If you’re a dog owner, you’ve likely asked yourself, a friend, or a vet, “what can I give my dog for an upset stomach?” at some point in time. Having a sick pet is the worst — as dog owners, we want our dogs to have a happy and healthy immune system, but this can sometimes be difficult to maintain.
Even though they can’t talk with us, by learning and watching out for symptoms of stomach upset, we can help remedy our dogs’ stomach problems before they become too serious. That being said, if your dog is displaying any severe symptoms of illness, we still recommend you contact a vet immediately for professional medical advice. Let’s learn more about how you can help ease your dog’s upset stomach!
What Causes Upset Stomachs in Dogs?
A dog’s stomach can become upset for several different reasons. Luckily for us, some of the most common causes are easy to identify before taking a trip to the vet’s office.
New Food or Diet Changes
If you’ve recently changed your dog’s diet — perhaps you’ve gotten your dog new canned food or dry food to try — this likely caused your dog’s upset stomach. Many dogs have a more sensitive stomach and gastrointestinal tract than we do. When introduced to a new food, it can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Eating Too Fast
If your pup is an excited eater, they may hurry to finish their kibble faster than you can say, “time for dinner!” Unfortunately, scarfing down food can cause dogs to experience gas or bloating. We recommend spreading your dog’s food on a mat or adding a little water to their food bowl to help slow them down (this will help them stay more hydrated, too!).
While the “my dog ate my homework” expression can sometimes be funny, dogs eating objects they aren’t supposed to is no joke. Fortunately, dogs can sometimes pass intestinal obstructions through their digestive tract on their own. Sometimes, however, they’ll need help with disposing of the foreign object. In more serious cases, this can require surgical intervention, costing up to thousands of dollars.
Have you ever eaten something that didn’t sit right with you? An upset stomach can sometimes indicate indigestion, which can be caused by eating too much of something or by eating the wrong thing. Symptoms of indigestion can last up to 48 hours and can be helped with fasting (we’ll break this down for you later on!).
Most dogs don’t regularly travel in cars or trucks. If your canine friend isn’t accustomed to car rides, a car ride may trigger an upset stomach. Usually, when this occurs, it’s due to nerves — your dog may vomit or have diarrhea as a result.
Though there are many associated symptoms, an upset tummy is one of the most common medicinal reactions a dog can have. Over-the-counter medications can be rough on a dog’s stomach and can make them lose their appetite and feel unwell.
Is It Common for Dogs to Have an Upset Stomach?
As with humans, it’s pretty normal for a healthy dog to experience an occasional upset stomach. Maybe they took a long car ride that made them feel a little queasy, or maybe they got too excited and chased squirrels for too long.
Dogs can have off-days too, and a tummy ache doesn’t always indicate that something is necessarily wrong. Your pet is likely to experience an upset stomach at some point in its life. That’s why it’s crucial that you recognize common signs that they may feel under the weather.
Common Signs Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
There are several common signs your dog may be experiencing an upset stomach:
- Changes in appetite and thirst: If your dog has a stomachache, it may not want to eat or drink as much.
- Seeming tired, exhausted, or sad: A sick dog will often sleep or lay down more often and appear to be more downhearted.
- More frequent stretching, swallowing, or licking: Dogs who have upset stomachs may often stretch to try and ease any added muscle tension or discomfort. Continual swallowing can also be an indicator of acid reflux, while repeated licking can suggest queasiness.
- Eating grass: Because it’s full of fiber, dogs will often try to eat grass to help them go to the bathroom, thus alleviating their upset tummy. Letting your dog do this isn’t usually the best idea, though, since outdoor greens are usually treated with pesticides or other chemicals that aren’t pet-safe.
Signs You Should Contact a Veterinarian Immediately
Sometimes, an upset stomach can indicate something more serious, like an allergic reaction or illness. If your dog is exhibiting any of the following severe symptoms, you should immediately contact a trained veterinarian or other emergency pet clinic for professional veterinary advice and care:
- Recurrent and continual vomiting: Frequent vomiting can indicate more serious issues, such as parvovirus or parvo, ingestion of poison or other toxins, or other illnesses.
- Bloody diarrhea: This can also be an indicator of parvo or other more concerning health issues.
- Fever: A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101-102.5°F; anything equal to or higher than 103°F is considered a fever. If your dog is exhibiting other upset stomach symptoms and you feel comfortable enough, you can take your dog’s temperature yourself at home before calling a vet.
Home Remedies for a Dog with an Upset Stomach
Give these home remedies to your dog if they have an upset stomach! These can also be used in combo with each other since they’re all-natural.
Hot Tip: When trying out different remedies, try keeping a canine journal or record your dog’s symptoms. Writing symptoms down can help you keep track of what things don’t agree with your dog’s stomach. It will help you remember the best remedies for their ailments!
Having a journal will also benefit you if and when you need to bring your dog to the vet and will likely help your pet receive faster and more targeted care.
Try a Diet Switch-Up
Transition to a Temporary Bland Diet
Try supplementing or swapping your dog’s food with simple human food to give their stomach a break. Give your dog a solid bland diet of easily-digestible foods if they have an upset stomach, like:
- Carb Replacements: Plain rice, cooked sweet potato
- Protein Replacements: Boiled chicken, unseasoned scrambled eggs
- Beneficial Fruits: Dogs experiencing diarrhea can also benefit from bananas or canned pumpkin, which are fibrous enough that they won’t overextend an already aching tummy.
- Dairy: Low-fat yogurt can also benefit your dog’s immune system by introducing living gut-friendly bacteria to their bodies.
Remember to slowly ease your dog back onto its regular diet once they no longer need a bland diet. A great way to do this is by adding small portions of their regular food into plain rice little by little until they transition back off the bland diet entirely.
Now and then, your dog’s stomach may need a little break or rest. By limiting or cutting their food intake for a day, you can give dogs’ bodies time to try and remedy themselves.
Remember that adult dogs can handle missing a meal or two without any problem. However, for puppies, they should not go without food for longer than half a day, as they’re still working on growing strong. If your puppy is struggling with indigestion or has an upset stomach, try out one of the other methods. You can also call your vet for professional advice on how to help them.
Dogs don’t particularly like to drink water when they feel sick. They can easily become dehydrated, which won’t help them feel better any faster. Dehydration in dogs is very serious and can warrant hospitalization.
If your dog begins drinking less or refusing its water bowl, try holding out ice cubes to lick or giving them ice chips to help them achieve a higher water intake. Alternatively, bone broth can be a great help in keeping your dog hydrated. Bone broth also has plenty of extra vitamins and nutrients that will likely help your dog feel improved.
CBD Oil or Pet Capsules
Similar to humans, dogs can also benefit from the effects of CBD! CBD has been known to help relieve queasiness and aches that are associated with upset stomachs. It also aids in digestion if your dog is struggling with indigestion, and its soothing and therapeutic effects can help alleviate ailments while helping pets feel more relaxed and at ease.
CBD is well-tolerated by dogs and is healthy and natural since it’s hemp-derived. It’s also 100% non-intoxicating, so you won’t have to worry about your pet feeling high.
Here at Healthy Petables, we offer different forms of CBD for pets— try our CBD Pet Capsules for Dogs and Cats or our CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats to find out which one is right for you and your fluffy friend.
Stomach distress can be exhausting to experience. Your dog’s body will likely feel more tired than usual and will need extra rest to help it feel better. If your dog’s tummy has been unwell, it’s more than okay to skip a walk or two. You might want to minimize or put playtime on hold until they feel better.
Instead, try giving your dog some extra cuddle time if they have an upset stomach. If you don’t already have a designated cozy area in your home for your dog, this is also a great time to set up some extra blankets and pillows to help them feel as comfortable as possible.
How Long Does a Dog’s Upset Stomach Last?
Symptoms of an upset stomach in dogs should only last for about 24-48 hours. If your dog continues to show symptoms of stomach pain that won’t go away for a few days, it might be time to call your local veterinary hospital to set up a vet visit.
Home remedies can help provide early treatment, but it’s not meant to replace a trained and licensed professional’s advice, care, or treatment.
Final Thoughts – What Can I Give My Dog For An Upset Stomach
Though upset stomachs in dogs can be pretty common, plenty of natural solutions can help. It’s essential to recognize signs and symptoms early on, so you know whether it’s a serious issue or not. From bland food to CBD to simply giving them extra time to sleep, it’s easier than you think to help make your pet feel more themselves again. Try these home remedies we listed to help ease your dog’s upset stomach before going to the vet!
Check out Healthy Petables to learn more about CBD and its benefits. You can also take a look at all the amazing products we carry that can assist your pet’s needs!