The Holiday Season has passed and we are left feeling overstuffed and pretty sluggish (but honestly all the goodies were worth it!). Not only do we spoil our friends and families (ourselves too) with delicious goodies but, we also tend to spoil our furbaby as well. This means that our dog can be left feeling sluggish and potentially even with an upset stomach. Just like us, a stomach ache is less than comfortable for our four-legged family member. Thankfully, there are many things we can do to help your dog feel better.
Table of Contents
- 1 Potential Causes of Your Dog’s Tummy Upset
- 2 How to Figure Out the Cause of Your Dog’s Upset Stomach
- 3 Symptoms of an Upset Stomach
- 4 First Step in Curing Your Dog’s Tummy Troubles
- 5 What’s Next?
- 6 What Types of Food are Safe?
- 7 Beginning to Feel Better
- 8 After They Feel Better
- 9 What Not to Do
- 10 When to Seek Professional Help
Potential Causes of Your Dog’s Tummy Upset
It’s pretty common for dogs to get an occasional upset stomach. Sometimes there may seem to be no cause and it’s a one and done type of thing. Other times, there is a cause. It is then that it is our job to try to figure out what that cause may be. Here are a few things that may cause these occasional upset stomachs:
- Allergies (food or seasonal)
- Weather (this is mainly for senior dogs)
- Eating something they shouldn’t
- Too much, too fast
How to Figure Out the Cause of Your Dog’s Upset Stomach
Now that you know what may cause the upset stomach, it is time to try to narrow the possibilities down so you can hopefully avoid another upset stomach later. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (you should know some basic first aid in case this is an emergency situation):
- Did you try a new food brand?
- Were they given a new brand of treats?
- Did they get hold of a table food they shouldn’t have? (If you’re unsure about the safety of the food they ate check out our basic list of safe foods)
- Did they decide to snack on something that wasn’t edible?
- Was there a poisonous plant outside they ate?
- Did they eat or drink too fast?
- Did your dog get into any mouse/rat or ant poisons?
- Are they just really hungry?
Symptoms of an Upset Stomach
Since our furry family members can’t tell us verbally how they are feeling there are a few signs we can watch for that might give us a clue they aren’t feeling well:
- Eating grass
- Change in appetite (not eating as much)
- You can hear their stomach gurgling
- Passing more gas than normal
- Extra drooling
First Step in Curing Your Dog’s Tummy Troubles
The first thing to do when you notice your dog has an upset stomach or is vomiting is to begin fasting. This doesn’t mean eliminate liquids though, it just means limit it.
Simply eliminating food and limiting water intake allows their digestive tract to begin resetting and healing itself. Fasting also helps to calm any possible inflammation that may be occurring in the intestines.
Not feeding your dog may seem harsh but, if their stomach is upset they (just like you) aren’t really hungry anyways. Plus they need to empty their stomach out before they can begin to feel better.
How Long Should This Last?
You should continue this fasting for 12 to 24 hours.
Once the fasting is finished and they are feeling a little better, it is time to start feeding them a bland food diet. Giving your dog a bland food diet will help to minimize the chance that something may agitate their digestive tract and make it worse. Continue this diet until they are better and completely back to themselves.
What Types of Food are Safe?
Many of the bland foods that you feed yourself or family during times of sickness are great for your dog when they have had an upset stomach. Here are a few of our go-to foods:
- Rice—made in water or low-sodium chicken broth
- Diced chicken breast—boneless/skinless and boiled in water or low-sodium chicken broth
- Pure pumpkin puree
Beginning to Feel Better
As your furry family member starts to come around, you should slowly start to add some of their regular food into the bland food. Slowly increase the amount of their regular food over a few meals to make sure their tummy can handle a close to normal amount of food.
After They Feel Better
Once your dog is feeling better and they are back to themselves, it is time to go back to their regular diet (with the occasional treat of course). To make the adjustment back to their regular food a bit easier on their stomach you can mix a few things to their food. These are a few of our favorite mix-ins:
- Pure pumpkin puree
- Sweet potatoes
What Not to Do
Unless you have been instructed by a veterinarian, never give your dog an over-the-counter medication. Yes, several are safe for dogs but, the only person that can tell you the correct medication and dose is your veterinarian.
When to Seek Professional Help
While an episode or two of vomiting may not warrant a visit to the vet, there are some instances when it is necessary to take your dog in. Here are some pointers on when it is important to take your dog to the vet.
- If you suspect your dog may have gotten into a plant outside
- If your dog has been ill for an extended time (more than a day or two)
- Their symptoms don’t seem to improve
- If they look like they are in distress or disoriented
- Dry heaving and coughing, unable to vomit
- If you notice their stomach is distended
- Any sudden change in demeanor
- Consistent vomiting
- Nervous pacing
- If dehydration is suspected
- Blood in vomit, urine, or stool
- Biting/chewing at their sides
- Unable to poop
These tips should help ease your furry family member’s upset stomach but, as always, if you have any questions or concerns contacting the vet is your best plan of action. They can help you determine if a visit is needed or if home care is okay. Much like when we are sick, our dogs feel pretty similar even though they can’t verbally express it. The best thing you can do is love them through it.