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What Can You Give A Dog For An Upset Stomach? 10 Proven Home Remedies - PawSafe
Dog Healthcare

What Can You Give A Dog For An Upset Stomach? 10 Proven Home Remedies

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

home remedies for dog stomach upset

What can you give a dog for an upset stomach is a common question among pet parents. Just as humans occasionally suffer from an upset stomach, our beloved canine companions can also experience digestive discomfort. From dietary indiscretion to more serious health issues, a dog’s stomach can be sensitive. 

This is where canine probiotics step in. These beneficial bacteria are essential for maintaining gut health, supporting the immune system, and potentially mitigating some gastrointestinal disorders.

In this comprehensive guide on what you can give a dog for an upset stomach, we’re going to delve into the importance of probiotics, among other helpful solutions. Rest assured, we’re grounding our advice on authoritative veterinary sources like “Canine and Feline Gastroenterology”, to offer you informed, reliable solutions for your dog’s digestive health. Whether your furry friend has mild tummy trouble or a more complex gastrointestinal issue, this article aims to help you understand and address their needs effectively.

Signs Of An Upset Stomach In Dogs

Recognizing the signs of an upset stomach in dogs is essential to provide timely care. Common symptoms may include:

  1. Vomiting: Frequent vomiting can be a clear sign of gastrointestinal upset.
  2. Diarrhea: Loose, watery stools are often a symptom of an irritated stomach or intestines.
  3. Loss of Appetite: A dog refusing to eat, even its favorite treats, could be experiencing stomach discomfort.
  4. Lethargy: General tiredness or lack of energy may accompany stomach issues.
  5. Abdominal Pain or Bloating: Your dog might exhibit discomfort or tenderness when you touch its belly. Bloating or distension of the abdomen can also be a sign.
  6. Excessive Drooling or Gulping: This might indicate nausea, a precursor to vomiting.
  7. Grass Eating: Some dogs may eat grass to induce vomiting if they are feeling unwell.
  8. Whining or Restlessness: Dogs might become unusually restless or vocal if experiencing discomfort.
  9. Changes in Behavior: An otherwise friendly dog might become irritable or seek out secluded spots to hide.
  10. Constipation: Difficulty or inability to defecate can also be a sign of gastrointestinal upset.

If your dog exhibits any of these signs, especially if they persist, it’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian. An upset stomach might be a symptom of a more serious underlying issue that requires professional medical intervention.

Common Causes Of Upset Stomach In Dogs

Understanding what is causing a dog’s runny tummy is essential for the correct treatment. You may need a vet to figure this out. Upset stomachs in dogs and puppies can be caused by a range of factors:

  1. Dietary Indiscretion: Dogs are curious eaters. Consuming garbage, too much food, or non-food items can upset their stomachs. High fat diets and all meat diets can also cause upset stomachs for dogs.
  2. Change in Diet: Sudden changes in a dog’s diet can disrupt their digestive system, leading to upset stomachs.
  3. Food Intolerance or Allergies: Some dogs may have a sensitivity or intolerance to certain foods, causing gastrointestinal upset.
  4. Ingestion of Foreign Objects: Dogs, especially puppies, can ingest non-food items such as toys or small household items, which can lead to stomach problems. Also see: can puppies chew bones?
  5. Stress or Anxiety: Changes in environment, separation anxiety, or other stressful situations can affect a dog’s digestive system.
  6. Parasites: Intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, or giardia can cause stomach upset in dogs.
  7. Viral Infections: Infections like Parvovirus can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in dogs and puppies.
  8. Certain Medications: Some drugs can irritate a dog’s stomach and cause vomiting or diarrhea.

It’s important to identify the potential cause of an upset stomach to effectively treat and prevent future issues. Always consult with a vet if your dog or puppy has persistent or severe symptoms.

10 Home Remedies & Steps To Help Settle A Dog’s Upset Stomach

There are several steps that you can take to help settle your dog’s stomach:

1. Withholding Food 

If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, you might need to withhold food for about 24 hours to allow the stomach to rest. However, this should be done under the guidance of a veterinarian.

2. Rehydration

During episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, dogs lose electrolytes. Giving your dog rehydration salts that contain salt, potassium, and glucose can help replace these lost electrolytes. Good options for dogs are pet-a-lyte, Nupro, Pawlific, and Bullyade.

3. Hydration

Always ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. Proper hydration is key to recovery, especially if your dog has been vomiting or has had diarrhea.

4. Bland Diet

After the fasting period, introduce a bland diet of shredded chicken and rice. You can refer to this article on how to boil chicken properly for your dog. You can also help your dog rehydrate by adding bone broth.

5. Probiotics

Probiotics can help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria, aiding digestion and soothing the upset stomach. A great natural probiotic you can add is a good dollop of goat’s milk kefir on your dog’s food. Forget yogurt, as it simply doesn’t have the right kind of probiotics to survive in a dog’s gut or enough colony forming units to help the good bacteria in the guts.

When it comes to probiotics, there are several strains shown to be effective for treating diarrhea:

  1. Saccharomyces boulardii: This is a yeast can help with antibiotic-associated and viral diarrhea.
  2. Bacillus subtilis
  3.  Enterococcus faecium
  4. Pediococcus acidilactici
  5. Lactobacillus acidophilus 

Ensure your dog’s probiotics contain at least two of these strains. S. boulardii and B. subtilis should be at least 1 billion CFU (colony forming units), while L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium probiotics should be at least 30 billion CFU. If they don’t have enough live colony forming units, they won’t survive in the gut.

6. Fiber

While some advise adding a spoonful of pumpkin puree to provide fiber, studies don’t necessarily back up its efficacy, given the low fiber content in a spoonful. But in moderate amounts, fiber can be beneficial. You can try a little bit of soluble fiber, such as pectin, to help feed the good bacteria in the gut and restore the gut lining. Studies show including about 5% soluble and insoluble fiber in a dog’s diet promotes their overall gut health. 

Remember, fiber stimulates gut movement, so it can make diarrhea worse. It’s better to add a bit of fiber when your dog’s stomach settles as the prebiotics in fiber provide food for probiotics and promote gut health.

7. L-Glutamine

This is an amino acid that can help repair the intestinal lining, providing relief from diarrhea.

8. Bone Broth

This is a nutrient-rich liquid made from simmered bones that can soothe the gut and provide essential minerals. Make sure it is low in sodium for dogs.

9. FOS (fructo-oligosaccharide) Powder

FOS is a prebiotic that promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, helping to restore balance in the digestive tract.

10. MOS (Mannan-oligosaccharides) Powder

Another prebiotic, MOS aids in promoting a healthy gut environment by preventing harmful bacteria from adhering to the intestinal walls. It supports the growth of beneficial bacteria, thus enhancing the overall gut health and immune response. In conjunction with the probiotics, MOS can be an effective tool in managing diarrhea by maintaining a balanced gut microbiota. However, just like other treatments, the use of MOS should be supervised by a veterinarian to ensure it’s suitable for your pet’s specific health situation.

Natural Remedies For Upset Stomachs In Dogs

Studies show that certain natural remedies like slippery elm and marshmallow root can soothe an upset stomach. Note that slippery elm can act as a mild laxative, so use with caution.

Remember, always consult your vet before starting any treatment regime. Upset stomachs can have many causes, some of which can be serious. The vet can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific needs.

Common Remedies For Canine Upset Stomachs That Don’t Work Or Are Dangerous

The internet is always full of misguided information. So let’s address some common home remedies for a dog’s stomach that you should not try:

  1. Essential Oils: Many essential oils, including peppermint oil, are toxic to dogs and should never be used as a treatment for an upset stomach. While they may provide relief for humans, these oils can cause serious harm to your pet.
  2. Yogurt: Although not harmful per se, yogurt is not as beneficial as it’s often believed to be. The type of bacteria in yogurt doesn’t survive in a dog’s stomach, which is far more acidic than a human’s, rendering the probiotics ineffective. Moreover, yogurt typically doesn’t contain enough CFUs (Colony Forming Units) to benefit a dog’s gut health.
  3. Pumpkin Puree: It’s a common suggestion to give dogs pumpkin puree for an upset stomach, but the reality is that there are no scientific studies proving its efficacy. The amount of fiber in a spoonful of pumpkin puree is low and is unlikely to make a significant difference in your dog’s digestive health. Furthermore, eating too much fiber can exacerbate diarrhea.

It’s essential to always consult a professional before implementing any remedy, particularly when dealing with an upset stomach, as it could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. Pet owners must understand what truly aids in their dog’s recovery and what may cause further harm or simply have no effect.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can you give a dog for an upset stomach at home? 

At home, you can provide your dog with a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice, ensure they’re well-hydrated, and consider giving them probiotics. Always consult a vet first.

Is there a natural remedy for a dog’s upset stomach? 

Yes, natural remedies like slippery elm and marshmallow root can help soothe a dog’s upset stomach. However, use these under the guidance of a vet.

Can I give my dog Pepto Bismol for an upset stomach? 

While Pepto Bismol can be used for dogs in some cases, it’s crucial to consult with a vet before administering any human medications to pets.

Can I give my dog Imodium for diarrhea? 

Imodium can be used for dogs in some circumstances, but only under the direct advice and supervision of a vet due to potential side effects.

What over-the-counter medication can you give a dog with an upset stomach?

Over-the-counter medications like Pepcid can be used for dogs, but always consult a veterinarian before administering any OTC medications to ensure proper dosage and safety.

Final Thoughts

Navigating a dog’s upset stomach can be challenging, but understanding the potential remedies, recognizing what’s effective and what’s not, can make the process smoother. Always remember that every dog is unique and what works for one might not work for another. Always consult a veterinarian for advice tailored to your dog’s specific needs and condition. Your pet’s health is paramount, and professional advice is the best tool you have to ensure their wellbeing.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

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Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.