Have you noticed that your puppy has loose stools at night? Are you concerned about what this might mean and what you can do about it? Here’s everything you’ll need to know about what to expect and how to help your pet.
So, why does my puppy have loose stools at night? Puppies can have loose stools at night due to a sudden change in diet, allergies, food intolerances, or medication. Sometimes puppies can be struggling with an illness, a parasite infection, or stress. While this is normal for all dogs occasionally, ongoing diarrhea will mean a visit to your vet.
Ultimately, you really need to think about when this all started.
Try to identify or think of what might have changed that could be causing it.
At the same time; do look a little further than just the poop. How is your puppy behaving in general; what is its demeanor like?
Are they lethargic, or are they sprightly?
While you cannot, nor should not diagnose (as a vet can), you might be able to implement some changes that provide relief for your dog.
You may even find with a few simple changes it goes away all by itself.
Or at the very least, direct your vet and help them identify the cause should you proceed to get them involved.
With that said, let us now take a look at how common loose stools are in puppies, explore the probable causes and then outline the best course of action in each scenario.
Is It Common For Puppies To Have Loose Stools?
It is pretty common for puppies to have loose stools as there are a variety of different potential causes. At the same time, puppies are quite vulnerable to their environment and susceptible to change.
Here are some common causes of loose stools in puppies.
Your Puppy’s Diet
Even something as simple as a change in diet can trigger diarrhea in puppies.
Maybe your vet suggested a better quality of food for your puppy, or you had to purchase something else because your puppy’s usual food wasn’t available.
The problem could also be the current food your puppy eats: sometimes puppies can develop sensitivity or intolerance to specific ingredients or foods.
If you suspect that food intolerance or sensitivity could be the cause of your puppy’s problems, speak with your vet to determine the most effective way to manage your pup’s diet to resolve the issue.
Also, consider purchasing a premium nutrient-dense dog food free from allergens.
This is the one I get for my dog and they are quite simply, thriving on it!
Eating Things They Aren’t Supposed To
Puppies are naturally curious and want to get to know their environment, often ingesting food they aren’t meant to eat.
Garbage, poisonous plants, and other substances aren’t safe from an exploring puppy.
Poisons are particularly harmful. If you believe your puppy has eaten something they shouldn’t, call your vet immediately.
Even non-poisonous substances or objects can cause intestinal blockages and lead to serious health consequences.
Puppies are particularly prone to parasites – some parasites they are born with, and others they pick up from their environment.
Parasites that can cause loose stools in puppies are:
Parasites in puppies require medical attention to eliminate them for your puppy’s health.
A Bacterial Infection
Sometimes your puppy has picked up a bacterial infection such as salmonella or E. coli.
Because puppies have more sensitive immune systems than adult dogs, they are more likely to suffer from infections.
Some signs of a bacterial infection include loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, and blood in diarrhea. These infections are serious and need immediate medical attention.
A viral infection, such as distemper or parvovirus, can have quite severe consequences for your puppy.
Both can affect unvaccinated and partially vaccinated puppies and require an immediate trip to the vet for assistance, as they can be fatal.
Sometimes your puppy can become so stressed with their change in the environment that their stools become loose.
Unlike many other causes of loose stools, stress can resolve itself as your puppy adjusts to its new home.
Keep an eye on your puppy, give them extra love and comfort, and their stools should firm up on their own within a few days.
Exercise can help reduce stress, both for humans and puppies. Playing fetch with your puppy or going for regular walks will help your puppy expel energy, release tension, and boost endorphins.
Another effective aid to prevent stress is to make sure your puppy has a special, safe place in your home where they can go for peace and quiet.
Even though puppies are bundles of energy, they like to have a safe place to retreat to for relaxing.
Crate training is essential for puppies, and this starts from the day they come into your home. The happier you can help your puppy feel in their crate, the faster they’ll settle in.
If You’re Unsure Of The Cause
If, however, you are in doubt as to the cause of your puppy’s loose stools, a vet visit is always the best place to start.
You’ll want to rule out any serious or potentially life-threatening problems first.
When Does A Puppy’s Poop Become Solid?
A puppy’s poop should become solid right from the start. Assuming your puppy is perfectly healthy, the consistency of your puppy’s poop isn’t so much a question of age as of how much moisture they’re getting in their diet.
Puppies who are still suckling from their mother will have moister poop as they’ve been ingesting a liquid diet.
Once you start to wean them off, their poop will become slightly less moist as their intestines adjust to absorbing various other foods.
Their poop’s appearance will change as they go from milk to soft food to kibble.
The Ideal Puppy Poop
The ideal poop for puppies and adult dogs is relatively firm poop that is about 2 inches long and comes out in segments.
If the poop comes out as one soft piece, your puppy’s body may not be getting enough moisture, so it’s expelling it instead.
If you notice small pellets, your puppy may be constipated.
A healthy color for dog poop is chocolate brown – much like milk chocolate.
And dogs usually poop the same number of times per day: once, twice, or even as much as four times a day. If you notice any changes in consistency, your puppy may be having problems.
Check the size of your puppy’s poop, too: it should be relative to their size and weight.
If their poop is smaller than normal, your pup could be constipated. If their poop is too large, they may not be absorbing food properly.
Why You Want To Monitor Your Puppy’s Poop
It’s essential to know what your puppy’s normal poop looks like so that you can be alert to any changes that could indicate a health concern.
You can then provide timely care for your puppy before more serious problems develop.
What Should I Do if My Puppy Has Loose Stools?
If your puppy has loose stools, it isn’t anything to worry about most of the time. A simple phone call to your vet is the best course of action, just to be on the safe side. Tell your vet the symptoms, and they will decide if your puppy needs a visit.
Having said that, if you notice any of the following symptoms, take your pup to the vet right away:
- Loose stools that are black, bloody, or with a tar-like texture
- Pain or discomfort
- Pale gums
- If you suspect your puppy has swallowed something they shouldn’t
- If the loose stools have occurred for more than one day
Treating Loose Stools In Puppies
Depending on the cause, there are different things you can do to help your puppy with loose stools.
Whatever treatment you implement, make sure you provide your puppy with plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Stress or Dietary Transition Problems
If your puppy’s stools are loose because of stress or a dietary change, you can usually help by adding a bland diet.
Once you’ve checked with your vet and you know there’s nothing more serious at the root of the problem, try serving your pup foods that are easy to digest.
Foods like cooked macaroni, white rice, or oatmeal are good choices. You can also use high-protein, bland foods such as skinless chicken or eggs.
A Viral or Bacterial Infection
If an infection is the cause, your vet may prescribe antibiotics as well as give intravenous fluids. Your puppy may need to be hospitalized while recovering.
Ingesting Undesirable Substances
If your puppy has eaten garbage, their loose stools may harden on their own, particularly with the help of a bland diet, as described above.
If, however, they’ve eaten something that can cause an obstruction, your vet will need to address this immediately.
Toxins or poisonous substances require emergency veterinary care, and the treatment can vary widely, depending on what your puppy has eaten.
If your puppy has parasites, your vet will prescribe treatment depending on the type of parasite and the degree of severity of the infection.
Some parasites will go away with the aid of medication, whereas others require a more detailed approach.
Preventing Loose Stools In Puppies
Most of the time, you can prevent loose stools in your puppy. Here are some ideas:
- If you change your puppy’s diet, do so gradually.
- Vaccinate your puppy when appropriate, and keep unvaccinated puppies away from public places and unvaccinated dogs.
- Clean up after your dog, and speak with your vet about preventing parasites.
- Keep your puppy in a kennel when unsupervised to prevent ingestion of toxins, garbage, and other harmful substances
- If your puppy shares a kennel with other dogs, keep everything clean and disinfected (use the proper disinfectants for dogs: you can make your own if you wish).
If your puppy has loose stools, you are getting a clear sign that something is wrong.
That being said, the extent of how wrong can range from something that clears up by itself all the way through to your puppy may need some medical support.
So do remain vigilant.
Don’t take risks.
Contact a vet, at least to be sure.
Play it safe and get your puppy checked out.
From there, be sure to continue regularly observing your puppy’s poop.
It might sound strange, but it is one of the best ways to keep an eye on their health.
Enjoy this? Then my other puppy articles may be of interest!
- Should I Leave Water Out For My Puppy At Night?
- Should I Leave A Light On For My Puppy At Night?
- Can Puppies Sleep Outside?
- Why Is My Puppy Sleeping So Much?
- Why Does My Puppy Breathe So Fast While Sleeping?
- Why Does My Puppy Pee In Her Sleep?
- Why Does My Puppy Cry When I Leave The Room?
- Should I Leave A Light On For My Puppy At Night?
- Can You Leave A Puppy Alone Overnight?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.