All dogs will experience stomach upset issues at some point. When your pooch has an upset stomach, in majority of cases that is not a cause for concern, but you will want to make your dog as comfortable as possible, and there are ways to alleviate the symptoms for a dog with upset stomach.
Table of Contents
- Preventing An Upset Stomach in Dogs
- How to Treat a Dog With Upset Stomach
First, note if your dog is frequently showing signs of stomach upset along with vomiting and diarrhea. When you notice these symptoms too often, it's likely your Fido could have a food allergy, is sensitive to specific foods or ingredients in his meals, or he might have a serious medical problem and should be seen by a vet. But a dog with upset stomach on occasion can be handled with a minor dietary adjustment and remedies.
ALSO READ: What to Feed a Dog With an Upset Stomach
Symptoms Of An Upset Stomach In Dogs
How do you spot a dog with upset stomach? Since our pets can’t tell us what they’re going through, there are specific signs of an upset stomach in dogs to tell if your pooch isn’t feeling well. The most common signs a dog with upset stomach shows are:
- Eating Grass or licking the floor
- Nipping at their sides
- Loss of appetite
- Passing very smelly gas
- Gurgling noises from the stomach
Each of these symptoms by themselves doesn’t necessarily indicate an upset stomach. But if your pet has two or more of these symptoms, it's likely he has tummy issues which can come due to a variety of reasons.
Preventing An Upset Stomach in Dogs
Obviously the best way to treat a dog with upset stomach is to prevent this problem from happening in the first place.Here are five easy ways to prevent an upset stomach in dogs:
1. Change Your Dog’s Water Frequently
When was the last time you changed your dog’s water? Water that sits around in your dog's water bowl can get stale and even start growing bacteria from your dog’s saliva.
Always make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh cold water to drink. Not all tap water is also safe for dogs. While it may not necessarily cause stomach issues, hard tap water may have more serious consequences like urinary health problems, according to a 2016 study from Trupanion.
If you have hard water at home, you may have to give your dog bottled water or distilled water that is kept in the fridge so it’s nice and cool. Distilled water is very inexpensive and is much better for pets than hard water from the tap.
2. Don’t Change Your Dog’s Food Suddenly
Completely switching a pet's diet all of a sudden can be the reason for a dog with upset stomach. Veterinarians warn pet owners that any diet changes should happen gradually because the dog's stomach needs time to adjust to new ingredients.
You might think that it’s good to give your dog a variety of foods because you like variety in your food, but it's a myth that dogs need variety in their diet for taste reasons. As long as your pooch receives all the necessary nutrients, variety is completely unnecessary and more than that, dogs need consistency when it comes to their diet.
If you are going to change your dog’s food, do it slowly over the course of 6-10 days. Add a handful of the new food to your dog’s regular food and then slowly increase the amount of new food mixed with the old food until your dog is comfortable eating only the new food.
3. Don’t Feed Your Dog Human Food
There are certain human foods for dogs that pet experts and veterinarians say are very healthy for our pets to consume. However, a large number of other foods you yourself would eat can be the reason for you now dealing with a dog with upset stomach. Dogs' digestive system isn't designed the same way as ours is, therefore they may not be able to process certain foods properly, and other foods may even be downright deadly.
Typically, it's fine to give your Fido an occasional treat of human food as long as it's not toxic to canines, but you shouldn’t regularly be giving your dog human food. This is a poor habit not only for the dog's general health but also the one that may cause behavioral problems in canines. Don’t feed your table scraps to your dog or give them human food every day, and when you do that on occasion, pick beneficial foods.
4. Give Your Dog Probiotics
More and more studies are coming out every year showing the benefits of probiotics not only for humans but also our pets, and dogs in particular. If you have a dog with upset stomach, you'll need to first deal with this problem until it goes away, and start giving your pet probiotics after to prevent future stomach problems.
Probiotics for dogs are a great way to keep their digestive system healthy and prevent diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomach. You can add probiotic supplements for dogs to your dog’s regular food once or twice a day to prevent your dog from getting an upset stomach.
5. Avoid Too Many Dog Treats
All dogs love treats, and they can be a great training tool to reward your pooch. But too many rich and high calorie treats are often the reason a pet owner now has a dog with upset stomach. Experts agree that no more than 10% of your pet's daily caloric needs should come from dog treats.
While there are certain healthy dog treats that are better fed to dogs than high calorie, non-organic, low quality treats, you must still keep the amount to a minimum and only use them as a reward on occasion. You can also use your dog's regular dry kibble as treats, which will normally be lower in calories and healthier for the dog.
How to Treat a Dog With Upset Stomach
Sometimes despite your best efforts you still end up with a dog with upset stomach issues. Your pooch may have vomiting and diarrhea or just appear to be generally distressed. If you notice that the pet seems to have an upset stomach problem, here are some ways and home remedies to make your dog feel better.
The best thing you can do for a dog with an upset stomach is put them on a food time out, and it's completely safe for dogs as long as it's for a short period of time. To prove this, in a 2014 study with 20 dogs being treated for cancer, scientists observed that fasting helped with vomiting and diarrhea, and did not pose any dangers.
Veterinarians also generally agree that therapeutic fasting is not the same as starving your dog, and it's necessary when a dog is going through bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting that are caused by tummy problems.
So a 24 hour fast for a dog with upset stomach will give his digestive system time to recover from whatever has upset it. While your dog is fasting, make sure that he has access to lots of cold fresh water. The more water your dog drinks the faster the upset will subside. If you suspect the water from the tap is what upset your dog’s stomach give your dog purified water or bottled water.
2. Bland Meals
Bland foods are best for a dog with an upset stomach. When your stomach is upset you don’t want to eat foods that are rich, heavy, of spicy. Neither should your pet. If you need more ideas on how to structure a healthy and safe bland diet for a dog with upset stomach, take a look at this vet-approved guide PDF here.
The best bland diet for a dog with an upset stomach is a mixture of plain cooked rice and cooked boneless and skinless chicken. You can also cook up some hamburger to mix with the rice, just make sure the hamburger is lean and not too greasy. Keep your dog with upset stomach on a bland diet for a day or two to prevent any further stomach upset.
There are certain foods that are great for a dog with upset stomach. As I've mentioned before, probiotics are great for a dog with upset stomach. Yogurt, for example, has those natural probiotics, the helpful live bacteria (albeit a very small amount) that will relieve an upset stomach and help get rid of gas and diarrhea.
In a “Scientific Friday” NPR article/interview here, a scientist explained some of the studies that demonstrated how a helping of yogurt can affect the digestive system in humans, mice and, most likely, our pets – dogs and cats. Just make sure that it’s plain yogurt, the kind used for cooking and not flavored or sweetened yogurt.
Broth is a very popular “food” choice for those who are fasting, and it's particularly good for pets who are going through therapeutic fasting after and during bouts of diarrhea or vomiting caused by tummy problems.
If your dog wants more than just water but isn’t really up to solid food yet, unseasoned chicken broth or beef broth is a good compromise. But read the label carefully to make sure it contains no spices like onion or garlic. It can be difficult to find truly plain broth and you need to read the label closely. You can also make your own.
5. Sweet Potato
Finally, another great bland food for a dog with an upset stomach is sweet potato. Cook up a couple of sweet potatoes. Remove the skins and mash up the insides then give your dog a couple of tablespoons to help get rid of diarrhea, gas and upset stomach.
Sweet potatoes are often part of the bland diet guide for any dog with upset stomach because of their low calorie content and nutrition, and that they're easy on your pet's digestive system.