Did you know...? One in three insurance claims are for puppies & dogs under two

You’ve taken care of their worming and vaccinations – and your young, bouncy puppy seems so full of life and health that it’s hard to imagine them getting ill. So, it’s surprising to find that a significant 1 in 3 pets aged under two needs treatment from the vet.

When it comes to puppies, the top five conditions we handle claims in puppies aged under 1 year are:

1. Gastroenteritis - average covered claim cost - £375

2. Diarrhoea - average covered claim cost - £239

3. Foreign body ingestion - average covered claim cost£745

4. Vomiting - average covered claim cost£391

5. Giardiasis - average covered claim cost£250


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Often caused by your puppy eating something they shouldn't have, gastroenteritis results in severe bouts of sickness and diarrhoea. Aside from eating food that is off or something that isn't food at all - it can also be caused by allergies, viruses or other underlying health conditions. So, if you suspect your dog has gastroenteritis, contact your vet for advice.

Symptoms to look our for include: diarrhoea, vomiting, lack of appetite, signs of abdominal pain, weakness & lethargy and depression. If your dog is vomiting severely or has blood in their diarrhoea, contact the vet immediately as this could be a condition known as hemorrhgic gastroenteritis, which can be fatal.

Treatment for gastroenteritis can range from reduction in food to medication, or possibly additional fluid via a drip if your dog has become dehydrated. If the case is mild, it can usually settle within a few days providng the advice from your vet is followed.

8-month old Zest had experienced a couple of bouts of vomiting during the day. She had also become shaky and clingy, leading her owners to take her to an out-of-hours emergency vet. By this time, she was also suffering mild shock.

The young Chihuahua was kept in overnight, and following blood tests was treated with intravenous fluids and gut protectant medication.

Zest’s treatment costs came to £529.69.


Vomiting and diarrhoea

This is common in puppies, often due to a change in diet following leaving their breeder or rescue centre to join your family.

However, while less common, there can be other, more serious reasons, that your puppy has an upset tummy and sickness, so make sure you rule them out first. Could your little one have eaten a foreign body like a sock or toy, have parasites or ingested a poison or toxin?

If your puppy is being sick or having diarrhoea, first of all think about the history of the last few days, have they eaten anything poisonous?

Are you missing any toys or objects they like to play with? Did you see them with anything toxic like chocolate or plant material in their mouth? Has your puppy lost their appetite? If any of these are relevant then you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

Little and often

If your puppy is still bright and well, but vomiting occasionally, withhold food for 6 hours. They can have access to water but little and often so they don't bring it back up again. After 6 hours they can be fed a bland diet, something like chicken and rice, small amounts fed little and often throughout the day. If vomiting continues or starts again then seek veterinary attention.

After 2-3 days on a bland diet their normal food can be reintroduced gradually. If your dog isn't vomiting but has diarrhoea then there is no need to starve them and a bland diet can be introduced little and often right away.

Contact your vet

Are they lethargic? As they are young and therefore small, they are likely to dehydrate quickly, so if any of these are likely then contact your vet as soon as possible.

It’s important to recognise if your pet is unwell, quiet, lethargic or showing signs or dehydration, if they are passing black tar-like faeces, vomiting blood or dark coffee-coloured vomit, then you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

Always seek veterinary advice for any young puppies that have had vomiting or diarrhoea for longer than 24 hours.


Eating a foreign body - socks, stones - anything they shouldn't...

A bulldog puppy that's swallowed a spoon. Photo credit: Veterinary Voices UK


If you suspect your puppy as eaten a non-food item, like a sock, a stone, part of a toy etc. they may display certain signs that indicate they need urgent help from a vet. These include going off their food and being sick. The reason they will react this way is because the foreign body has caused an obstruction which cannot pass through their intestines.

Sometimes an operation will be necessary to clear such an obstruction, so contacting your vet urgently is vital.



Spread in poo, dogs can catch this by eating it or drinking contaminated water or grass. Giardia is a very tiny parasite that attacks the lining of the intestines. The result is severe, watery diarrhoea with a distinctive strong smell. Symptoms to look out for include:

Watery diarrhoea with a stong smell

Weight loss

Reduction in appetite



The parasite giardia is highly contagious, also to humans, so be extremley careful with hygeine if you suspect your dog may be infected, or you have come into contact with one that is. Always contact your vet for advice if you suspect Giardiasis.

If you have an Agria Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.

Protect yourself against unexpected vet's bills with lifetime pet insurance. Right now, a lifetime policy from Agria comes with £50 free to spend at your vet - to give your puppy the healthiest start to life. Quote HS19.


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