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How to Help Your Pup Through Parvovirus

Updated on August 22, 2016
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clovisj is a longtime animal lover and enjoys spending time playing with her dogs and volunteering with foster and adoption groups.

Parvo Virus

Parvovirus is a serious viral disease that is spread through bodily fluids such as saliva and excrement. This disease comes on what seems to be very suddenly. Once it is contracted, it lies dormant in the body for 7 to 10 days, weakening the immune system and attacking the intestinal lining. This causes the intestines to slough off and slowly disintegrate, resulting in bloody diarrhea. It is very uncomfortable and painful for your pet and once contracted parvo can take weeks to recover from. The cause of death is not usually the virus itself, but the dehydration and malnutrition that often occurs during the illness.

Parvo moves quickly, especially in puppies therefore it should be treated by a vet as soon as systems occur. They will give your pup antibiotics, special diet food and possibly fluids under the skin to keep her hydrated. You may not see it right day your dog will be fine and the next she will be very tired, sluggish, have a lack in appetite, and I also find that when my dogs had an outbreak they all made the same distressed facial expressions.

Unlike rabies, Parvo is not transferable to humans, but contact with stray animals can leave the virus on your clothes, shoes, and hands. So be sure to change and wash yourself off before touching another animal and then touching your own pets.

If you are unable to see a vet or are in dire circumstances, then I would recommend trying the tips below that I've used to help my pup get through it. If you are financially unable to pay for medication up front some vets will give you a credit check and approve you credit for some or all of your expenses.

My Experience With Parvo

My 12 week old puppy came into contact with another who had Parvo, of which I was unaware. I noticed changes in her behavior after 2 to 3 day span. She became a little less playful, slept more and had very little appetite. On the fourth day she was whining a lot, becoming very warm and feverish, and having loose, bloody bowel movements. At this point take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. At this stage it could take 48 or less for your dog to die from dehydration or infection.

I went to Banfield Animal Hospital and had to pay almost $500 for treatment. I suggest making an appointment with your vet or SNAP. Also, once they start exhibiting the early symptoms of fatigue and no appetite, you need to start treatment so that your pet does not become weak and treatment does not become too expensive.

Above All, STAY CALM!

It does neither you nor your pet any good if you are up all night crying and worrying. If the vet is closed and you can't get to an emergency clinic, do your best to keep them comfortable and don't forget to take care of yourself too. Sometimes we make it worse in our heads when we don't know what the real problem is.

The First Step

Quarantine your dog, parvo spreads quickly and other animals need to be protected from the carrier. Place her somewhere that is going to be undisturbed, secluded, where she will feel secure and able to relax, rest is very important for your dog to overcome the infection.

At the vet office fluids will be given under the skin for dogs who won't drink.
At the vet office fluids will be given under the skin for dogs who won't drink.


You must sterilize EVERYTHING, and I do mean everything. Parvovirus can live up to 7 months in grass and dirt, therefore bleach it is usually procedure to spread across the lawn and any locations your dog has used the restroom.

Wash your hands and arms thoroughly after administering medication or having any kind of physical contact with your pet or your pets' medications. Change your clothes as well, Parvo spreads quickly and you do not want to infect other dogs in your home.

Clorox any accidents and always dispose of the waste properly. Do not put it in your yard or bury it because it can still spread.

Hydration and Food

SInce Parvovirus attacks the intestinal lining, most dogs are unable to consume food the way they normally would. For most it causes discomfort and nausea, thus they refuse to eat or drink anything. If she won't eat, at the very least she MUST drink plenty of fluid. As an owner you may have to assist and encourage your puppy to drink, you can do this by buying a plastic syringe from Walgreens or any CVS Pharmacy. Give your puppy about 10cc's of water every half hour, every 20 minutes would be better if she can handle it. You may need a bigger syringe and you may need to give it more often depending on the size and weight of your specific breed.

I also tried giving her pedialyte and small amounts of gatorade which seemed to help quite a bit...but again, this depends on your dog. If it seems to upset her stomach or cause vommitting then you may need to try something else, or just stick with plain water. As far as food goes, my puppy could not eat very much and I did not push her to do so...instead i would cook very small portions of white steamed rice and offer it to her...I emphasize SMALL portions, remember, parvo attacks the intestinal lining so digestion is difficult. Your puppy may lose weight, this is normal, the most important to focus on is keeping her hydrated, which will also help with fever levels. If she has a fever you'll be able to feel it on her head and her belly. Try to keep her next to a fan if possible or in a well ventilated area.


Most of all keep your puppy in a calm, relaxed, low stress environment. She needs quiet and lots of rest. After she gets over the hump you may start to see improvement, she'll eat more and want to get up and run around. This is fantastic news, however you still need to treat her as if she is extremely sick for about a month. She needs to take it easy, try not to overdo it with exercise, and keep the food rations monitored, her digestive tract is still healing and going back to hard foods too quickly could agitate the stomach.

Don't ever discipline your dog for having an accident when ill. Even if they are house trained, think about how you feel when you're sick. Sometimes you have accidents, it can be stressful and humiliating, especially if someone's yelling at you. This will not have any affect on their overall training or behavior, they are simply ill and cannot control their tummies at this point. Be kind and be patient with them.

To prevent this from ever happening again, get your puppy vaccinated. This is the most effective way to stop this virus from infecting your pup.

My final words...

Caring for a dog or puppy with parvovirus is not an easy undertaking, its not as simple as doing one or two things and solving the problem. It is exhausting. There will be nights where you won't get much sleep, either because of the groaning your dog does or because of the frequent liquid stools that need to be cleaning. There have to be round the clock scheduled feedings and antibiotics. For dogs who refuse to drink, they must be forced to drink through a syringe every 20 minutes to every half to keep them from succumbing to dehydration.

Don't ever give up on your pet though. On the fourth to fifth day, your dog will probably be feeling pretty weak but should be recovering by this point. Be patient.

To my fellow dog lovers, we all agree that our dogs are more than just pets, they are our family, they take the roles of children for some of us and losing them is just as hard as losing a real child. I hope that if you know someone who is going through this you will show them support during such a difficult time and reach out to those who need help with it.

Thank you for reading hubpagers! Please support your local animal shelters, volunteer, adopt, foster, and report abuse wherever you see it.

IF YOU DO SUSPECT YOUR DOG HAS PARVO, TAKE THEM TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY!! This Hub is meant for preventive measures and after care only. I cannot diagnose your dog, take them to a vet as soon as symptoms occur. PLEASE DO NOT wait for a response from me as I am unable to treat your pet. If you are unable to see a vet, keep your dog hydrated, isolated from other animals, sterilize everything.

It may not be Parvo, don't panic!

While it is extremely important to treat symptoms early, certain breeds are genetically predisposed to allergies and infections. There are also many different reasons that your dog could be experiencing illness or parvo-like symptoms. Keep an eye out, and if its beyond your control seek a vet.

Please Let Me Know What You Think!

4 out of 5 stars from 6 ratings of How To Help Your Pup Through Parvo


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    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

      Fantastic, well written and informative guide to dealing with a dog suffering from parvovirus. I don't have dogs, but it sounds a terrible disease. Very useful information that I think every dog owner should read. Voted up and useful.

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      clovisj 5 years ago

      Thank you for your kind review :)

    • profile image

      jessica 4 years ago

      Im daughter puppy has parvo will he be OK his 7months old

    • profile image

      Lori knight 3 years ago

      I got a one year old Pitt back a week ago he was sick previous owners didn't get his shots and he was sick...took him to the vet and he has parvo he is at the vet getting

      iv fluids my question is I have a three year old Pitt that has her shots healty gies to vet regular and always can I protect her from this virus she has been around the sick one all this week we had no idea the one year old was sick with this virus until today...will my 3 year old get this? Scared what do I do...please let me know thank you!

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      Jose 3 years ago

      I woke up today and my dog has all the symptoms I think he might have the parvo virus but we don't have the money to take him to the vet. He won't eat at all unless it's bologne and I'm giving it to his mouth do I keep doing this?? And also how much water do I keep giving him

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      Mel 3 years ago

      Im scared my dog might die...

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      PitbullLover 3 years ago

      I have 4 month pitbull he had all the symtoms yesterday not bloody daiereah he have daiereah thou but today he don't and he's drinking alota water and ate onced today and also he been playing and runing should I be worried?

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      omer 3 years ago

      my 2 months old pug is doing blood daiereah what should I do

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      chris 2 years ago

      If he got it he not pooin or thruin up

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      mario 2 years ago

      This is so stressful. I can't sleep, I don't want him to die

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      nadia 2 years ago

      My 3 old maltipo has parvo please pray for my little cutie pie shes my whole world

    • profile image

      clovisj 23 months ago

      I'm very sorry, I hope she's okay now!

    • ibrahim Izo profile image

      ibrahim Izo 12 months ago

      my 7 week old puppy got infected. his stomach is pretty empty now so whenever he vomits he keeps trying and only a spit comes out. i just adopted him, but i think i acted immediately. He is now on a medical course but i take him back home. My vet says do NOT feed him food nor water, he gives him about 4 large syringes of food solutions. plus the treatment for symptoms and plasma transfusion. this is his 2nd day with the treatment. is he going to make it?

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      Sieria 12 months ago

      my puppy Sweet Pea has just recently gotten parvo and we took her to a vet and they kept her overnight and gave her an iv and kept her hydrated, she also gave her antibiotics called amoxicillen, and of course food and water. the only thing is that before we took her she was drinking on her own, and eating a little bit. i didn't notice much change and she said she was doing better so we took her home a day before she was supposed to be released because #1 Too expensive, and #2 there was no sense in leaving her there another day when we could pick her up the next day (would've racked up more money anyways..) So we took her home she seemed fine and happy for a while, then the tiredness came and she was acting like she was before we took her. Then my boyfriend asked the vet on the phone if she gave her any antibiotics that she sent home with us and her reply was, "i don't know why dont you ask your other vet?! (she said that because my boyfriend would say anything to make them believe that we had a good excuse to take the poor thing home and not waste anymore money) Anyways with that rude comment from the vet we said screw it and gave her a dose of her antibiotics. Then later on after she slept for a long time we tried feeding her water and puppy food both wet and dry, anything to make her full. she didn't touch it, and tried licking it a couple times, and couldn't chew it hardly, and when she did she threw it up. Then we blended it up in a blender and some wet puppy food, and water and put it in a bowl, she didn't touch it. so then we put it in a syringe thing and opened her mouth a bit and put it in that way, also the same with water, so far no throwing up. i just wanted to know if i should keep doing this to keep my poor baby alive????? please comment if you know how i could save my poor Sweet Pea.

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      Jess 3 months ago

      Hi my 10wk puppy tested positive for parvo on 1/25/17. He went immediately into the hospital for intensive care. He had an iv with fluids, antibiotics, pain meds & meds to help with the vomiting & diarrhea. On 1/27/17 they put a feeding tube in him & that seemed to help. 1/28 he finally ate 50% of his food. Yesterday 1/30 he ate twice for the vet so they sent him to me with antibiotics & meds for diarrhea. He did spike a fever right before they discharged him but the vet said he was looked so good & was playing/ eating that she thought he would be ok. Now I don't think he should have came home. He hasn't eaten or had ANY water since he left the vet at 5pm. I know it hasn't been 24hrs without food or water but what can I do to help him eat & drink? The syringe sounds helpful but he hates it because I give his meds that way & sometimes he spits it back out. I will try though. He was peeing all night long & today but I'm so worried he will get dehydrated. Is there anything else besides the syringe I can do for him? Also do you know if the chances of survival for a puppy this small go up or down once they've had the severe symptoms for 7 days? I thought he would be feeling better but he isn't at all. My kids will be so upset if he passes. We love him so much. If you have any other advice please tell me. I will try anything. I can't afford the high bills as it is so having him go back in I don't know even know how I would afford it. Please any advice is welcome. Thank you!!

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      Suzy 3 months ago

      My puppy doesnt have bloody daiereah and she drinks on her own but she throws up after she drinks and doesnt eat. What is this? Could it be parvo?

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      opiesmomma 2 months ago

      awesome post.

      my puppy ( 9 week old akita) was diagnosed with parvo on saturday. after a 5000 vet bill, my puppy is home with us, doing slightly better but still wont eat. i have tried everything from apple sauce to peanut butter. i read chicken broth is good, do you recommend


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      Onishea Aguilera 4 weeks ago

      My pit bull puppy got it last week. He had just turned 5 months on the 16 of April. I gave him pedialyte and water and tried to force feed him some rice because he was getting weak from vomiting because he was over doing it on the water because he was thirsty. He even would get into the tub to drink from the dripping faucet. We don't have a local vet so I didn't know where I could find antibiotics and I was broke. He got worse and was having trouble breathing. I took care of him for 3 days but he would not try to eat or drink the pedialyte. I didn't know what else to do for him and I didn't want him to die painfully so I drove to the city and took him to the humane society and regretfully had him euthanized. I had tried to call the vets in the city before they euthanized him to see if any of the vets could take him in with a payment plan and none would. Letting him go was the hardest thing I ever had to do. This was just 3 days ago. Rest in peace my Squeaky. 04/25/17

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