If you own a dog, you know how distressing it can be when one of your pets becomes ill. While it can be so uncomfortable for them, it can also be frustrating for you. What triggers a dog’s upset stomach, though, and how can you make your pet feel better?
A dog may have an upset stomach for various reasons. It could range from eating something they shouldn’t have to a more serious medical problem. In this blog post, we’ll look at some typical reasons dogs get upset stomachs and provide helpful advice on making your dog feel better. Read on!
Causes of Your Dog’s Upset Stomach
1. Dietary Indiscretion
Dietary indiscretion is a leading cause of an upset stomach in dogs. Dogs like exploring their surroundings with their noses and mouths. And sometimes, their curious appetites lead them astray. Catching them scavenging through the trash or devouring inedible objects is common. While it may seem harmless to them, these dietary adventures can wreak havoc on their delicate digestive systems.
When dogs consume spoiled food or non-edible items, their stomachs can become irritated and inflamed. The foreign substances may be difficult for their bodies to digest, leading to an upset stomach. Also, they can introduce harmful bacteria into their system, further exacerbating the problem.
The consequences of dietary indiscretion can range from mild stomach upset to more severe conditions. So, be vigilant to protect your dog from consuming potentially harmful substances. Keep trash cans secure and avoid leaving food within their reach to help deter its inclination to engage in dietary indiscretions. This way, your dog’s upset stomach will be a thing of the past.
2. Dietary Changes
Sudden dietary changes can cause your dog’s upset stomach. Dogs thrive on routine and familiarity, and abrupt shifts in their food can disrupt their delicate digestive balance. So, when you suddenly introduce a new food to your dog, it can cause gastrointestinal distress.
Dogs have sensitive stomachs that need time to adapt to dietary changes. With this kind of sensitivity, a sudden switch can overwhelm their system. And this can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, or gas.
To prevent these issues, introduce new foods gradually to your dog. Mix a small part of the new food with its regular diet. Then, gradually increase the proportion throughout 7 to 10 days. This gradual transition allows its digestive system to adjust and minimizes the risk of upset stomachs.
3. Food Allergies
Food allergies or intolerances can contribute to your dog’s upset stomach. Like us, dogs can react adversely to specific ingredients in their diet. These allergies occur when the immune system recognizes certain proteins as harmful and mounts an immune response against them. Common allergens for dogs include beef, chicken, dairy, wheat, and soy.
If your dog has a food allergy and consumes an allergen, it triggers a cascade of reactions within its body. The immune system releases histamines and other chemicals, leading to inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.
Though identifying food allergies in dogs is challenging, you must find them. When you do, the primary treatment involves avoiding the offending ingredient. Simple!
4. Ingestion of Toxic Substances
Dogs are curious creatures and may inadvertently consume toxic substances such as certain plants and household chemicals. These substances can cause severe gastrointestinal distress and lead to an upset stomach. So, keep toxic substances out of your dog’s reach and be aware of foods that are toxic to dogs. These include chocolate, grapes, onions, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener).
If you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic, seek immediate veterinary help. Quick action is crucial to prevent further complications and reduce the impact on your dog’s health.
Symptoms of Dog’s Upset Stomach
When your dog has an upset stomach, how do you know? Fortunately, several symptoms show their discomfort. One common sign is vomiting, where the dog forcefully expels their stomach contents. The vomit may contain undigested food, bile, or mucus.
Another symptom is diarrhea, which can occur more often than usual. Besides vomiting and diarrhea, dogs with upset stomachs may lose their appetite. They may refuse to eat their regular meals or show a decreased interest in food.
Sometimes, dogs may experience abdominal discomfort or pain, manifesting as restlessness, pacing, or frequent changes in body position. They may also exhibit discomforts, such as whining, whimpering, or excessive drooling.
Other symptoms can include excessive gas, bloating, or a distended abdomen. Dogs with upset stomachs may also experience dehydration, as vomiting and diarrhea can lead to fluid loss. Signs of dehydration include dry gums, excessive panting, lethargy, and sunken eyes.
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, watch their condition closely and seek vet attention if they persist or worsen.
How to Treat Your Dog’s Upset Stomach
Treating your dog’s upset stomach requires a careful approach to provide relief. Here’s a simplified explanation of how to treat your dog’s upset stomach:
First, you must determine the cause of the upset stomach. If it’s a mild case and your dog is otherwise healthy, you can start by temporarily fasting them for 12 to 24 hours. During this time, ensure they can access fresh water to prevent dehydration. This fasting period allows their stomach to settle and reduces the workload on their digestive system.
After the fasting period, it’s time to reintroduce food. Start with a bland diet consisting of easily digestible foods. Feed small, frequent meals to prevent overloading their stomach. Gradually, over a few days, transition them back to their regular diet by mixing increasing amounts of their usual food with the bland diet.
Avoid giving your dog fatty, spicy foods, which can further irritate their stomach. Also, keep them away from harmful substances and table scraps. Ensure they have a quiet and calm environment to reduce stress, as anxiety can worsen stomach upset.
If the upset stomach persists or worsens, consult a veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination and conduct tests if needed. Afterward, they prescribe appropriate medications or treatments based on the underlying cause.
An upset stomach can be distressing for the dog and its owner. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid, manage, and treat this condition. The first thing is to know the underlying causes. When you identify the causes, the above tips can help you overcome this situation. However, if it’s beyond your control, visit the vet and follow their instructions.