Parvo on Pets: What You Need to Know

Parvo on Pets: What You Need to Know

Parvo, also known as canine parvovirus, is a highly contagious viral infection that can affect dogs of all ages, but puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at the highest risk. The virus attacks the small intestine’s lining, causing severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. In extreme cases, parvo can be fatal.

How is parvo spread?

Parvo is spread through contact with the feces of an infected dog. The virus can live in the environment for up to six months, so even if an infected dog has not been in an area for a while, another dog can still get sick. Parvo can be spread directly from dog to dog or indirectly through contact with contaminated objects, such as shoes, clothing, food and water bowls, and toys.

Symptoms of parvo

The first signs of parvo typically appear within three to seven days of exposure to the virus. Symptoms can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, which may be bloody
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration

If you notice these signs in your dog, you must immediately take them to the veterinarian.

Treating parvo

There is no specific cure for parvo, but treatment can help manage the symptoms and support the dog’s immune system. Treatment typically involves hospitalization and supportive care, such as intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medication. In some cases, blood transfusions may be necessary.

Preventing parvo

The best way to prevent parvo is to vaccinate your dog. Puppies should start receiving parvo vaccinations at six to eight weeks, with boosters given every three to four weeks until they are 16 weeks old. Adult dogs should receive a parvo booster vaccination every year.

In addition to vaccination, there are other things you can do to help prevent parvo in your dog:

  • Avoid taking your puppy to public places like dog parks until fully vaccinated.
  • Clean up your dog’s feces immediately, especially in public places.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your dog’s feces.
  • Disinfect any surfaces or objects that may have come into contact with your dog’s feces.

Caring for a dog with parvo

If your dog is diagnosed with parvo, following your veterinarian’s instructions is essential. Your dog may need to be hospitalized for several days to receive supportive care.

Once your dog is discharged from the hospital, you must continue caring for them at home. This includes:

  • Providing them with plenty of fresh water.
  • Feeding them a bland diet, such as boiled chicken and rice.
  • Monitoring their stool and vomit.
  • Keeping them isolated from other dogs.

Being patient and supportive while your dog recovers from parvo is essential. It can take several weeks for them to recover fully.


Parvo is a severe but treatable viral infection. The best way to protect your dog from parvo is to vaccinate them and avoid taking them to public places until they are fully vaccinated. If your dog does get parvo, it is essential to take them to the veterinarian immediately. With supportive care, most dogs will recover from parvo.

Additional information

How long is a dog with parvo contagious?

A dog with parvo is contagious from when they are infected until they fully recover. This can take up to two weeks.

Can humans get parvo from dogs?

No, humans cannot get parvo from dogs. Parvo is a species-specific virus, meaning that it can only infect dogs.

How can I clean my house to prevent the spread of parvo?

To clean your house to prevent the spread of parvo, you should:

  • Disinfect all surfaces that may have come into contact with your dog’s feces, such as floors, carpets, furniture, and bedding.
  • Wash your dog’s bedding and toys in hot, soapy water.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your dog’s feces.

You can use a bleach solution to disinfect surfaces. Mix one bleach with nine parts water and apply it to the surface with a sponge or mop. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes, then rinse it with clean water.

What should I do if I am worried my dog may have parvo?

If you are worried that your dog may have parvo, it is essential to take them to the veterinarian immediately. Parvo is a severe illness, but it is treatable with supportive care.

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