Tips To Cure Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

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Dog laying on sofa sickDoes your dog have an upset stomach? Normally dogs will eat grass to clean out their system. This is the natural method to cure your dog’s sick tummy.

However, this won’t always do the trick. In fact, your dog may not even feel like eating grass. So, here are some additional tips to help cure your dog’s upset tummy.

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Tips To Cure Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

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Here are a few things you can try at home before seeking medical attention.

Keep Your Pup Hydrated

One of the most important things is to keep your pup hydrated at all times. This is especially important if they are experiencing diarrhea. With diarrhea, they may very quickly (within hours) become dehydrated, as they will lose water that they would retain under normal conditions.

Don’t assume that you can prevent dehydration by offering water to your furry pet. Your pet also needs electrolytes and vitamins to retain fluids. One possible solution to this dilemma is to use Pedialyte.

You can obtain a dry mixture made for animals by going to your nearest farming store. The packet is mixed with water and then fed to the dog. If your dog does not improve quickly though, do not continue to try self-treating. Dehydration in dogs can quickly progress from a passing concern to one of possible organ failure and even death.

So, please if your dog’s symptoms last more than 24 hours, take him to the vet immediately for treatment.

Pepto-Bismol Or Pepcid

In this case, it can help to give your dog a little bit of Pepto-Bismol or Pepcid crushed and mixed with water (the amount will depend on your dog’s weight — consult your veterinarian). It is possible that the manufacturers of these products may change their formulas over time and they may not be as safe as they once were for pups. As with any treatment, always consult a vet before proceeding with treatment.

Note that the Pepto-Bismol or Pepcid may make your dog’s stool darken quite a bit — this is not a reason for alarm.

Check Your Dog’s Temperature

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We recommend using a rectal thermometer as it is the most accurate option. An ear thermometer is also an option but not as precise. A dog’s normal body temperature should be about 101.5°F. A temperature of 102°F or higher is considered to be a fever. If the temperature is higher than 102°F or lower than 99°F, you should go to the vet or emergency vet hospital immediately to find out the cause.

Find Out What Your Dog Ate

Looking for clues may help the vet’s diagnosis of your situation. If any of your houseplants have been nibbled on that’s a sure red flag as many houseplants are toxic to dogs. Also, check the trash bags and cans around your home for signs of scavengers. Be sure to reference our list of foods not to feed dogs for more possible toxic foods to consider.

Ways To Help Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

Here are a few products you can try out that have proven to be successful for other sick pups.

DiarRice For Dogs

DiarRiceView DiarRice on Amazon

Rice is a natural remedy for symptoms of diarrhea for humans, but pups can’t digest it as well, and therefore it could further upset their stomach. However, DiarRice is a rice-based probiotic that has all the same soothing properties of rice in a format that is easily digestible and tastes like chicken.

You can mix with either wet food or dry food (adding a little water). DiarRice should start doing the trick immediately, so if you don’t see signs of improvement right away you should seek further medical attention.

Pedialyte

PedialyteView Pedialyte on Amazon

If your dog still isn’t feeling well and you wish to feed it Pedialyte or some other mixture that will help prevent dehydration, you’re going to need a syringe (without a needle) and a towel. Your dog isn’t going to want to be fed anything, just as you don’t want to eat when you don’t feel good. Because of this, you may need some assistance when feeding your dog.

After filling the syringe with the mixture, lay the dog on its side. Open the mouth of the dog and use the syringe to inject the fluid down the dog’s throat. If the dog still doesn’t want to swallow the mixture, massage the throat to prompt the swallowing response.

Another method is to inject the mixture inside the back of the cheek of the dog. Again, massage the throat as needed for swallowing. If you choose to use the cheek method, watch to make sure the liquid does not come out the other side of the mouth. Sometimes dogs will let the liquid drain out if they don’t have the energy or urge to swallow.

Probiotics For Dogs

If your dog suffers from chronic digestive problems, a dog probiotic could help. Probiotics for dogs work the same way as they do for humans. They’re formulas that contain living gut-friendly bacteria found naturally in the digestive tract and other areas of the body.

The goal of ingesting probiotics is to maintain healthy levels of good bacteria, prevent gastrointestinal problems and boost the immune system after it’s been disrupted by illness, infection, antibiotic treatment or other stressors.

There are a ton of pet probiotic products available, so be sure to read our article that highlights the best probiotics for dogs and includes more information on how these products can help solve your pup’s digestive problems.

Natural Remedies To Cure Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

If you prefer not to give your dog human medications, some natural home treatments can do the trick. However, these may not be the best cure for your dog, so make sure you check with your veterinarian before proceeding.

Some natural home remedies include:

  • Banana baby food
  • Rice with boiled chicken (boneless and no salt or seasonings added) – Exact portion can vary by dog. We suggest starting with a half cup of cooked rice and about 4 ounces of chicken. If your dog isn’t drinking water, add some water to the mixture as well.

Do not use hamburger meat – this is a fairly common recommendation on bulletin boards, but the fact is the meat is too greasy and will not help your dog’s upset stomach (nor is it healthy for your dog).

What Causes Dogs To Get An Upset Stomach?

You might be curious to know what caused the upset stomach to begin with? Here are some possible causes and why.

Changing Your Dog’s Food

Although dogs will eat most anything you put in front of them, their stomachs don’t always agree with this free-for-all type of consumption. One of the most likely causes for an upset stomach is a change in diet. You can’t assume that they have eaten something unhealthy either. Sometimes they get an upset stomach from something as simple as a change in brand or flavor of dog food. If these causes seem unlikely, you might start searching for another reason, such as illness.

So make sure you still have some of your dog’s current food to allow time for the transition. Over the course of about a week, slowly start mixing in more and more of the new food into less and less of the current food until the transition is complete.

Dog eating out of bowl (caption: How To Change Dog Food)Read our articles on changing dog food and transitioning your puppy to adult dog food for more specific details. Go slow and keep an eye on your dog while changing food to make sure they remain healthy. And make sure your dog doesn’t eat too fast as that can also cause result in an upset tummy. Consult your vet if you have any questions during this process of changing dog food or run into any health concerns.

Dehydration

Dogs (and especially young pups) are very susceptible to occurrences of dehydration, just like humans are. If you notice that your dog has diarrhea or doesn’t seem to have an appetite or be interested in drinking his or her water, then your dog is taking the first step towards dehydration.

You can check to see if your dog is already dehydrated by assessing the appearance of his or her skin and gums. If you lift your dog’s lip, the gums should be coated with a shiny wet film. If not, then he or she may be dehydrated.

To check the skin to see if your dog is dehydrated, squeeze the skin behind the neck as if you were going to pick your dog up as his or her mother would. Release the skin. If the skin stays in the pinched position, your dog is dehydrated. If it automatically goes back to lying flat on the neck, your dog is not dehydrated.

This is the same method used to check humans. If you’ve ever had someone pinch the skin on your hand and then watch to see if it goes back to its original form, you have experienced the same kind of dehydration test.

Common Causes and Treatments For A Dog’s Upset Stomach Infographic

Common Causes and Treatments For A Dog

Dangers Of An Upset Stomach

Sick dog on bed with fluAside from the fact that our dog is likely to be uncomfortable and even in pain, the upset stomach may be a symptom of an underlying issue. Your dog may have something as mild as the flu or as life-threatening as the parvovirus. If your dog has a bacterial infection or a virus, they are likely to show other signs along with the upset stomach.

Should the condition persist, the most dangerous threat is likely to be dehydration. This occurs when the body is unable to retain fluids. Water makes up around 75% of the body weight of dogs, but even consuming large amounts of water may not be enough to prevent dehydration in your dog.

If You Have An Emergency, Call The Vet

If your dog is very ill and you cannot figure out how to help it, please call the vet.

No website can match the help that a trained veterinarian and an actual in-person physical exam to determine the best plan of treatment and help guide you through this difficult time. And if you don’t already have pet insurance, consider getting it as it can help save you money at the vet (in addition to saving your dog’s life). Check out our comparison of the top 3 providers for more.

Watch this video to learn the benefits of getting pet insurance and how it can help your dog and their upset tummy (plus your pocketbook) in the future.

As dog owners ourselves, we know how challenging it can be to see your pup suffer. We hope your dog is feeling better soon.

Any other sick tummy treatments that you’ve found successful?

About The Author:

Michelle holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and has worked in marketing at Bank of America, Mattel and Hanes. Her expert advice and opinions have appeared in many outstanding media outlets, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Forbes, People, Reader's Digest and Apartment Therapy, among others.

She is the proud co-founder of Canine Journal and a dog lover through and through. Since the day she was born, she has lived in a home full of dogs. Her adult home is no exception where she and her husband live with Lily and Barley, their two adorable rescue pups.

In addition to her love for snuggling with dogs, she also has enjoyed working professionally in the canine field since 1999 when she started her first dog-related job at a dog bakery.

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