Since dogs can't talk, they are often unable to communicate to their owners that they're sick. Sometimes your dog's symptoms can make you think the condition he has is a lot more serious than it is. In terms of upset stomach in dogs, it's not unlikely that your pet just ate something not meant for canines, dogs eat grass, for instance, and that his symptoms will naturally resolve within 24 hours.
Just about everyone knows what it's like to suffer from short-term gastronomical issues that seemingly come out of nowhere and our canine friend is no different. That said, there's no harm in striving to keep your dog's stomach in the best condition possible, and do to so, many vets will recommend administering a daily canine digestive supplement.
If you are wondering what you can give your dog to soothe his upset stomach, read on. In this blog post, we outline some of the common causes and signs of upset stomach in dogs, as well as some of the most effective at-home remedies.
What causes a dog to have an upset stomach?
The truth is that there can be many contributing factors to a dog's upset stomach. In many cases, such a condition can be an early warning sign of more serious medical issues. That said, there are some very effective remedies out there to help alleviate some of your dog's symptoms.
Acid reflux is perhaps one of the most widespread common causes of stomach issues among dogs. Technically referred to as Gastroesophageal reflux disease, the condition occurs when strong digestive acids in the stomach somehow transgress the barrier linking the stomach to the esophageal pipe.
During a reflux episode, it not uncommon to hear gurgling noises, as your dog's stomach seeks to expel the acid from the esophageal passage. Contrarily, it's rare for vomiting and diarrhea to occur as acid reflux symptoms are typically confined to the esophagus. However, the lack of regurgitation does not mean that you won't see other symptoms from your dog that signify he might be experiencing stomach pain and other gastrointestinal issues.
Here are some common symptoms of canine acid reflux:
- Dramatic weight loss
- Throwing up mucus
- Suppressed appetite
- Excess drooling
- Chocking while eating or after a meal
- Taking lots of breaks while consuming a full serving
The good news is that there are many effective treatments for acid reflux. In fact, it can often be resolved with a simple change in diet alongside some mild prescription antacids as needed. Feed your dog with low acidity ratings, eliminating foods containing processes fats, and severing up smaller portions throughout the day, can all go a long way to mitigating acid reflux.
One of the best remedies to combat acid reflux is to put your dog on a bland diet. Pet nutritionists and vets around the world recommend feeding dogs with upset stomach issues a bland diet consisting of things like boiled chicken and rice.
A low-fat diet that comprises of limited simple sugars is the easiest on the stomach. Consequently, the stomach stops producing excessive quantities of digestive acids, and acid reflux flare-ups are reduced.
An upset stomach can also be frequently caused by indigestion. This condition is the result of dogs consuming large quantities of foods that are not easily digested. Indigestion can cause nausea and heartburn.
Unlike sickness and diarrhea, nausea is difficult to diagnose in dogs, but gagging or dry heaving are common signs. Foods that can't be digested cause the stomach to produce excess acid which results in acid reflux.
If the stomach contains too much acid, canine indigestion is inevitable as the gastric system seeks to alleviate some of the pressure into the esophageal tract. Dogs suffering from indigestion often experience gas pain, regurgitation, diarrhea, and bloating.
The best foods for dogs suffering from upset stomach
Arguably one of the best preventative treatments for doggy indigestion is canine probiotic chews. If you are looking for a quick at-home treatment, simply add a spoonful of unflavored Greek yogurt to your dog's food.
Probiotics are essential for healthy gut health and they can help to prevent bacterial infections and viruses taking hold in your dog's digestive tract. Furthermore, there are some studies showing that probiotics can increase energy levels and boost cognitive function, helping to alleviate many upset stomach symptoms, such as lethargy and foggy thinking.
Gastritis refers to inflammation conditions within the stomach. One of the key causes of stomach problems in dogs is their consumption items not designed for canines. Besides foreign objects, like Lego bricks, many foods may cause upset stomach symptoms in dogs such as nuts, milk, spoiled dishes, and more.
Upset stomach symptoms
In some cases, your dog may experience gastritis as a one-off short term incident. However, in many cases, the condition can be a symptom of more serious digestive problems. Similar to most stomach issues, dog gastritis is commonly accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, decreased appetite, and gas.
How can I help my dog?
A great at-home remedy for gastritis in dogs is ice chips and ginger. Feed your dog ice cubes to settle his stomach as the cooling effects of the cubes are anti-inflammatory in nature. Furthermore, ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that can help to mitigate bloating.
The main reason why treating excess stomach acid in the early stages is so important is that over the long term it can cause painful stomach ulcers in dogs. Ulcers occur when the excess acid has time to start eroding the stomach lining. Paining sores develop and the compromised stomach tissue becomes extra sensitive.
Why does my dog have stomach ulcers?
In most cases, stomach ulcers are the result of a bacterial infection or excessive medication use. Ulcers can also become aggravated when preexisting digestive issues, such as regular acid reflux, are thrown into the mix.
What are the symptoms of canine stomach ulcers?
Hard dark stools accompanied by bloody vomit are common signs of stomach ulcers. That said, sometimes symptoms are less obvious, such as unexplained weight loss, avoidance of food, and increased lethargy.
Canine stomach ulcer treatments
Dogs with stomach ulcers often avoid many foods as they learn that the intake of food exacerbates the pain.
It will typically take around 8 weeks to treat stomach ulcers in dogs, but in some cases, curing the ulcers may not be possible and pain management becomes the treatment protocol. In most cases, a dog with stomach ulcers will be prescribed painkillers and antibiotics until the stomach tissue has healed.
During that course of medication, however, your dog will probably still avoid food. Canned pumpkin often becomes a staple for dog owners concerned about their pets losing too much weight while stomach ulcers are healing. Pumpkin has a low-glycemic value, which means it doesn't aggravate stomach lining abscesses. What's more, most dogs like the taste of the food and welcome it as a savory treat.
Parasites & viruses
Just like humans can pick up viruses like the flu and stomach bugs, dogs can also pick up infectious diseases. Viruses are relatively common among dogs, but some virus strains have the potential to cause serious stomach issues. In addition, parasites can become unwelcomed guests in your dog's digestive system and lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Your dog can easily pick up parasites or viruses if they ingest items contaminated with fecal matter while outside. While there are other ways your dog can be introduced to such pathogens, such as eating spoiled food, it's more likely that your dog acquired the infectious agent while outside.
What is the function of viruses and parasites?
One of the most common dog viruses is parvovirus and mainstream vets typically insist that all the dogs they see are vaccinated against the said virus. The reason parvovirus is so dangerous is that it attacks a dog's small intestine. And, by doing so, it's able to enter the bloodstream and eventually target bone marrow and white blood cells.
When it comes to parasites, dogs are most likely to be affected by worms. Both tapeworms and roundworms find their home in the intestines of dogs where they absorb all the nutrients in the food your pet intakes, robbing him of vitality. Parasitic worms can cause weight loss, dehydration, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and in server cases, neurological problems.
Signs to look for
When it comes to both parasitic worms and parvovirus, looking at your dog's stools can often give you all the information you need. If your dog has bloody diarrhea, this could be an early warning sign that your pet is infected with parvovirus and requires veterinary treatment. The good news is that the virus is easy to treat as long as it is caught early.
When it comes to worms, you will often be able to see visible evidence in your dog's stools. However, some worms are small and other times stools only contain microscopic eggs, so it's always worth sending a stool sample to a lab for analysis. Fortunately, most worm infections can be easily treated.
Dehydration can cause a wide range of illnesses and can be a major stumbling block when it comes to treating viral infections and combating parasite. So, we advise you to give your dog Pedialyte. The supplement is basically like a Lucozade or an electrolyte drink for dogs and it can work wonders. Some dogs might not like the flavor or be too ill to drink it unaided, so you may need to administer Pedialyte via a syringe. If you want a natural alternative, bone broth works a treat as long as you add enough salt.
Now that you are more informed about some of the key causes of stomach issues in dogs, here are 9 simple tips to help you help your canine if he is suffering from an upset stomach:
1. Seek first to identify the main source of the stomach problem. While detection work is not always easy, doing it will ensure that you give your dog the best treatment. Think back, is it possible your dog got excited and ate something he wasn't supposed to? some dogs eat grass and that may cause digestive upset. Sometimes all it takes is a dose of pepto bismol.
2. Get dog food out of the equation. Once your dog has stomach problems, give him water only and slowly reintroduce food as his stomach begins to regain control.
3. Monitor your dog's condition. Keeping an eye on the situation is key. Look for any signs of further deterioration. Initial distress signs aren't always a cause for concern, but if your pet's condition worsens, don't hesitate to take further immediate action.
4. Never put off a vet's visit. The moment you see that your dog's condition is getting worse or failing to improve, it's time to take him to your vet. At the clinic, his condition will be professionally diagnosed and you may be able to get your hands on some essential medications that are not available without a prescription.
5. If your dog has been prescribed any medication, be sure to strictly follow all the instructions. If you deviate from the treatment plan laid out by your vet, you risk prolonging your dog's suffering.
6. Get your dog onto a bland diet. Canned pumpkin and boiled rice, or boiled chicken and rice are stable foods for a dog with an upset stomach. Be sure not to overdo the quantities.
7. As your dog's condition improves, slowly reintroduce more foods. Don't just give him a full bowl of commercial dog kibble the moment he looks better. You need to slowly wean him off the bland diet to avoid causing further stomach distress.
8. Shower your dog with love and allow him to have as much rest as needed. When your pet is sick, don't try to engage him. Instead, let him rest, relax, and heal. As soon as he's better, he'll be full of energy, so don't try to rush his recovery.
9. Every dog owner has to deal with a pet suffering from stomach distress at some point, so don't automatically assume you did anything wrong. There are now lots of effective upset stomach remedies in the marketplace like pepto bismol, but, that said, make sure to remember that a professional is in a much better position to devise a treatment plan for your beloved pet than yourself. So, don't ever hesitate to take your sick dog to the vets if the symptoms don't improve within 24 hours.