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Poopapalooza | Investigating Diarrhea in Puppies #1800PetMeds

Puppy Vaccinations and Side Effects, Diarrhea in Dogs

As a pet blogger and dog owner, I know that diarrhea in puppies happens.  But as a dog mom, a day of diarrhea is just too much and memories of Canine Parvovirus start swirling through my head.

Before I Google “diarrhea in puppies,” I run through what I know…

1.  The puppies didn’t have a change in behavior beyond having to go to the bathroom more often.

2.  The puppies received way to much oil the day before – camelina oil, sardines in olive oil, and coconut oil – it may have been overkill for their little bodies (but they haven’t had trouble before).

3.  The puppies weren’t dehydrated and didn’t have a fever.

4. On day two of Poopapalooza, they were doing well and even had a solid poop until about 4 hours after their final puppy vaccinations and dinner time (when they ate their normal food) when the diarrhea returned.

5.  There was no blood and there were no foreign objects in their diarrhea.

6.  The puppies didn’t lose their appetite.

7.  There wasn’t a recent change to the diet and the puppies aren’t being over fed.

8.  All the activity at the vet’ office (other dogs, people, vaccines) caused some stress for the puppies.

9.  I changed the raw food diet formula this time, adding in more liver; this batch was liver and gizzards, the last batch was hearts (which counts towards muscle meat, not organs).

A new diet when Poopapalooza arrives…

Whenever our dogs have diarrhea, I take them off of their normal food and give them plain boiled chicken (no bones) until it clears up.  They also get 100% plain pumpkin in the can (not the kind with the spices for pie).  Both of these helps soothe the digestive track and get their poops back to normal.

Everyone loves this diet change, but it can’t be permanent, because it lacks all of the nutrients our dogs need.  I do not give our puppies any additional supplements while on this temporary diet.

1-800-Pet-Meds has a home care recipe and schedule for diarrhea in puppies and dogs that is nearly what we do and easy to follow (please check with your vet before ordering the Fast Balance G-I recommended below):

For pets with diarrhea and no general illness (no vomiting, no bloody stools), withhold normal food, and:

  • 1st day: Feed your pet broth frequently in small amounts and give him or her Fast Balance-G.I.
  • 2nd day: Feed broth with mashed potato or mashed sweet potato and give Fast Balance-G.I.
  • 3rd day: Feed broth, mashed potato and bits of meat, and give Fast Balance-G.I.
  • 4th day: Feed broth and regular meals.

Give your pet Fast Balance-G.I. immediately when diarrhea occurs, and daily until diarrhea resolves, because it helps the intestinal cells function in a normal manner so that the diarrhea stops.

Source: 1-800-PetMeds

Cleaning up after Poopapalooza…

I have to say that I never thought I’d get that smell out of our house.  It was terrible.

Truly terrible.

But we had the products from The Good Home Store and I used the floor cleaner to clean up the poop that didn’t make it on the potty pad despite Zoey doing her best (good girl) and added a capful to our Rainmate to freshen the air.  30 minutes later, you wouldn’t know we were celebrating Poopapalooza at our house!

These products are amazing.  If you’d like to give them a try, you can save 20% on your order by using the code KTW20 (ends 2/20/14).

If Poopapalooza lasts longer than expected…

If the diarrhea sticks around for 72 hours, then I’m on the phone with the vet on day three and in their office the moment they tell us to come in.  If the diarrhea is joined by fever, vomiting, blood in their poop, or lethargy (they seem depressed) then they go to the vet IMMEDIATELY, because this is serious.

I bring in a sample of the diarrhea our puppies produced; yep, I will bag it up in a poopy bag and bring it to our doctor.  If there are any parasites or other things swirling around in their gut, we want to know right away so that we can start treatment.

It wasn’t the vaccinations.  Although the vaccinations led 24 hours of pain and tenderness for Scout (think how sore humans get after a flu shot), it wasn’t the reason for the diarrhea.  We were able to get it cleared up with the bland diet, but it came right back when they went back onto their food.  Why?

Too much liver.  I did some more homework and found that the change in this batch’s recipe (adding more liver instead of adding the chicken hearts) resulted in diarrhea.

We feed 80% muscle meat (including chicken hearts), 10% bones, 10% organ meat (5% of which should be liver).  Speaking with other raw feeders, I found that I should feed liver 2-3 times a week, not daily unless in small amounts.  Turns out that liver can cause loose stools if feed too much too quickly.  We need to gradually build up the liver – so we started adding more muscle meat (chicken or turkey) to their food which worked.

I consulted with a holistic veterinarian who confirmed that I was feeding too much liver and hearts, both very rich, especially for a puppy.  Another problem was that the chicken we were getting from our grocery store wasn’t a good fit for feeding raw – bacteria growth was also a contributing factor.  Adult dogs can process bacteria quickly; puppies cannot.


  1. I’m afraid we haven’t jumped into the raw diet. Our life is in transition (moving, between jobs) so we haven’t had the time.

    I found that Beamer did great on Blue Buffalo puppy food, but the cost was prohibitive, so on a recommendation by the trainers at the doggy daycare, I started him on the, all age, salmon, Taste of the Wild. My problem with that food is that it is not easily found and a little expensive. Otherwise, it’s great.

    Long story short – any designated “puppy” food, or ones with turkey gives him diarrhea. Now, when I can’t get TOTW, I get Hill’s Science Diet for Sensitive tummies.

    Any idea why a puppy formula would do that? Do you have a source I could research?

    • Not sure about the puppy food; I wonder if it’s because it may be richer than adult food. Based on our experience, I’m not convinced that all puppies need puppy food. They say that it has more protein and calcium, because they’re growing, but since the formula is general, where some puppies will thrive, others may have trouble either immediately or down the line.

      I don’t have a source, but this is something I’ve mulled over many time as we adopted puppies. I don’t feed puppy food any longer.

  2. Glad you got to the bottom of it and able to change the food back. My first dog, Maxine had a really bad reaction to her vaccinations. She hid in the backyard and wouldn’t let me touch her for hours…it was heartbreaking.

    • “got to the bottom” – ha ha ha

  3. Diarrhea in puppies is always so much scarier (and rightfully so) than in adult dogs. Parvo always needs to be at the back at one’s head when dealing with a sick puppy.

    With adult dogs, short-term diarrhea is way less scary.

    Cookie got bad stool from munching on too much raw cabbage once. Otherwise we didn’t have any food-related diarrhea. When the guys find and eat something inappropriate, it usually comes out the front end.

    Even Jasmine was doing very well, considering her IBD. Every once in a while she got diarrhea but without a clear cause. (that is once it was finally diagnosed and addressed; before that she had poop problems all the time)

    Never had a dog have diarrhea from a vaccination.

    • Rodrigo had loose stools after vaccinations when he was a puppy, but it was more to do with the excitement of the day. He’s always had a sensitive tummy and stress did it too him each time.

      • Yes, enough stress or excitement can cause loose stools.

  4. Good going, I applaud you for your persistence and patience. I love puppies, but I’m not so sure I’d have the patience to raise one. But I don’t doubt it’s quite the learning experience. :)

    Thanks for sharing your ‘investigation.’ When it comes to diet and adverse reactions, it’s always necessary to examine it all under a microscope both for pets and ourselves. :)

  5. Wynston had diarrhea last week, just briefly. But it was because I saw him steal a curly fry! I am happy I know what caused it though! What a little thief…

  6. Hi Kimberly,

    We’re happy to hear you were able to get to the source of the problem with your pups! Also, thank you for including information from our web site.

    • My pleasure. I love the pet meds site. I love having a place to research dog health.

  7. Thank you for sharing this article. I currently have a puppy with a diarrhea and I have been trying to switch to different food brands but nothing has really made a difference.

    The strange thing is, the diarrhea is not consistent. It comes and goes, happening approximately twice a week. The vet suggested that I try different food brands and see if it helps before we explore more serious possible causes.

    I am going to try the tips you shared and hopefully (fingers, toes and paws crossed) it sorts out little Tiekie’s problem.

    • It could be the switching foods that’s causing it if you have a dog who is sensitive to it; we have one dog who can take a switch with no issues, our other 3 always have trouble. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just ask your dog and they’d respond – in words?

      We keep experiencing diarrhea with our puppies and it’s not all diet. Well, it’s what they put in their mouth. We live in a rural area and they can get just about anything down their throat before we can get to them – this past week it was these nuts that fall from the tree. I have no idea what they are, but they caused one day of diarrhea and then it cleared right up.

  8. While we don’t feed raw (I don’t have an issue with it, we just don’t do it), it really doesn’t surprise me that it was the liver.

    From what I’ve read it’s a REALLY rich organ, and I’m presuming it’s because everything in the body at one point or another gets processed by the liver.

    Out pups love the freeze-dried liver, but that gets handed out sparingly to keep it a special treat.

    Glad your puppies tummies are feeling better, and that you figured it out relatively quickly!

    • It was a pain. We had to go back to having someone else mix it for us. I just don’t trust the liver except for as treats. LOL


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