Teething and Diarrhea in Puppies

Teething terriers and toddlers have three things in common: the pain of teething, chewing on everything they can fit into their mouths, and easily upset tummies.

Because puppies (and babies) will chew on almost anything to relieve the pain of teething, their immature digestive systems are easily upset — causing them to have bouts of diarrhea when teething.   

Signs of Teething

Puppies are born toothless, so teething occurs in two phases. At first, the baby teeth begin to appear around five to eight weeks of age. Teething usually starts when puppies are weaning off milk so they can eat solid food. When your puppy reaches four to seven months, the baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. The central incisors usually fall out first, followed by the canine teeth and the premolars. Teething does not occur at a set time for every pup, so don’t worry if the process takes time. If you feel like the delay is unusual, consult your veterinarian.

During these stages, your puppy will experience a variety of symptoms. Soreness and irritation in the gums are the most obvious symptoms, and you will notice your puppy biting and gnawing on things frequently. It is best to keep teething toys on you because your puppy will need them during the teething stages.

While the above symptoms make sense, many puppies experience unusual symptoms such as digestive upset, diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting. Not every puppy will experience these symptoms. Some puppies will show mild symptoms, and the teething process will be smooth. Other pups may have severe symptoms that require immediate attention.

Does Teething Cause Diarrhea?

There is no clear answer to this question since puppies are vulnerable to many diseases that can cause diarrhea. Young puppies who haven’t received their shots could suffer from parasites or viruses. However, teething does cause puppies to produce excessive saliva. Since they gnaw on toys and objects, the mouth produces excess saliva. A puppy’s weak stomach can become upset by continuously swallowing saliva. Before you assume that teething is causing diarrhea for your puppy, rule out any other factors. Because a puppy’s immune system is not fully developed, you should screen for other illnesses that can cause diarrhea.

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What Causes Diarrhea in Puppies?

There are chances that your puppy is experiencing diarrhea for other reasons. Be sure to rule out any other factors such as:

Parasites

Every puppy is born with certain parasites since they lie dormant in the mother’s uterus. Parasites in the gastrointestinal tract are one of the main reasons for puppy diarrhea. Some of these parasites are worms visible in your pet’s stool, including protozoa and coccidia. Other parasites are not visible without the help of a microscope. Often, you might not even see the worms in the stool because only their eggs are present. In this case, your veterinarian can examine your pet’s stool for parasites.

As puppies age, they develop immunity to these parasites, but they are highly susceptible to them when young. These parasites can hinder the amount of nutrition your puppy receives from its food. Puppies suffering from parasites can show symptoms like:

  • Slow growth
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Poor-quality coat
  • Rounded gut

Reactions To Food

Many adult dogs are sensitive to the ingredients in their food if exposed to them repeatedly. Puppies, whose digestive systems are still underdeveloped, can easily develop an upset stomach. If you have changed your puppy’s food or given him too many treats or human food, it can upset his tummy. You should never share human food with your puppy since the high sodium and fat content can cause diarrhea. Some ingredients in human food are also toxic to pets, so it is best not to indulge your puppy if you are unsure.

Like adult dogs, puppies can also develop an allergy to the ingredients in their food. Diarrhea is one symptom, but you will also notice low appetite, refusal to eat, and itchiness around the face and paws.

Foreign Objects

Dogs tend to explore the world with their mouths. When teething, puppies are prone to putting everything in their mouth. Whether a piece of plastic or flowers in your garden, they leave no stone unturned. It is common for teething puppies to become sick because of something they have ingested.

Unfortunately, some can also be toxic substances, such as pesticides and cleaning products. Keep a close eye on your puppy at all times. Provide teething toys, so your puppy doesn’t have to rely on chewing potentially dangerous objects. If you know your puppy is about to begin teething, try to puppy-proof your house as best you can.

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Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections can also cause diarrhea in puppies. Puppies can acquire bacterial infections by eating contaminated food, water, and insects. If you feed your puppy wet food, you should be careful to dispose of it within two days. Even in the fridge, it can develop bacteria. Seal up any gaps or cracks where bugs can enter your home. Insects carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, which can cause diarrhea in puppies.

Viral Infections

Parvovirus is one of the most common and dangerous viral infections — killing hundreds of puppies yearly. It spreads via dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated stools and environments. Other viruses can also cause diarrhea in puppies, such as Distemper. Distemper also causes diarrhea, but respiratory distress and eye discharge are other common symptoms. You should ensure your puppy gets the vaccine for Parvovirus and Distemper as soon as possible.

Is Puppy Diarrhea Dangerous?

Unlike adult dogs, puppies are small and don’t have a strong immune system. Even minor issues like diarrhea can affect them significantly. Diarrhea combined with poor appetite and vomiting can drain nutrients quickly, leaving your puppy weak and lethargic. If your puppy is showing severe symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, so your puppy will need intravenous fluids. It is best not to dismiss mild diarrhea since it can quickly develop into a severe issue.

What You Can Do

If your puppy has loose rather than runny stool, you can manage the symptoms at home till you visit your veterinarian. You must ensure your puppy is hydrated and receives an easily digestible diet. If your puppy refuses to drink water, entice him with low-sodium broth. Pediatric hydration fluids are also an excellent option for a dehydrated puppy.

Boil some chicken and rice and serve it to your puppy rather than kibble. This meal will be gentle on your pet’s tummy and give him all the necessary nutrients. Fiber-rich foods such as pumpkin and probiotics can restore digestive health.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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