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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.

15 Responses to How to Help a Dog with an Upset Stomach
  1. Phyllis Harrod
    May 16, 2014 | 5:51 pm


  2. […] How to Help a Dog with an Upset Stomach | The Dogington Post. […]

  3. jackie aladich
    May 16, 2014 | 10:07 am

    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.

  4. Tina Wilson
    May 16, 2014 | 9:36 am

    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.

  5. Maxine Beckner
    May 15, 2014 | 3:32 pm

    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.

  6. Maxine Beckner
    May 15, 2014 | 3:29 pm

    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.

  7. […] By Brandy Arnold […]

  8. Olga Rainey
    May 15, 2014 | 2:00 pm

    I sprinkle Ginger on the food of my sensitive stomach dog. It helps also treats with Pumpkin and Ginger help.

  9. Sharon
    May 15, 2014 | 1:47 pm

    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. […] By Brandy Arnold […]

  11. French Bulldog Times
    May 15, 2014 | 11:49 am

    […] If your pooch appears …read more […]

  12. Monica Bono
    February 3, 2014 | 5:01 pm

    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 !

    • Julie Grant
      May 15, 2014 | 5:29 pm

      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.

  13. […] By Brandy Arnold […]

  14. sharon holmes
    February 3, 2014 | 3:49 pm

    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.

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