What to Do When Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach

An upset stomach is no fun for us humans, but seeing our poor puppers suffer with one can be even worse. No one likes to see their pooch under the weather. As loving doggie parents, we’d love to jump in and fix whatever is causing our pup’s tummy ache.

However, it isn’t quite that easy. Finding out the root cause of your pup’s stomach issues can be a challenge. Even with that information, what should you do to help? Should you wait it out? Is this worth a trip to the vet? Are dietary changes necessary?

The answers to all these questions can be found below. Read on to see how you can get a rough idea of the potential cause and what you should do to get your pup back to their old selves!

How to Tell If Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach – Dog Upset Stomach Symptoms

First, it’s important to take note of your dog’s exact symptoms. Many of the symptoms of an upset stomach in dogs are quite obvious – but there are some more subtle changes that can occur. Take a look at the list below and see how it compares to your own pooch.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or Loose Stool
  • Licking lips
  • Lethargy
  • Gulping
  • Loss of appetite

If your pup is experiencing some of the symptoms above, a stomach ache is a likely culprit, especially if they’re experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. Be sure to keep a close eye on these symptoms in particular as they can lead to dehydration. Constant vomiting or bloody diarrhea could point towards a more serious issue. 

You should also keep an eye out for a visibly bloated stomach, as this may also be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition. If you see any of these severe symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately.

What Causes a Dog Stomach Ache

Unfortunately, the reasons behind a doggie stomach ache can be difficult to discern. After all, it’s a common symptom with many possible causes. Thankfully, most stomach aches are caused by minor issues. That said, you should keep an eye out for signs of something more problematic. Here are the more common causes and accompanying symptoms.

  • They ate something they shouldn’t have. Dogs interact with the world through their mouths, which can lead to them accidentally ingesting something bad. This could be toxic human foods like chocolate, poisonous plants, or even something indigestible, such as a toy. If you suspect this may be the case, contact your vet to get to the bottom of things.
  • They’re allergic or sensitive to something in their diet. Many dogs have an intolerance or allergy for certain dog food ingredients. These can cause chronic stomach issues if they continue to eat the offending food. Virtually any ingredient can be the cause, but it’s more common for dogs to be allergic or intolerant of animal protein or dairy products.
  • They’re stressed out. A high level of stress can contribute to digestive problems. Some dogs may experience diarrhea, while others may become constipated. If your dog is showing other signs of stress, such as pacing, whining, or hiding away, you should try to remove your dog from any potential stressors and see what effect it has on their overall digestion.
  • They have an infection or parasites. Viral and bacterial infections can cause a variety of stomach problems. Intestinal parasites are another big offender. If your pup shows a fever and/or repeated severe vomiting, it’s best to contact a vet. You will need to rule out serious infections, such as Parvovirus.
  • They’re experiencing Bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that most commonly occurs in large, deep-chested breeds. It usually occurs when a dog eats too fast, drinks too much water, or overeats. It can result in a swollen and painful abdomen, along with other severe symptoms. Bloat is a medical emergency that requires immediate vet attention.
  • Long-term medical conditions and medicine. Stomach problems can also be caused by a variety of underlying health issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, kidney issues, and cancer. Many medications can also cause an upset stomach.

What to Give a Dog for Upset Stomach

If the cause is mild, you may be able to treat it at home with an appropriate dog upset stomach remedy. Here’s what to give your dog for an upset stomach, so that you can get that dog stomach ache fixed up quickly!

Try This Tried and True Dog Upset Stomach Remedy – the Bland Diet

When you’ve had a stomach bug in the past, did you stick to light meals, such as chicken soup or oatmeal? While these foods may not get us salivating at the thought, they’re far easier to digest than say, a cheese pizza! A bland diet for dogs is the same concept.

As your dog’s stomach is already having a rough time, we should try to avoid burdening it further with hard-to-digest ingredients. For dogs, we’d recommend cooked rice with high-quality chicken or ground turkey, whichever your pooch prefers. However, don’t just switch straight from their usual diet to this new meal, as that can be a shock to the stomach!

Instead, just introduce a small amount of the new food mixed in with their usual meal. If their symptoms do not worsen, you can continue to increase the ratio of the new food over several days, until the meal is a 100% bland diet. When they feel better, you can switch back to their usual diet the same way.

Remove Food for 12-24 Hours

If you’re having no luck with the above method, you could temporarily remove all food from your dog’s diet for a short period of time. This will give their digestive system all the time it needs to properly recover.

You should only remove food for 24 hours maximum. A shorter period of 12 hours may be better for a small breed, as they tend to have faster metabolisms and do not store as much energy as larger dogs. I wouldn’t advise using this method with a puppy unless your vet instructs you to do so. Change to: This method should only be used with adult dogs unless specified by a veterinarian. 

After the no-food period is up, feed your doggo some of their usual diet and keep an eye on their symptoms. If all has gone well, there should be some improvement.

Keep Them Hydrated

It’s crucial that you keep your pup hydrated if they’re suffering from a stomach ache. Between vomiting and diarrhea, your dog will be losing a lot of water. This can quickly lead to dehydration if these vital fluids aren’t replaced. 

That said, too much water can exacerbate their stomach issues further. Therefore, you should only offer your dog small amounts of water at a time, actively discouraging them from gulping it all down at once. If you’re struggling to stop your dog from doing this, you can offer ice chips instead. This will naturally slow the rate of their water intake.

If your dog manages to drink these small amounts of water without any problems, you can slowly raise the amount offered at once.

Monitor Their Behavior

Throughout their bout of illness, you should always keep a close eye on your doggo. Take note of their symptoms – are they improving? 

You should especially be on the lookout for symptoms of dehydration. A dry nose, dry sticky gums, and panting, can all be signs that your dog needs more water. If they’re struggling to keep water down or refusing it, you must take them to the vet.

If you notice a symptom worsening over time, or the appearance of a new symptom, you should also contact the vet as soon as you are able.

Other Questions About Dog Upset Stomachs

It’s natural to have plenty of questions when your beloved pup isn’t feeling too good. Here are some of the most frequent ones we receive regarding upset stomachs in dogs.

How Long Does It Take For a Dog to Get Over an Upset Stomach?

Thankfully, most upset stomachs should clear up within 48 hours. However, digestive issues can continue longer if the underlying cause is a long-term problem – examples can be chronic stress, a food allergy (if no dietary changes have been made), or an untreated health condition.

If your dog’s stomach problems have been occurring for longer than two days, it’s recommended to have them checked out by a vet. With some tests, the cause of their symptoms should become clear.

What is the Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach?

Some dogs prove to be especially sensitive to certain common ingredients. This can be a simple intolerance or a full-blown allergy. Either way, feeding your dog food with these ingredients can cause gastrointestinal issues. Continuing to feed this diet may cause recurring symptoms that may get worse over time. 

If you suspect that your pup may have a food allergy or intolerance, you should try a diet that’s specially formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs. These diets often contain high levels of fiber to ensure the healthy formation of poop, along with lower percentages of fats, which can be difficult to digest.

Our very own nutritionary experts at PetPlate have devised fresh meals perfect for pups with sensitive stomachs. It’s worked wonders with our previous doggy customers, and yours could be the next! Check out our blog post on the best food for sensitive stomachs to learn all about it, along with some additional helpful pointers.

Start Your Dog’s Custom Diet Plan With PetPlate!

By following the advice within this article, it won’t be long before your pup is bouncing around the home like their usual selves! But, remember that while you can treat minor symptoms at home, severe or long-term illness always requires vet attention. 

If you find your dog is continuously experiencing problems due to a sensitive stomach, a diet change may be just what they need. But you have to move them to a quality one! Many store-bought dog foods are laden with fillers and artificial ingredients that can wreak havoc on a pup’s sensitive digestive system, on top of being not too nutritious.

This is where PetPlate comes in. Our simple but absolutely delicious meals are cooked fresh with human-grade ingredients in our USDA-approved prep kitchens. So you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting in each meal – and each of them will be delivered directly to your door in resealable and recyclable plastic. 

You can tailor a meal plan to meet your pup’s exact dietary needs, so there’s no need to worry about even the most sensitive of stomachs. A 100% money-back guarantee also protects you on your first order, so start creating your meal plan now and try us out risk-free!