My Dog Has Parvo but is Drinking Water [Against All Odds]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

They say that water is life, and when it comes to the resilience of our four-legged companions, it couldn’t ring truer.

Did you know that in the throes of Parvo, dogs can lose up to 10% of their body weight within hours?

Yet, against all odds, their primal instinct to survive pushes them to hydrate.

If your dog has parvo but is drinking water, that could be a good sign of things to come.

In this post, I will talk a bit more about this debilitating disease and how you can help your dog feel better.

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Dear Dog Owner

What is Parvo?

Parvo, short for parvovirus, is a highly contagious and serious illness that affects dogs, in particular, puppies. 

This virus attacks the cells in a dog’s body, especially the areas in the intestines and bone marrow.

The nasty virus weakens the dog’s immune system and also disrupts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

The symptoms of the infection lead to serious digestive issues and dehydration, which is why most dogs suffering from parvo lose so much weight. 

Not to scare you, but parvo is not something to be taken lightly.

This life-threatening illness needs prompt veterinary care. 

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Over tired puppy

Symptoms of Canine Parvovirus

The most common signs include persistent vomiting and diarrhea.

You’ll know that it’s not the regular bout of diarrhea because of the awful smell that comes with it. 

These bathroom episodes can get pretty messy, with bloody or dark, tar-looking poop. 

Your pup will also seem super tired, like they’ve lost their usual spark, and they might even refuse their favorite treats. 

All these can be accompanied by a high fever—they’ll feel like a little furnace when you touch them.

And because the poor pup can’t retain food or water, rapid weight loss soon follows.

Will a Dog With Parvo Drink Water?

Will a Dog With Parvo Drink Water

Unfortunately, your dog may refuse to drink water due to nausea and vomiting, and so they wouldn’t have anything to throw up.

The disease also damages the cells in the intestines, further preventing your pet from keeping water.

However, it is a must that you encourage your pet to drink since dehydration can worsen their condition. 

Prepare lots of water or electrolyte solutions and offer your pet small sips whenever you can to help prevent dehydration.

Will a Dog With Parvo Eat?

Dogs with parvo often experience a loss of appetite and it is really common for them to not want to eat since throwing up is very uncomfortable. 

It is still advisable to offer your pet food whenever you can because it can aid in their recovery.

You can read our article about how to feed a puppy with parvo to get more tips.

How is Parvo Being Treated?

For the most part, treating Parvo is mostly about ensuring that your pet stays hydrated, fed, and comfortable.

You also want to focus on strengthening their immune system.

The most important part of getting your furry pal through this is helping them stay hydrated.

Throwing up and pooping can cause your pet to lose fluids very quickly.

Your vet might also give your dog some meds to control the vomiting and diarrhea.

Make sure to follow all the instructions in administering the medicine so your pet can find relief. 

If your pet isn’t drinking enough, your vet may ask you to bring them to the emergency clinic so intravenous fluids can be administered.

Severe dehydration can compromise organ function.

Antibiotics may also be prescribed since your pet’s immune system gets weakened by this disease.

By taking them, your pet can avoid any additional bacterial infection.

Food is also an important factor in your pet’s recovery.

Serve them easily digestible food in small portions to support the healing process.

Finally, you’d want to keep your pet away from others.

This will stop the spread of this awful virus.

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Signs That Your Dog is Getting Over Parvo

You may notice a decrease in vomiting and diarrhea, which is a positive sign that their stomach is settling down.

This means less mess to clean up and less discomfort for your furry friend.

Another good sign is when their appetite returns.

If your pup starts showing interest in food and begins eating, it’s a positive indication that their body is on the mend.

As their strength improves, you may see a boost in energy and activity levels.

They might start playing, wagging their tail, or even wanting to go for short walks. 

As their immune system kicks in, the fever should also start going away.

Expect your pet’s body temperature to go back to normal.

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How to Prevent Parvo in Dogs?

To keep your pet from suffering from this horrible disease, make sure that your pet’s updated on their vaccinations.

The Parvo vaccine is a vital tool in keeping this disease at bay.

Avoid high-risk areas where infected dogs may have been.

These areas can include places like dog parks or kennels where the virus may be more prevalent.

Regularly clean and disinfect your pet’s living space, toys, and bowls.

This helps eliminate any potential traces of the virus and reduces the chances of transmission.

If you have a newly acquired or sick dog, it’s essential to keep them separated from healthy dogs until they have been tested and cleared. 

Last but not least, practice responsible socialization.

This means only letting your pet play with other vaccinated and healthy dogs.

This way, you can ensure a safer and lower-risk socialization experience.

Should I Force Feed My Dog With Parvo?

Definitely not.

Parvo can cause a loss of appetite and make dogs reluctant to eat, which can be worrisome for their fur parents.

However, forcing food on a dog with parvo is generally not a good idea.

Making your pet eat forcibly when they have no appetite can potentially do more harm than good. 

It can worsen the nausea and vomiting. Plus, the added stress of being forced to eat can worsen their condition. 

Parvo Recovery Timeline

Recovering from Parvo may take a while, and the timeline will definitely vary for each dog.

Here’s what you can expect. 

Several days after contracting the disease, your dog may appear lethargic and start losing their drive to eat.

You can also expect your poor furry pal to start throwing up and pooping excessively.

This is a critical phase, and immediate vet care is a must. 

The symptoms may continue or even worsen over the next few days. Your pet may require intensive treatment such as intravenous fluids and medications. 

These treatments should help manage dehydration and halt any complications.

Once they get past the critical stage, you should start seeing some improvements.

The vomiting and diarrhea should gradually decrease, and your dog’s appetite may slowly return. 

Don’t stop monitoring your furry pal’s progress.

Around the two-week mark, their appetite and energy levels should go back to normal.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog suddenly lethargic and flinching

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my dog with Parvo drinking water but not eating?

Your dog with Parvo may drink water but not eat due to the loss of appetite caused by the virus. Plus, it’s less painful to throw up water than partially digested food. It’s important to keep them hydrated especially if they’re not eating.

Does Parvo make dogs thirsty?

Yes, Parvo can make dogs thirsty. The virus can cause dehydration because of excessive vomiting and diarrhea. That is why vets always advise that you give your pet liquids at this time to replenish what they expel.

What are the last stages of Parvo in dogs?

The last stages of Parvo in dogs can vary, but they may include severe weakness, extreme dehydration, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, anorexia, and a decline in body temperature. At this point, the chances of recovering are quite low, especially without veterinary care.

Is Parvovirus contagious to other pets?

Yes, Parvovirus is highly contagious to other pets. It can spread through direct contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects. To stop the spread of this illness, you should keep the affected dog away from others, and practice proper hygiene.

In Conclusion: My Dog Has Parvo but is Drinking Water

Getting infected by this terrible virus is something that all dog parents dread, and hopefully, this post has helped to alleviate some of your fears and provide some useful answers.

If you want to learn more dog care tips, check out these other articles too:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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