Seemingly out of nowhere, dogs can get an upset stomach and start to vomit or have diarrhea. You may be wondering if they got into your garbage bin, or you started giving them a new food that doesn’t quite agree with their stomach.
One of the most common causes of an upset stomach in dogs is gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach lining and intestines. Unfortunately, the cause of this inflammation is not always apparent from the start. But if your dog is in perfect health and their symptoms are relatively mild, home remedies might just do the trick.
However, if symptoms worsen or if there is no improvement to their condition after the first 24 to 48 hours, then it’s time to take a trip to the vet clinic for a more serious intervention.
Home remedies for an upset stomach in dogs
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a human or a dog, an upset stomach usually reveals itself in a few ways, the most apparent are vomiting and diarrhea. These two symptoms can be handled either together or separately if only one presents itself at a time.
What to give a dog that is vomiting
If your dog vomits more than once and is not feeling well, do not feed them anything for 12 up to 24 hours. However, do give them water as you don’t want your dog to get dehydrated. Keep an eye out for other symptoms of illness such as lethargy or any abdominal pain. If your dog does not display any other symptom and acts normal, gradually reintroduce their normal diet after the 12 to 24 hour wait period.
It is crucial to know that sometimes dogs will eat grass, sticks and other non – toxic plants that cause them to vomit. However, in these cases they usually vomit and quickly return to their regular happy selves, and these situations should not worry you. Just to be safe though, keep an eye on your dog in case any symptoms appear suddenly.
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What to give a dog with diarrhea
A dog suffering from diarrhea, on the other hand, should not be withheld any food or water, as it is important for the dog to stay hydrated. But many commercial dog foods are so high in fat and contain other ingredients that will be difficult to digest, so rather than withholding food, just switch to a gentler, bland diet.
One easily digested meal is a mix of boiled white rice with boiled chicken white meat. The ratio should be five parts rice to one part chicken, just make sure the chicken is without skin and bones.
Begin with a small, meal and gradually, once the dog can handle it, you can feed four up to six of them a day. If you notice that your dog is doing well on the bland diet, start to feed them fewer meals of increasing volume and slowly return to your dog’s regular diet after their stool has returned to their normal consistency.
Do this by mixing a bit of the regular dog food with their bland meal. Continue doing this, while increasing the amount of regular food for about a week until the dog returns to their regular diet.
To add to this, you can help your dog by giving it over – the – counter antidiarrheal medication that contains kaolin and pectin to soothe their intestinal tract and firm their stools. Other than that, you can try using probiotic supplements, as they help to regulate and normalize the balance of good and bad bacteria in the dog’s intestines.
However, if your dog becomes weak and lethargic, they could be suffering from dehydration, since a lack of water can also decrease the blood flow to the intestines, which further slows down the recovery process. Either with vomiting or diarrhea, it is crucial to keep your dog hydrated, but it also may be necessary to limit their water intake so that it doesn’t trigger more vomiting in the end.
When is the right time to take a trip to the vet?
Even though home remedies can be very effective, sometimes they are just don’t do the trick, or are appropriately given proportionately to the dog’s age and/or medical condition. Puppies, for example, are much more susceptible to the effects of dehydration, while senior dogs, also being at a greater risk for complications, can have dire outcomes.
Those dogs that have compromised immune systems just don’t have the physical means to maintain their health even with a mild case of diarrhea and vomiting. In any case, a call or a trip to the vet is the best course of action.
Regardless of the dog’s age, if they show any of the listed symptoms or if the vomiting or diarrhea gets worse, immediately call up your vet:
- Blood in the vomit or stool
- Abdominal pain
- Watery diarrhea
- Dry heaving
The vet will then take a thorough history and perform a physical exam, and if the cause of the stomach upset isn’t apparent yet, they may also order blood work, a fecal examination, urinalysis and x – rays. In some cases this won’t be enough and extra specialized lab tests will need to be done, along with an ultrasound and exploratory surgery.
The one and only goal of this is to correctly identify and treat the cause of the stomach upset. But in the meantime, the vet may also prescribe anti-emetics, antidiarrheal meds, and provide fluid therapy to correct or even prevent dehydration. In the case of the vomiting and diarrhea continuing, the dog will require nutrition through an IV.
What to take away from this
While the symptoms associated with stomach upset are certainly not fun, the problem will most likely resolve on its own. Just keep a closer eye on your dog during this time and make sure they are getting hydrated. However, if the symptoms get worse or persist after 24 up to 48 hours, call the vet. List all of the other symptoms your dog is experiencing, and any medication you’ve administered.