No dog owner enjoys seeing their pet in obvious discomfort. We’re used to our dogs having energy to spare, always ready for a walk or to play fetch. People love their dogs and want them to feel better fast. They’re a very valuable family member after all!
So, when they seem a lot quieter and are off their dog food, your dog may have an upset stomach. Of course, from time to time, people will also deal with an upset stomach. Any human knows what that feels like and what home remedies can help settle things down.
If you’re wondering how help your dog’s upset stomach, there are definitely some things you can do at home. Not all upset stomachs require a veterinarian appointment.
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Common Causes of an Upset Stomach in Dogs
Your dog may have an upset stomach because they ate something they shouldn’t have. Did you clear away the supper dishes and leave steak bones on the plates? Is the kitchen garbage secure? Some dogs can’t help themselves when there’s leftover people food within reach!
If you’ve had Riley or Rosie for a romp in the park, they may have ingested something when your back was turned. Dogs are masters at concealing what they shouldn’t be doing.
The thing here is that outside substances could be poisonous or otherwise harmful. Plus, there’s a list of people foods that dogs can’t eat so if they’ve eaten something like a discarded chocolate bar, it can be toxic.
There are other reasons for an upset stomach in dogs. For example, a dog may have a digestive tract problem due to an imbalance in gut bacteria. Digestive problems can occur when a dog doesn’t have a balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in their stomach.
Another explanation for an upset stomach in dogs is sensitivities or allergies to particular foods. A dog upset stomach can be caused by these chronic conditions.
Symptoms of an Upset Stomach in Dogs
The usual signs that your dog has an upset stomach are ones you see in people as well. Your dog will have nausea, accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.
If you’ve ever seen your dog eating grass, it means they’re trying to induce vomiting to get rid of whatever is causing the upset stomach. This is their instinctive way of expelling the offending substance and soothing a dog’s upset stomach.
Other symptoms of an upset stomach to watch for are:
- Acid reflux
- Decrease in appetite
- Gulping air
- Gurgling noises in the stomach
- Licking their lips, the floor or other objects
- Looking sad
- Loss of appetite
- Passing gas
- Reduced water intake
Be mindful that some of these symptoms can point to other health problems. Therefore, it’s wise to keep a close eye on your dog to see if there are signs things are getting better or worse.
What can an I Give My Dog for an Upset Stomach?
Knowing what to feed your dog can be confusing. There are a number of home remedies for a dog upset stomach that my help your dog feel better. Before trying anything, get a little advice from an expert like your veterinarian.
When you contact your vet, they’ll ask questions about your dog’s symptoms. The vet will consider possible causes of your dog’s upset stomach and determine if a vet clinic visit is required.
Canned pumpkin is one thing your veterinarian may recommend right away. Pumpkin has a glycemic index that’s low. A glycemic index measures how quickly or slowly different foods increase blood glucose levels. Since pumpkin has a low glycemic index, it’s absorbed slowly by the stomach and is easy to digest.
Canned pumpkin can be purchased at the grocery store. You’ll find it sold in the baking aisle as pumpkin pie filling. Make sure that it’s 100% pumpkin and doesn’t include any spices. As an alternative to canned pumpkin, you can buy pumpkin puree baby food.
Actually, you don’t need much for your dog so buying a smaller quantity should do. Dogs about 75 pounds in weight can have one tablespoon of canned pumpkin while dogs around five pounds should only have one-half teaspoon.
Chicken and Rice
Another home remedy for an upset stomach in dogs is chicken and rice. This diet combination is also one that’s easy to digest for your dog, and feeding instructions are fairly simple.
Give your dog a small meal that’s 75% boiled white rice and 25% boiled chicken breast meat. It’s critical that you don’t add fats, oils or spices. Although it may not seem appetizing to you, the whole point is to offer a bland diet.
Again, try only a small quantity at first. Begin with a tablespoon of the mixture and wait a few hours to see if your dog keeps these foods down.
If your dog seems okay and no vomiting occurs, gradually increase the quantity. Slowly build up to between one-half and one cup of the bland diet, waiting three to four hours between servings.
A bland diet of chicken and rice will assist your dog’s digestive problems while providing enough nutrition. Once your dog appears to be having no trouble with the bland diet, you can slowly add some of their usual dog food until they’re back on a regular dog food diet.
Vomiting and diarrhea from an upset stomach can lead to dehydration, so make sure your dog is drinking enough. Giving water may help or it may cause more vomiting. And, gulping water may result in vomiting too.
So, what to do? Well, offering your dog ice cubes is the solution. Take time to break the ice into ice chips that will melt in your dog’s mouth. Offer ice chips every two to three hours and then move to a few teaspoons of water in their bowl.
Ingesting a small amount of water like this will avoid further vomiting. Gradually increase the amount of water until your dog is feeling better.
Dehydration can happen quickly − inside a few hours. If it’s not attended to, dehydration can result in organ failure. Therefore, call your vet if your dog isn’t getting enough water and you think offering ice chips isn’t working.
Bone Broth is something people may also benefit from when they have an upset stomach, instead of reaching for the Pepto Bismol! This clear liquid helps keep your dog’s body hydrated and provides enough nutrients while not causing further digestive problems.
There’s a very easy way to make bone broth for your dog. Simply place bones with some meat on them into a pot. Add a generous amount of water to cover the bones and about one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then simmer until the meat has broken down. Skim off excess fat and cool the mixture before giving it to your dog. Bone broth can be frozen to give to dogs another time.
Fasting for 24 Hours
You can also help your dog recover from an upset stomach by allowing them to fast for up to 24 hours. Use caution with this approach and call your vet first to ensure that this isn’t going to be a bad idea for your dog.
If your dog is a smaller breed or has a pre-existing health condition, fasting may not be the answer. It may, in fact, lead to more problems for your dog.
Otherwise, allow your dog’s stomach a rest from food for this time period. This gives your dog’s system a chance to expel any substance that’s causing their stomach upset. Make sure they can access clean water and monitor their intake to prevent dehydration.
Remember to ask your vet how to wind down fasting and transition to food. Your veterinarian will probably suggest introducing a bland diet slowly when your dog is ready for food.
When to Go to the Vet
When you’re a pet owner, deciding when to contact your vet and take your dog in for an appointment can be a tough call. Your dog’s stomach upset might disappear within 24 hours, or it could be one of the signs of a serious illness. If home remedies you’ve tried aren’t working, it’s time to contact the vet.
No one likes unnecessary vet bills and another appointment at the vet clinic. At the same time, many people find that peace of mind from their veterinarian is worth it.
Vets are expert at getting to the bottom of things. A call to your vet can help you avoid a trip to the emergency veterinary hospital!
In the meantime, monitor your dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. Generally, a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit, or more, means your dog needs to see the vet right away.
Be aware that if your dog’s temperature is 99 degrees Fahrenheit, or lower, they also need veterinary attention. A temperature outside this range is one of the symptoms to be concerned about.
Here are a few other signs to look out for:
- Blood in the stool
- Collapsing or difficulty walking
- Diarrhea that continues
- Discomfort that’s increasing
- Distended stomach
- Overall weakness or lethargy
- Vomiting any blood
Some of these are the same symptoms of poisoning or an illness like canine parvovirus. If you notice these signs, have your dog seen by a veterinarian immediately.
How to Prevent an Upset Stomach in Dogs
There are some proactive steps to take to reduce the risk that your dog will have an upset stomach. Basically, the more you can do to support your dog’s gut health, the fewer bouts of vomiting and other nasty symptoms of an upset stomach they’ll have. Here are four things to do.
Rule out Food Allergies
First and foremost, make sure your dog doesn’t have an allergy to something in their diet. It’s not uncommon for dogs to have an upset stomach sometimes.
But if it’s a regular occurrence, it could men that Betty or Bentley has a food allergy. Talk to your veterinarian about the possibility your dog might be allergic to something in their dog food.
Healthy gut bacteria are crucial for the proper functioning of your dog’s digestive system. Your dog’s gut will have some naturally-occurring beneficial bacteria already. While your dog’s kibble may also include probiotic ingredients, it can be most helpful to give probiotics as a supplement.
Be sure to purchase ones specially formulated for dogs rather than those designed for a human diet. As always, contact your vet if you need guidance on the best probiotics for your dog.
Try Turkey Tail Mushroom
This amazing fungus has probiotic properties to help keep your dog’s gut bacteria in balance. This means a healthier digestive tract and less risk your dog will suffer from an upset stomach. Furthermore, turkey tail mushroom has many other health benefits for your dog – from boosting their immune system to helping fight off certain diseases.
It’s so important to make sure your dog doesn’t have access to food they shouldn’t eat. This is often half the battle in preventing a dog’s upset stomach. If your dog wants to eat grass, watch this behavior as well.
Most dogs have a tendency to eat grass, and some veterinarians agree that dogs do this to induce vomiting. But, be very mindful about where they’re eating grass. If it’s on neighborhood lawns, there’s a risk of ingesting fertilizers and harmful chemicals.
Our Final Thoughts
Dogs with upset stomachs can have a range of worrying symptoms. Since some overlap with symptoms of serious illness, it’s always a good practice to consult your veterinarian.
That said, rest assured that most signs of an upset stomach will lead back to something your dog has eaten and, with a little care, they’ll be feeling better in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does upset stomach last in dogs?
A dog upset stomach usually resolves within 24 hours to 48 hours.
How do dogs act when they have an upset stomach?
Most dogs eat grass when they have upset stomachs. A dog may have other symptoms − from vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy and collapsing.
Can I give my dog Pepto Bismol for an upset stomach?
Pepto Bismol is not something to give a sick dog. It won’t help a dog’s upset stomach.