Why Does My German Shepherd Puppy Have Diarrhea? What To Do And When to Worry

A German Shepherd puppy producing very liquid stool could be a sign of diarrhea. Is this common and when should you worry as a German Shepherd puppy owner? 

Why does my German Shepherd puppy have diarrhea? Diarrhea is common in German Shepherd puppies and depending on the underlying cause, it can be mild or severe. The main causes of diarrhea in puppies include diet change, food intolerance, parasitic, bacterial, viral, or protozoan infections, stress, or ingestion of foreign materials such as garbage, dirt, or toxins. 

This article will explain what diarrhea in puppies looks like, how long it lasts, and explain in detail the reasons why your German Shepherd puppy has diarrhea and what you can do.

What Does Diarrhea In Puppies Look Like? The Symptoms Of Diarrhea

german shepherd puppy have diarrhea

Diarrhea presents as an aggressively liquid stool or feces. Two or more stools from a puppy that are like this indicate signs of diarrhea. The following are the symptoms of diarrhea that may accompany this symptom in puppies:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black tar-like stool
  • Foul-smelling stool
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Discomfort and pain
  • Pale gums

Remember, if you suspect that your German Shepherd puppy is sick and has one or more of the above symptoms, call your vet as soon as possible for your puppy to be examined.

Read More: Why do German Shepherd puppies eat their own poop?

Is it normal for a puppy to get diarrhea?

Yes, it is normal for a puppy to get diarrhea which can range from being mild which resolves quickly to severe indicating serious illness. It is a sign that something might be wrong therefore as a dog owner you need to be willing to learn about the consistency of your puppy’s stool and any other symptoms so that you can provide the needed care and be able to contact the vet in time.

Reasons Why German Shepherd Puppies Have Diarrhea

The below are causes of diarrhea in a German Shepherd puppy:


Puppies’ immune systems are underdeveloped and this makes them very vulnerable to infections. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated puppies are more highly vulnerable. Infection can be by bacteria, intestinal parasites, or viruses.

Bacterial infections such as Salmonella or E. coli are common while parasitic infections from hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms are also common causes.

Viruses such as parvovirus and coronavirus also contribute to diarrhea.

Symptoms of infection include lack of appetite, lethargy, and fever. days require immediate medical care.

Change in diet and food intolerance

Change in diet or food type can also result in diarrhea.

This is because the stomachs of puppies are sensitive and have to adjust to the new food.

Puppies can also be intolerant to some ingredients in their current diet which may lead to diarrhea. To determine which ingredients these are, your vet assesses your puppy’s diet and can pinpoint which ingredients are affecting their stomachs.

Also if you happen to give your puppy any human-based food or they happen to find it and eat it, they will experience stomach upsets and diarrhea because their stomachs are not able to process it well.


A stressed puppy also experiences diarrhea.

Stress and anxiety can come from a variety of sources such as a change of their environments such as being separated from their mother and introduced into a new home, meeting new people or pets, and also, learning about their world around them which can be overwhelming causing stress. This results in diarrhea.

Ingestion of foreign materials

If a puppy swallows foreign items such as toxins, objects, spoiled human food, some plants, or garbage this results in diarrhea.

Puppies normally explore the world with smell and taste driven by curiosity and may eat substances that will upset their stomachs. This can be dangerous because they can swallow things that can cause an obstruction in the intestines.

Symptoms of this include abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, lack of appetite, display of aggressive behavior when touched, and lethargy.

If you suspect this has happened, immediately take them to the vet to be examined and treated. 

What Do I Do If My Puppy Has Diarrhea? What To Do

If your puppy has symptoms of diarrhea always talk to your vet first.

Depending on the severity of diarrhea, they will advise if home care is needed or if there is a need for hospital admission for your puppy.

If the diarrhea is mild and your puppy’s behavior is normal except for the watery stool, home-based care may be recommended. Care involves:

Providing Bland Food

Withholding food for 24 hours to allow for the stomach to calm down and providing bland food during this time helps to calm and stabilize the puppy’s stomach.

Foods like boiled white rice, vegetable broth, or boiled chicken are recommended. The introduction of their regular food should be after 24 hours and monitor their bowel movement and behavior.

Hydrating Your Puppy

Always make sure to provide water to your puppy during this period because diarrhea drains your puppy of water and they become dehydrated quickly which is dangerous for their well-being.

Provide probiotics

Probiotics have good bacteria that promote the gut health of your puppy.

Provide this to your puppy during this time in the form of capsules, powders, or yogurt.

Also, select puppy food for your puppy that is formulated with probiotics or prebiotics which will support gut health.

Reduction of stress

If the diarrhea is a result of stress, manage the stress in your puppy by calming them. This will be helpful as they adjust to changes in their surroundings.

Try to provide a predictable schedule for them for exercise, feeding, play, and rest so that they are not stressed out by changes in their normal routine.

Limit the number of people that meet your puppy especially during the first weeks of being home.

Also, shower your puppy with lots of affection and attention to help them feel comfortable and cared for. 

Gradually introduce new food

When changing your puppy’s food to a new one, gradually introduce the new formula to their diet.

You can do this by mixing the new food with the current food in small quantities at a time, increasing the quantity of the new food each passing day until the day their meal is complete with the new formula.

This will allow your puppy’s stomach to slowly adjust to the new food which will less likely cause stomach upsets and diarrhea.

Also if your puppy experiences food intolerance due to some ingredients in their current diet resulting in diarrhea, your vet will be able to determine which ingredients are to be avoided in their diet and a selection of alternative puppy food to minimize diarrhea caused by this.

Medical Treatment

If the diarrhea is caused by parasites, bacterial or viral infection the vet will administer medication to treat your puppy. Depending on how severe the infection is, hospitalization may be necessary as they’re treated and given intravenous fluids.

If they swallowed something that caused an obstruction in the intestines the vet will also advise on the removal or other alternatives.

Toxin ingestion will also be determined and treated by the vet.

Prevention of puppy diarrhea comprises of regular vaccinations, supervised play and obedience training to prevent them from eating of harmful items as well as not giving table scraps to your puppy.


Diarrhea in a German Shepherd puppy may be common at this stage of development and can also be a sign of underlying illness or issue that needs to be addressed.

Diarrhea can be a result of several causes therefore you should always monitor your puppy’s bowel movement from the onset of signs of diarrhea to take the necessary action.

For any help, related issues consult your vet who will be able to examine your puppy and determine the severity of diarrhea and provide a recommendation if home care is best or treatment is needed.

I hope this article helped you know why your German Shepherd puppy has diarrhea, the symptoms as well as what to do about it.

If you liked this article you may also like to learn more from the below resources on German Shepherds.

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