4 Common Signs of Canine Parvovirus in Puppies

17 February 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Adding a puppy to the family is typically a joyous event. Almost everyone loves the energy and cuteness of a small puppy. But as a new puppy owner, it is important to know the signs of canine parvovirus (CPV) so you can get your puppy to a veterinarian immediately for treatment. Dogs can receive a vaccination for parvo, but young dogs and puppies that are not old enough to be fully vaccinated can be at risk. Some common signs that your new puppy may have canine parvovirus include:

Lack of Appetite

Puppies usually have a lot of energy and are growing quickly, so it is not uncommon for a young dog to quickly eat all of his food when it is provided. If your puppy suddenly does not want to eat when you feed him, it is cause for concern. Lack of appetite is a common symptom in puppies with parvo since the virus tends to start replicating within the intestinal tract. If your puppy stops eating food that he previously enjoyed, it is a good idea to make a visit to your vet.

Frequent Vomiting

Young, healthy puppies should not vomit frequently. If your puppy does indeed have parvo, he may begin vomiting as the virus replicates. The initial vomiting may look like regurgitated dog food, but once your puppy's stomach is completely empty the vomit may be a foamy mucus, a yellowish-brown color, or bloody. A puppy who is vomiting frequently needs immediate veterinary care to help prevent dangerous dehydration.


Since parvo affects the digestive tract, diarrhea is a common sign that your puppy may be infected with the virus. Very occasional diarrhea in a puppy isn't necessarily a cause for concern, but if your puppy has multiple bowel movements that are diarrhea, he could be very sick. Bloody diarrhea is especially concerning in a puppy, as it may mean that the virus is damaging the lining of your puppy's intestines. 

Lethargic Behavior

Young puppies typically display periods of boundless energy, so if your new puppy becomes lethargic for no reason, it is worth calling your vet or making an emergency appointment. Canine parvovirus makes dogs, especially puppies who haven't built up a strong immune system, incredibly ill. Parvo is dangerous and can be fatal in puppies because it replicates so fast within their bodies. The sooner you can get your puppy to your vet for treatment, the better the outcome.