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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.



  1. Debbie Hill

    Mar 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    My shepaddodle has coughed up white flem and she is just laying around. No other symptoms. She is drinking water. I made her rice, chicken with broth but won't touch it.

  2. Karen

    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Have a pitbull 6 years old male is drooling and not eating very much for the past two days and weighs about a hundred pounds he’s walking a little bit hunched over like he’s hurting but not whining advice please

    • angela

      Oct 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      sound like it could be pancreatitis (spelling) take him to the vet!

  3. Dylanbeen

    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:38 am

    My Doberman is just over a year old and has started to throw up everything he eats mostly digest a few pieces aren’t, no blood, hardly never just bile, and back and forth between solid and liquid poop he stays skinny but dosent act sick ?

  4. shaina

    Apr 29, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    my jack russell is eating grass diba when dogs eat grass they have a tommyace what will i do

  5. Kate

    Apr 29, 2015 at 12:04 am

    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.

  6. Cynthia

    Feb 11, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    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

    • LorrieD

      Feb 20, 2015 at 10:21 am

      Hey Cynthia, Did your dog get better? Were you able to get her to the vet? I hope she is ok. =)

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