Puppies, Dog Treats and Diarrhea: A Comprehensive Guide

[Hi, readers, as I saw more people ask this query and there is no such specific answer available online considering, so in a bid to cater you, I put this up tho it is not complete yet as I am extremely busy with my freelance projects, so this blog is being written. I will keep updating this article.]

Right Age for Puppies to Start Having Dog Treats

As per vets, once puppies have the initial series of vaccinations done and are between 8 to 12 weeks, they can consume treats because, by this age, their digestive has grown mature and can handle new intake better.

But you can’t suddenly introduce anything, because that can cause stomach issues, so here are notes you can keep forth while introducing treats to puppies for the first time.

Introduction of Dog Treats for the First Time to Puppies

  • Begin giving him only a couple, and increase the quantity gradually as time passes. This helps adjust to treats.
  • Cut the treats into small pieces and supervise your puppy while he is eating to ensure they don’t choke.
  • Supervise your puppy closely for any signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. If the puppy shows any adverse reactions, stop giving the treat.
  • Mix with familiar food: Mix the treats with your puppy’s regular food to make the transition diarrhea-free.
  • Choose appropriate treats: Ensure to give treats that are appropriate for your puppy’s age, breed, and size. Some treats are too hard or too big for a puppy to handle and can cause choking or digestive issues. Some common types of treats include kibble, freeze-dried treats, and soft treats.
  • Read labels: Read the labels of the treats carefully to ensure that they do not contain any ingredients that could be harmful to the puppy, such as xylitol, chocolate, or grapes.
  • Kibbles: Most people recommend using kibbles if training your puppy.

Don’t overfeed your puppy, otherwise, his poop will start getting soft.

Switching Dog Treats

Switching treats and then dealing with diarrhea is a relatively common happening among puppy owners, even worse if the novel treat is rich.

Why Switching Treats Causes Puppies Diarrhea

Puppies experience diarrhea when their digestive system can’t adjust to a change/switch in their intake, including treats, so here are reasons why the digestive system finds it hard to do so:

Sudden Change

Puppies have an immature and fickle digestive system, and their gut bacteria are still developing, which makes them more susceptible to digestive issues like diarrhea and sensitive to changes in diet, so a sudden outright change (sometimes even minor) in their diet makes them prone to diarrhea.

Inappropriate Ingredients

If the new treats have ingredients inappropriate for your puppy’s digestive system, it may experience diarrhea, such as artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Other than that, some puppies may have food allergies or intolerance to specific ingredients, such as wheat or soy, that can also result in diarrhea and digestive upset.

Even treats being touted as “safe and healthy” have ingredients that can upset a puppy’s stomach.


New treats and giving your puppy too many at once can also lead to diarrhea.

Poor quality treats

Some low-quality treats can contain impurities or contaminants that can cause digestive upset and diarrhea in puppies.

Right Way to Switch Treats

To safely switch to new treats, here are some you should take:

Gradual Introduction

Introduce the new treats over a span of over a week, like 7 to 10 days. Mix a small amount of the new treats with the old treats and gradually increase the proportion of the new treats over time as your puppy gets weaned to the new treat. This helps prevent sudden changes to the puppy’s diet and reduces the risk of digestive upset.

Appropriate Ingredients

Choose treats that are appropriate for your puppy’s age, size, and nutritional needs. Those which are made from high-quality ingredients, such as lean proteins, wholesome grains, and natural preservatives.

Limited amount

Treats should be limited to 10% or less of the puppy’s daily calorie intake. Treats should not replace a balanced diet and should only be used in moderation.


Watch for any concerning symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or bloating, and contact your veterinarian if you notice any issues. The veterinarian can help determine the cause of the digestive upset and provide appropriate care and recommendations.

Consultation with your Vet

If you’re unsure about what treats to give your puppy or if they have a medical condition that requires special dietary considerations, consult with your vet. They can provide personalized recommendations and ensure that the treats are appropriate for your puppy’s specific needs.

Check for Food Allergies

Though I am adding this at the bottom of the list, this one should be done at the time of adoption. Consider having a food allergy test done if your puppy has a history of digestive upset or skin issues, as they may be sensitive to certain ingredients. If a food allergy is suspected, consider switching to a treat made with hypoallergenic ingredients.

What if Treats Caused my Puppy Diarrhea

If dog treats have caused your puppy diarrhea, the following steps should be taken:

Eliminate treat

If you suspect that a specific treat is causing diarrhea, stop treating your puppy immediately or reduce drastically for a day or two and see if betterment happens. This will help prevent any further digestive upset and allow the puppy’s digestive system to recover.

If his poops are very soft, feed him a bit less than usual for a day or so to give his digestive system a rest, and add pumpkin (pure no sugar added pumpkin – not pie filling) to his intake.

Observe symptoms

Observe your puppy for any concerning symptoms, such as persistent diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or worsen, contact your vet for further evaluation and treatment.

Hydrate the puppy

It’s important to keep your puppy hydrated if they have diarrhea. Give small amounts of water frequently throughout the day and provide access to fresh water at all times.

Feed a bland diet

If your puppy’s diarrhea persists, it is better to feed them a bland diet. This can include boiled chicken and rice or boiled lean ground beef and white rice, just shred the meat into tiny pieces. These simple, easily digestible foods can help settle the puppy’s digestive system and promote healing.

Consult with your vet

Contact your vet if diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours or if you notice any other concerning symptoms. The veterinarian can perform a thorough examination, diagnose the cause of diarrhea, and provide appropriate care and treatment.

Gradual return to the normal diet

Once diarrhea has resolved, slowly return your puppy to its normal diet over a period of several days. Introduce new foods gradually and monitor your puppy for any signs of digestive upset.

Appropriate Age to Introduce Dog Treats to Puppies

The age at which you can start giving dog treats to puppies depends on several factors, including the individual puppy’s overall health, digestive system, and dietary needs. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Type of Treat

Better go for some simple treats, something bland, not containing fancy stuff at an early age.


Most veterinarians recommend introducing dog treats to puppies when they are around 8 to 12 weeks old. By this age, most puppies are fully weaned, and their digestive systems can better wield solid food.

Size and breed

The size and breed of your puppy may also play a role in when they can start eating dog treats. For example, smaller breeds may need to wait until they are older, while larger breeds may be able to start earlier.


Puppies with underlying health issues, such as digestive problems or food sensitivities, may need to wait longer to start eating dog treats.


When introducing dog treats to your puppy, it’s important to do so gradually to give their digestive system time to adjust as it is sensitive and fickle. Start with small amounts of treats and monitor your puppy for any signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhea or vomiting.

It is always best to consult with your veterinarian before introducing dog treats to your puppy. They can help determine the best age and approach based on your puppy’s individual needs and health status.

If diarrhea happens even after following the above-mentioned measures, go back to old treats, and if still diarrhea persists, take a fecal sample to your vet and ask for a normal fecal test plus a giardia ELISA test.

For training purposes, if treats are causing him diarrhea, you can stop treating him for now, maybe when he’s older, you can incorporate back those store treats back into his diet.

  • Puppy kibble or wet food
  • Proteins: Beef (non-fatty cut), chicken, turkey, salmon – all should be unseasoned and cooked; boiled, scrambled, or raw eggs
  • Veggies: Pumpkin (cooked or canned, but not pumpkin pie mix), celery, broccoli, carrots, green beans, spinach, zucchini, peas
  • Fruits: Apples, pears, watermelon – ALL WITH NO SEEDS; bananas, natural applesauce
  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries
  • Starches and Cereals: Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, plain oats/oatmeal, plain cooked rice, Cheerios


Just two words: be cautious and gradual.

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