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Those with puppy experience, please help

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I haven't had a puppy in about 12 years now, and that puppy was already 16 weeks old when I got him. So I wonder if y'all could give me some general puppy parameters for my new foster, Faith, recently arrived from an animal shelter aged approximately 12 weeks.


How much should I expect her to eat each day? If she'd eat my regular dog food (Natural Choice Lamb & Rice kibble) I could go by the chart on the back of the bag. But so far all she'll eat is Gerber meat baby food mixed with cooked rice. I've been giving her a 1/4 cup rice with 2.5 oz of baby food each meal. Is 3 meals/day at this quantity about right?


She seems too thin to me. Her hipbones are sharp and her vertebrae prominent. She's about twelve inches tall and weighs 10 lbs.


Yikes - how frequently do they poop? Is every three or four hours right? Is it *supposed* to be in liquid form?


She doesn't really play much. Of course, she's in quarantine right now, alone, but I try and spend as much time as possible with her. She's alert and happy to see me - wags tail, etc. - but after an initial greeting and stroking doesn't do much but curl up beside me and sleep. Normal?


She's going to the vet in the a.m. for a check-up, but it'd be really helpful if y'all could tell me which if any of the above are areas for concern.



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Twelve weeks right? If I remember right, my pup came to me at 13 weeks, and had a voracious appetite. I can't remember how much she got, but certainly way more than 1/4 c at a feeding- and only canidae dry (as canned etc., can cause a loose stool). Since she is eating baby food, which is not really complete btw, and rice (which has little nutritional value) in addition to having liquid diarrhea, I would strongly suggest a) stool sample- the works have them check for everything, and :rolleyes: blood work. I worry that she is a bit hypoglycemic- which will just make her too tired to play, and eat.

She also needs lots of lovin' especially if she isn't feeling well. Her sleeping next to you is probably a sign that she is comforted by you being there. Seriously though, tell the vet everything, and don't accept "picky eater". Most pups should be HUNGRY.


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Julie - Oh, yeah, I'd planned on taking a stool sample. It's not like it'll be hard to obtain one. :rolleyes: I'm going through so much bleach and laundry detergent with Faith's bedding that it reminds me of when my little brother was in diapers (back before there was such a thing as disposable). Good point about bloodwork.


TwoDevils - Even though I own a *cough* full-figured BC, I agree that a little too thin is better than a little too heavy. Violet was beginning to have some joint problems before she lost weight. But this is like big-eyed famine child thin - way thinner than even the skinniest herding trial dog.

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Hi Sally,


It really is a good sign that Faith is taking the baby food. At least she's still interested in eating at this point.


Is the poop clear/brown and runny or is it green and mucus-like? Is Faith still taking liquids? The vet recommended Pedialite when Clover wouldn't drink on her own...we had to give it (along with the baby food) in an eyedropper. Be sure to try and feed her before you go to the vet so they can actually get a stool sample there.

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I'm willing to bet that she has worms. I have been told by a vet that almost all pups are born with roundworms and I know that both of mine were loaded when we got them.


Does her belly bulge out abnormally? Usually a sign of worms.


The Pup that we rescued (Pepper) was so loaded with rounds, that they were eating away her intestinal track and had given her a bad infection, that she almost died from.

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My current pup is 13 weeks old and raw fed, eating around two pounds of food per day (900 grams) plus treats for training and chews like dried tendon. He has a bottomless stomach and I'm sure would eat more given the chance. Not everybody is prepared to feed a raw diet to their dogs but I've found it to be the single best thing I've done for my dogs' health.


When we fed kibble, it worked out to 3/4 - 1 cup of kibble per meal for a dog who'll be about 50 pounds full grown. For your pup, I'd let her eat as much as she wants at this point, until she's at a decent weight.


I'd also feed a better quality food to a pup who's malnourished. You may find that with better ingredients, the food is more appealing to her. Solid Gold has Wolf Cub, a salmon based food that I've found dogs really like. I also like the Timberwolf foods, and Go! Natural, as well as Innova.


Try soaking kibble in warm water and adding a bit of baby food to that. It's really important you get her onto more nutritious food asap. Rice and pureed meat isn't enough for a pup. She's lacking in calcium, among other key things.


Ten pounds sounds really skinny. My pup is 15 inches tall and weighs 21 pounds.


Pups poop at least as frequently as they are fed. He poops about 10-15 minutes after every meal (three times), plus once in the morning and sometimes once before bed. He seems to pee twice as much as that during the day, but can hold it for eight hours at night.


Puppy poops aren't supposed to be liquid any more than adult dogs. It's probably because the food isn't agreeing with her.


Healthy pups should have lots of energy. Play hard, sleep hard, pee, play some more. IMO, a pup who says hello and then sleeps isn't normal. Without seeing her it's impossible to say but it sounds like diet is playing a big part.


I'd get her tested for worms. Most of the pups I've fostered out of shelters have had worms of one sort or another.


I would also hold off on any vaccinations until she is feeling better and eating normally. Vax are for healthy dogs and from the sounds of it, she's not healthy.


The vet may give you something to soothe her digestive system - pepto and flagyl are pretty common. If her vet check is otherwise ok, I'd get her onto a high quality food asap and that should help with the runny poops and the lack of energy.

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Turns out she's got a raging case of coccidia. Which, given that another pup from the same shelter had to be treated for parvo, isn't the worst verdict in the world. Vet prescribed meds for the coccidia and for the diarrhea and will recheck her in ten days.


He also says she's incredibly underweight. On the vet's scales this a.m. she weighed 8.3 lbs. He estimates her age at fourteen weeks. He says with her frame she should be up to twelve pounds within a month. So that's our goal.


Vet gave me canned A/D, and says to start mixing just a 1/4 tsp at first with some lean cooked beef, chopped into cubes, and boiled rice. Our ultimate objective is to get her onto a nutritionally complete food, of course, but the immediate thing is to get her eating something and get her weight up. ATM, she'll eat only the small jar of baby food and 1/4 cup rice in the morning, and then nothing much else all day.


On the bright side, the vet says she's pretty well hydrated, alert and interested if not energetic, and shows no clinical sign of parvo.


He also detected a heart murmur during his exam but says we should just monitor that until she's a couple of months older and see if it won't resolve itself.


Prognosis is she'll be fine with meds and TLC. Thanks everybody for your input.

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Coccidia- that's the other one I was thinking of.


Sorry your pup has it, but glad to hear that you know the reason for the diarehea now. So glad it isn't parvo.

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Oh my thoughts are with you Sally. I know it's tough but I'm glad she's doing OK...


side note: I'm SURE you know this but I thought I'd post it just in case. When Clover was really sick one of my friends who has pitbulls suggested I give her sweetened condenced milk to fatten her up and because it was sweet she would most likely eat it... I didn't do it because it seemed like a bad idea and I was so glad. The vet got very upset when I said what my friend had suggested and said that I could have made Clover much sicker if I'd done that and that their little bodies can't handle the sugar.


Now, my girl wouldn't touch the canned A/D. She hated it. I just kept up with the baby food and Pedialite and then when she finished her IV and was on the anti puking meds I was able to get her interested in regular canned puppy food from Science Diet... it's much smellier and softer and she liked it more than the A/D. The reason the vet gave you that is because it's higher in fat than most foods and is good for underweight dogs. My other dog who was perfectly healthy and a food lover didn't like it either. If you can get her eating the A/D (especially since it's with the beef) that's great! If not, I'd try softer/different canned food mixed with the beef.


I'm glad you were able to catch it right away and that she's doing OK and on the road to recovery. Please keep us posted!

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I'm just reading this thread for the first time, and I was going to suggest having her checked for coccidia as well, then I saw it had already been diagnosed. My 2 pups that came through a rescue both had to be treated for it. Actually, they were brought up to Canada from the US on Feb. 7 but weren't listed for adoption on petfinder until late March because they were too sick and being treated. They were infested with worms and had coccidia too. I adopted them on March 24 and took them for a vet check. The worms were gone and they still had a low count of coccidia so they were retreated. I didn't know their exact age, but they were apparently about 3 months old (about the same age as Faith). I fed them Iams puppy kibble and their stools were pretty good on that, even with the coccidia. They were usually pretty firm with some amount of mucous, but not all that bad. It didn't take too long to clear up and they've always had good appetites and gained weight well. Your vet probably mentioned this, but you should make sure to keep the stools cleaned up really well, or the coccidia will get spread if any other dogs come in contact. Actually, when my pups had it I did some reading and found out that something like 70% or more dogs carry it in them, but it takes stress to make them sick from it. Also, once they've had it it never actually goes away. They will get better, have normal stools etc. but the coccidia is never truly gone. My boys are now about a year old and healthy, happy, in good weight and full of energy. I'm sure Faith will pull through just fine as well. Good luck with her.

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Wow, what a difference a day makes! This morning I felt like Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors" - I couldn't seem to feed her enough! She wound up eating three times her normal breakfast before she was satisfied. :rolleyes:


Silhouettestable - y'know, I wonder if Violet, my adult BC, has that sort of chronic low grade coccidia. She was a stray at one time, and since then gets coccidia-like stools if very stressed - like when she moved to my house. It went away within a few days on its own, but I remember her former mother telling me that kind of reaction was pretty normal for her.


Anyway, not to worry about infecting other dogs. Since Faith came from a shelter, she's being kept in quarantine for the first two weeks anyway, and is only allowed access to a part of the yard the other dogs don't use.


Vicckers - wow, I bet sweetened condensed milk would really give 'em the runs! Dairy seems to have that effect on mine anyway.

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That's great that she's eating better today. I looked up some information about coccidia in case you're interested in reading more about it.

Swiftwater Farms Coccidia Information page

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