When you have a stomach ache, you might reach for some saltine crackers, ginger ale or Pepto-Bismol to settle your stomach. But what should you do if your dog has an upset stomach?
Symptoms Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
Typically, dogs with an upset stomach will exhibit some or most of these symptoms.
- Tries to eat grass or lick the floor
- Loss of appetite
- Gurgling noises from the stomach
Determine If Your Dog Can Be Treated At Home or Needs to Go to the Vet
Home remedies may be appropriate for some dogs who do not have a serious underlying cause for their upset stomach.
Please take your dog to your veterinarian right away if your dog is:
- running a fever
- vomiting continuously
- having continual diarrhea
- seems to be dehydrated
- pacing nervously
- drooling uncontrollably
- retching without anything coming up
- has blood in his or her stool
- or your dog’s stomach appears to be distended.
These could be serious conditions that need to be treated by a professional.
Home Remedies to Help Your Dog’s Upset Stomach
If you determine your dog has a garden-variety upset stomach, here are 12 ways to treat your dog’s upset stomach at home.
Keep your dog hydrated
It’s really important that your dog stay hydrated at all times, but especially if they are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. With diarrhea, they may very quickly become dehydrated, sometimes within a couple of hours.
Try giving your dog ice chips every 2 – 3 hours. See if your dog can keep that down before more ice cubes and teaspoons of water.
Don’t assume you can just offer water to your dog to help them stay hydrated. Dogs need electrolytes and vitamins to retain fluids. One solution is to give your dog Pedialyte. You give the same kind you give kids or you can go to an animal feed store to obtain a powder that can be mixed with water and given to your dog.
Also Read: What to feed baby wild turkeys
*NOTE: if your dog does not improve within 24 hours after being given Pedialyte, IMMEDIATELY take your dog to your veterinarian or animal emergency hospital. Dehydration in dogs can happen very quickly, causing possible organ failure or even death.
Check your dog’s temperature
Check your dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. There are ear thermometers for dogs but they are not as accurate. A dog’s normal temperature is 101.5◦F. A temperature of 102◦F or higher is considered a fever. If your dog’s temperature is 102◦F or higher or 99◦ or lower, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately to find out what’s wrong.
Determine what caused the upset stomach
Most of the time an upset stomach in a dog is caused by something the dog ingested. Dogs are notorious for eating things they shouldn’t, and there’s a long list of items that can cause problems for your dog. Try to figure out what might have caused your dog’s upset stomach to help your vet make a diagnosis.
Check out these posts to learn more…
- 10 Poisons to Watch Out For That are Especially Toxic to Dogs
- 5 Top Dog Toxins: How to Prevent Dog Poisoning
- 10 Life-Threatening Hazards for Dogs Lurking in Your Own Backyard
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe During the Fourth of July
- 45 Potential Holiday Hazards for Your Dog
- 10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe During Halloween
Remove food for 12-24 hours
It is entirely normal for canines to go without food for periods of time in the wild. In the case that your dog’s stomach is upset, fasting will allow your dog’s gastrointestinal tract to rest and recover if inflamed.
If your dog is still a puppy, you should not remove food for longer than 12 hours or overnight. You can rub your puppy’s gums with maple syrup to keep his or her glucose level up. But make sure the syrup does not contain xylitol, a potentially lethal artificial sweetener if ingested by canines.
Bone broth is very healing for dogs. Simmer meat (on the bone) with apple cider vinegar and water in a crockpot. It will take about a day to make bone broth, so it’s best to make ahead and freeze. Be sure to skim off any fat before freezing.
DiarRice is a rice-based probiotic that will help soothe your pup’s stomach. DiarRice is easy to digest and tastes like chicken. DiarRice should work quickly, so if it doesn’t help right away, seek medical attention.
After your dog has fasted for 12-24 hours, and he or she is not vomiting, and can keep down liquids, it might be time to try the bland diet. The bland diet contains:
- Boiled rice (75%)
- Cooked white chicken meat (no skin or bones) or extra-lean hamburger (25%)
- Do not add any oils, fats or spices to the bland diet.
Also Read: What does rat poison look like
Gradually increase the amount of food you give your dog, starting with a tablespoon and waiting two hours. If your dog can keep that down, continue to increase the amount of food to 1/2 – 1 cup of bland diet every three or four hours.
Once your dog seems to be doing better, you can gradually add in his or her regular food until he is eating 100% of his regular diet again.
Once your dog is able to eat and appears to be feeling better, you can consider giving him or her unsweetened, plain yogurt that contains probiotics or a dog probiotic, such as FortiFlora, Prostora or Proviable. Probiotics contain living gut-friendly bacteria found naturally in the digestive tract. The goal of ingesting probiotics is to prevent gastrointestinal problems and boost your dog’s immune system.
Foods that can help
Foods that can help soothe an upset stomach and firm up your dog’s stool if he or she is having diarrhea include:
- Plain, canned pumpkin
- Plain, unsweetened yogurt
- Sweet potatoes
Slippery elm bark
Some veterinarians recommend slippery elm bark for dogs. Slippery elm bark is an herb that is used to treat digestive problems in dogs. Slippery elm bark contains mucilage which will coat, lubricate and sooth the inflamed mucous membranes of your dog’s stomach.
Discourage your dog from eating grass
It appears that some dogs have an innate drive to eat grass when their stomach is upset. Some people think the dog is trying to induce vomiting by ingesting grass, but not all vets agree on this. What veterinarians DO agree on, however, is that many lawns are treated with fertilizers and other chemicals, making it unsafe for canine consumption.
Some over-the-counter medications may help your dog if he or she is having diarrhea, but they should only be given under the guidance of your veterinarian. People have used Imodium, Pepto-Bismol and Pepcid to treat diarrhea in dogs. However, they may cause side effects, so it is best to check with your vet first.
While these home remedies can help your dog feel better, they in no way should be a substitute for veterinarian care. There are many reasons your dog could be sick, and only your vet can pinpoint the probable cause and recommend a proper course of treatment.
What home remedies have worked to help relieve your dog’s upset stomach? Please share with the rest of the Canine Campus community in the comments below…
Also Read: How to tell if dog is overweight