A dog’s upset stomach can be stressful for the dog and the owner to deal with. An upset stomach can lead to a messy household and a rather unhappy dog, so it’s important to isolate the cause (so it doesn’t happen again) and to provide a cure or treatment to alleviate your dog’s suffering!
An upset stomach isn’t necessarily a huge cause for concern, though, as generally speaking, your dog will have eaten something it shouldn’t have. However, there are going to be scenarios when you need to consult your veterinarian for further advice.
Let’s examine the potential causes of an upset stomach in dogs and explain what options you have for providing relief. Keep reading to find everything you need to know about a dog’s upset stomach.
Signs and Symptoms of a Dog’s Upset Stomach
Dogs can experience varying degrees of distress when they have an upset stomach. It might be very obvious that they have a problem (as you might find yourself cleaning up the mess around the house or in the backyard!); however, many symptoms can be more subtle, and your dog can’t simply communicate their pain or discomfort to you.
Vomiting and diarrhea are the two major giveaways when it comes down to a dog having digestive problems - but symptoms also include apathy or even eating grass!
Here are the major signs and symptoms of dog stomach problems that you need to look out for:
- Licking the floor
- Eating grass
- Loss of appetite
- Gurgling stomach noises
They are all symptoms that your dog isn’t feeling great, but on their own, these symptoms aren’t too much cause for concern. While your dog will be unwell, it’s highly likely that they have just eaten something they shouldn’t have.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to stop your dog from eating! They’ll eat almost anything, but their stomachs can’t quite handle everything they try to eat.
It’s also difficult to police what your dog gets up to when they are in the backyard or when you are away from home; if you accidentally leave food out, they’ll be all too delighted to dive into the chicken and rice you prepared for dinner.
If you can, doggie-proof your house, don’t feed them scraps under the table, and try to identify what food has caused their stomach to be upset.
Overall though, dog diarrhea signs, diarrhea symptoms in dogs, and other symptoms such as vomiting will all pass, usually within 24 hours, once their digestive system has worked through whatever it is that made them ill.
Curiously, dogs often try to eat grass in an attempt to flush out their digestive system. If you see your pet dog munching away on grass, then again, this is actually normal behavior. The grass works in a similar way to fiber, strengthening the gut and helping to remove the bad stuff they just ate (grass and grass-eating could be considered to be doggie home remedies!).
Serious Symptoms of a Dog’s Upset Stomach
However, you do need to watch your dog’s symptoms, and if they continue for a long period of time or progressively worsen, then you need to speak to your vet.
Upset stomachs can also be caused by poisoning, bacterial infections or viruses, or they could be a serious sign of an underlying illness or condition. If you’re in any way worried for your dog’s health, or if their symptoms just aren’t going away, then your dog will need to be professionally diagnosed.
For many stomach illnesses, there’s often readily available medicine (such as antibiotics) that can quickly cure your pet pooch — there’s no reason to make them suffer longer than necessary.
If you notice any of the following, alongside symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, then contact your vet immediately:
- Lethargy or apathy
- A high fever
- Continuous, extended vomiting
- Continuous, extended diarrhea
- Nervous pacing
- Uncontrollable drooling
- Dry retching
- Blood in their urine, vomit, or stool
- Bloated or distended stomach
Tips for Curing a Dog’s Upset Stomach
Your vet will be able to provide treatment for more serious conditions, and you can help your pet through the treatment and recovery period by setting up a bed ramp for dogs to help it get around the home easily. If you’re prescribed antibiotics, always ensure that the course is finished completely by your dog.
If there’s no serious condition or illness, then there are a few ways you can ‘cure’ your dog’s upset stomach problems. Again, your vet can help prescribe medication if there could be a minor virus or infection, but if not, there are a few simple tips and tricks that can keep your dog healthy!
#1. Regulate your dog’s diet
Can dogs eat oatmeal or other human food? This is always a concern for pet owners, and the answer really does depend on your dog. It’s often best to organize a bland diet for dogs rather than trying to feed them human food (even if it’s just for a treat!).
Dog food is always the best food, of course, and while this bland diet isn’t very exciting, you can supplement it with dog treats and biscuits, as well. While yes, your dog would rather be eating the wheel of cheese in the fridge than a can of dog food, they really aren’t going to keep that wheel of cheese down for too long!
If problems continue, then you can consult your vet for a more detailed diet plan. It could be they have a condition, and the dog food you are feeding them is causing them trouble. You’ll need to monitor what you feed them and their reaction to the food to discover this.
#2. Cook some soothing bone broth
Is your dog’s stomach making noises, or are they clearly irritated? Then a simple cure to try is a bowl of warm bone broth.
Humans enjoy soup or soothing hot drinks such as honey and lemon when they are feeling down; likewise, dogs enjoy their own delicious remedies, and bone broth can help to calm their stomach, relax their nerves, and cheer them up.
#3. Find out what they ate
As we’ve mentioned multiple times, the biggest cause of an upset stomach is going to be food or something they ate (they could have eaten a non-food item).
Dogs will eat anything and everything, so try to track down the culprit. You might find discarded food packaging somewhere or a partially eaten carcass outside if they’ve caught a bird, for instance.
Remove whatever remains of what you found, and look for a way to ensure they can’t eat what they did eat again (if that’s possible!). If they have eaten something that’s potentially dangerous, then contact your vet immediately.
#4. Keep your dog hydrated
Diarrhea and vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration, particularly if they are throwing up a lot or going to the toilet excessively. Your dog can lose a lot of fluids in a short space of time, so it’s incredibly important they are kept hydrated.
Make sure they have lots of water available in an accessible location. Keep their water bowl topped up and try to encourage them to drink from it. If they are refusing to drink water, then you may very well need to take them to the vet.
#5. Check your dog’s temperature
If your dog has an upset stomach, then it could also be accompanied by a fever - a signal that your dog is battling against a virus or an infection.
Unfortunately, your dog can’t tell you if they are feeling unwell, but you can check their temperature for a fever. You’ll need to do this rectally, using a thermometer, as a dog’s regular body temperature is different from a human’s.
A dog’s regular temperature hovers around the 101 degrees Fahrenheit mark. If it’s significantly above or below this, contact your vet for further advice. They can diagnose the illness and will be able to prescribe medication to help fight the fever and the underlying cause.
Dog Upset Stomach: The Last Word
An upset stomach isn’t much fun for your dog or for you as the owner (you’re the one that has to clean up after them, after all!). It’s important to discover what caused the upset stomach so you can make sure your dog doesn’t eat the same thing again in the future.
If there are signs that its stomach problems could be a symptom of a more serious condition, then take your dog to the vet immediately. An upset stomach can be a symptom of many other medical conditions, but diagnose early, and you can act quickly to treat the problem.
If your dog has an upset stomach, then why not bookmark our guide for future reference?