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 roundworms 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.


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