How to Help a Dog with an Upset Stomach

upsetstomachJust like us, dogs can also get an upset stomach. Some of the most common symptoms that you should watch out for include vomiting, dry heaving, diarrhea, bloating, gas, thirst, and/or refusing to eat.

What Causes a Troublesome Tummy?

The most common triggers for upset stomach have something to do with your dog’s diet. It could be that Fido is stressed, allergic to what you gave him, that maybe he is eating too much or too fast, or he is eating stuff that shouldn’t be wolfed down (like food wrappers, coins, balls, strings, etc.) Other causes may include stale food, parasites and injury.

But how can you tell if your furball’s upset stomach is actually a more serious issue? Excessive vomiting, the appearance of blood in vomit or feces, lethargy, fever, bloating or biting at his sides are all indicators of a bigger problem. Intestinal blockage, poison ingestion, bloat, and other similar conditions are life-threatening must be dealt with immediately. If your pooch has eaten something noxious like rat or insect poison, chemicals, contaminated foods, or toxic plants, rush him to the doc straight away.

After I’ve Determined It’s Not Serious. What Can Be Done?

If your pooch appears to have a mild and occasional upset stomach or if he just gets sick every now and then and you don’t see anything that requires immediate vet care, then try to fast your dog for about 12 to 24 hours. Allow him access to fresh drinking water, but do not allow him to eat.

You might find this very difficult to do, but keep in mind that to relieve your pet from such distress, you have to empty his stomach first. Feeding your dog when he’s vomiting or having a diarrhea will just prolong his agony. Besides, an otherwise healthy pooch can go a day without eating. Just make sure that you provide him with enough clean water to drink all the time.

After fasting, you can feed your dog a bland diet like a meal of 1 part boiled chicken (skinless and boneless white meat) to 2 parts boiled rice (brown or white). Don’t add any seasoning or additives like oil or salt. Feed your pooch small portions of this meal 3 or 4 times each day for the next few days while you monitor his condition. As his upset stomach improves, gradually begin adding his regular food back into his diet. If, after switching back to your dog’s regular food, his upset stomach returns, you’ll know that his regular food is the culprit.

Speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of giving your dog over-the-counter Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) for occasional upset stomach or diarrhea.

If your ailing pet’s condition doesn’t improve or worsens, or if he appears to show serious symptoms like dehydration, retching or trying to vomit, difficulty defecating, painful and distended/hard belly, blood in urine, feces or vomit, and lethargy, then waste no time and contact your vet or local emergency clinic.

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