You’ve probably heard the phrase “as sick as a dog.” What can you do when your pet truly fits that description? Many dog owners wonder what to give a dog for upset stomach to remedy their discomfort and pain.
In most cases, an upset stomach is the result of your dog eating something they shouldn’t have. When should you be worried that it is an emergency? What is the best diet to soothe your dog’s upset stomach or avoid these issues altogether? We’re answering these common questions and more so that you can keep your pet happy, healthy, and well fed!
Answers to Common Questions:
Concerned this is an emergency? Jump here to read “When should you be concerned if it’s an emergency?”
1. What are the signs your dog has an upset stomach?
- A dog will show signs of pain and discomfort when it has an upset stomach.
- Common symptoms include gas, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, drooling and increased salivation, gurgling stomach sounds, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and restlessness.
- If you notice that your dog is eating grass more excessively, that may be a sign that they are trying to induce vomiting to relieve their stomach.
- Likewise, if the dog is inside and feels nauseous, it may be licking surfaces, such as floors and couches.
2. What causes your dog’s upset stomach?
- The primary cause of an upset stomach in dogs is their food.
- Your dog may have eaten something it should have, such as table scraps or spoiled or high-fat foods.
- The way your dog consumes their food could have something to do with their stomach troubles as well.
- They may have eaten way too much of their regular food or they may have consumed it too quickly.
- Anxiety can also trigger all different kinds of digestive distress. If your dog is anxious, talk to your vet. In an upcoming blog post, we will dive into the topic of dog anxiety.
- Dogs catch intestinal bugs and colds too. Sometimes dogs get sick, just like people get sick. They’ll have many of the same symptoms humans would have. The bug may last up to a week, then symptoms will subside and your dog is back like new!
- If you notice that your dog’s upset stomach is lasting for a prolonged period, the symptoms could mean they may have a food sensitivity.
- Like in humans, gluten and dairy can cause gastro-intestinal upset in dogs! But the list of foods that can cause stomach upset really varies by dog.
- Read our post on feeding dogs dairy for more information about how upset stomachs in dogs can be caused by lactose intolerance.
- To find the culprit of your dog’s food sensitivities, you may need to closely observe what you feed your dog over a longer period of time and test what different foods trigger problems.
- Read more about this topic in our upcoming blog post about diagnosing your dog’s food allergies.
3. Are there specific foods that could be causing your dog’s upset stomach?
- While there are many human foods that dogs can consume, there are some that should absolutely be avoided. Foods that can be harmful to dogs include chocolate, garlic, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, avocado, nightshades, and more.
- Always read ingredient labels to check for toxic ingredients, such as xylitol, and look for the same quality you would buy for yourself! When feeding your dog, it is best to choose foods that are organic and minimally processed.
- Keep in mind that baked goods could contain several of the toxic ingredients mentioned above, such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, and raisins, as well as the sweetener xylitol. It is best to avoid baked goods unless they are specially created dog-friendly baked treats. Try Yitto Paws founder Bruce Bradley’s recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats with Blueberries!
- For an in-depth look at specific foods dogs can and cannot eat, read our posts “The Complete List of the Best Fruits Dogs Can Eat Plus Tips & 2 Simple Recipes!” and “The Ultimate Guide to Vegetables Dogs Can Eat PLUS Our Top 4 Favorites.”
4. When should you be worried that it is an emergency?
- Be sure to monitor your dog’s condition closely if you suspect they may have an upset stomach. Although usually an upset stomach isn’t serious, in some cases, it can be a sign of an underlying issue. How do you know the difference? Here’s our tips:
- Urgent! Get your dog to your vet/emergency vet now!
- Unable to stand
- Sudden collapse
- Whining, shaking suddenly, or seizures
- Ingested (or suspected) poison or other toxic food/substance
- Vomiting blood
- Trying to vomit but nothing comes up
- Hard or swollen abdomen
- Labored breathing
- Pale gums (gums should be pink and when touched with finger, the spot you touch will turn white, but immediately go back to pink when you remove your finger)
- Inability to pee
- Bleeding from mouth, nose, or eyes
- Comfort & observe:
- Vomiting: Throwing up 2-3 times over a short period of time, and then being fine is pretty normal for how a dog handles digestive problems. But if your dog is vomiting 3 or more times over a period of eight hours, get your dog to the vet.
- Also, your dog may get to the point of vomiting up a yellowy substance which means their stomach is empty and they’re just pulling up stomach acid. That’s okay and normal if it happens for a short period of time. If the vomiting doesn’t stop over several hours, or your dog starts vomiting blood, call/go to your vet immediately.
- Diarrhea: The rules on diarrhea are a lot like those for vomiting. It’s not unusual for your dog, when sick, to have several episodes of diarrhea over a short period of time. Their digestive system is upset, so it’s their body’s way of cleaning things out.
- It’s only when diarrhea or urgent need to defecate doesn’t subside or when their blood in the stool that you should take your dog to the vet immediately.
- Here’s how our founder handles things with his girl, Katie.:
- Urgent! Get your dog to your vet/emergency vet now!
“If Katie is sick but can continue to (1) drink some water or bone broth, which is very important since dehydration is a real risk, (2) eat some bland food, and (3) go outside to the bathroom, I’m pretty sure she’ll be fine.
I will call our vet if her symptoms continue for more than a day or so or if they get worse. Finally, I’m always watching for any of the signs of an emergency that you shared above.”
- NEVER be afraid to act! Watching your dog get sick can be scary since they can’t “talk” to us but follow your instincts. You know your dog best. Sudden changes or behavior that is atypical is alarming, so even if it’s not on the above list, NEVER be afraid to call/go to your vet and get their opinion.
5. What to give a dog for upset stomach remedy?
- A bland diet with foods such as rice, low-fat meat, pumpkin, and bone broth is easily digestible. Organic, stage II, meat-based (chicken or turkey) baby foods are also an option.
- Just make sure they don’t have any garlic or onion powder in their ingredients. These diet options should help improve your dog’s upset stomach while ensuring they are getting proper nutrients and calories.
- Ease your dog back into their old diet by gradually reintroducing regular foods.
- Get back to basics! Your dog will feel best eating foods with minimally processed, fresh and whole ingredients.
- Read ingredient labels to make sure the list is short and recognizable.
- You should always avoid seasonings on pet food, but especially if your dog is already ill.
- If you’re including a protein, such as chicken, in your dog’s meal, be sure that it is simply boiled and does not contain any salt or garlic.
- Make sure your dog is hydrated! This is especially important if they are losing water due to vomiting or experiencing diarrhea. Vets suggest limiting food intake, but maintaining hydration, until symptoms subside.
6. What are the best ways to remedy your dog’s upset stomach through their diet?
Ingredients to look out for:
- Just as it is recommended for humans, it is important to feed your dogs foods that support good bacteria and gut health to avoid and relieve digestive problems.
- As mentioned in our post on feeding dogs dairy, Greek yogurt is a great choice for a healthy digestive system because of its probiotic benefits. Probiotics inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and support the growth of good bacteria!
- Bone broth is packed with nutrients and can help replenish vitamins and minerals lost while your dog was experiencing an upset stomach.
- Foods that are high in fiber aid digestion as well.
- There are many fruits dogs can eat that are high in fiber and act as prebiotics! These fruits include apples, bananas, mangoes, peaches, pears, and berries.
- Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber! The beta-glucan in oats is known to reduce bad cholesterol, as well as improve blood sugar control and insulin response.
- Pureed pumpkin will be easy on your dog’s stomach, while providing them with superfood benefits! The fiber in pumpkin may also work to soothe an irritated digestive system.
- Boiled, skinless and boneless, unseasoned chicken is a healthy addition to your dog’s regular food for extra protein!
- It can also be fed to dogs to substitute a meal if needed. Try serving it to your dog with plain rice and vegetables for a well-balanced special meal!
- Choose healthy treats. We all want to show our pups extra love, but always be careful with treats. So many table scraps and commercially available treats are bad for your dog. Choose treats that contain simple, healthy ingredients like Yitto Paws organic, human grade treats with no sugar added and always 6 simple ingredients or less.
Simple recipes coming soon to the blog:
- Bland Diet Recipe
- Bone Broth Recipe
- Chicken, Rice, and Pumpkin Homemade Dog Food
- Homemade “Baby Food” Cups For Your Sick Elderly Pup