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How To Relieve Your Pets Upset Stomach

An upset stomach is very natural, and it happens to everyone, including our furry four-legged friends. There are several odds as to what can lead to Gastrointestinal issues, but not all of them require you to visit a doctor, a vet in this case. In fact, in most cases, you can relieve your dog’s minor stomach issues by yourself with simple home remedies.    

But before digging into ways to soothe or heal, make sure the symptoms your dog is experiencing are that of an upset stomach and if treating it at home is an option or does your dog needs immediate vet attention.  

Symptoms Of An Upset Stomach In Dogs

Continuously check on your dog and keep a tab on unusual activities and poor health symptoms. It helps you acknowledge the severity of the situation and allow you to adequately explain to the vet what’s wrong in case of something severe. As for the symptoms of an upset stomach in dogs, it includes –

  • Vomiting
  • Salivation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Attempts to lick the floor or eat grass 
  • Gurgling like noises from the stomach
  • Flatulence

Check If Your Dog’s Condition Is Treatable At Home Or A Vet Is Needed

Any condition that looks like an upset stomach is not necessarily so and can even imply an underlying severe condition in some cases. It, therefore, grows vital that you do not attempt to treat your dog at home, delay the vet visit, or try something that irritates their condition further. 

But, how do you tell if your furry friend has an upset stomach or something more? Let’ see- 

Must Not Be Treated At Home 

If your dog shows symptoms mentioned below, know that they need urgent professional treatment as it may be a severe condition, such as intestinal obstruction, parvovirus, gastroenteritis, or even pancreatitis – 

  • running fever
  • lethargic 
  • continuous vomiting
  • appears dehydrated
  • continual diarrhea
  • nervous pacing
  • retching without vomiting
  • uncontrollable drooling
  • distended stomach appearance 
  • blood in their stool

Treatable At Home

If your dog suffers from none of the severe health implications mentioned above, you do not necessarily have to rush to a vet at that very moment. 

More often than not, an upset stomach is caused due to an abrupt diet change or because of trying something new for food. It is the exact reason any new introductions to diet or changes are advised to be slowly familiarised instead of all at once.

An upset stomach can also result from carelessness as your dog consumes something they must not; the trash can is accessible, after all! However, home treatment in case of this rash intake of items does not include toxic products, fatty foods that can cause pancreatitis, dog toys like bones, stones, sticks, etc. 

Keep Your Dog’s Hydration Levels In Check

To ensure that your dog is hydrated well, especially if they show symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, is of utmost importance. It is because liquid diarrhea and continuous vomiting can lead to rapid loss of fluids in the body, leading to dehydration in a matter of just 2-4 hours in some cases. Not to mention how dehydration is, in fact, one of the most common and severe issues faced by dogs. 

Also, if you have a small puppy or a small dog as a pet, know that they dehydrate much more quickly than the more giant dog, and therefore, greater caution must be maintained. But, how does one tell if their dog is dehydrated? Let’s see – 

Examine The Gums 

Salmon pink gums coated with a film of saliva ensure hydration, while tacky and dry gums show signs of dehydration. Just run your fingers lightly over your dog’s gums to check.

Another way to check dehydration through gums is to press your dog’s gum with your fingertip until they have become white, then gently remove the fingers and count the time it took for your dog’s gums to return to their everyday shade of pink. It is known as capillary refill time (CRT), and the test is based on the fact that CRT increases, meaning the circulating blood decreases in case of dehydration.  

In dogs, CRT is less than 2 seconds with an average of 1.5 seconds, with anything less suggesting dehydration.

The elasticity of your dog’s skin – Based on the fact that skin loses elasticity when dehydration, you may try and gently lift your dog’s skin on the back with two of your fingers. The skin getting repositioned as soon as you leave the skin means they are hydrated. 

However, if it takes time for the skin to snap back or, in a worst-case scenario, it stays lifted, know that your dog needs immediate rehydration and vet care.

Note – To prevent your dog from gulping down loads of water at once, give them ice cubes instead at fixed intervals. 

No Food For 12-24 Hours 

Fasting is the best way to give your dog’s gastrointestinal tract time off to rest, recover, and reset from any inflammation or issue. Unlike what many believe, it is pretty standard and healthy for a dog to go about 12-24 hours without food every once in a while, precisely what must be done in this case. 

While 12-24 hours do for most dogs, it is not valid for puppies or small dogs as their fasting period must not exceed 12 hours (overnight). To maintain your dog’s glucose levels, you may rub a little maple syrup on their gums that doesn’t contain xylitol ( an artificial sweetener potentially lethal to dogs).   

If your dog still vomits after fasting, rush to the vet immediately. If not, proceed with the next step. 

A Bland And Healthy Diet

Now that you are confident that your dog can keep his food and water down, it is time to break the fast, but make sure to keep the food game down. Begin a bland diet with no fat, oil, or spices, such as 75% boiled rice, cooked white meat with no skin or bones, extra-lean hamburger, etc. 

It is better to divide your dog’s diet into 3-4 small meals throughout the day for a couple of days instead of 2 big meals. Then, check the progress and increase meal size gradually. You may also check some soothing foods, like –

  • Yogurt
  • Canned pumpkin (Plain)
  • Plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes

Probiotics For A Healthy Gut

Healthy bacterias such as lactobacillus acidophilus make for a healthy gut, and the same is true for your dog’s gut health. Once your dog starts getting back on track with appetite and reduced symptoms, you may begin strengthening your dog’s gut health and immune system with the help of probiotics. 

Antibiotics reduce the number of digestive enzymes and good bacterias in the gut and, therefore, probiotics, natural like yogurt and store-bought like billion CFU, can both speed up your dog’s recovery. 

However, contact your vet for probiotics and its schedule if your dog is currently on antibiotics already, as they can, in some cases, neutralize each other’s effect. Also, check the expiration date and shelf life of the probiotics carefully before buying. 

Avoid Grass And Over The Counter Meds For Your Dogs 

Though your dog’s habit of eating grass when suffering from an upset stomach may seem helpful, it is not. Fertilizers and other chemicals on the lawn make the grass rather unhealthy for dogs, contrary to the popular belief that grass being an excellent way to induce vomiting in dogs.

The same is the case with over-the-counter medicines. Though medicine for the purpose you seek might be available, there is no guarantee that it will work or, worse, not show severe side effects. Therefore, any and every medicine for your dog must be professionally administered at all costs.

CONCLUSION 

Many dog owners, especially new ones, often underestimate or misanalyze their dog’s health and needs, often leading to panic when something goes wrong. However, in such cases, noticing and taking proper measures is the only way to get your furry friend’s health back on track. 

Feed your dog healthy, keep a tab on their activities, note their behavior, schedule vet checkup at least once per month, etc., are some simple ways to ensure that you have a happy and healthy dog. 

Also, do not rely entirely on home remedies and make a vet appointment as soon as possible to cross-check what happened and if there is more to the issue or not. Happy Scrolling!