Like humans, dogs can have their share of tummy troubles ranging from minor discomfort to serious concern. While you wouldn’t necessarily treat your dog’s upset stomach with saltines and ginger ale, there are plenty of home remedies meant for taming your dog’s tummy.
Read on to learn about common causes, symptoms, and tummy taming treatments.
Causes of an Upset Stomach
There are a few different reasons why a dog might have an upset stomach. Common causes include:
- Eating something he shouldn’t have, which can lead to intestinal inflammation and/or obstruction.
- Eating too fast, which can lead to bloating.
- Digestive issues such as bacterial imbalances, gas, constipation, or intestinal parasites.
- Food allergies or sensitivities.
- Motion sickness.
Some causes are more serious than others. For example, bloating can be incredibly serious and potentially fatal. A queasy stomach as a result of stress or motion sickness, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily require an emergency vet visit.
If you’re unable to make it to the vet, or would like some peace of mind during late-night scares, you can also consider a virtual vet visit, where a professional can assess the situation and advise you of next steps.
Symptoms of an Upset Stomach
The most obvious symptoms of an upset stomach are vomiting and loose stools, which typically mean that the body is trying to get rid of something that shouldn’t be there. Other symptoms that your dog may have an upset stomach include:
- Decreased appetite
- Reduced water consumption
- Stretching more than usual (often in a “downward dog” pose)
- Gulping and salivating
- Licking lips, air, and various objects
- Eating grass
- Gurgling noises coming from the stomach
- Excessive gas
If your dog shows these symptoms, keep a close eye on him and call your vet especially if you notice the following:
- Increasing discomfort
- Recurrent vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Toys or other foreign objects in vomit or stool
These symptoms could indicate something serious such as bloating, or an allergic reaction. Regardless of your dog’s symptoms, it’s recommended that you call your vet if your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t have, such as chemicals, chocolate, sharp foreign objects such as broken glass, or any other potentially toxic ingredients.
Remedies for an Upset Stomach
At-home remedies are recommended for minor digestive issues, and should not replace a visit to the vet during potential emergencies. Some recommended tummy treatments include:
Fasting for 12-24 hours can speed up the recovery process by helping your dog’s body get rid of the problem faster, without having to digest any additional food. Taking a break from food can help the gastrointestinal tract rest and recover.
Talk to your vet before keeping food away from your dog for a prolonged period of time, as some dogs do not tolerate fasting well; some small dogs and puppies should not fast for any longer than 12 hours.
While a sick dog needs to stay hydrated, too much water and gulping can actually be counterproductive and exacerbate the issue. Instead, give your dog a few ice cubes or ice chips, or a large chunk of ice to lick so he ingests water in small amounts.
Once Fido is able to keep ice down without vomiting, you can offer water in gradually increasing amounts. If he continues to keep it down, you can even offer plain bone broth (no garlic or onions) diluted with water.
Bland, mild foods tend to sit easily in a canine’s stomach. Once his stomach has settled enough to keep water down, you can try feeding some foods intended for use in dogs with mild digestive issues such as gas, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. Recommended easily digestible foods include:
- Canned pumpkin (must be pure 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix). The high fiber content in fiber can be especially helpful for dogs with diarrhea, as it can aid in solidifying the stools.
- Plain rice.
- Low-fat meat such as white meat chicken or lean hamburger.
- Meat-based baby food.
- Plain yogurt or cottage cheese, with probiotics that can soothe inflamed intestines.
If your dog seems to be feeling better after eating bland food, you can gradually begin re-introducing small amounts of his regular food to meals, repeating every couple of hours until his digestive system is back to normal.
Pet Honesty’s Digestive Probiotics Chews support healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and bowel health. They’re also safe for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Plus, they come in a tasty duck flavor!
For dogs whose upset stomachs are caused by stress and anxiety or motion sickness, Pet Honesty’s Premium Hemp Calming Chews uses a combination of natural ingredients such as melatonin, chamomile, ginger root, hemp seed oil to soothe your dog’s stress.
Keep in mind that our recommended remedies and supplements are no substitute for a visit to the vet; it never hurts to contact a professional anytime you have concerns about your dog’s health.