Upset Stomach in Dogs: Causes and Cures

Dogs, just like people, can get an upset stomach and determining the reason for the upset will make it so you know if it’s serious or not and what to do about getting him back on the road to feeling better.

Symptoms of Upset Stomach

Dogs get an upset stomach from several causes that could range from eating too fast to an obstruction in their intestines. Here are some of the most common symptoms that your dog may have an upset tummy:

  • Dry-heaving
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Painful to the touch in the stomach area
  • Biting their sides
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Wanting to eat grass.
  • Bloating
  • Being lethargic
  • Fever
  • Thirst

Any or all of these could be mixed with other problems, and it’s important to determine if the upset stomach is merely from eating something that didn’t agree with your dog or if it’s something serious that must be treated immediately.

Causes of Upset Stomach

Most of the time your dog comes down with a troublesome tummy it has something to do with his diet. Dogs may be allergic to the food they are eating, eat too fast, or eat too much. It’s also common for dogs to eat things they shouldn’t like coins, string, balls, food wrappers, etc.

Stress is another issue that can cause a sensitive pet to get sick to the stomach. Something like a trip to the vet’s office can cause a nervous pooch to get sick to their stomach and throw up on the way. Or, your pet may be prone to getting carsick.

Any of these issues can cause upset stomach in your pet. A few more possible causes are:

  • Changes made in a dog’s diet
  • Parasites like worms
  • Stale food
  • Injury to the stomach area

Serious Stomach Issues

How can you know if your dog’s upset stomach is something serious or life threatening? If your dog is throwing up and the vomit contains blood, then it may be something like an obstruction that must be dealt with as soon as possible to save your pet’s life. If he’s swallowed something like a ball, then it won’t pass all the way through his intestines and if it isn’t surgically removed, it will eventually cause infection or worse and your dog could die.

Plus, if you dog ate something poisonous, it’s a drastic measure to get him to the vet for treatment. Be sure to keep anything like insect poison, rat poison, etc out of your dog’s reach, as he could think it is a tasty treat.

There are also diseases or other medical conditions that cause upset stomachs that are very serious such as parvo, stomach ulcers, pancreatitis, or a twisted stomach. These things must be treated by your veterinarian quickly to help your pet.

Treatment for Upset Stomach in Dogs

If the cause of your dog’s upset stomach is not something serious, your vet will probably tell you to rest your dog’s stomach for 24 hours and don’t feed him in order to let his stomach calm itself. But make sure he still has plenty of fresh clean water. Some dogs prefer ice chips when they don’t feel good and this is also an alternative to ensure he is getting enough liquids while he is sick. You can even try something like Gator-aide to get some electrolytes back into his system.

After the 24 hours is up, try feeding your dog something bland such as plain white rice mixed with plain cooked chicken, and if he doesn’t throw up, then you can gradually get him back to eating normally again.

Your vet may also give you other instructions to help your queasy pet feel better by telling you to give him an appropriate dose of something like Pepto-Bismol. However, don’t just try to make him drink a bowl of it! You must let your veterinarian prescribe the correct dosage for his age and weight.

Adding some plain yogurt to your dog’s food can get some healthy pro-biotic bacteria into his system, which may work to settle his stomach as well.

Monitoring is Important

It’s important to monitor the situation to make sure things aren’t getting worse, so be sure to pay attention to your dog’s condition. If the above measures aren’t working, your vet may have to intervene. For instance, sometimes upset stomach and throwing up can mean your dog has an infestation of parasites like round worms and must be treated accordingly.

The bottom line is that when our pet gets an upset stomach it could be anything as simple as eating something bad for them or something more serious.  We need to monitor our best friends and make sure that whichever it is, we help get our dog on the road to recovery so he can feel better fast.


45 Responses to “Upset Stomach in Dogs: Causes and Cures”

  1. Frances says:

    oh it could be so many things. My guys will eat just about anything they find while out on walks so I have a very good leave it command

  2. Chris says:

    Hey tends to get sick like once or twice month any thought

  3. kellie says:

    My momma dog is 11 yr red bone coon hound can’t get her to eat anything at all..took her to our vet twice this week they did blood work and everything looks fine except some influmation in her intestins and they gave her meds to stop the vomiting and a acid pill but she won’t take the meds!! At wits end what else can I do??

  4. Mullagh C says:

    Hi all ye animal lovers. Vets are full of the big “C”…Crap. I should know as I have (4) yes, FOUR of them and If I don’t like one’s option I go to the next and so on…I have a three year old Jindo, a two year old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and a four year old German Shepherd.
    I feed all three the same “Fromm” dog food with a spoon of “Bragg’s apple cider vinegar and a spoon of flax seed oil twice a day also a spoon of ACV in their water twice a day.
    The three dogs get a “Sponge Bath” of 50/50 ACV every week…
    Result…EXCELLENT Teeth, EXCELLENT skin and EXCELLENT coats EXCELLENT “PH” levels…
    No fleas, No ticks and NO annual shots from the vet as the shots are what KILL animals…
    VETS…once yearly for blood work, worms and urine tests only…and obviously emergency…IE: broken leg…

  5. Frances says:

    I would take your pup to the vet

  6. Taylor says:

    Hi! I have about a year to two year old full blooded american pit.. she hasn’t been wanting to eat, drink, play, NOTHING.. she has gotten VERY lazy, which is VERY unlike her.. She has been puking once about 2 days ago, which had food chunks and another today, which was watery..(guessing from her not eating) i have no idea as to what is wrong and i am very worried. help!

  7. Frances says:

    Well if you can, take her to the vet to get checked out

  8. Frances says:

    Hello,

    I,am not a vet so cannot advise you what to do other that to say if it has been going on for a few days I would take your pup to the vet. If my dog gets sick and will not eat I just fast them for 24 hours then slowly reintroduce food, usually something bland like chicken and rice but a very small amount to too if they will keep it down.

  9. Elaine says:

    My dog is a Jug and she has been getting sick and has diarrea…does not want to drink or eat anything I am worried .

    Please help.

  10. Vanessa says:

    My almost 2 English bulldog throws up twice usually throws up socks but lately she has been throwing up something different. This time was some of her food an the same substance she threw up a few minutes before. She is every breathing I think it’s from throwing up around the same time (minutes between) but how to I help her stop heavily breathing and what does it mean when there’s solid dog food?

  11. victoria says:

    Ok so I have a 4 year old silky Maltese and I took him on a road trip with me because I didnt want to leave him alone so the next day I noticed he looked really tired and depressed and he wouldnt eat his dinner the night before and that morning he wouldnt eat his breakfast and he has had stomach problems in the past any ideas?

  12. Frances says:

    I am sorry about your pups. I am not a vet so cannot give medical advice. But given all the dog food recalls I would suggest taking them to the vet since both of them are sick. Outside of that, a bland diet is usually recommended. The most important thing is to make sure they get lots of water and stay hydrated.

  13. lori says:

    I have 2 dogs that appear to be having upset stomachs. One is a chihuahua and he has not been eating all day but will still drink water. But he hasnt been wanting to move around very much at all. And the second is a Boston terrier who has been eating and drinking but has been throwing up at random times daily for about a week I thought it may have been a bad reaction to his food so I changed his food but he still keeps vomiting. He isnt vomiting a lot of food at one time its usually only a vouple pieces with a lot of fluid. What can I do for them to get them feeling better?

  14. mary says:

    Nathan,
    I hope your Dane is OK. I just took my Dog to the Vet for vomiting. I have to agree with you on Vets charges but I would give up everything i own for my dog.
    You can get get care credit through your Vets office to pay for the bill. I had to do that for my one dog that had cancer. She now in remission and hopefully will live the rest of her life out cancer free.
    When seeking out a “GOOD” Vet look for the certifications. They may cost you more out of your pocket but you know you have a vet that knows what he/she are doing.

    I hope all is well with your dog.

    Mary

  15. Christina says:

    I have a 2,5 years old male Rottweiler. From an early age it showed signs of upset stomach and intestine issues through vomits and diarrhea.

    I have tried several dry foods such as Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Pro Plan, Acana, Arden Grange but after a while vomit and loose stools.

    I have also tried Hills but only as part of therapy as my vet suggested that long term use of hypo allergic dry food sometimes may have an opposite result.

    The past 6 months I tried home cooked food with chicken, rise and pureed fruits and vegetables along with additional vitamins.

    Although everything seemed fine as of 3 days ago my dog refuses to continue eating the same food.

    In order to check his appetite I bought dry food again, Earthborn this time with lamp and grain free. The dog ate the dry food but vomit and loose stools started immediately.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  16. Whitley says:

    My dog is half pitbull, quarter german shepard, and quarter alaskan malamute. So as you can imagine, I never have problems with him eating. In the last two days he has not wanted to eat. Yesterday I had to feed him out of my hand to get him to eat and today, he has not eaten anything at all. He will usually eat anything and everything in his path so I am worried. Has anyone ever given their dog pepto bismol or imodium? I am wondering how much to give my 90 baby or any other ideas that might help determine if he just has an upset tummy. Please help! Thank you!

  17. Nathan says:

    Chris, if your dog ate something that’s jamming up his intestine and he can’t defecate, he needs surgery. If your vet has bad reviews, you may want to try another vet, but an intestinal blockage will kill a dog if it’s not surgically removed.

    I have a healthy, year and a half old pit bull. He managed to get ahold of, and eat, something that sounded really hard and crunchy while on a walk last night before I could stop him. I have no idea what it was. But this morning when I tried to feed him, he refused to eat (first time that’s EVER happened). He pooped normally, but he was lethargic and obviously not feeling good. I could hear things bubbling around in his belly when I got close to him. Assuming it doesn’t fix itself today (he really is a very healthy dog, so I can see it working itself out pretty quickly), does anyone have any advice?

  18. Frances says:

    Oh Chris, I am sorry about your Great Dane. I do not have any knowledge to offer but maybe someone else does. Have you put him on a bland diet or fasted him for 24 hours?

  19. Chris Herg says:

    SEEKING SOME ADVICE FROM EXPERIENCE OR EXPERTS!!

    I took my male great dane to the vet because he wouldnt eat and looked horrible.. Long story short i took him to the vet and after x rays we believe he has gas build up due from eating some of the stuffing or green cotton inside of his bed he tore up.. The vet gave him a shot and the tools to inject fluids into him. Ive been injecting him for 3 days now and he doesnt seem to get better… He is vomiting constant and it has now turned from the bile color to a darker brown.. (not blood) . The only next options was a $900 procedure similar to an *anemema or however it is.. or a $2500 -$3000 grand surgery.. Ive read HORRIBLE reviews about my vet being a joke and money sucking careless people.. I am using their free check up to get fluids for them done by them instead of me tonight… but i know they will try to push at least the $900 procedure.. i have seen i cant get the $2500 surgery for $750 at places..
    Is there not any options such as for cats to dissolve this thing in his intestines?… something cheaper .. or like an xlax? that will flush it out.?… im really scared for my baby and im scared my vet doesnt care about anything but money… PLEASE RESPONd or if u are familiar with this please email me

  20. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for your quick responses! You were right though, because he’s a pretty big boy. He did have a fever for a bit. Fevers gone now after letting him chew on an ice cube and I didn’t have any chicken so I used some ground up pot roast in the mix. He’s finally keeping food and water down and is building up energy pretty quickly. I’ll keep him on the bland diet for a few days to be on the safe side, but we’re definitely out of the woods. Thanks again for your help!

  21. Frances says:

    Hi Nicole,

    I am sorry about your dog. Since I am not a vet I cannot offer any medical advice I can only tell you what I would do as a dog mom if I could not get to a vet. I would take my dogs temperature to see if might be more than just an upset stomach (and perhaps a flu). If there was no fever I would fast them for a full 24 hours since they are big dogs and a shepherd/lab mix like yours could be big too. The idea is just to rest the stomach. I would also try a chewable Pepcid or Pepto Bismo. Once he did want to eat again I would feed a very small amount of bland boiled chicken and rice (about 1/4 chicken and 3/4 rice).

    Hope your dog is feeling better soon.

  22. Nicole says:

    I’ve read a few of theses posts and your advice has seemed to really help people. My 8-9 year old shepherd/lab mix has had diarrhea and has been vomiting for a couple days now. I fasted him for about 12 hrs and replaced his water with a gatorade icecube every 1-4 hrs. The diarrhea stopped but the vomiting has continued. I’ve checked his gums for dehydration and he isn’t lethargic..what can I do??? I’m avoiding the vet because I don’t have the cash right now and have a baby on the way. Is there a home remedy I can try before I take him to the vet and hear the dreaded “keep doing what you’re doing”..?

  23. Frances says:

    Hi Laura, Sorry about your puppy. Worms can definitely cause and upset tummy.

  24. laura says:

    Hi… I have a 5-6 week old pitbull puppy, after the second day I noticed she was really whinney but I thought maybe it was because she missed her mom. But then I noticed she had worms today! I’m going to deworm her. But can worms cause an upset stomach?

  25. Frances says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Sometimes the gurgly tummy means there is something they are eating does not agree with them. Have you changed her food recently? I am not a vet so cannot give medical advice but would continue the bland diet and see a vet if it continues. Good luck and I hope your pups is feeling better

  26. Sarah says:

    Oh and I forgot! Her stomach also has been making funny noises. But other than that she still seems fine…Not sure what to do but any help is much appreciated!!

  27. Sarah says:

    My dog is a little shih tzu about 8 years old. She is normally alert and happy, but she started throwing up tonight. She only actually managed to get sick once, but she was also dry heaving for a while. She still stayed happy though. She never tried to eat any grass, and as far as I can tell she’s not bloated in any way. What would you recommend? Was this a one time thing? Or should I still fast her and give her the bland diet as a precaution?

  28. Frances says:

    Great news Amanda. Glad she is all better!

  29. Amanda says:

    she is all better thanks frances

  30. Amanda says:

    Thank you she is getting a little ebtter but she is still sick. also a random wart popped up on her leg.

  31. Frances says:

    Oh I am so sorry about your pup. I think she needs to see a vet but if you cannot, try canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie). it is good for diarrhea.

  32. Amanda says:

    My dog has had diarrhea for 2 months and she has had gas too.. she also eats grass! help please can’t take her to the vet right now

  33. dean says:

    Hey i have a 2 year old Huskie that suffers from separation anxiety. He gets destructive when left home alone, paces back and forth up the yard and scratches on the doors and windows, as well as barks and weeps excessively. Ive tried several different methods to try and overcome his separation anxiety and i found this really helpful website that has lots of tips and info that worked for me. I recommend having a look http://www.dogseparationanxiety.com.au

  34. Frances says:

    I would be more concerned with the not drinking. Add some maple syrup or honey to some water to see if she will drink. Dogs get dehydrated too so if she does not start drinking soon, check in with the vet. They can re-hydrate her. Good luck.

  35. Pam says:

    dog has dry heaving since sat morning. She has diarhea since sat night but eating and drinking. By Sunday night she would vomit her water up. Monday she is not eating or drinking. Larthargic. Should I be conserned or wait the 12 hrs than see if she will drink?

  36. Joan Hanshaw says:

    Thank you for the kind advise!1Awesome!!

  37. Deb says:

    My dog is vomitting just a little a few hours after each meal. It just started two days ago. She’s not vomitting the whole meal, just a little bit. She’s acting a little punky but no fever, and her bowel movements and water intake are normal. Her food hasn’t changed. Not sure what to do. Thinking of taking away her food and trying boiled chicken and rice in small amounts and pepcid ac for a few days?

  38. Frances says:

    I guess I would want to know why the the dog is eating grass. Sometimes dogs eat it to self-induce vomiting (if they ate something that does not agree with them). Other times they just graze on it because they like it or because they may be missing some nutrient in their diet. I am not a vet but if it continues, you should definitely see a vet. Your dog might be trying to self-treat. Also, if there are chemicals on the grass, a lot of it could be problematic in the long term

  39. April says:

    My dog has been eating alot of grass and has been trying to throwup but she can’t? What do I do?

  40. Just A Mom says:

    Thanks, going to head to the vet as a precaution but this did make me feel better and not panic so much.

  41. Frances says:

    I am not a vet but from experience know that generally, black stools can mean there is blood in the stool. You should see your vet and bring in a stool sample.

  42. Roxy says:

    My female dog who is pregnant has a runny tummy and the stools are black in colour? She went for her rabies shot a week ago. What does a black runny stool mean? Please help.

  43. Rossana says:

    My dog have diarrea, sHake and she not feel good, i give water, but she refused to drink. Thanks!!

  44. Jo Ann says:

    This is great info! This answer everything I was concerned about and it made a lot of sense, thank you.

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