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FAQ - Diarrhea

I am not a vet.  This is what I do for my dogs and it is presented as that alone.
If you have any questions, ask your vet, he is your best medical source.

Diarrhea ranges from uncontrollable projectile to regular but loose stools.  Lets call all that diarrhea.  Diarrhea in puppies can be caused by several things:

  1. Stress

  2. Change of food

  3. Too much food 

  4. Fatty treats

  5. Parasites

By stress I don't mean they have a deadline at work.  Stress means environmental change which leads to biochemical changes in the body, blood pressure changes, and digestive upset.  A stressed puppy can still be mellow and lazy, he doesn't have to LOOK stressed to be stressed.  Change leads to stress in humans and dogs, and especially puppies who are not as adapted to change as they will be after socialization begins in earnest in their new homes.  Change of home, change of roommates, change of water, change of routine, all things puppies have to go through when they go to their new homes.  This CAN possibly cause stress.  This kind of stress goes away, and if the breeder has done her job with Rules of 7, she has let the puppies sleep in 7 different places by 7 weeks, eat our of 7 different bowls in 7 different locations, etc.  CHANGE is good for puppies, it is NECESSARY for puppies, but it can cause stress diarrhea.  

Ask your breeder what they recommend for stress diarrhea when they arrive in their new home.  Wayeh puppies are used to raw meaty bones (RMB) like raw bone-in chicken wings and pork necks.  These RMB are high in bone which will help bind stools of a stressed puppy. If you're picking up puppy at the airport, the first meal when you get home can be a raw chicken wing, or three.  They will have had several when they were put in the crate, but frozen so chewing takes their mind off their new situation.

Changing food is a classic for causing stress diarrhea.  We all know to take several days changing a dog's diet, but many people will start right off switching the food the breeder recommends and has been using on the puppy.  DO NOT CHANGE THE FOOD, and certainly not at first.  It may be expensive, or hard to come by, but the breeder has a reason for that food, talk to her about her reasons and you may learn something.

Puppies can also have stress diarrhea from too much food.  Feeding puppies is a balance between wanting them to have all the calories and nutrients they need to grow up healthy AND fat puppies.  One of the sure signs off too much food, is if you cut the volume by 2/3rds and the stools harden.  Also many people don't measure their puppies food, they dump out a bowl full and count that as enough.  It's NOT.  You can't know if you're feeding too much unless you have a way of measuring how much.  You might want to measure out their entire day's allotment into a bowl and place it up high and convenient to you, on top of the fridge.  When you want to treat your new puppy, and you SHOULD, then take kibble from the bowl.  If you feed all the day's food before noon, perhaps the problem is YOU and not the puppy.  When the bowl is empty, stop feeding the puppy that day.  Training is an easy way to get too much food in a puppy in too much of a hurry.  Keep training, but use smaller morsels and remember to measure the entire DAY's food intake, and not just the regular mealtimes.

Fatty treats are a classic for diarrhea.  And worse health issues, so be careful what you feed your new puppy.  I don't feed any pig products, or pieces of animal products, no ears, no tails, no bully sticks, and no hooves to a new puppy. Dogs love these things because they are HIGH FAT.  High fat often leads to loose stools.

Parasites are another classic cause of diarrhea.  Face it, puppies walk in their own mess and lick their own feet.  They haven't lived long enough to build up the immunities to parasites that their elders have.  Despite regular deworming, puppies often get parasites, it happens to the best housekeepers, it's in the soil, it's in mother's milk, it's in animal poop (which they LOVE).  And note: fecal tests are NOTORIOUS for false negatives.  Just because your vet says the fecal test is negative, doesn't mean the puppy has no parasites, it means the tester didn't find them, many parasites are incredibly hard to find evidence of -- evidence outside the loose stools that is  See FAQ Deworming.

What do I do if my puppies stool goes soft or explosive?

First skip a meal.  Won't hurt, especially a Malamute puppy, and might be all it takes to give the gut a rest.  Then eliminate the obvious:

  1. Stress - give the puppy a break, when they arrive, use bottled water and after every drink, fill with your tap water so you gradually mix bottled water with your water.  Your breeder's water source will almost assuredly have a different chemical makeup than yours does, even if you live next door, so eliminate water as a problem.
    - Also, when puppy comes home, don't have a party.  This little guy doesn't know you, have a quiet evening and weekend and week.  Don't have the neighborhood over, and certainly not their dogs.  And do the introductions to YOUR dogs very very slowly.  Adrenalin is what usually gets puppies hurt by older dogs.  Eliminate the adrenalin by putting off the actual introduction for a while. They can co-exist with one of them always crated for quite some time, until the introduction where they both say, Ho Hum, it's you.

  2. Change of food - don't switch foods as soon as the puppy arrives.  Stay on what the breeder recommended for at least a couple of weeks, if not years.

  3. Too much food.  Cut the volume in half of the first meal after you skipped a meal and see what happens. 

  4. Fatty treats.  Eliminate them completely.  Milk bones are wonderful treats.  Or the puppy's own kibble.  Or raw meaty bones like chicken wings, pork necks, turkey necks, raw beef knuckles (not the cooked ones that have chemicals injected in them, save those for the adult dogs).

  5. Parasites.  This one is the hardest to determine.  But if stress is at a minimum, and you skip a meal, and have no fatty treats, than it's probably parasites and you should consider a fecal test and deworming puppy.


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Contact Wayeh    *    423-365-6039    *    Spring City, (East) Tennessee
Wayeh Alaskan Malamutes last updated 08/29/2010

Member Oak Ridge Kennel Club since 1996, member TN Working Dog Association since 2008

Temperament, health, structure, working ability, and then type --
because a good Malamute has to be a good dog first.