All dogs experience an upset stomach from time to time. It doesn’t matter whether they are older or just a pup, upset stomachs appear to be an equal opportunity ailment.
There’s nothing like being woken up in the middle of the night by the awful sound of your dog trying to puke on your floor. Fortunately, upset stomachs are usually not too serious, and often the problem will resolve on its own given some time.
However, if your dog seems to be very sick, or his symptoms last longer than 24 hours, a trip to the vet might be in order.
Signs of Upset Stomach in Dogs
Some of the most common symptoms of an upset stomach in dogs are:
- Audible gurgling that you can hear coming from your dog’s tummy.
- Excessive gas, even more so than normal.
- Loss of appetite.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Eating grass to alleviate discomfort.
- Dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea.
- Dogs can also display excessive thirst as well as burping.
- Breath that smells foul.
- Behavior changes such as depression and disinterest in their surroundings.
Sometimes dogs can experience more severe cases of an upset stomach, or have some underlying issue that can cause a worsening of symptoms.
Signs of something more sinister going on are:
- Severe vomiting, especially vomit that has a sudden onset and is considered “acute”.
- Vomit that appears to have blood in it.
- Vomit that looks as though it has coffee grounds in it, which is digested blood.
- Vomit that looks a bit yellow with bile.
- Dogs that are very sick can sometimes also suffer from abdominal pain, which can range anywhere from mild to debilitating. You may notice your dog standing in an odd stance, as though he is bowing or praying, or standing with his head hanging.
- Weakness and lethargy are clinical signs of an upset stomach.
- Sometimes your dog may have blood in his stool, which can occur with cases of gastritis that are particularly severe.
- Dogs with a chronic stomach condition may have a dull-looking coat.
- Dogs that are suffering from some sort of blood loss will have pale looking mucous membranes.
- If your dog has ingested any kind of toxins, his mucous membranes could appear jaundiced and yellow in color.
- Drooling is also sometimes a sign that your dog has ingested something toxic.
What to Do If Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
Wondering what to do if your dog has an upset stomach? If you suspect that your dog has an upset stomach, you can try withholding food from him for 12 to 24 hours, and see if the condition improves. Just make sure that he has access to plenty of water, and that he is at least drinking it regularly.
It’s also a good idea to think back over what your dog has eaten recently and try to see if there are any potential causes to your dog’s sudden upset stomach. Sometimes new brands of food can upset a delicate digestive system, and sometimes dogs get into things they shouldn’t, such as eating plants outside, or digging in the garbage and eating spoiled food. Also, older dogs can experience digestive issues as a natural part of the aging process.
If you choose to withhold food from your dog for a time, when you do feed him, make sure you’re offering him a very bland diet. Food that you make yourself is usually best. Unseasoned chicken and rice are good options, as well as baby food with meat. Just make sure it isn’t seasoned with things like onion or garlic.
Oatmeal is a good option for dogs with stomach problems, as it gives them fiber as well as minerals and nutrients, and is soothing to the gut. Unsweetened plain yogurt is also beneficial to your dog’s digestive system, as it helps to keep the natural flora and bacteria balanced and healthy.
Often when dogs are sick they try to eat grass. This is fine, it’s a natural response, so if you see your dog doing it, just allow him to and his upset stomach could resolve without any intervention from you at all!
If your dog’s symptoms are extremely severe, or if the symptoms last longer than a 24-hour period, you should consult your veterinarian right away. Symptoms that continue beyond a 24-hour period could lead to further health complications, including dehydration, anemia, and weight loss.
*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.