How to Diagnose and Treat a Sick Puppy Dog

Cure a Cough or Cold?

Dog colds often occur due to respiratory infections that affect the lungs, sinuses, and throat. Symptoms range from sneezing, mild cough, nasal and eye discharge, and congestion to more severe cases that result in fever and lethargy. The most common cold affecting dogs is Kennel Cough, which may be transmitted when multiple dogs are living in close quarters.

The first thing that can be done as a preventative measure against puppy colds is ensuring that all routine vaccinations are administered. These will help protect puppies against various colds, including Distemper and Canine Influenza. Although vaccinations are an important measure to take, these diseases may evolve in different strains that may affect your dog, even if they are regularly vaccinated.

In the case that a puppy becomes severely ill with a cold or cough, a veterinarian will be the best resource in diagnosing the symptoms seen to ensure correct treatment. Veterinarian examinations for these symptoms may include x-rays, bloodwork, and testing of nasal or eye discharge. Antibiotics or injections may be administered, depending on the nature of the disease.

Measures can also be taken at home to encourage healing for puppies when they have a cold or cough. It is important to keep the puppy warm and dry to prevent pneumonia and aid in easy breathing. A humidifier can be used if the air is dry to encourage the opening of the dog’s airways and prevent irritation in the respiratory system. Hydration and healthy eating should be maintained to ensure that the puppy has the energy to continue healing. If symptoms do not improve, contact a veterinarian.

Further Reading:

Dog Park Etiquette
Understand Dog Behaviors
Caring for Your Dog Breed

Treat a Puppy with Diarrhea

It is common for puppies to have diarrhea, which may be caused by various factors, including stress, diet changes, parasites, or viral diseases. Although common, diarrhea can be fatal to puppies, so it is crucial to treat this condition immediately and monitor it closely.

If a puppy has abnormal diarrhea that contains blood or is very dark and thick, or if the puppy is in pain and loses its appetite, it is important to visit a veterinarian immediately. Even if the symptoms are not this severe, it never hurts to consult a professional.

With diarrhea, it is very easy for puppies to get dehydrated, so it is important to encourage water intake. A veterinarian may advise that the normal food is withheld for a short time and certain foods, such as plain yogurt or white rice, may help the stomach and gastrointestinal tract to settle. Over the counter medicines such as PeptoBismol or Immodium can be used, but ask for veterinary advice to prevent overdosing.

Treating a Dog with Skin Issues (Mange)

There are different types of mange, some more severe than others, caused by various species of mites. Puppy mange, or Demodectic mange, is very common in puppies because this species of mite is found on virtually all dogs. Dogs that are vulnerable to infections from these mites generally live in poor hygienic conditions or have lowered immune systems. Symptoms of mange typically include hair loss and oozing or crusty, inflamed skin.

Mange is usually diagnosed with a skin biopsy. Localized puppy mange will generally heal itself within a few months as the puppy develops immunity, as long as the skin is kept clean. More severe cases of puppy mange and other types of mange can be treated with prescriptions that include shampoos, dips, and oral medications. These more severe cases can be expensive and take up to a year to heal, so it is important to stay on top of treatment to ensure proper recovery.

My Puppy Is Throwing up, What Could It Be Due To?

Puppies may vomit for a range of reasons, and determining the cause of the vomiting will help diagnose the problem, determine how to treat the dog, and if a veterinarian needs to be called. If the puppy has eaten something poisonous, there is blood in the vomit, the puppy is in pain, or the puppy has vomited more than three times in a day, consult a veterinarian.

Vomiting is often caused by fast eating, which can be fixed with the use of a special grooved bowl or placing an object in the bowl that the puppy must eat around. Encourage puppies to rest after a meal so their full stomach is not upset by high levels of activity. In more serious cases of vomiting, a veterinarian may suggest a permanent change in diet or may prescribe antibiotics and other medications for parasitic and bacterial causes.

If the puppy vomits only once, but still remains alert and does not appear to be feverish or in pain, the case is less severe and can generally be treated at home. Vomiting results in dehydration, so offer the puppy small amounts of water every 20 minutes as to not irritate the stomach further. Offer the puppy bland meals, such as white rice, over the next 24 hours to allow the stomach to settle.

Further Reading:

Should You Get Pet Insurance?
Basics of Training a Puppy
Vaccinations & Meds

What is Parvo and How to Prevent It?

Canine Parvovirus, or Parvo, is an extremely contagious and potentially fatal virus that typically affects younger dogs. This virus targets the gastrointestinal tract and is spread through contact with fecal matter and with objects contaminated by infected dogs.

Parvo can be prevented with a series of vaccinations beginning when the puppy is six to eight weeks old. If a puppy happens to contract the virus, symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy, fever, and more will show. Immediate contact with a veterinarian is necessary.

Treatment includes hospitalization in isolated containment, where the vet will monitor the puppy’s vitals and provide it with fluids until it has the strength to combat the virus. Antibiotics and other medications will be prescribed depending on the case. Puppies generally take a week to recover and veterinarians will provide instructions on ensuring a full recovery based on a puppy’s needs.

My Puppy Has Worms in Its Poop, What Should I Do?

Different species of parasitic worms affect a puppy’s digestive system and can be deadly, so it is important to check often for visible worms in the puppy’s fecal matter and perform routine deworming. If worms or eggs are seen in a puppy’s stool, dewormer medications can be purchased over the counter, but the best way to ensure proper treatment and elimination of the problem is to call a veterinarian. A veterinarian will conduct a stool test and provide treatment based on the type of worm found and the severity of the case.

What to Do If Baby Teeth Don’t Fall Out?

A puppy’s baby teeth generally fall out on their own within the first four to six months of their lives. Occasionally, adult teeth will begin to grow in before these deciduous teeth fall out. This is commonly an issue with the canine teeth. In this case, call a veterinarian to simply have the retained deciduous tooth removed. Generally, veterinarians will check for retained teeth when the puppy is being spayed or neutered.

If left in place, the tooth may cause long term issues with the development of the bite and discomfort due to overcrowding. The deciduous tooth may also decay, resulting in gum disease and the decay of the permanent teeth around it.

Does My Puppy Have an Ear Infection?

A puppy’s ears and the fur around the ear canal can easily collect seeds, dirt, fungi, and other foreign objects, resulting in an infection. Puppies with floppy and furry ears and those who swim often are at the highest risk. When an infection occurs, a puppy will experience extreme discomfort, and damage to hearing is possible.

Symptoms of an infection may include pacing with a tilted head, frequent shaking of the head and ear itching, and brown or yellow-colored discharge from the ear. If these symptoms are seen, it is best to consult a veterinarian to ensure that the proper medication is used and that it is used correctly. For more severe infections, sedation and a thorough cleaning may be necessary.

How to Deal with Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks can be seen by examining a puppy’s skin and can cause frequent itching and biting, loss of hair, and result in diseases. Fleas and ticks can also affect other pets, such as cats, and even humans, so it is necessary to eliminate these pests and prevent them from spreading.

Topical Meds


Flea pesticide treatments can be purchased over the counter or can be prescribed by a veterinarian. When looking into different treatments, it is essential that the pesticide targets and kills both the adult fleas and their larvae to prevent further hatching and breeding. Between applications of treatment, gently comb the puppy to remove any live or dead fleas, disposing of them in water to ensure that they are dead. It is also important to treat your entire living space, as fleas can be found anywhere during an infestation.

To get rid of ticks on a puppy, have rubbing alcohol, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, and a place to dispose of the tick. Clean hands for tick removal are also important and it could be useful to have latex gloves. To remove the tick, grab the tick with the tweezers just above the dog’s skin and gently pull outward. Do not crush or twist the tick because infectious fluids may be released and part of the tick’s head may remain stuck to the skin. After the tick is fully removed, kill it with rubbing alcohol and clean the area of the skin with an antiseptic wipe. If the puppy appears sick leading up to removal or in the days following, contact a veterinarian because the puppy may have contracted a disease or infection from the bite.

1 thought on “How to Diagnose and Treat a Sick Puppy Dog”

  1. This comprehensive guide on diagnosing and treating a sick puppy is an invaluable resource for pet owners facing the daunting challenge of caring for an unwell furry companion. The level of detail and clarity in the information provided reflects not only a deep understanding of canine health but also a genuine commitment to guiding pet owners through a potentially stressful and emotional experience.

    The breakdown of common symptoms and potential illnesses, coupled with practical advice on when to seek professional help, empowers readers to be proactive in their puppy’s healthcare. The emphasis on the importance of early detection and veterinary consultation underscores the guide’s dedication to the well-being of our four-legged friends.


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