Common Puppy Diseases You Should Know

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Puppy looking into camera
Puppy Looking Into Camera

As much as you don't like to think about it, there are a few common puppy diseases that may strike your new little friend. When puppies get sick, it comes on quicker and takes them longer to get well than it does for adult dogs. That's why it's important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms

When you know what to look for in a puppy's behavior you will have a better idea of what to do. Some things are an emergency while others may be able to wait until tomorrow before you call the vet.

  • 01 of 07


    Sad puppy
    Sad Puppy

    Parvovirus (commonly known as parvo) most often affects young dogs, especially if they have yet to get all of their vaccinations. Vaccination can help prevent parvo. Unfortunately, it can also be a cause of sudden death for puppies.

    The symptoms of parvo include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and a loss of appetite. It's caused by a virus and sick puppies need to be seen by a vet as soon as possible so it can be treated with the right medications. It's likely that the puppy may need to be hospitalized as well. All breeds are at risk, but a few breeds that might be predisposed to parvo include the Rottweiler, Doberman pinscher, and American pit bull terrier.

  • 02 of 07


    Distemper in puppy
    Distemper In Puppy

    Distemper also affects young puppies and even those that recover may suffer permanent neurological damage. It is one of the more common diseases. While most dogs are exposed to distemper, vaccinations prevent the majority of infections.

    Symptoms of distemper include yellow-colored diarrhea, trouble breathing, and a loss of appetite. Puppies may also have seizures or seem weaker or less coordinated than normal. Unfortunately, distemper can be fatal, but a dog that receives prompt care and whose owners are dedicated to nursing it back to health can recover.

  • 03 of 07

    Kennel Cough

    Labs standing behind fence
    Labs Standing Behind Fence

    Kennel cough is characterized by an aggravating honking cough. It's highly contagious and often contracted from crowded conditions such as dog shows, kennels. or even boarding your puppy during vacations. This is why you're required to show proof of vaccination before boarding dogs.

    While not an emergency, your puppy needs to see the vet and will need medication to stop the infection. Untreated kennel cough can develop into deadly pneumonia in puppies.

  • 04 of 07


    Sick puppy
    Sick Puppy

    Vomiting can be a sign of serious illness for a puppy. Your dog may need vet care or it may simply be a passing upset tummy. It depends on the puppy's habits and how long it lasts.

    For instance, some puppies just eat too fast, so there are actions you can take to help them slow down. Then again, if the puppy's vomiting for two days or more, a visit to the vet is warranted.

  • 05 of 07


    Labrador Puppy
    Labrador Puppy

    Puppy diarrhea can be one symptom of serious disease. Viruses like distemper and parvo, intestinal worms, or just eating the wrong thing (like getting in the garbage) can result in diarrhea.

    The key to knowing whether diarrhea is an emergency or not is to examine it. If you see black stool with a tar-like consistency, blood, or a foul smell, contact your veterinarian. You should also call the vet if your dog also has vomiting, severe pain, fever, loss of appetite, or lethargy.

  • 06 of 07


    Dog scratching ear
    Dog Scratching Ear

    Fleas bug the heck out of you and your pet. They are never fun and a pain to get rid of. Yet, that's life with a dog and, while you can prevent it, that does no good if you already have an infestation.

    Itching is the first sign that your puppy may have blood sucking fleas. You'll also want to examine their fur for flea dirt. There are many approaches you can take to combat fleas and they all revolve around understanding the flea life cycle.

  • 07 of 07


    Yellow labrador puppy chasing feather in grass
    Yellow Labrador Puppy Chasing Feather In Grass

    Ticks are nothing less than tiny nasty vampires. They not only suck blood but also spread diseases. This is another common problem and ticks do not differentiate between puppies and full-grown dogs.

    Studying up on ticks is important for every dog owner. It's a good idea to understand the life cycle of ticks, how to prevent them, and ways to safely remove them from your puppy without exposing yourself to disease.

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