No one likes to have a stomachache. It’s a miserable experience that seems to go on far longer than it ought to, ending when you finally get relief either from rest or from medication. Humans the world over deal with such issues every day, but we’re far from the only ones who get upset stomachs.
Your dog probably has his or her fair share of upset stomachs. Unfortunately, he or she can’t tell you when he or she needs help. Before you can really start to treat an upset stomach, you’ve got to be able to identify the symptoms.
Symptoms of an Upset Stomach in Dogs
Since you can’t rely on your dog to tell you when he or she is feeling sick, you’ll have to do a little bit of detective work to figure out what is ailing him or her. The good news is that many of the symptoms of a sick stomach are fairly apparent to dog owners. It’s making sure that you’re paying attention that tends to be the hardest part.
For the most part, you’re going to be aware of when your dog has an upset stomach. Most dogs vomit, having gurgling stomachs, or get flatulent when they aren’t feeling well. Some also deal with diarrhea, while others might try to avoid food or even start licking the floor in order to feel better. All of these symptoms are not only signs of an upset stomach, but also signs that your dog might have something more pressing going on, such as gastroenteritis (1).
While the symptoms above might rate a little bit of concern, there are some symptoms that can accompany them that will necessitate you to take your dog directly to a vet. Vomiting is one of the big signs that there is a problem; a dog who vomits once might be fine, but a dog who keeps throwing up may be in trouble. Other symptoms like lethargy, continual nervousness, and dehydration are also signs that something more serious than just an upset stomach is going on.
For the same reasons that pet owners opt to buy dog insurance, it’s usually better to be safe rather than sorry. If you think that your pet has a symptom that might be a little more severe than average, you should go ahead and take him or her to the vet just to have things checked out. There’s definitely never a time when getting a little bit of professional advice is going to hurt your dog.
Important First Steps to take
What do you do if your dog has a regular upset stomach? You’ll definitely want to start by ensuring that he or she is as healthy as possible. Before you move on to some basic home remedies, you can take some basic steps to get your dog in as good a spot as possible while still gathering vital information about his or her condition.
Is hydration going to make your dog’s stomach feel better? Probably not. It will, however, help your dog with some of the issues that can make an upset stomach much worse. The last thing you want is for your dog to deal with dehydration on top of vomiting or diarrhea, so keeping your dog well-watered is always a must.
Your starting point should always be ice chips. If your dog can keep those down for a couple of hours, you can move on to giving your dog a few teaspoons of water at a time. From here, you can really start thinking about how to keep your dog in better shape.
Remember, water can only do part of the work when it comes to hydration. It’s a good idea to look at basic electrolyte replacements like Pedialyte as a good way to make sure that your dog doesn’t lose too many vitamins and minerals through excessive vomit or stool.
As an aside, please remember that this is one of the most pressing issues that you’re going to face if your dog has an upset stomach. If you give your dog plenty of water and Pedialyte and don’t see improvement within a day, you absolutely need to get your dog to a vet as soon as you can.
Monitor Your Dog’s Temperature
While you keep your dog hydrated, you’ll start to gather some medical information. The most important thing that you’ll need to figure out is a dog thermometer. While it’d be very nice to use one of the many ear thermometers that are on the market right now, the truth is that you’re going to need to take your dog’s temperature rectally to get a proper reading.
Generally speaking, your dog’s temperature should be around 101.5 degrees. If the temperature rises above 102 degrees, your dog has a fever. If your dog’s temperature is below 99 degrees or 102 degrees, though, you should be concerned. This means that there’s something wrong enough with your dog that the upset stomach might simply be a symptom of something more pressing.
Search for a Cause
You should also look to make sure that there’s not something in your home that made your dog’s stomach upset. If your dog decided to get into the trash or might have grabbed something from the yard, your dog’s stomach could easily get upset. It’s up to you to figure out if the thing he or she ate is merely something that disagrees with him or her or if you are looking at something that should prompt a visit to your dog’s vet.
Stop Him or Her from Eating Grass
Many owners notice their puppies eating grass when they don’t feel well. We’re not really sure why they do this – some think it might aid in digestion, while others are sure that dogs do this to make themselves vomit. What is agreed on, though, is that many lawns are treated with enough chemicals that eating grass can actually make your dog’s stomach worse. If your dog’s stomach is hurting, you’ve got to keep him or her away from the grass.
Get Rid of the Food
Finally, you’re going to need to make sure that your dog goes for a fair bit of time without eating. While you might feel like this is cruel, the truth is that your dog can easily go a full day without eating and not have any ill effects. The positive side of doing this, though, is that it could give your dog’s stomach a chance to recover from whatever made it upset.
Note that this is definitely something that you should only do with an adult dog. If you have a puppy, you should never deprive him or her of food for more than twelve hours at a time. If you do have to remove food for that long of a period, you should also make sure to give him or her a bit of dog-safe maple syrup so that his or her sugar levels don’t fall too low.
Looking at Home Remedies for Your Dog
What do you do if your dog has a regular upset stomach? If you’re comfortable with treating the issue at home, it makes a lot of sense to look for a gentle home remedy that can help your pet feel better. Below are a handful of proven remedies that have helped many dogs with their upset stomachs.
If you want to give your dog something that’s going to soothe his or her stomach while still helping him or she get some much-needed nutrition, you can make a simple bone broth for your furry companion. You’ll simply take some meat on the bone and simmer it in a combination of apple cider and water until you get a good broth.
The unfortunate part of this is that bone broth takes a while to make, so you generally need to have some available ahead of time. Not big on cooking? The good news is that there are some great dog-safe bone broths available pre-made that can do a lot of good work for your dog.
If you’re looking for something a little more scientific for your dog, you might want to try probiotic rice. Available under the brand name DiaRice, this rice is made to be digested easily and to work quickly. If your dog isn’t helped by the blend quickly, that’s a sign that you need to get to the vet as soon as possible.
Using a Bland Diet
Most vets are going to recommend that you put your dog on a bland diet if he or she is dealing with repeated upset stomachs. This diet is made for dogs who are sick but who can easily keep liquids down. This diet is made of foods that are easy to digest and thus won’t hurt your dog’s stomach.
The bland diet consists of three-fourths boiled rice to one-fourth white meat chicken. It’s recommended that you boil chicken for your dog. There are no spices here, nor are there any extra fats or oils to add. You’re simply going to give your dog this food every day, increasing the amount of food he or she gets overtime. You’ll start with a tablespoon of this blend, then eventually increase the amount you give until your dog is eating around half a cup of this food once every three or four hours.
The goal is to monitor your dog to see how he or she deals with the bland diet. If it’s successful, you can start adding in regular dog food and taking away the bland food. In time, you’ll be able to get your dog back to his or her regular diet without having to worry about an upset stomach.
Yogurts and Probiotics
If your dog can eat, you should generally think about ways to help his or her gut more easily deal with food. Probiotics are a good idea here, and getting them to your dog is usually as easy as finding an unsweetened yogurt for him or her. If your dog isn’t a fan of yogurts, you can find probiotics for dogs at most pet stores.
Stomach Soothing Foods
Another good option is to give your dog one of the many stomach-soothing foods that he or she loves. These foods all help your dog’s stomach to quiet down and will help to stop diarrhea. Good choices often include bananas, yams, and canned pumpkin. Remember to check the labels of anything you give your dog to avoid ingredients that might cause him or her harm.
Slippery Elm Bark
Another common remedy for digestive problems is slippery elm bark. This can actually be used to help deal with inflammation in your dog’s stomach, and it works more quickly than you might think. Again, this can typically be found in most larger pet stores.
Some Over-The-Counter Cures
Finally, you might be able to find some basic medications that can help your dog. The same kinds of drugs that help humans can often help dogs, though you have to be very careful with the dosage and you have to be on the lookout for side effects. With that said, it’s never a bad idea to consult your vet about using something like Pepto-Bismol to help your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you give a dog to settle its stomach?
There are a few good options here. Bone broth, rice and chicken, pumpkin, yams, and even oatmeal are good choices if your dog needs help getting his or her stomach settled.
What can I give my dog for throwing up?
As a rule, you need to be very careful giving your dog anything if he or she is throwing up. Instead, make sure that you keep your dog well-hydrated and monitor his or her condition. If he or she keeps vomiting, get him or her to a vet.
Can I give my dog Pepto Bismol for an upset stomach?
You can generally feel fairly safe about giving your dog Pepto-Bismol. With that said, you should always consult your vet about whether or not giving your individual dog this kind of medication is a good idea and you’ll definitely want to be on the lookout for side-effects.