7 Steps to Saving Your Puppy from Parvo
7 Steps to Saving Your Puppy from Parvo
After bringing your new puppy home, the last thing a you’d want to happen is for them to contract Parvo—a life-threatening viral disease that causes severe gastrointestinal effects in dogs. However, no matter how scary it is to see your pup vomit and poop blood, the illness isn’t unbeatable. With timely veterinary attention and proper at-home care, it’s possible for puppies to overcome from Parvo. Don’t know where to get started? No problem! We’ve put together 7 steps to guide you through the entire process:
Step # 1: Talk to your veterinarian
If your puppy hasn’t had their Parvo shot yet and they show signs of a Parvo infection, like vomiting, lack of appetite, and bloody diarrhea, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right away. Parvo is an extremely dangerous disease, especially for puppies, and can take a dog’s life in a span of 2 days—even with aggressive supportive treatment. Catching the infection during its early stages will give your pup a better chance at making a full recovery.
Once it’s confirmed that your puppy has Parvo, your veterinarian may ask you to leave your pooch in their care for a couple of days. Depending on the severity of the infection, your pup may receive IV fluids and antibiotics, as well as medication to help control vomiting and diarrhea. If the infection isn’t too severe, however, your veterinarian may simply prescribe you the needed medication and give you instructions on how to care for your puppy at home.
Step # 2: Isolate your puppy
If you have other pets at home, make sure to keep your sick pup in a separate room. Parvo is highly contagious and can easily be transmitted from one dog to another through contaminated feces, urine, saliva, and eye and nose discharges. That means other dogs in the household can contract the virus if they come into contact with the infected puppy or eat from the same food bowl.
Aside from dogs, Parvo can also infect other mammals, like ferrets, foxes, coyotes, skunks, and raccoons, so refrain from taking your puppy outdoors while they’re still recovering. This will prevent the virus from spreading in your neighborhood and also keep your pup from catching other diseases during a vulnerable period.
When choosing a recovery room for your pup, it’s best to pick one that’s away from all the daily commotion so they can rest properly. Set up a comfortable space for them and cover the floor with newspaper or puppy pads to prevent vomit, urine, or feces from getting on the floor. Don’t forget to wear gloves when cleaning after your pup and to wash your hand before and after handling them.
Step # 3: Provide lots of water
All the vomiting and diarrhea will cause your sick puppy to lose plenty of fluids, meaning they’re always at risk of becoming dehydrated. To prevent that from happening, make sure to always provide fresh, clean water for your pooch. However, since they’re not feeling well, they may not take the initiative of drinking on their own, so you’ll probably need to do most of the work. You can use a medicine dropper to slowly pour water directly into your puppy’s mouth or you can give them ice chips or cubes. Most sick dogs enjoy the cool sensation. Plus, cold water can help reduce nausea, stomachache, and vomiting.
Step # 4: Invest in electrolyte supplements
In addition to losing lots of fluids in the body, puppies with Parvo also lose plenty of electrolytes. Electrolytes are the ones responsible for many automatic processes inside the body, and when the amount of these minerals becomes too low, it could result in muscle weakness, loss of coordination, tremors, seizures, and convulsions. That’s why in dogs with Parvo, electrolyte supplementation is considered just as important as fluid therapy (intravenous administration of fluids).
You can give your puppy some unflavored Pedialyte or try to make a homemade substitute, but be sure to speak with your veterinarian first. It’s never safe to add or remove anything from your pup’s treatment regimen without consulting a veterinary professional beforehand.
Step # 5: Consider probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in the gut. They help boost immune function and keep the gastrointestinal system in tip-top shape, which is especially helpful in dogs with Parvo. If you’re interested in adding probiotics to your puppy’s treatment plan but don’t know which brand to choose, you can go through some of our top probiotic choices here!
Step # 6: Monitor your puppy regularly
All throughout your pup’s recovery period, always keep your eyes peeled for any changes—be it their energy levels, appetite, physical appearance, or behavior. If you feel like your puppy isn’t getting better or notice that their symptoms are getting worse, let your veterinarian know immediately. It’s better to seem ‘paranoid’ than to regret not doing anything when you had the chance to do so.
Step # 7: Gently ease your pup into eating and drinking
If your puppy is starting to show signs of recovery, like higher energy levels and improved appetite, you can gradually introduce regular food and water again. The key here is to take things slow. You don’t want to overwhelm your puppy’s stomach by feeding them too much.
You can start by giving them small amounts of boiled, unseasoned chicken breast and letting them drink water on their own. However, if they vomit, make sure to wait at least 24 hours before feeding them again. This will give their stomach time to heal and adjust to the diet changes. Be patient with the process. Your pup will be back to munching on their favorite dog treats in no time!