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Everything You Need (But Don’t Want) to Know About Great Dane Puppy Diarrhea

Unfortunately, Great Dane puppy diarrhea can be a common occurrence. It’s never fun when your puppy isn’t feeling good. Especially when you are the one who is on clean-up duty when they have the doggy runs!

Great Danes have sensitive stomachs and digestive tract, making them more susceptible to diarrhea.

If your puppy is experiencing diarrhea, don’t panic just yet! Many puppies experience soft stool until they are one year old, and will likely encounter diarrhea several times before adulthood.

Luckily, many of these cases are due to harmless sources. If it persists, seek veterinary assistance as it could be a sign of something more serious.

Common Sources Of Great Dane Puppy Diarrhea

Dietary Indiscretion

If your Great Dane puppy has diarrhea, one possible source is a dietary indiscretion, or a circumstance also known as “garbage gut”. This is when the dog eats too much or eats something that its body cannot break down.

This can either be garbage, table scraps of human food, grass, or anything foreign to a normal canine diet.

Common signs that your pup has experienced a dietary indiscretion include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness

This condition is very similar to what humans experience when they get food poisoning. These episodes are typically short-lived and clear up within 24-72 hours.

Food Changes

Owning a Great Dane comes with the territory of caring for their sensitive stomachs. If your Great Dane has recently been introduced to a different food, it is possible they will develop diarrhea.

If you are thinking about making the switch to a new brand of food – take it slow! Your canine buddy will thank you! Great Danes need time for their touchy bellies to process and adjust to changes.

One way to wean him away from his previous diet is to mix in the new food very gradually. Follow our guidelines here for specific details on how to transition their food.

Stress

Dogs can undergo stress for a variety of reasons. Has anything in your Great Dane’s life changed recently?

Certain life events, whether in your or their life, can upset the stomach and trigger incidents of diarrhea. These big dogs are very sensitive to things that are happening in their environment.

Have you moved, had a baby, put them in a kennel, been around new people, or changed your work schedule lately? All these changes could have an effect on your pet and disrupt their sensitive digestive system.

For instance, when puppies are brought into a new home, it is normal for them to be nervous and excrete soft stool. The abdominal distress can last up to a couple of days, but it’s nothing to worry too much about.

Once puppies get adjusted to their new family, food, and schedule, the symptoms will subside and they will be back to their usual cheery selves.

Ways To Treat Diarrhea At Home

Help Avoid Dehydration

To minimize the duration that your Great Dane puppy suffers from diarrhea, be sure that they are drinking plenty of water.

It is important that these giant balls of love get enough fluids in their system since diarrhea can flush out vital liquids. Also, water helps to lubricate the gastrointestinal tract and remove any pathogens they may have ingested.

To get a more specific idea as to how much water that a Great Dane should drink, make sure to take a look at our dedicated article on the topic here.

If your dog avoids their water bowl, try adding a bit of chicken broth to it. Voila! They will be lapping it up in no time 

Try A Bland Food Diet

Feeding your Great Dane bland food like white rice, boiled chicken, and pureed pumpkin can help their digestive tract to function properly. By giving their digestive system a break from processing hard foods for a few days, their bowel irritation should disappear.

Other bland food options that are safe for your pup include yogurt, boiled potatoes (without the skins), and cottage cheese.

Probiotics are also a wonderful addition to their food that will soothe their gut. If diarrhea persists, some over-the-counter human medication like Pepcid can also be a good option. As always, check with your vet first before administering it.

Fasting

Sometimes episodes of diarrhea require your dog to start fasting. A 24-hour fast allows your dog’s gut to rest and recover from the irritation in their stomach.

Home remedies like rice water can be given to your doggy while they are fasting. This is the creamy liquid that results from boiling white rice in water. However, it’s important to use quality white rice when making rice water.

Avoid brown rice as it contains too much fiber. This could speed up stool through the digestive tract, and create the opposite effect of what you want!

After your pup has fasted for a day or two, start him back on a bland diet of white rice cooked with extra water. From there, you can add baby food for added protein and flavor. Gradually move back to their normal food schedule.

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When Should You Take Them To The Vet?

It is normal for puppies and dogs to get upset stomachs now and then. 

The usual cases of diarrhea that you shouldn’t worry about can be identified by the unmistakable smell and brown, chocolate pudding consistency. This is usually resolved through home remedies, rest, and staying hydrated.

However, dogs who experience constant diarrhea for more than 2-3 consecutive days without solid stool should receive professional attention. Take them to a vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

It becomes something worth investigating further once dogs excrete black tarry stool or any stool with blood. Additional warning signs include:

  • Consistent abdominal pain
  • Groaning
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Bloating

Chronic diarrhea can be very dangerous for puppies and dogs. If it turns into an ongoing issue, it can deplete them of valuable nutrients needed for growth. Ultimately, it can also impair their immune system function.

Seek veterinary assistance immediately if your pet is exhibiting these symptoms.

Additional Sources Of Great Dane Puppy Diarrhea

Indigestible Substances

Puppies are naturally playful and rambunctious. Great Danes love exploring new houses and yards. If you aren’t watchful, they could get into things they are not supposed to.

Potential hazards like toys, socks, rock, and other small objects are easy targets for your curious pet to go after. These can cause blockage in their intestines and make them sick.

If you suspect your puppy has eaten a foreign object, take them to the vet to get examined. They may perform scans to locate the object, but in most cases wait for it to pass.

Parasites

Great Danes and other dogs alike are susceptible to assorted parasites. The most common ones live in the gut. They are contracted either by coming in contact with mammal carriers or feces from other dogs.

Common parasites found in puppies include roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. All of which are common sources of Great Dane puppy diarrhea.

Roundworms can be passed through the stool and can be easy to spot. To distinguish these in your dog’s stool, look for organisms that resemble small spaghetti noodles. These are harmful to puppies since they deplete all necessary nutrients for development, ultimately stunting their growth. These parasites are passed by coming in contact with infected dog feces, earthworms, birds, and rodents.

Hookworms are blood-sucking parasites that invade dogs’ small intestines. Some symptoms that indicate that your pup may be infected are severe diarrhea, pale lips, nose, and ears, and vomiting. It is also possible for these parasites to inhabit and live in a puppy’s lungs. You can tell these are present if your dog starts to develop a consistent and unshakable cough.

Whipworms live in the large intestine and can be identified through microscopic eggs showing up in puppies’ diarrhea. Dogs become infected by swallowing bacteria that is common from coming in contact with other dog’s feces. Once a dog is infected, they can develop chronic diarrhea. At this point, veterinary intervention is required.

Vets are able to identify whipworms through medical tests. However, your dog should be tested multiple times since the parasites are tricky to catch. Because eggs are laid irregularly, tests will often come up negative even though whipworms are present.

Coccidia is a parasite found in feces and soil. Puppy’s often contract it by coming into contact with their infected mother’s feces, or by eating contaminated soil. Because puppy’s immune systems take time to fully develop, they have minimal resistance to the organism. Great Danes between the ages of 4-12 weeks are usually the most affected. The most common symptom is severe diarrhea, however, vomiting and dehydration may also occur.

Giardia is an intestinal infection developed by ingesting infectious organisms through other dogs’ feces. It is important to keep a close eye when your Great Dane is exposed to other playmates. You should also focus on keeping their environment clean from their own waste. Giardia parasites are known to cause diarrhea that is greasy, soft, or frothy and has a strong pungent odor and excessive mucus.

If any parasites or worms are visible, you can purchase over-the-counter dewormers to help cope with the condition. These medications will generally treat all intestinal worms and are a must for Great Dane owners. If the problems persist, see a vet for assistance.

Viral Infections

Parvovirus, or parvo, is a viral disease that attacks the intestinal tract and white blood cells in dogs. It has been known to damage the heart muscle and cause cardiac problems. Your Great Dane puppy may be infected if they exhibit symptoms of lethargy, severe diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.

Canine distemper affects a dog’s respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems, making it one of the most dangerous airborne diseases without a known cure. Common symptoms include red, watery eyes, discharge from the nose, lethargy, vomiting, and foul-smelling and bloody diarrhea.

Coronavirus infections also take place in the intestinal tract. Dogs contract Coronavirus by coming into contact with infected dogs’ feces. Coronavirus is highly contagious. Dogs who have contracted this illness will exhibit uncontrollable diarrhea for several days along with depressions, vomiting, loss of appetite, and mild fever. If diarrhea gets too severe to treat with home remedies, a trip to the vet may be necessary.

Bacterial Infection

Young Great Dane puppies are most at risk of contracting salmonella due to their underdeveloped immune system. In addition, dogs who are on antibiotics are more susceptible to salmonella.

The antibiotics reduce the number of healthy bacteria to line their digestive tract, making them more vulnerable to the bacteria.

This infection can lead to inflammation of the stomach and intestine often resulting in diarrhea lasting for a few days. Other symptoms can include mild fever, shock, lethargy, vomiting, and weight loss.

If you suspect your puppy to have salmonella, take him to the vet for stool analysis to determine for sure.

Great Dane Puppy Diarrhea Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things that can trigger Great Dane puppy diarrhea. The good news is that most of them are temporary, and not harmful in the long run. While no one wants to see their puppy in discomfort, it should bring you some peace knowing that it’s common for the breed.

While many cases can be treated at home, proper medical treatment will go a long way in preventing the more dangerous sources. This includes getting your Great Dane puppy properly vaccinated and on a regimen to prevent heartworm and other parasites.

By following these guidelines, you should be able to distinguish between a regular case of diarrhea and something more serious. Not only will this save you lots of money at the vet, but it also makes you a better owner and friend to your Great Dane.

Paying closer attention to your dog’s health could very well save their life one day from something more serious than diarrhea.

We hope that you found this information helpful. Before you go, make sure to take a look at our favorite products for Great Danes!

Puppy Tip! Are you looking for the answers to many of your Great Dane puppy questions? If so, you are not alone! After answering hundreds of questions repeatedly for owners over the last several years, we took the time to create The Great Dane Puppy Handbook. It is THE ultimate guide to Great Dane puppy care.

6 thoughts on “Everything You Need (But Don’t Want) to Know About Great Dane Puppy Diarrhea”

  1. My great Dane puppy has been vaccinated and was treated for roundworms, but 2 weeks later he is still having .diarrhea. The vet said there were no intestinal parasites detected in his stool. I’ve tried canned pumpkin, and the vet gave us 7 days worth of anti diarrhea meds, and he still has diarrhea. His diarrhea consists of a clear mucous. I read Danes have sensitive stomachs, so is this a problem with his food. Should I have him on a sensitive tummy food?

    Reply
    • Hello not sure how old this post is but I too am wondering what dog food to feed my great dane puppy. Her poo was tested & came back negative for everything. Only boiled chicken & white rice stopped her diarrhea. Tried blue buffalo puppy & diamond naturals puppy but she was having the runs the entire time ?

      Reply
      • Try the white rice & chicken for a longer period before switching back to dry food. We also found that adding pumpkin puree to the chicken and rice mix seemed to help. It can take them some time to adjust to a new food, so give it some time before switching again.

        Reply
  2. Please emphasize to people that they should not feed giant breed puppies puppy food. It makes their bones grow too fast , causing issues when they are holder.

    Reply
  3. Also my girls and new puppy love rabbit poop. Evidently pups/dogs lack the enzyme needed to digest it(was told by vet). Felt stupid ziplocking little round pellets for vet to identify. All the food changes and this was the culprit. Pups are outside much of day, they love to chase the rabbits, scaring the poop right out of them.

    Reply

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