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5 Signs Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach and How to Cure It

dog with upset stomach

Why do Dogs Eat Grass? | Poisoning in Dogs

5 Signs Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach

1. Eating Grass

People have debated whether dogs eat grass when they have an upset stomach so they’ll vomit or if they just like eating grass and vomit after eating it. It may be both, depending on the dog. For whatever reason your dog may eat grass, just make sure the grass isn’t chemically treated. Eating chemically treated grass or poisonous plants will obviously cause more harm than good.

2. Excessive Salivation

When your dog is showing signs of excessive salivation, or drooling, this means the salivary glands are going into overdrive. Your dog’s body does this to protect the mouth and throat from the acidic effects of potential vomiting. Whether your dog has actually vomited or not, excessive salivation is usually a sign of an upset stomach.

3. Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are two of the most obvious signs that your dog is experiencing stomach trouble. Most of the time this is not an indication of a serious medical condition. According to Pet Central, however, there are times when vomiting and diarrhea could mean your pet is experiencing something more serious. A few things to look out for include the following:

  • Inability to keep any food down
  • Signs of discomfort or pain
  • Complete loss of appetite
  • Consistently soft stool
  • Obvious weight loss or rapid weight loss

4. Excessive Gas

Some dogs tend to have more gas than others. But excessive gas can be a symptom of an upset stomach or bowel problems. If there are no other symptoms, extra gas may just be a side-effect of something your dog ate and no cause for concern. Wag lists several causes for gas in dogs that are usually harmless.
  • Eating too soon right after exercise
  • Eating quickly and ingesting air
  • Eating milk products or spicy foods
There are some more serious conditions that may cause gas.
  • Parasitic infections
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal tumors

5. Gurgling Stomach

Gurgling stomach noises may just be the result of eating something new that the digestive system isn’t quite used to. Stomach gurgling is something to watch closely because it may be followed by diarrhea. It’s also a sign that your pup may be experiencing a stomach ache.

Reasons Your Dog May Get an Upset Stomach

1. Ingesting Alcohol or Caffeine

Dogs generally don’t like the taste of alcohol and normally won’t get into it. The ethanol in alcohol can be extremely dangerous if ingested by a dog. A pet that has ingested alcohol may show signs of excessive thirst or urination. The dog may become wobbly or vomit.

Caffeine can also be a problem, causing increased heart rate and hyperactivity. So keep all sources of alcohol and caffeine out of your dog’s reach. These include alcoholic beverages, medications with alcohol, coffee, soda, sports drinks and any type of candy.

2. Ingesting Human Medications

A variety of medications can be extremely harmful if ingested by dogs. According to Pet Poison Helpline, these include the following:

  • Cholesterol Drugs – Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor
  • Beta-blockers – Coreg, Tenormin, Toprol
  • Sleep Aids – Ambien, Lunesta
  • Antidepressants – Cymbalta, Lexapro, Prozac
  • Pain Relievers – Advil, Aleve, Tylenol

3. Change in Diet

Changes in a dog’s eating routine can cause digestive problems. So, especially during holidays and family gatherings, make sure your dog stays away from leftover food. If you’re switching to a new dog food, make sure there is a transition period. This means you may want to slowly mix the new food into the old food to give your dog’s digestive system a chance to adjust.

4. Stress

Animals can experience stress in many ways that humans do. If there have been major changes in your household or if you have recently moved, this can cause stress for your pet. When dogs are feeling stressed or anxious they may exhibit symptoms such as excessive gas or diarrhea. Sometimes dogs get stressed when they’re exposed to loud noises, such as fireworks or are separated from their owners for long periods of time.

5. Intestinal Problems

There may actually be a medical problem that is causing your dog’s tummy trouble. The Merck Veterinary Manual describes both infectious and noninfectious diseases your dog may be suffering from that can cause problems in the digestive tract. Everything from obstruction due to swallowing a non-food item to gastric ulcers may cause stomach problems for your pup.

If your dog’s abdomen is distended or the dog is retching without being able to actually vomit this may be a sign of bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Tips and Remedies for Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

1. Rice and Boiled Chicken

According to the American Kennel Club, boiled chicken and rice are primary ingredients in many types of dog food. Not only will they provide good nutrition for your dog, but they can help ease an upset stomach. Make sure the chicken is boneless and there isn’t any seasoning or salt added.

2. Pumpkin

Pumpkin has a high amount of fiber that can help regulate your pup’s digestive system. Pumpkin is also high in a variety of nutrients including vitamins A, C and E. You’ll want to mix one or two tablespoons of pumpkin in a smaller dog’s food. For larger dogs, add three or four tablespoons. Make sure the pumpkin is cooked, unseasoned and peeled.

3. Banana Baby Food

Yes, you read that correctly. states that bananas are good for a dog that’s sick because the potassium can help reduce problems associated with diarrhea. Since baby food is smooth and doesn’t need to be chewed it will be easy for your dog to get down.

4. Plain Yogurt

Adding one tablespoon of unsweetened, plain yogurt to your dog’s food can help ease stomach ailments and soothe inflamed intestines. Yogurt has cultures that can help the digestion process. It may also stimulate the appetite if your dog hasn’t recently been eating well.

5. Fasting

Fasting for short amounts of time may flush out toxins and give your dog’s digestive system a rest. While fasting can be very beneficial, do not let your dog go very long without food. Contact a vet regarding how long your particular dog can safely fast. Your dog should always be given water during the fast to avoid dehydration.

If your canine’s upset stomach is caused by stress, change in diet or ingesting small amounts of non-toxic items that shouldn’t be eaten, using one or more of the above remedies should eliminate the problem. If your dog’s tummy troubles don’t seem to get better after a few days or if your dog has ingested something potentially life-threatening, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Being proactive by keeping toxic items away from your dog and closely monitoring your puppy’s behavior is the best way to maintain optimum health.

Being proactive about your pet’s health also means being ready for any emergencies. Get pet insurance today so you don’t need to worry about the vet’s bill.

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