The first step is to recognize what’s happening and that starts with checking your dog for symptoms of an upset stomach. This is what it looks like if your suspicions are right.
- Symptoms of an Upset Stomach in Dogs
- What Might Have Caused It
- When to Take Your Dog to the Vet
- Home Remedies to Treat an Upset Stomach in Dogs
- The Bottom Line
Symptoms of an Upset Stomach in Dogs
- Loss of appetite
- Trying to eat grass/licking the floor
- Stomach gurgling
What Might Have Caused It
Now you must try to figure out what might have caused it. There are a few obvious reasons why your canine might be experiencing an upset stomach.
Let’s take a look.
Changes in the Diet
It is called dyspepsia and it happens when your dog has eaten something that they should not have consumed. You should already know the list of foods that dogs are not supposed to eat but if not you can do a quick search on the internet.
After that, you must look at the lesser problems, which means you should think of all that they have eaten recently and see if any of those items are hard for a dog to digest.
Sometimes having an allergy to an ingredient can also cause your dog to stop eating. Check if they are sensitive to any of the foods they have eaten to explain the loss of appetite.
Sensitivity to Certain Foods
The next one to verify is if they do have a sensitivity or allergy to any of the foods they have consumed.
There are a lot of foods that are perfectly harmless for human beings but a dog’s digestive system does not work the same way.
So, innocent items like onions, garlic, chocolates and even grapes are a bad snack idea for dogs. See if any of these foods have been lying around and your dog might have gained access to them.
While you are doing that also remember that artificial sweeteners like xylitol are incredibly toxic and you should not let your pets get a hold of it.
You should also be able to figure out if they ate a little or a lot of these foods because that has a bearing on the extent of sickness.
Learn More About Which Foods Dogs Can and Cannot Eat
Parasitic infections are another common reason for canines to suffer from an upset stomach. You should check if there might be a situation regarding roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia or giardia.
Now, situations with the last two parasites are not as common, but it is worth checking it out. These parasites are microscopic, as you would imagine, and they can cause simple problems like upsetting the digestive system or more serious ones that can be lethal to your furry little friend.
So, it is best to take the dog to a vet and make sure that they get good care in time.
There are a few viruses like parvo, corona and distemper that can cause problems like gastroenteritis. If you think it might be a viral infection, you want to get your dog to the vet as soon as you can.
This is also not unheard of and it can compromise your dog’s immune system. This will make your dog weak and cause gastrointestinal problems.
E. coli and salmonella are a possibility in dogs and if they have chronic conditions like colitis, things can get more complicated. No matter what the condition, you should take them to the vet for a diagnosis right away.
Apart from food like chocolate, garlic and onions, there are other things that are toxic for animals. So you might want to check if there is a chance that your dog poisoned themselves by accident.
These incidents could be caused by consuming cleaning liquids or over-the-counter drugs.
If your dog has been spending time outdoors, you should check if there are any plants like elephant ears and nettles that might have been poisonous to dogs. This usually leads to symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.
If your dog has the habit of rummaging through garbage, then the list is just endless, isn’t it? So, see to it that they break that habit.
Anxiety and Stress
Just like humans, dogs are also capable of experiencing stress and anxiety for many different reasons. This might have an impact on their digestive system and cause an upset stomach.
In this case, you want to check if they are exhibiting symptoms like loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, gas or nausea. If this is the case, you might want to look around and see which elements in their environment might be stressing them out.
You must identify triggers so that you can help your dog avoid them. Changes in their immediate environment can also be very stressful for dogs.
If you are unable to find any triggers, you should still take them to the vet and see if you can get medications like trazodone or get some kind of specialized therapy to teach your pup how to calm themselves.
When to Take Your Dog to the Vet
There are certain symptoms that are more dangerous immediately than the others. If you see any of the following symptoms, you should rush your furry pet to the vet immediately.
- Continuous diarrhea
- Blood in the stool
- Distended stomach
- Non-stop vomiting
- Pacing around nervously
- Retching without getting anything out
- Uncontrollable drooling
Check Their Temperature
You must start by checking their temperature with a rectal thermometer. The ones that let you take the temperature from the ears are not very accurate in comparison.
The temperature should be at 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit which means anything that is 99 degrees or lower should be treated like a fever. The same is true for temperatures that are at or above 102 degrees.
Both these circumstances mean that you should take your dog to the vet right away.
Figure Out What Caused It
Then you must check what they might have ingested that’s causing the stomach upset. We went through the possible reasons in the earlier section.
This information will help the vet make a diagnosis.
Also Read: Why Does My Dog Snort Like a Pig?
Home Remedies to Treat an Upset Stomach in Dogs
There are a few things you can do to help sort out your dog’s upset stomach. Here’s what they are, but not necessarily in this order.
Hydrate the Dog Every Couple of Hours
If they are going through constant vomiting or diarrhea, the first thing you want to do is to make sure that your dog is hydrated as much as possible. This is applicable to other symptoms too, but puking and diarrhea call for a more urgent need for hydration because they are directly connected to dehydration.
Oftentimes, this might happen in just a couple of hours so you want to get on this right away. Try to give your dog ice chips once every two to three hours if they are exhibiting signs of rapid dehydration.
If your dog can keep the ice chips down, you might want to give them some ice cubes too and a few teaspoons of water along with it. If they are getting dehydrated, you must also look into options other than water that will keep the dog hydrated.
This means you should give them vitamins that will help them keep the fluids in the body and also electrolytes. There are plenty of options that only need to be mixed with water which helps dogs stay hydrated.
Ignoring or delaying dehydration can cause serious problems like organ failure which, as you might have guessed, might be quite lethal.
No Food for 12 to 24 Hours
Then you must remember not to give them any food for the first 12 to 24 hours. Now, at this point, you must remember that when they are in the wild, dogs are capable of living without food for long stretches of time.
So, if they have an upset stomach, not giving them any food will give their digestive system a little bit of time to adjust to the aberration. It will also help their gastrointestinal system some rest, which is helpful in case they have any inflammation in that area.
But if you are dealing with a pup, don’t keep them starving for more than 12 hours or even overnight because they cannot handle such firmness. But to help them out, you should apply some maple syrup or honey to their gums to make sure that the glucose levels are not dangerously low.
At this point, it is important to remember the earlier not about artificial sweeteners. So, make sure that the syrup does not have ingredients like xylitol which is toxic for dogs.
Make Bone Broth for Day 2
On day two, the dog will be ready to have some food. In this case, you should think about giving them some bone broth.
For this, you should get meat on a bone and simmer it lightly. Add a little bit of water and apple cider vinegar and make it in a crockpot.
If you’ve ever tried making bone broth, you know that it takes some time. So, it is not a bad idea to get started right after you notice that your pet is sick.
You might also want to make a little extra and freeze it so that you can keep feeding them. Just make sure that you don’t leave any fat in the broth before you start the process of freezing.
Give Them Boiled Rice
After the initial 12 to 24 hours, if your dog has stopped puking, you can give them bland food along with liquids. The first of your choices is boiled rice.
Give your canine rice that is 75 percent boiled along with white chicken meat that does not have bones or skin. You can also give them a hamburger that is extra lean.
Remember not to add any spices, fats or oils to this diet. This is very important.
You want to give them this food on an hourly basis. And keep the amount to just about a teaspoon in the beginning.
Once they can keep the food down, you can increase the amount gradually. This can be about a half to one cup of food and give it to them once every three to four hours.
If you see that this approach is working, keep increasing the portion of food till it reaches their regular quantity. But do so gradually, keeping in mind that their digestive system is still recovering.
Feed Them Probiotics
When you notice that your dog is making considerable progress, you should think about giving food that contains probiotics. This means you can either pick up a dog probiotic or give them plain, unsweetened yogurt.
These food items have bacteria that is good for the gut and helps the dog’s digestive tract. They can also give your canine’s immune system an excellent boost, which is something they need at the moment.
There are some options in the market that essentially taste like chicken, which means it will be good for your dog’s stomach and will also be an easy sell in terms of taste.
But if this doesn’t work, you should take your pup to the vet immediately.
Other Food Options
Apart from these bland food items, vets also suggest that slippery elm bark is something that works on dogs. This is actually a herb that is good for their system when they are experiencing digestive distress.
Slippery elm bark has mucilage which is good for the mucous membranes of the stomach that might be inflamed as a result of an upset stomach. It lubricates the stomach lining and restores your dog’s health back to normal.
Other than that, you can also try the following foods in case the dog’s stool is firm and your pup is experiencing diarrhea.
- Plain pumpkin
- Sweet potatoes
Don’t Let Them Eat Grass
It’s also important to keep your dog away from grass, especially when they have an upset stomach because it has chemicals and fertilizers which are not safe for dogs.
Also Read: Are Stink Bugs Poisonous to Dogs?
The Bottom Line
There are several remedies to treat a canine’s upset stomach once you determine that it’s not because they ingested something toxic in large quantities.
Give them plenty of liquids and keep them off food for the first 12-24 hours and then give them bland food. Help them digest the bland food with some probiotics and even a few OTC medications if it comes to it.