How Do I Know If My Puppy Will Survive Parvo?

Published: 20 Apr 2024
Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson
With over a decade of experience in the animal veterinary field, Dr. Wilson enjoys getting to know pets and their families on a personal level. He sees them as an extension of his own family. Hence, he is rewarded on a daily basis as he helps strengthen the special bond between pet owners and their beloved companions.
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Finding out that a seasoned dog owner, a newcomer who has recently introduced a puppy into their life, or a breeder has a dog or puppy infected with Parvo is undoubtedly discouraging. This revelation prompts every owner to question, “What are the indicators that my puppy will survive Parvo?” 

Parvovirus, after all, is a highly infectious disease with a very high mortality rate and that is surely something to be worried and scared about, especially for puppies. 

To answer the questions, “Can a dog survive Parvo? If so, how will I know if my puppy will survive Parvo?” it is important to understand what Canine Parvo is, the main underlying factors associated with this condition, what to look for to see whether or not a puppy with parvovirus will survive, and some helpful ‘parvo in puppies home treatment’ to consider as a dog owner.

What is Canine Parvovirus?

The canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that can cause gastrointestinal and cardiac illnesses in dogs and puppies. If you leave the animal without proper and timely treatment, the virus may prove to be fatal for your dog, especially very young puppies [1]. 

A puppy of two or three months of age does not yet have the immune system completely formed. And serious viruses like parvo can weaken a pup’s immune system, thus, the virus can kill them easily.

How do puppies get parvo? A part of what makes this virus so dangerous is the fact of how easily it can spread from one dog to another. This virus can spread through direct contact with an infected pet or indirectly through a contaminated object. 

How to Tell If Parvo is Getting Better

Your puppy is exposed to the parvovirus every time he licks, sniffs, or even consumes infected feces. Indirect transmission occurs when a person who has just been exposed to an infected pet touches your dog, or when a pup encounters a contaminated object such as a water or food bowl, leashes, collars, and even the clothing of people who handle infected dogs.

Within four to five days of exposure, puppies and adult dogs with parvo will begin shedding the virus. This is usually the case before the puppy displays any clinical signs of infection. This shedding will pursue even after the pup falls ill and up to 10 days after their recovery. 

In short, this basically indicates that a proper quarantine and an accurate diagnosis are crucial for the affected dog’s health and other dogs around it.

The only effective way to prevent this virus is through vaccination. Sadly, dog owners who usually ask “How do I know if my puppy will survive parvo?” are the ones who were already too late in taking their puppy to the vet. 

While taking them a few days late may not ruin their chance of survival, it’s still something to bear in mind.

What is the Survival Rate for Puppy Parvovirus

How Can You Detect the Early Symptoms of Parvo?

The parvo symptoms are very disparate, but the most common are fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parvo virus causes bleeding in the small intestine. 

Thus, it affects the gastrointestinal system, which leads to vomiting and dehydration too. Inaction or weakness is one of the first signs of parvo in puppy. Puppies with parvovirus will be very depressed, their mood will change, and barely able to stand on their feet. 

There will also be blood in their vomit and stools. A dog tends to lose its natural appetite upon getting infected by parvo virus. Because of this, it’s quite possible that your dog will lose his body weight as well. 

Since parvo virus declines a dog’s strength, it’s likely that other bacteria can use this opportunity to sneak into your dog’s body and aggressively increase the damage caused by the parvo virus. 

Again, the only way to prevent this from happening is through parvo vaccines. Otherwise, these signs and symptoms are going to become the reason why your dog’s body can’t handle the virus.

What Are the Chances a Puppy Will Survive Parvo?

Can a puppy survive parvo? If so, what are the recovery signs? While parvo can be deadly, the chances of puppy surviving parvo will range between 68%-92% if proper treatment is done under the care of your vet and you’ve followed the advised treatment plan.

There are several signs that can help you determine if a dog is recovering from Parvo. One of the biggest signs that your dog is in the recovery process from the disease is when it stops vomiting blood, his eating habits are returning back to normal, and there is no sign of blood in their feces. 

How Soon Should You Get a Dog Treated

But one of the most important signs that your dog is getting better from parvo is if their activity levels start to get back to normal.

Remember, your pup is at risk of getting the virus until all three shots have been managed over a period of 12 weeks. To keep your dog protected, a booster shot is also needed once a year. 

During the first 12 weeks of your puppy’s life, you need to have an update with his shots, or better yet, never purchase a pup unless they had their first set of shots.

Home Treatment for Parvovirus

Can you do a parvo treatment at home? Yes, you can but only if it is advised by your vet. Home treatment for Parvo will include:

Keep Puppy Hydrated

Since the virus causes intestinal bleeding, a dog with parvo becomes dehydrated. That’s why you need to give your puppy regular, small amounts of water with electrolytes. As your puppy continues to vomit and have diarrhea, it will be challenging for your pup to keep liquids.

Keep Nutrient Levels Up

Due to nauseousness, your pup will refuse to eat. However, if you can get small doses of bottled or canned baby food (with no onion or garlic added) for your pup, it will increase their chances of survival. Using a dropper and mixing the food with water will help you get some food into your puppy.

Other Alternative Medicine

To help alleviate the symptoms of Parvo, you could try using homeopathic medicines while managing your dog’s condition.

Early Parvo Virus Detection is Important

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For Parvo?

A puppy with parvo is a seriously ill pet. Take your pup to the vet as soon as you catch the early signs of the virus. Since parvo is common in young pups, be aware of the certain symptoms of parvo in puppies. 

These include vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, dehydration, weakness, and depression. All of these symptoms are already serious by themselves and could also be a sign of another serious disease.

How Much Does It Cost To Treat Parvo?

Canine parvovirus is a very expensive disease to treat. You can expect to pay anything around $ 500 to $2500 to help your dog recover from parvo. Usually, your vet will diagnose parvo through blood work or based on clinical signs. But, the cost will surely go up if your pup needs to be hospitalized for a longer period. 

This is way beyond the budget of many pet owners, so they opt to euthanize their pets. This can be a devastating decision to make for many pet lovers. Therefore, it’s always crucial to ensure your pup is vaccinated correctly for parvovirus.

How Long Does Parvo Last?

If a dog survives within the first four days, the chances of recovery are higher. Normally, it takes one week for puppies to recover completely from the infection. However, this still depends on the given treatment for your pup. 

The chances of recovery can go up to 90% if the pup is being treated in the vet’s hospital, survived in the first four days, and started early enough. If you chose to do home treatment, the recovery chances of your pup are 85%. But this is only if you follow your vet’s instructions completely and you’re vigilant.


Dealing with the Canine Parvovirus is something very serious. For that reason, you have to be patient, diligent, and take the time to help treat your pup’s infection. A good starting point is to use a potent organic treatment for parvo.

In general, your pup is going to be fine as long as you make sure to follow the vet’s directions and you take good care of them. Be extra careful when socializing your pet and make sure all dogs in your household are vaccinated.

Dog parks and other places where pets gather are potential sources of the virus, so plan on socializing your dog in a less public area. Until puppies received all of their parvo vaccines, you should not allow them to come into contact with unvaccinated dogs.

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