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While vomiting and diarrhea in dogs can be common signs of poisoning or illness, they can often the result of an upset digestive system. Your dog could have eaten too much, too fast, or something that isn’t dog-friendly.
Isolated episodes may not be serious, but it’s advised to watch out for more than two episodes of vomiting or diarrhea within a 24-hour period and look for any other symptoms such as eating grass.
According to Julie Reck DVM, at Veterinary Medical Center of Fort Mill, South Carolina and Co-Founder of Aspire Vet, upset stomachs accompanied by other symptoms could warrant immediate medical attention. “If a dog has other symptoms, such as a lack of appetite or is acting tired or sluggish, then even an isolated episode should be evaluated by your veterinarian.”1
There are also some home remedies if your dog has an upset stomach due to eating rotten food, scavenging trash, or just eating their kibble too quickly. Read on if you’re wondering how to help your dog’s upset stomach.
Don’t raid your medicine cabinet to care for your pup just yet. Many over-the-counter (OTC) medications for humans are unsafe for dogs to use. Here are a few options for treating your dog’s upset stomach.
Your veterinarian may suggest Pepcid®, Mylanta®, or Gaviscon® for constipation (except for pets with kidney disease).2 Imodium may also be a good option to help treat your dog’s diarrhea.
Additionally, oral probiotics may help with stomach issues, as long as the brand you choose does not contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Probiotic supplements could also work to restore and maintain healthy gut flora in the digestive tract, which can help heal upset tummies. Be sure to consult your vet before giving your dog any of these medications or supplements, just in case.
As far as giving an antacid to your pooch, avoid giving your dog Pepto-Bismol® and other products containing salicylic acid, which can inflame canine tummies.
Giving your dog Tums® is also no-no. Many types have xylitol in them and even xylitol-free Tums® may contribute to an abundance of calcium in your dog’s blood, which can harm their kidneys.3
Other tummy-soothers for your furry friend may be found in places as close as your kitchen cupboard. Consider checking out some home remedies that may help your dog’s upset stomach:
If your dog isn’t drinking water, you can offer ice cubes or ice chips for a crunchy and cold treat. This may help them stay hydrated and may help settle their stomach problems.
Ginger could be a simple solution for a dog’s upset stomach, and it typically helps treat motion sickness in dogs. If your dog will drink, you can also try peeling fresh ginger root, and boiling it in water. When it has cooled, let them lap it up.
If you can get your dog to eat treats, sugar-free ginger snap cookies can be an option. Make or buy sugar-free (and xylitol-free) gingersnap or gingerbread cookies. Two cookies for a medium-sized dog could help ease their belly.
Pumpkin purée is a natural remedy for diarrhea since fiber helps firm up loose dog stools.
White rice is typically easily digested by a dog with an upset stomach. Better yet, adding a spoonful of pumpkin to it could boost its benefits and make it taste yummier as well.
Honey is packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, and its pH is low enough to help slow or prevent the growth of many types of bacteria. There is substantial evidence that New Zealand’s Manuka honey may be effective against Helicobacter pylori bacteria which causes stomach ulcers.4
Carob (pet-safe chocolate) is great for calming an upset tummy and curbing diarrhea. Mixing carob powder with a little honey and filtered water, or even into non-fat plain yogurt, can be a treat for your dog.
Cinnamon has long been considered a treatment for nausea, fever, and diarrhea.
This is considered one of the greatest remedies for digestive disorders. When slippery elm bark is mixed with goat milk or goat milk yogurt, it lines the gut and intestines, helping protect the mucous membranes from irritation. It is best to check with your veterinarian regarding dosing.5
Cabbage contains many nutrients that can help support your dog’s tummy and intestinal lining. The veggie has anti-inflammatory properties and can help curb stomach pain to help make your dog feel a little better.
After it has been 12 – 24 hours since your dog’s last diarrhea or vomiting episode, you’ll want to start reintroducing solid dog foods. Consider a bland diet. A bowl of plain rice and chopped unseasoned chicken breast can be a great bland option that’s also nutritious. You can also offer some bone broth for even more nutrition.
The best way to care for your dog is prevention. But dogs are notoriously mischievous and love to eat things they’re not supposed to consume. Here are a few things you can do to protect your dog’s sensitive stomach:
Dogs sometimes get into things that they should not; however, gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea can also be signs of serious dog health conditions. When in doubt, always check with your veterinarian to ensure a quick recovery.
Now that you know what to give a dog for an upset stomach, you may be looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy. Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance. Our policies help cover vet visits, injuries, illnesses, and much more.6 Dog owners can get a free quote today.
1 Personal interview with Julie Reck, DVM, Veterinary Medical Center of Fort Mill, South Carolina and Co-Founder of Aspire Vet, June 2020.
2 “Toxicity to Pets,” Pet Poison Helpline.
3 “Can Dogs Have Tums?,” Emergency Vets USA
4 “Antioxidants,” VCA Animal Hospitals
5 “Slippery Elm,” VCA Animal Hospitals
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