Pet Health
puppy has diarrhoea but playful causes solutions

When Your Puppy has Diarrhoea but Remains Playful: Causes and Solutions

Written by Steph McCulloch


Managing puppy problems can be challenging, as there isn't a universal solution for every issue. Nevertheless, if your furry friend is dealing with diarrhoea while remaining active, the explanations provided in this article might offer the clarity you need.
playful puppy


We understand as a new puppy owner, you feel extremely concerned when your pup doesn’t seem like themselves. However, what do you do when your pup seems playful and active but is struggling with bouts of diarrhoea? Is this a serious medical condition or something that will pass in a few hours or days?

Well, we’re here to clear it all up so you can get all the answers you need. However, if you require immediate veterinary advice, why not speak to Joii? All Waggel members get access to 24/7 online vet care including consultations and treatment (for free) which can help soothe feelings of anxiety and worry.

To become a Waggel member, get your free quote today and protect what matters most. 

Waggel is also on hand with advice on topics such as ear mites on dogs, as well as other digestive related issues such as constipation.

In this article, however, we’re going to discuss, in more detail, the reasons why your puppy has diarrhoea but still seems playful, those reasons include:

  • Dietary changes

  • Parasites

  • Stress

  • Viral infection or bacterial infections

  • Overfeeding

Reason 1: Dietary changes

puppy looking playful

The most obvious cause of diarrhoea in puppies is a change in diet. Introducing a new food such as raw, wet, or kibble can cause an upset stomach and a nasty case of diarrhoea. This also includes new treats that your puppy isn’t used to.

The best way to change your puppy’s food and avoid diarrhoea is to slowly introduce new foods and treats with veterinary advice.

As an example, most owners introduce 10% new food to 90% old food in meals and increase new food to 20% and so on each day for 10 days until their pup has transitioned to the new food. This is the safest method and will ensure your pup doesn’t get an upset stomach. If they do, you can easily revert back to their old diet.

slow transition is key because your pup’s digestive tract is sensitive and needs time to adjust to a new diet. This gradual introduction allows your pup’s intestines to get used to new food and treats.

Reason 2: Parasites

a puppy playing with toilet paper

Parasites such as worms and Giardia can also cause diarrhoea in puppies but how does this happen? The most common way of contracting parasites is by ingesting poop that is infected. 

Giardia can also be contracted through drinking water that is infected with faeces or that another dog with Giardia has been drinking from. Giardia is a very small parasite that attacks the lining of the intestines causing extreme diarrhoea. 

Worms can cause puppies to feel discomfort and often result in soft stools and loose stools. Puppies who have hookworm may have bloody diarrhoea so it is important to see a veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pup has worms.

Parasites can cause puppies to feel extremely dehydrated, so whilst your pup may look okay on the outside, they may be struggling internally. Your vet may also recommend placing your puppy on a bland diet of chicken and white rice to help settle their stomach whilst they’re unwell. 

Reason 3: Stress

a puppy chewing

Though they may be cute and full of energy, puppies can still deal with stress just like any other dog! Times of prolonged stress can manifest into physical symptoms including diarrhoea in puppies.

Things that cause stress in puppies include separation anxiety and a change in routine such as suddenly leaving them for long periods after being home for most of the time. The best way to help reduce episodes of stress and accompanying diarrhoea is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your puppy.

For lots of owners, this is through crate training so their pup has somewhere relaxing to go when they feel stressed. If you feel as though your puppy isn’t dealing well with stress and the diarrhoea is occurring more frequently, it is definitely worth reaching out to a vet who can offer you expert advice. 

Other tips to soothe a stressed-out puppy are to remove them from the stressor and resist the urge to overly comfort them with treats and petting as this can make them feel more stressed.

Reason 4: Viral or bacterial infections

a happy dog on the toilet

Nasty viral or bacterial infections are often the biggest culprits in a poorly pup who has diarrhoea. 

Parvovirus (also known as parvo) is a very serious and life-threatening condition in dogs and can be prevented through routine vaccinations. It is spread through direct dog-to-dog contact with contaminated faeces or environments. The risk of contracting parvo is higher in busier cities with unvaccinated dogs.

Though it is rare, puppies can also contract Salmonella infection. Salmonella is caused by eating out-of-date or raw meat. Though illness from Salmonella is rare compared to humans, it can result in hospitalisation and death. Symptoms include:

  • Loose stools

  • Diarrhoea

  • Bloody poop

  • Poop that contains mucus

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

If you suspect your puppy has eaten bacteria-ridden, out-of-date meat or struggling on a raw meat diet, it is best to seek immediate veterinary attention. Without treatment, your puppy could be facing extreme danger and additional illnesses such as infection of the gastrointestinal tract. 

Reason 5: Overfeeding

a puppy chewing a shuttlecock

Though it can feel natural to reward lots of good behaviour with treats, there are limits! Overfeeding a puppy can overwhelm their digestive system and cause a very uncomfortable bout of diarrhoea as their body tries to expel the excess food.

Constant overfeeding can lead to canine obesity which can be fatal without treatment. Obesity can also lead to continued diarrhoea and additional health issues such as heart disease.

If you think your puppy is eating too much, speak to your vet about limiting their food intake or changing their diet slowly and safely. Attempting to do so alone is not recommended and can cause more harm than good!


Managing puppy problems can be challenging, as there isn't a universal solution for every issue. Nevertheless, if your furry friend is dealing with diarrhoea while remaining active, the explanations provided in this article might offer the clarity you need.

Despite your puppy appearing playful and normal during bouts of diarrhoea, it's crucial for pet parents not to let their guard down, as a medical condition could still be present. As pet owners, it's essential to monitor your puppy's symptoms and think critically. Have you recently altered their puppy food? Did they consume human foods or table scraps they shouldn't have, or perhaps overeat? Are their vaccinations up to date?

If something appears amiss, trust your instincts! You understand your puppy better than anyone, so seeking advice for their well-being is always a wise decision. Consulting with a veterinarian about dietary indiscretion, food allergies, intestinal parasites, or infectious diseases is highly recommended. A professional can also provide guidance on bland food options for sensitive stomachs and educate you on recognising blood in stool, potential kidney diseases, or lack of appetite.

If you have other health or training concerns such as ticks on your dog, training a puppy to stop biting, or even the basics like how to roll over, then Waggel has you covered.

Ensuring access to water and providing fresh water is essential for maintaining your pet's health, especially when they experience an upset tummy or other stomach upsets. Additionally, being aware of food intolerances, food sensitivities, and toxic foods can help prevent further complications.

Regular veterinary care can also aid in strengthening your pet's immune functions and managing their bowel movement issues.

For Waggel members, seeking advice from a Joii vet is an excellent resource and, best of all, it's completely free. Stay proactive in addressing your puppy's needs, and you'll be well-equipped to handle any challenges that come your way.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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