How to Help a Dog with an Upset Stomach

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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.

27 COMMENTS

  1. My Doberman/Plott mix got out of the pen and ate something… when I brought her inside she threw up twice. And she is also pretty lethargic. I was wondering if a heating pad might help her, or maybe an ice pack? I have been massaging her tummy and comforting her.Please inform me soon. I am pretty worried and I want to help her.

  2. My boxer ate a rubber band a few weeks ago, passed it. Yesturday she was fine all day then all of a sudden she started gagging and salvating, never threw up. I gave her a charcoal the vet gave me it helped. She was fine all day again today and tonite then all of a sudden the same thing! Gave her charcoal the vet gave me but it isnt kicking in a quick as it did last night. There is snow on the ground, so she wants to eat carpet! What do i do? Its late at night and i cant get her to the vet

  3. Hi everyone, heres a word of advice I just wanted to share with pet lovers: Do not feed your dogs any doggie treats or toys. Especially the ones sold at Walmart Target, drug stores etc. There is an entire website filled with people who have lost their precious babies to these disgusting China made treats and toys! People need to start researching and using their heads. Not one single dog deserves to die because their owner is ignorant. Not one single dog deserves to die an awful death, period. Accidents happen..yes. But always be aware of their surroundings and their food. Check to see if your pups food brand has been recalled. Google the list of best dog foods in America. Dogs LOVE US unconditionally, they would die for us. So we should be the same exact way to them. Im 22 and I know I would die for my dogs, I would risk my life for ANY dog. Actually, I have risked it and always will be this way. This may sound silly but..I find them to be better than humans, cuz they are innocent loving and helpless. They depend on us to care for them and many do not realize that 100%. I hope this comment is helpful to some. (:

    • You should research The ingredients in your dog’s treats. Some treats made in the US are making dogs illbecause the companies making these “healthy” treats are taking short cuts to increase profits. They’re deemed FDA safe because they meet their standards but they are not safe. You can Google the list of dangerous ingredients listed in a recent news article.

      BTW, by calling everyone ignorant, is rather rude, and shows immaturity. All you need to do is post an FYI. Some people trust the labels too much, it doesn’t make them bad pet owners.

  4. Give your pets IMODIUM A D . I PROMISE YOU EVEN THE SICKEST DOG WILL FEEL BETTER IN MINUTES AND STOPS DIARREAH in no time.

    • Please DO NOT give Imodium to a rough collie …it can be Fatal. I know this from experience , I nearly lost a puppy because of it.

    • Yeah it does stop it, but, I work in a pharmacy and our pharmacist don’t recommend stopping diarrhea. They say let it stop on its own because then whatever is causing the problem your getting out . If you stop its staying In.

  5. any suggestions on what to feed a finicky eater that is healthy and good for them. My dog (Lhasa poo) wont eat any bought food. Currently I am making dinner for him but I am not sure if he is getting all the proper nutrients. When I read about bloat, it scares me, I want to be sure I keep him healthy, but he moans sometimes for no reason.

    • Out two German Shepherds had diarrhea quite frequently. Our vet said to make sur to wash their food and water dishes frequently as this caused them gastric problems. Since we started doing this every day or two, we haven’t had one bout of diarrhea in either dog and it’s been six months.

    • I have a 13 month old Lhasa poo and she is under the vet for terrible gas, which i can hear gurgling – yellow/white bile and has a couple of times eaten grass like there’s no tomorrow. She is banned from eating grass and treats. Am waiting for a second scan as a second opinion as the vet who did it yesterday wasn’t as experienced as the one I will see next week. The scan showed lots of wind pockets. She has had this problem for over 3 weeks , prior to that on and off for a few weeks and been to the vet 3 times. Anti-nausea injections and now on Royal Canin Sensitive. The last 3 nights have been wakeful with her, i.e. 2.30 a.m. this morning. Have now been given Prednisolone (cortisone) but am not sure if this is the right way to go yet. At the moment she is not wanting to eat. She also moans. Feel so sorry for her and like all ‘mums’ we don’t like to see them poorly. When she is ok she is very active.

  6. I keep canned pumpkin (not pumpkin mix) on hand. It seems to work for our two dogs whenever they get an upset stomach. We even changed food which has made a huge difference in our jack russell..We were giving him 4* food in the past but Orijen works best for him. I also would like to see more on bloat. I just heard that medium to large dogs should NOT drink or eat from an elevated feeder due to bloat. It would be great to see more on this topic. We were warned about bloat for our Vizsla. We don’t let him exercise after meals….we’re careful with him but would love more information.

  7. If you have a dog breed that is prone to bloating, keep some GasX strips on hand. At the first sign of bloat, place a GasX strip on your dog’s tongue. These strips have saved many dogs’ lives.

  8. Pepto Bismol contains small amounts of aspirin. It should be used with caution in dogs as it can cause gastric bleeding and it should NEVER be used in cats. There are other inexpensive drugs that can be used for upset stomachs that do not contain aspirin. Consult your veterinarian.

    • Great tip, thank you! Mt basset hound has a really sensitive tummy, I use ginger for myself, but never thought of it for my Charlie

  9. I use activated charcoal if they have eaten domething ur not sure of, u can crush up a pepsid A/C also that really helps,my vet suggested these ideas years ago and I almost never go to vet, my dogs are 45 pds, not sure of dosages for small dogs

  10. Please post more information on “bloat” my precious dog, a member of my family, just passed away from this dreadful condition. She did not appear sick at all. No vomiting, no issues with bowel movements, she was not restless. I gave her a treat, she drank some water and within 15 minutes she was not able to stand up. She laid down and I arranged a ride to the clinic which then advised me to get her to the emergency hospital immediately. We made it to the hospital and they were setting up an IV when the technician came to me and advised me that Star did not make it. In this particular case, there was no symptoms prior to that day. I lost my best friend, my Star, that quckly. I will never forget the amount of happiness she brought to my home and to me. Love you forever Star !

    • I have also lost my best friend to bloat, sudden onset with no obvious prior symptoms. Enoch was PTS on the operating table as the amount of necrotic tissue was to great for him to sustain an quality of life. This happened within 2 hours of onset. He was a Standard Dachshund.

  11. Once your dog is back and healthy again put a dollop of pure canned pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN MIX) on top of each and every meal thereafter. The pumpkin soothes their stomachs naturally. We got our dog from a shelter a year ago with a very sensitive stomach and also allergic to poultry. She has NEVER been sick to date.

      • Yes, just but it into wedges and bake in 350 degree oven about an hour and a half, or until it is fork tender. Then scrape out flesh and if needed, cook on top of the stove on medium heat. If it is a bit watery, cook until the water is absorbed. Let it cool and then store in freezer bags in single serving size portions in the freezer. Take out as needed and thaw in a bowl of hot water or in the microwave. =)

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