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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20619
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Jo I have a nine week old puppy with diarrhea. He has had s

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Jo I have a nine week old puppy with diarrhea. He has had his first DA2PP a week ago. He doesn't act sick and the diarrhea has a metallic smell. Is it safe to try some metronidazole?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I am afraid that the expert you have requested is not currently available. Still I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today
As Metronidazole is usually used for colitis and can be hard to safely dose in small pups (since too much can cause neurological signs), I would not advise treating with this unless we had a fecal culture telling us that the cause was only sensitive to this drug.
Instead, since he is otherwise well, it would be better and safer to start with supportive care at this time. To start, it would be ideal to consider offering small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples would be pasta or rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion powder free). As well, there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). The easily digestible diet tends to be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. And if a infectious agent is wrecking havoc on the GI, then we want to be making his ability to gain nutrients as easy as possible for the gut. And this means more in and less passed as diarrhea. If you try this and he is settling, then do keep him on the light diet for at least a week and then slowly wean him back to his normal diet over another week.
As well, since diarrhea can easily dehydrate young animals, since they do not have the body resources of an adult dog (and this is what makes them feel poorly when they have diarrhea). Therefore we need to make sure he is drinking as well as possible. As well, you do need to keep a close eye on his hydration. If you are concerned that he is become dehydrated, then you do want to check his hydration. When checking a pet's hydration status, there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE ( If he is showing those dehydration signs at this point, that is our cue to have him to the vet since oral rehydration may not be enough to get him back on track.
That said, as long has he doesn't experience vomiting, you can encourage him to drink (ie using fresh water or low sodium chicken broth) or even syringe feed him pedialyte (or pediatric rehydration solution) if necessary. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per day. This value will give you the total he needs for the day (though doesn’t take into account diarrhea losses, so you need to add those to your total too) and is a good starting point to give you an idea of his daily requirement. If he vomits when you given pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want any vomiting because of our intervention).
Furthermore, just in case he isn't up to date on his worming then you might consider treating him now. Especially as parasites are a very common cause of diarrhea in young dogs. Ideally, you will want to use a good quality broad spectrum wormer (ie Drontal, Panacur, Milbemax, etc). These are available at your vet's over the counter but you will need an idea of his weight (so you know what dose you need).
Finally, as long as you are seeing no blood in his feces, you can consider trying him today on a dog safe anti-diarrheals. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure if his diarrhea is being caused by an infectious agent (ie bacteria will require antibiotics, parasites or protozoa will require anti-parasitic treatment, etc). Still it can slow the diarrhea to aid the body to absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options for your wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is:
* Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @
* PeptoBismol (More Info/Dose @
Both are available from your local pharmacy. Furthermore, Propectalin, Fast Balance, and Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vets, pet stores, and even Amazon) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and the last few have the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI. So, you can consider trying these as a short term means of trying to soothe his upset GI.
Overall, based on the signs you have reported, we'd not want to just start Metronidazole in this pup. Instead, it would be better to use the above to help with any benign GI upset and support his immune system. Of course, if he doesn't settle, then it'd be ideal to have a fecal sample tested. This can be tested to tell you which issue is behind his signs and based on that your vet can dispense appropriate and safe treatment to clear this if needed.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?