How to soothe a dog's upset stomach
When you have an upset stomach, you might reach for some ginger ale, chicken soup or crackers - but that's not necessarily what dogs need. Keep reading on how to soothe a dog's upset stomach to find the best solution for your dog!
Dog Upset Stomach Symptoms
Typically when a dog has an upset stomach they will exhibit some or most of these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Drinking less water
- Gulping to combat reflux
- Excessive licking
Should you take your dog to the vet?
Home remedies may be appropriate for some dogs who do not have any serious underlying health conditions which could be the cause of their upset stomach. However, you should take your pet to the vet right away if they have any of the following symptoms:
- Has blood in their stool
- Drooling uncontrollably
- Pacing nervously
- Continuous diarrhea
- Continuous vomiting
- High fever
- Distended stomach
- Increasing discomfort
- Toy or foreign object in their vomit or stool
- Weakness or collapse
If you realize your dog has got into something he shouldn't have, seek immediate veterinary care. If your primary veterinarian is not available, call your local emergency vet clinic and they will be able to advise you. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline at 888-426-4435 (for a fee).
Common Causes of a Dog's Upset Stomach
There are many possible reasons for your dog's upset stomach. However - the most common one is because they ate something they shouldn't have. Some things that can trigger a dog's upset stomach is:
- Ingesting something they shouldn't have
- Food Sensitivities
- Bacterial imbalances within the GI tract
- or Chronic health conditions
Remedies for a Dog's Upset Stomach
If you determine your dog has a mild case of an upset stomach - see below on remedies that may help.
Keep your dog hydrated
When you dog is excessively vomiting or has diarrhea, they can quickly become dehydrated. Try giving your dog some ice cubes if they can't keep water down.
Check your dog's temperature
Although unpleasant for you and your pet, a rectal thermometer will give you the most accurate readings. A dog's normal temperature should be 101°F. A temperature of 102°F or higher is considered a fever. If your dog has a temperature higher than 102°F or lower than 99°F you should take them to the vet.
Determine the Cause
Most of the time the cause will be from something they ingested but shouldn't have. If there are no clear signs, you may need to take you dog to the vet to do a thorough analysis.
It may be helpful to keep your pet away from food from 12-24 hours so the GI tract has some time to clear out what the problem is. It is important to talk to your vet before doing this as some breeds can tolerate fasting while others cannot. If your dog is still a puppy, you should not remove food for longer than 12 hours or overnight.
Once your dog appears to be feeling better, you can consider giving him or her unsweetened, plain yogurt that contains probiotics. Probiotics contain gut friendly bacteria found naturally in the digestive tract. The goal of ingesting probiotics is to prevent GI problems and boos your dog's immune system.
You want your dog to stay hydrated, but you don't want to give them too much water as this could upset their stomach further. The best solution is to monitor your dog's water intake and give them ice cubes to help encourage drinking.
100% canned pumpkin is a favourite of many holistic veterinarians. Make sure you get the 100% canned pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix as you don't want to feed your dog spices and other ingredients that are usually in the cans. Check that there are no ingredients listed other than pumpkin on the label before purchasing. Smaller dogs can be fed one-half teaspoon of canned pumpkin, while larger dogs can be fed 1 tablespoon at a time.
Bone broth is a soothing solution for your pet. It is great for dogs or cats with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues. Bone Broth contains Gelatin which aids in the digestive process and helps reduce stomach acid. It also contains glycine, an important element that the liver needs to detoxify. The minerals in glycine can help regulate the stomach's bile and acid levels. Bone broth can boost your dog's immune system, relive join pain, improve liver health and support healthy digestion.
How to prepare bone broth
- 3-4lbs of raw bones with marrow (chicken, turkey, beef, pork or oxtail)
- 3" ginger root, sliced
- 2 ounces chopped parsley
- 4 ounces Shiitake mushrooms
- 2 stalks of chopped celery
- 1/4 cup organic raw apple cider vinegar (this helps pull the minerals and marrow from the bones)
- 6 quarts of water
- 1. Place all prepared ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker
- 2. Cook on low heat for 12-24 hours (12 on simmer or 24 in the slow cooker on low)
- 3. Allow to cool. Remove and discard bones (never feed the cooked bones).
- 4. Place broth in the refrigerator and allow the fat to rise to the top. Skim the fat and discard.
DiarRice is a rice based probiotic that will help with your pets gastrointestinal tract. It is easy to digest and tastes like chicken. It should work quickly so if it doesn't appear to help contact your veterinarian.
DiarRice is a patent pending breakthrough formula of rice and probiotics developed by pet food scientists to address the specific needs of dogs that are experiencing the discomforts of diarrhea and upset stomachs.
Normal rice is hard for your pet to digest as they are made from whole grains. Your dog's sensitive digestive tract has a difficult time processing these grains, leading to even more stress on their gastrointestinal tract.
- Includes high quality dietary fiber
- All natural
- Blends well with canned or dried food
- Can be used daily or just when diarrhea symptoms appear
- Supports a healthy digestive system
DiarRice feeding instructions
- Small Dogs (less than 20lbs): 1 scoop, 2 x daily mixed with food
- Medium Dogs (20-60lbs) 2 scoops, 2 x daily mixed with food
- Large Dogs (over 60lbs) 3 scoops, 2 x daily mixed with food
Feeding is recommended for 2-3 days until symptoms disappear, If symptoms last more than 2-3 days, see your veterinarian immediately.
DiarRice can e stored at room temperature. It must be kept dry until it is serviced.
You can add water to DiarRice to blend it better with dry food, however it can also be enjoyed dry as dogs tend to love the chicken flavor.
Crude protein (minimum) 13%; Crude fat (minimum) 2%; Crude fiber (maximum) 6%
After your dog has fasted 12-24 hours and they are no longer vomiting it may be time to try the bland diet.
- Boiled rice (75%)
- Cooked white chicken mean (no skin or bones) or extra lean beef (25%)
- Do not add any oils, fats or spices
Start with a tablespoon. If your dog can keep that down continue with 1 cup of the bland diet every 3-4 hours. Once your dog is doing better, you can gradually add in their regular dog food until they are back to eating their regular diet again.
Bland Diet Guide
- Small Dogs (less than 20lbs): 1-2 teaspoons
- Medium Dogs (20-40lbs) 1/4 - 1/2 cup
- Large Dogs (over 40lbs) 1/2 - 3/4 cup
Foods that can help
Food that can help soothe your pets stomach include:
- Plain, unsweetened yogurt
- Sweet potatoes
- Plain, canned pumpkin
- Chicken and Rice
- Shredded Chicken
- Bone Broth
- Baby food
Slippery Elm bark
Slippery elm bark can help from settling an upset stomach to healing wounds. It is a soft, stringy part of the inner bark of the slippery elm tree. The easiest way to purchase this is in capsule form. It can also be ground up into a fine powder and mixed into food for easy ingestion.
There are multiple benefits slippery elm bark offers. The primary benefits are:
- Nutritive: provides food nutrients
- Demulcent: mucilage-forming and soothing qualities
- Tonic: promotes healthy body functions
- Astringent: drying, binding, and constricting effect
- Emollient: protects and soothes skin
- Antioxidant: removes oxidizing agents from the boxy
- Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation
As a stomach soother, slippery elm bark coats and lubricates the stomach lining, settling an upset stomach. It is often used to treat ulcers, colitis and other inflammatory bowel disorders in dogs.
Slipper Elm bark is high in fiber, so it can also help offer relief for constipation and diarrhea. It also alleviates nausea and vomiting in dogs that may be suffering from non-gastrointestinal diseases and ailments.
Consult your vet before giving slippery elm bark to your pet. A typical dose would be half an opened capsule (per 10 pounds) mixed with cold water. This herb can absorb its water weight quickly so make sure to add enough water to create a glue like substance. It is sweet and has a mild taste, so your dog shouldn't have a problem getting it down.
Be sure to check the quality of the slippery elm bark to make sure it is still efficacious. It should have a light grayish-tan huge to it and taste mildly sweet. Check the herb for freshness; stale slippery elm will be darker and taste more bitter than sweet. Don't use slippery elm bark that looks, smells or tastes bad.
For gastrointestinal issues, give your dog slippery elm bark 30-60 minutes before, with or right after meals. Upper gastrointestinal ailments will respond better if this herb is ingested before meals. If your pup has lower digestive issues like constipation, they will benefit from slippery elm with or right after eating their usual food.
Slippery elm is safe, non toxic and does not have any direct side effects in dogs. Because of its mucilage quality, it should be giving separately from other medications your dog may be taken. Your dog may also be allergic to the herb. Make sure you give your dog their usually medication 1-2 hours before giving them slippery elm. The mucilaginous properties of slippery elm can inhibit the absorption of other drugs in your dog's blood stream.
Consult your veterinarian for advice for the best times to give your dogs medications and slippery elm bark.
Keep away from grass
A common thing for dogs to do when they have an upset stomach is to eat grass. Many lawns are treated with fertilizers an other chemicals making it unsafe for consumption. Make sure to keep your pet away from grass if they have an upset stomach as this could cause further gastrointestinal issues. Why do dogs eat grass in the first place?
Over the counter medication
Some over the counter medications may help your dog if they have constipation or diarrhea, but they should only be given under the guidance of your veterinarian. Imodium, Pepto-Bismol and Pepcid may help - but always consult your veterinarian first to make sure it is safe for your pet.
This long list of treatments may help your pet, but it is in no way a substitute for veterinary care. There could be many reasons why your dog has an upset stomach, and only your vet can give you the best course of treatment.