5 Critical Benefits of Omega-3 for Dogs

What Are Omega-3s?

Omega-3s are the fatty acids that are available in your dog’s food, as well as in the form of nutritional supplements. Different brands praise the virtues of omega-3 fatty acids, citing they help with skin and heart conditions, allergies, kidney functions and cognitive functions. Many vets and dog owners recommend the usage of omega-3 supplements as a preventative health measure.

Omega-3 is a fatty acid that is considered “polyunsaturated.” Polyunsaturated just means that the omega-3s have double bonds within their carbon chain. In simple terms, double bonds make omega-3s more prone to rancidity, and because of those double bonds, it is physiologically impossible for dogs to make their own omega-3s. They must get it from diet and nutrition.

Why Does Your Dog Need Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the cornerstones of healthy nutrition for your dog. But one thing to keep in mind is there also needs to be a balance between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Despite having similar names, they have somewhat opposing jobs. While both fatty acids help to control hormones, they each control hormones that perform different functions.

Omega-6 fatty acids produce the hormones that help with cell growth, blood clotting, and increasing inflammation as part of the immune response. However, omega-3 fatty acids produce hormones that help the immune system, decrease inflammation, and work alongside omega-6 in such a way a good balance of both is essential.

What Are Benefits of Omega-3 for Dogs?

1. Reduces Inflammation and Effects of Inflammatory Skin Disorders

Remember that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids work in conjunction together when it comes to controlling inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids increase inflammation and omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammation. Balance is necessary.

If either of those get out of balance, your dog’s immune system will get out of whack and may experience all the negative symptoms associated with inflammation and an impaired immune system.

Omega-3 fatty acids are especially helpful for dogs that suffer from inflammatory disorders such as allergies and early atopy. Allergies and early atopy causes severe itching and sometimes even hair loss if it gets too bad. Keeping your dog supplemented with omega-3 is helpful in controlling these types of canine skin disorders.

 2. Supports Cognitive Function

Omega-3 supplementation can also support your dog’s neurological health and cognitive function. Especially in dogs who may suffer from age-related changes with behavior and mobility.

There are studies with evidence that suggests consuming omega-3 fatty acids can positively impact cognitive and behavioral memory and performance, such as improved agility, and improved recognition of family members and other household pets.

It may also improve behaviors like excessive licking and patterned pacing, and it appears it could have a neuroprotective effect as well. This hinders the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in humans, meaning those neuroprotective effects could transfer over to dogs too.

Another benefit to supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids is found in dogs that are pregnant and nursing. It may improve the neurologic development of puppies, as well as learning and memory in young dogs.

3. Could Help with Joint Inflammation

Due to its anti-inflammatory abilities, study results report potential improvement in the clinical signs of osteoporosis, and some objective improvements when it came to dogs exhibiting lameness. It also appears to offer objective improvements in a dog’s weight-bearing scores.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in supplements like flax work by decreasing the production of prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are what trigger joint inflammation. Based on observation, dogs with joint inflammation appear to be more agile and move around more freely than dogs that do not receive an omega-3 supplement.

4. Promotes Heart Health

Dogs that supplement with omega-3 may reduce their chances of developing atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heart rhythm, as well as reduce their potential to develop heart problems. It can also work as an anticoagulant to prevent the formation of blood clots.

Regular supplementation may also help your dog decrease his blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, maintain a healthy blood pressure, and reduce your dog’s risk of stroke or other heart related problems. It may even help to normalize your dog’s body weight, which can only be of benefit the heart!

5. Reduces Dry, Flaky Skin

Unfortunately, when a dog has a poor coat and unhealthy skin, they are at an increased risk for irritation, itching, skin allergies, and bacterial infections.

Regular supplementation of omega-3 can increase the health of your dog’s skin and coat. It can help to reduce the effects related to skin allergies, and reduce the occurrence of yeast infections. It can also reduce the incidence of hotspots in your dog, and even eradicate dandruff. Plus, omega-3 may decrease shedding. All things which help promote a healthy, shining coat.

Other Conditions Giving Your Dog Omega-3 May Help Improve

There are many health conditions that are thought to improve by giving your dog a regular omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Dogs that are fed plant-based omega-3 could decrease the loss of protein in the urine, lower high blood pressure, and reduce the production of other inflammatory substances that are thought to contribute to kidney disease and its progression.

It’s also been discovered that omega-3 may increase stamina and renew energy, protect your dog against a variety of autoimmune diseases, reduce the risk of stroke, and even lower the risk of cancer due to its antioxidant properties.

Possible Side Effects to Omega-3 Supplementation

Though omega-3 fatty acid supplements are not particularly toxic if you go overboard, they can produce some side effects that may be uncomfortable for your dog. Because omega-3 fatty acids can have an anticoagulation effect, it may not be wise to use with any medications you already give your dog intended for blood thinning. The same rule applies to anti-inflammatory medications because of omega-3 fatty acids anti-inflammatory properties.

It is also wise to speak to your vet if your dog is on any kind of immunosuppression medications to make sure omega-3 supplements are safe to give him. Based on current research, there are many benefits to giving your dog omega-3 fatty acids as part of a well-balanced nutrition plan.

Shop our fresh-ground flaxseed supplements for dogs!

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.

References:
https://www.petcurean.com/blog/flaxseed-omega-3-benefits-for-dogs-and-cats/http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/august/using-omega-3-fatty-acids-effectively-and-safely-31972

Signs Your Dog May Be Suffering From Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition thought to be related to joint inflammation. It can be caused by many things, ranging from infection or trauma, to immune-related and metabolic diseases. Most commonly, however, arthritis is related to aging, developmental abnormalities, overuse of the joint and other joint problems.

All these things can cause degeneration to occur, creating wear and tear as well as inflammation and pain. Some dogs may be predisposed to arthritis due to breed, especially German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers.

Additionally, dogs that are obese may be more likely to become arthritic than dogs that remain at a healthy weight. Here are some of the signs that your dog may be suffering from arthritis.

Subtle Symptoms

Sometimes you may feel like your dog is just not acting like his usual self. Maybe he doesn’t have as much pep in his step, maybe he seems down or depressed, or maybe you just sense something is off.

Like a child, you know your dog best. If you feel that something isn’t normal, then you are probably right. In any case, a feeling that something may be “off” is a good place to start and consider seeing your vet. Other subtle signs of arthritis in dogs can include weight gain, lethargy, and prolonged naps that are outside the norm.

Behavior Changes

Sometimes dogs that are suffering from arthritis could exhibit behavior changes. Things like a lack of appetite, a lack of interest in normal activities, and exercise intolerance are common.

Other more obvious signs in dogs might be things like forgetting their house training and having accidents in the house, or behaving snappy and irritable when they are normally sweet and gentle. Some dogs can become depressed when they are in pain. Any behavior that a dog exhibits that falls outside of their normal habits can be an indicator that they are hurting and that something is wrong.

Difficulty Moving

Sometimes dogs that are in pain and suffering from arthritis may show intermittent lameness. You might see your dog limping and favoring one leg over another, especially if that leg or joint is particularly painful and stiff that day. Your pup also may avoid climbing the stairs or jumping onto his favorite piece of furniture.

Sometimes a dog will present with an abnormal stance, tucking their pelvis under while walking and using their hind legs very carefully. A dog with arthritis may also display a reluctance to stand up or move, and move in a bunny hopping manner when they do.

Other times, dogs with arthritis may seem like they’re just stiff and moving slowly. Once their body warms up and their joints become lubricated, they begin to move more normally. Sometimes a dog can appear stiff after too much exercise, or due to obesity and added strain on the body. However, if your dog is not overweight yet still seems to be walking like an old man, that’s a big clue he might be in pain.

Agitation and the Inability to Get Comfy

Dogs suffering from arthritis could become agitated as well as tremble or pace. When attempting to nap, your dog might constantly change positions to find a comfortable position and relieve this pain.

Unfortunately, all your dog’s efforts offer very little in the way of relief or comfort. When he does find a position that is somewhat tolerable, don’t be surprised if he naps for a while. Restful sleep is hard to come by!

Verbal (and Nonverbal) Pain Cues

Dogs that are in pain will sometimes whine or cry when they move, or when you touch or pet them. Their joints could be swollen and feel tender and warm. Your dog may even become snappy if you touch him, or yelp and bark.

If the arthritis is very bad, you may even see visible deformities of the joint. Alternatively, some dogs become abnormally silent when suffering, simply because barking or vocalizing makes their pain worse and requires more energy than they have to give.

Note that if a dog is suffering from arthritis in a single joint, their tendency to favor that leg will cause additional strain on all their other joints. This can trigger arthritis elsewhere. However, the speed that this disease progresses depends on several factors, such as age, weight, health, nutrition, as well as breed and genetics.

As you can see, there are several signs that can indicate arthritis in a dog. Obviously, the sooner you can treat the disease, the healthier and more comfortable your dog will be. Whatever the symptoms, if you suspect your dog may have arthritis, it is advisable to see your vet as soon as you can to weigh your options and keep your dog from suffering unnecessarily.

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.

References:

http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Health/Arthritis/Symptoms.aspx

http://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/evr_dg_arthritis_how_to_recognize_and_manage_the_condition

http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/5-signs-your-dog-may-have-arthritis

Common Hip & Joint Problems In Dogs – What You Should Know

Occasionally, you may notice your dog appears to be moving a bit more slowly than normal, or perhaps even limping. Often, this is due to some sort of hip or joint discomfort your dog is experiencing.

Dogs can develop hip and joint problems at any age, and it doesn’t matter whether they are young or old, or whether they are tiny or big. Granted, some breeds may be more prone to hip and joint problems than others, and older dogs are more often affected simply due to age and the natural deterioration of joint and bone health, but hip and joint pain by and large, doesn’t discriminate in choosing its victims.

Though joint pain in the hips seems to be the most common area, dogs can suffer joint pain in their shoulders, knees, and elbows too. Some dogs may even develop pain and deterioration in the joints between their spinal vertebrae.

It is important to properly diagnose the source of your dog’s pain and discomfort to effectively treat it. In some cases, the pain may never be fully eradicated, and treatment will encompass managing your dog’s discomfort over the long-term.

Symptoms and Signs of Joint Pain in Dogs

Some of the more common signs of joint pain and discomfort in dogs include:

  • Limping or lameness
  • Favoring one leg over another
  • Holding one leg up off the ground
  • Bunny hopping while running
  • Moving stiffly and slowly
  • Having trouble getting up on their feet
  • Having trouble laying down
  • Displaying difficulty when climbing stairs
  • Displaying trouble engaging in common movements or activities
  • Unwilling to walk or jump or climb in general
  • Display a struggle with jumping into a vehicle
  • Sometimes dogs may obsessively lick the joint area
  • Noticeable swelling of the joints
  • Hearing an audible popping or cracking sound in the joint
  • Having accidents around the house
  • Whining or whimpering
  • Exhibiting excessive panting
  • Displaying behavior changes such as irritation or depression
  • Muscle wasting or atrophy can also occur and be an indicator of hip and joint pain

Dog Breeds Most Commonly Affected by Hip and Joint Pain

As stated before, any dog of any age can develop hip and joint pain. However, there are some breeds and types of dog that could be more susceptible than others.

These breeds include:

  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Samoyed
  • Dachshund
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Dane
  • Old English Sheep Dog

Also, dogs that are longer in the torso than they are tall can be pain prone, and dogs with a high BMI are at a high risk of developing joint issues. Sometimes small breed dogs that have been bred to have specific qualities are also more at risk for hip and joint pain too, among other health concerns.

Causes of Hip and Joint Pain in Dogs

There are many reasons a dog can develop hip and joint pain. Some of the more common culprits can be narrowed down to:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition where a dog’s hip socket has not properly formed. This results in joint damage and arthritis in dogs due to the ill fit. Because the bone doesn’t fit into the socket properly, it can create pain, inflammation, and irritation from the rubbing. A few signs of arthritis in dogs include change of behavior, limping or whimpering.

Although any breed of dog can be affected with this condition, it is often seen in German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundland, and Labrador Retrievers. Hip dysplasia is considered a genetic condition that can be passed down the line and inherited by their offspring.

However, other factors such as obesity or insufficient levels of exercise can speed up the onset. Additionally, though this condition can occur at any time any dog’s life, it appears to be more common in older dogs and related to the aging process.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis in older dogs is caused by natural degeneration due to wear and tear on the joints. Dogs can suffer from this wear and tear with any joint in their body, including their elbows, shoulders, knees, back, and hips.

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

This condition most often affects shoulder joints, but also may affect hip joints. OCD is caused when there is a flaw in the smooth cartilage surface of a joint, and the cartilage develops abnormally on the end of the bone.

This creates a separation from the underlying bone that can cause problems and pain. Sometimes this condition resolves on its own, if your dog’s activity is very restricted.

Unfortunately, sometimes surgery might be required if a piece of cartilage breaks off and floats loosely in the joint. The floating cartilage will need to be removed, and until it is, it can trigger varying levels of mild to intense pain.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

This condition doesn’t have a known cause. It is a disintegration of a dog’s hip coupled with bone and joint inflammation. This is due to the spontaneous degeneration of the head of the femur bone located behind your dog’s hind leg.

This condition typically affects younger dogs, and is most often seen in toy, miniature, and small dog breeds, with Manchester Terriers appearing to have a genetic predisposition to this disease.

Panosteitis

Panosteitis is common, and is the result of inflammation on the surface of a dog’s long bones. Panosteitis is sometimes referred to as a “growing pains”, as the condition appears to be related to rapid growth, especially in younger, larger dogs. Lameness can affect more than one leg bone, and shift from one leg to another.

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Another condition that is caused by rapid growth is HOD. This is again, one that is self-limiting and typically resolves itself, although in some very rare cases permanent damage and deformation can occur. HOD is an inflammation of the growth plates in a dog’s long bones.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hip and Joint Pain

If a dog is suffering from hip or joint pain, or has pain anywhere in their body, they will need x-rays for a proper evaluation. Your vet may order scans of both of your dog’s hips, or take scans of both sides of his body, even if your dog appears to be favoring one side over the other. Better to scan both sides at the same time, to get a full picture of what may be going on.

Dogs can naturally be very stoic and may rarely display signs of pain. That’s why it’s important for you to know your dog well, so you can recognize subtle signs and behavior changes that indicate your dog may be hurting.

Sometimes a dog might sleep more than normal, or display a change in attitude. They may express a loss of interest in playing or other normal activities. These signs can be subtle, but if you’re looking hard enough, your dog will always give you clues as to how he is feeling.

When treating your dog for hip or joint pain, there are a variety of approaches to take. Sometimes simple pain management can be a huge help in improving your dog’s quality of life. A vet may recommend something to relieve pain and inflammation, they may recommend corticosteroids, or perhaps some combination thereof.

You might also be prescribed supplements to keep your dog’s joints healthy and well lubricated. Supplements like glucosamine, vitamin C, and MSM are sometimes recommended for this purpose. Your vet can also administer injections to lubricate the joints if they feel it is necessary.

Another treatment that appears to be becoming more popular with many pet owners is Chinese acupuncture. It has been used successfully for pain management in both humans as well as dogs for years, and is an option that may be combined with other treatments approaches as well.

It’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t overdo his activity while he’s recovering, and to keep exercise is to a minimum. When it’s time for exercise, water therapy is a very good option for dogs with joint pain. Even treatments like a massage and warm compresses can be very soothing and provide pain relief for your dog.

Make sure that wherever your dog sleeps, it is warm and dry, as moist conditions can sometimes worsen his pain. In very severe cases where the joint appears malformed and other treatment options don’t seem to be providing much relief, surgery may be needed. However, surgery is not a first choice when treating hip or joint pain, and should only be considered when all other treatment options have failed.

It should also be noted that regular exercise and a quality diet may be helpful slowing down the onset of hip and joint pain, although it will not “prevent” it.

Living with Hip and Joint Pain in Dogs

Sometimes dogs are just forced to live with hip and joint pain. That doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your dog’s quality of life. You can help him overcome some of the physical challenges he faces by making alterations around your home that will help him move around better.

Some recommendations to consider are:

Ramps

You can install ramps to help your dog navigate things like stairs or furniture. That way, he will no longer need to jump or climb and cause himself unnecessary pain.

Runners and Cushion

Things like non-skid runners on wood or tile floors are helpful, and padded surfaces such as old chair cushions provide a soft and warm place to lay that is gentle on your dog’s hips and joints.

Dog Gates

Sometimes dogs will ignore their pain and hurt themselves while trying to climb stairs or jump on their favorite couch or chair. Doggie gates can be useful to keep dogs from climbing and prevent them from jumping on furniture when you’re not looking.

Accessible Food and Water

Keep things like food and water easily accessible, and at a comfortable height. If you live in a multi-story home, it’s important to keep food and water dishes on all floors for easier access. You should also place those items on nonslip surfaces, so they stay put during drinking and feeding times.

Hot Water Bottles and Heat Pads

You can offer your dog a little extra warmth at night by wrapping a hot water bottle or a microwavable heating pad in a towel, and placing it in his bed.

Regular Grooming

If you’d really like to pamper your dog and make him feel loved, try grooming him on a regular basis. Unfortunately, when dogs lose their agility and mobility, they have a hard time reaching all their favorite spots while self-grooming. With regular grooming sessions, you can reach those spots instead, and in doing, bring comfort and delight to your canine friend.

There are a variety of ways you can make your dog suffering from long-term hip and joint pain more comfortable and help him navigate his environment. Put on your creative thinking cap, and brainstorm ways you can alter some of your dog’s favorite activities to make them safer and less arduous.

Encouraging Mobility in a Dog with Hip and Joint Pain

Sometimes when dogs are sore and in pain, they just don’t want to move around too much. However, regular gentle exercise can help your dog manage his pain and keep his muscles strong, his ligaments flexible, and improve circulation.

Plus, regular exercise reduces your dog’s chances of obesity. And just like with people, after a few minutes of moving around and warming up, most dogs can get around much more easily.

However, on those days where your dog appears reluctant to move, you may need to coax him with a treat or a favorite toy to get him up and on his feet. Try to make the experience as fun as you can, and shower him with lots of love and affection.

Just be careful not to overdo his exercise, because too much can cause additional strain and damage. It’s also important to monitor your dog’s diet, and make sure he’s eating well and staying at a healthy weight. Obesity creates additional joint stress and pain, which makes an already unfortunate condition worse.

At the end of the day, hip and joint pain in dogs can be challenging but not insurmountable. You may have to change your dog’s environment a bit, change his diet up, and modify certain activities to make sure he isn’t overdoing it, but even with all those changes, with proper treatment and care your dog can still have a very good quality of life.

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.

References:

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dog-joint-health-pain-osteoarthritis-and-other-joint-problems#1

https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/senior-dogs/treatments-for-hip-and-joint-problems-in-dogs

https://www.petcarerx.com/article/two-common-causes-of-dog-hip-pain/1409

What Causes Upset Stomach in Dogs?

It is quite common for dogs to experience an upset stomach, otherwise known as dyspepsia. An upset stomach can affect both young dogs as well as older dogs, and in most cases, they will recover just fine on their own.

However, sometimes an upset stomach is more than just an upset stomach and may be related to an underlying health concern. Regardless of the cause, if your dog is suffering from a severe upset stomach, and it has lasted beyond a reasonable 24-hour timeframe, you should see your vet as soon as possible.

A tummy upset that goes beyond the 24-hour period can cause further health issues, such as dehydration, anemia, and weight loss. Severe dehydration and anemia can be fatal.

Causes of Stomach Upset in Dogs

Dogs can suffer from an upset stomach for a variety of reasons. Some of the more benign triggers are related to things like overeating, or not eating enough. In both cases, your dog’s stomach can become upset and cause illness. Or things like worms, viruses and bacteria, and even motion sickness can cause your dog to have an upset stomach. And that’s something to keep in mind the next time you want to take your dog on a road trip to the beach!

Parasites

Other causes of an upset stomach may be related to parasites, such as giardia, hookworm, whipworm, coccidia, and more. Though coccidia is relatively rare, giardia is common. These tiny parasites are microscopic, and very hardy. When they are the cause of your dog’s upset stomach, they can wreak quite a bit of havoc.

Dietary Changes

Sometimes, dogs suffer from an upset stomach due to dietary changes, or eating something that they don’t agree with. Other times it may be a food allergy that could have been previously unknown.

Viruses

Viruses can cause stomach upsets too, including serious viruses such as parvo and distemper, as well as corona. Distemper and parvo can be deadly, so if you suspect either of these, it’s important to see your vet as soon as possible.

If your dog’s immune system is compromised or weakened in any way, bacterial infections can gain a foothold too, and cause gastrointestinal upsets. In particular, bacteria like e. coli and salmonella are quite common.

Poisons

Sometimes, dogs may experience an upset stomach because they have inadvertently poisoned themselves. Dogs can be poisoned by getting into household items such as pesticides, as well as over-the-counter drugs.

Other things like antifreeze, and even seemingly innocuous things like your vitamin D supplements can be toxic to your dog and make him very ill. If your dog goes outside a lot, some plants can be poisonous to dogs. These can cause diarrhea and vomiting, especially with plants like elephant ears and nettles. Dogs also tend to enjoy rooting around in the garbage, and often find all sorts of interesting and potentially toxic things.

Food Sensitivity

Seemingly benign foods, such as garlic, grapes, onions, and chocolate, can at times make a dog sick if ingested. This is especially true if they are ingested in large quantities. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that extremely toxic to animals, and should be kept in a high pantry in a sealed container, well away from your four-legged friends.

Stress & Anxiety

Finally, stress and anxiety are common causes of an upset stomach in dogs. Just like people, dogs can respond to stressful situations with feelings of anxiousness. Those feelings can cause gastrointestinal upset, gas, and even diarrhea.

If you suspect stress or anxiety is the cause of your dog’s illness, you will need to look around your environment, and try to figure out the source of his distress. If you can’t eliminate the source of the stress and anxiety, you may need to see your vet so that they can prescribe specialized treatment options and possible medications to keep your dog calm and even-keeled.

More Severe Symptoms

More severe signs of an upset stomach in dogs include vomiting as well as diarrhea, and if left unchecked, both can lead to dehydration. Sometimes, dogs may have slightly yellow colored bile in their vomit, or show signs of blood, either fresh or digested.

These type of symptoms can indicate a more serious stomach upset, such as gastritis or inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease can cause problems with your dog’s small or large intestine, and unfortunately, is usually a condition that will have to be managed throughout his life.

As you can see, dogs are much like people when it comes to getting an upset stomach. There can be a variety of causes, and treatment methods can vary depending on your dog’s needs.  

Again, in milder cases it often resolves on its own when you just let your dog do his thing. Just remember that if your dog has an upset stomach and it doesn’t resolve on its own within 24 hours, see your vet.

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.
References:

https://www.vetinfo.com/causes-upset-stomach-dogs.html

http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Health/Gastritis.aspx

http://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_remedies-for-upset-stomach-in-dogs

My Dog Has an Upset Stomach: What Do I Do?

Though it’s not pleasant, dogs can experience upset tummies too, just like people. When they do, they will often naturally gravitate towards eating grass. Though it seems abnormal and you might wonder what’s so tasty about that grass, it’s a natural behavior that can alleviate discomfort when a dog’s tummy is feeling sick.

Eating grass is an instinctual, protective response that dogs engage in when they suffer from something that doesn’t agree with their digestive system. Dogs eat grass to clean out their intestinal tract and get rid of any foreign matter that may be causing their upset.

However, sometimes they could be even too sick to do even that. If your dog is too sick to eat grass and make attempts to resolve the upset on his own, you may have to look to other methods to treat his tummy woes. Whatever you try, be sure to consult your vet first, to make sure it is safe for your dog.

Causes of Upset Stomach in Dogs

As with most health ailments, dogs can experience an upset stomach for a variety of reasons. Because of the number of potential culprits, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly what may be causing your pup to feel so icky. However, there are a few common causes of upset stomach in dogs. These include:

Food Changes

Most dogs will eat just about anything that you give them. True, there are some dogs that seem to be more particular and picky, but in general, dogs like to eat just about everything.

The problem with eating anything and everything is that sometimes their tummies don’t like what they’ve eaten. Some dogs can have sensitive guts, and even small changes in their diet can mess with their system and make them sick.

One way to combat this is if you are attempting to change their food, mix two different formulas together. Then you can slowly phase the old one out over a period of time, rather than making an abrupt change.

Table Scraps and Spoiled Food

Another way to avoid an upset stomach in dogs is to not feed your dog table scraps. This is especially important if his stomach is sensitive. When dogs have a delicate constitution, you never know what might trigger an upset, and sometimes people food is a little too rich for their digestive systems.

An additional thing to watch out for is your dog getting into the trash and consuming food that may be spoiled. Canines, like humans, can become violently sick from eating spoiled or contaminated meats and veggies. And what dog doesn’t like to root around in the garbage? Unfortunately, this makes rotten food a common trigger for an upset stomach.

Eating Too Fast or Slow

Sometimes, dogs can simply get sick because they eat too much. Just like you and I can overeat, dogs can too, and they may pay for it later. On other occasions, it’s possible for your dog not to eat enough, and then feel sick because of it.

Other times, maybe your dog just ate his food too fast. Puppies are notorious for gobbling down their food quickly, so that’s something to look out for especially in younger canines.

Also, sometimes dogs eat foreign (non-food items) that they shouldn’t, such as plastic, fuzz, and whatever else they come across that they find intriguing. Foreign objects in your dog’s gut can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal problems.

Dehydration

Sometimes dogs can become dehydrated, and this can cause their stomach to be upset. This seems to be especially common in pups, as it is very easy for their small bodies to become dehydrated.

Dehydration often comes on with a bout of diarrhea, and you may notice that your dog doesn’t seem interested in drinking his water or have much of an appetite. If you suspect dehydration, you can do a skin pinch test on your dog’s neck.

Skin that remains in a pinched position indicates dehydration. You can also check your dog’s gums, and make sure they appear shiny and wet-looking. If they don’t, dehydration could be the issue.

Stress and Anxiety

Sometimes dogs can just become stressed and anxious, which can upset their tummies. This can rock the balance of bacteria, and trigger vomiting and diarrhea, as well as cause fatigue. Your dog may experience a loss of appetite, and attempt to eat grass to soothe his stomach. Sometimes even the weather can trigger an upset stomach, especially in the case of thunderstorms and dogs who may be afraid of thunder.

Viruses

Your dog could also contract a virus that is making him sick. Especially if his stomach upset seems particularly virulent, with explosive diarrhea or hard-core vomiting. This can be an indication his problem is viral.

The parvovirus, as well as the coronavirus, are particularly nasty little agents of illness for dogs. If you suspect any type virus, it is important to see your vet. He may not need medications, but your dog could still require treatment in the form of fluids to help him stay hydrated until the virus runs its course.

Underlying Illness

Dogs often get sick to their stomach because of some underlying health issue that you may or may not be aware of. Pancreatitis can sometimes be an underlying health concern, especially if your dog appears to be in severe pain and is running a fever.

Stomach ulcers are also a common culprit, and one indicator of that could be whether your dog appears to have blood in his vomit. Digested blood will look like old coffee grounds, only smell much worse!

Sometimes dogs experience bloat, also called torsion, which causes their belly to become bloated and tender, and then they get very sick.

Signs and Symptoms of Upset Stomach in Dogs

Dogs can present with many indicators of an upset stomach, with two of the most common being diarrhea and vomiting.

Other signs of upset stomach in dogs may include:

  • Constipation or trouble defecating.
  • Signs of blood, either in your dog’s feces or sometimes in his urine and vomit.
  • Fatigue and lethargy.
  • A stomach that looks hard or distended, and appears painful.
  • Dehydration, which you can check by the elasticity of his skin, and by examining his gums. If they look dry and pale, without a moist coating, then your dog could need fluids.
  • Sometimes dogs may drool if they are feeling nauseous.
  • Your dog’s appetite may change and he may not be hungry.
  • Your dog could have gas.
  • Sometimes dogs may run a fever with tummy upset.

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, you will need to keep a careful watch over your pooch, and if things aren’t improved within 24 hours, a trip to the veterinarian is in order.

Treating Dogs with Upset Stomach

There are many ways to treat an upset stomach, but it all depends on what is causing the upset in the first place. If your dog appears to be extremely ill, then taking him to the vet is your best move.

Your vet can prescribe antibiotics as well anti-fungal or bacterial medications if needed. Your vet can also administer fluids if your dog is extremely dehydrated, and they can give you specific recommendations based on your dog’s needs.

However, if your dog’s upset tummy appears to be a mild case, there are other ways to treat his symptoms and keep him comfortable while the illness runs its course, which will allow you to skip the expensive vet visit.

Pepto Bismol™ and Imodium®

For a mild upset stomach or case of diarrhea, sometimes giving your dog Pepto-Bismol™ or Imodium® can be helpful. You will want to call your vet first to make sure it’s safe, as well as obtain the proper dosage for the size of your dog.

Fasting

Obviously, if your dog’s tummy is upset, giving him food is only going to upset it further. Just like with humans who contract a tummy bug, fasting can provide a period of relief and give your dog’s tummy a bit of time to rest and heal.

You will still need to give your pup fluids and water, but you should do it in very small amounts on a frequent basis, so that he doesn’t consume too much too fast, and make his upset stomach worse.

Fasting is recommended for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, but should only really be used with adult dogs. After the fasting period, you can introduce very bland foods into your dog’s diet very slowly, until you are sure his stomach is back on track and can handle a normal diet.

Plain Unsweetened Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, and dogs that are having tummy issues can always benefit from probiotics. Feeding your dog a tablespoon or two of unsweetened yogurt can be soothing to the gut, and help your dog’s intestinal flora to balance back out.

However, make sure the yogurt is plain, as artificial sweeteners and sweeteners like Xylitol can be very dangerous for your canine friend.

Bananas and Pumpkin

Adding foods like bananas and pumpkin into your dog’s diet can be beneficial to an upset stomach too. Pumpkin is very high in fiber, so it can help with bowel problems and keep him moving properly, plus it is loaded with antioxidants.

Bananas are loaded with many nutrients too, including potassium and vitamin C, and they can boost your dog’s immune system, inhibit the growth of bacteria, and provide essential electrolytes that help prevent dehydration.

Try a Bland Diet

Foods that are recommended for a dog on a bland diet include boiled rice, white meat chicken with no bones or skin, or lean and drained hamburger. Do not season this type of food, or add anything extra at all. Remember, the goal is bland!

You can offer this mixture to your dog several times a day in three or four small meals, until his digestive issues begin to improve. You can also try adding in the yogurt or pumpkin to this mixture, to give it a fiber and probiotics boost.

If your dog doesn’t seem interested in this recipe, you could also try giving him baby food with meat in it. Just make sure there are no onions or garlic in the recipe, as these are toxic for dogs. Most of the time, baby food is bland enough that it can be eaten on an upset tummy, and dogs seem to like the flavor.

Ice

Giving your dog water can cause further upset in a dog that is ill. While it’s important to keep your furry friend hydrated, sometimes water isn’t the best route. You can try offering him ice chips instead. If your dog can tolerate the ice chips well, then you can offer him more a few hours later, and combine it with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is an excellent way to provide minerals and nutrition for dogs that are sick, and it is soothing and healing to their stomach. However, bone broth would need to be made ahead of time and frozen, because it takes at least a day to make it properly. Then you could freeze it into ice cubes, and have on hand whenever your dog gets sick.

Ginger and Oatmeal

Additionally, natural remedies like ginger and oatmeal can be helpful to dogs with an upset stomach. Ginger is well known for its anti-nausea properties, and can also help with gas and bloating.

Oatmeal is great for soothing a stomach that is upset, and provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber. Like yogurt however, avoid oatmeal blends that have sugar, especially artificial sweeteners. Plain is the way to go!

As you can see, there are many potential reasons a dog develops an upset stomach, and there can be many ways to treat it.

Some cases of tummy upset will be milder than others; in some instances, they may even resolve on their own. If you leave your dog alone and let him do what comes naturally, (i.e. eat grass), he will often recover without any help from you. If you feel that fasting, or protocols like the bland diet might help, then there’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot. You want to give your dog the best chance at speedy and full recovery.

However, if your dog appears to be running a fever, or his illness and symptoms seem particularly severe, do not hesitate to take your dog to the vet to rule out more serious conditions like parvo or giardia. Always better to be safe, rather than sorry.

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.

References:

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Dog-upset-stomach-home-remedy

http://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_remedies-for-upset-stomach-in-dogs

https://www.caninejournal.com/cure-dogs-upset-stomach/

http://animalsense.com/2013/07/treat-dogs-upset-stomach-home/