potty pads, you need to buy them from the pet store.


Using newspaper for your paper training has the biggest benefit in that you can get newspapers for free. You can find used papers at train stations, bus stops, you can get day old newspapers from the library, and many other places. Or, if you already subscribe to the paper, then you are already paying for it and have it in your home.

Newspapers are not scented to stimulate your puppy’s senses to go potty, and they easily leak through. Just like with potty pads, you simply roll up the used paper and toss it.

So, the decision is up to you. Papers cost less, but potty pads help with leakage and are scented to stimulate your puppy to go potty. If you have any thoughts, just leave your comments.

Make Sure Your Puppy’s Diarrhea Isn’t More Serious

In each of my posts about puppy diarrhea, you will notice that I always will tell you to make sure you consult your vet to make sure your puppy doesn’t have anything more serious than just simple diarrhea. Several causes of diarrhea show the same symptoms.

I am writing about one of those serious causes of loose bowels, but this does have a good ending.

Some Causes of Puppy Diarrhea

There are several things that could cause diarrhea, such as eating something your puppy shouldn’t, being overheated, change in diet, eating a foreign object, ingesting a toxic substance, Colitis, bacterial or viral infection, and more.

They all seem to have the same general symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, and other symptoms. However, some cases of puppy diarrhea are much more serious than a small bout of loose stools caused by an upset stomach.

I came across a couple posts about a new puppy that a family brought home, and they noticed their pup had diarrhea, was vomiting, and was lethargic. The symptoms continued, however. Luckily, they realized that this was not right and they took their puppy to the vet.

It turned out that the puppy had parvovirus. This can be a very deadly virus, especially if not caught in time. Luckily, Bosco received the care he needed and is now a very happy and healthy dog. Read about Bosco’s fight with parvo at the Common Craft blog.

After you click on that link I just gave you, scroll down and read the entire page to get the whole story and see all the pictures.

Should I Crate My Puppy With Diarrhea?

This is a tough question. When your puppy has diarrhea, if you put him back into his dog crate, will he make a mess inside? This could be a very real possibility.

When your puppy has diarrhea, you need to be diligent in getting him out very often to relieve his bowels. The first thing you want to do is to care for your puppy with diarrhea. Once he has loose stools, you will need to treat him so he gets over it quickly.

When you have your treatment under way, you need to remember this. You may need to get your puppy out to go potty every hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, or even sooner depending on how bad your puppy’s diarrhea condition is.

Your puppy is just learning his potty training. When he has diarrhea, you should think that all bets are off. It is your responsibility to get him out often. So, if you keep him out of the crate and loose in the house in between taking him out to go potty, then you need to watch his every move. When you see the slightest hint that he needs to have a bowel movement, get him out right then and there.

The same goes for putting your puppy in his dog crate in between potty. When he is feeling well and he goes in his crate after doing potty, you know he has several hours before he will have to go back out, depending on his age.

However, when he has diarrhea, he may need to go back out in just five minutes. Again, you will need to watch his every move. Once you see any hint that he needs to relieve himself, get him out right away or he may go in his crate.

If you have a plastic dog crate, it may be more difficult to watch his body language. If you are using a wire crate, it will be easier to watch him and see if he has to go potty again.

Whatever you decide, if you leave your puppy in or out of his crate when he has diarrhea, you MUST WATCH YOUR PUPPY CLOSELY and get your puppy out when he tells you he needs to go potty.

Paper Potty Training Issue: Puppy Plays with Paper

I had a client contact me with an issue they were having potty training their puppy using paper training. They chose this method because both puppy parents work during the day, and could not come home during the day to let their puppy go potty.

Their issue was that their puppy played with the paper he was supposed to be going potty on. Even worse, after the puppy went potty on the paper, he would play with it and pull it all over the place, and the pee, and poop, would end up on the floor, leaving them with a mess to clean up.

I have seen this before. Puppies love to play. That is just a fact. The trouble is, when you are paper training your puppy, when they play with the paper or potty pads, this makes a mess.

One thing you can do is to tape the paper down to the floor. You should be confining your puppy to an area with hard floors, whether it’s tile, hardwood, or concrete. When the puppy does not have any edges of the paper to pick up, this should help stop the problem.

If you are using potty pads, you can tape those down to the floor too.