Just as humans, dogs may be occasionally prone to getting a bout of upset stomach. In most cases, nothing really to worry about; by following some simple guidelines your dog may be back to its normal happy self within a few hours. However, there are some cases where the symptoms your dog is exhibiting may be much more than your normal average tummy ache, and therefore, may require immediate veterinary attention. Before looking at dog tummy ache solutions, let's take a look at some other conditions that suggest more serious issues.
Stomach Aches in Dogs That Require Immediate Veterinary Attention
These are conditions that you do not want to try to cure at home. These are actually medical emergencies that urge you to call your veterinarian at once or head towards the closest animal emergency center. Please do not try to treat these conditions with home remedies: this will be useless and will only make you lose precious time.
It appears that statistically, bloat affects the most large and deep chested dogs. This condition is also commonly known as'' torsion'' or better technically as ''gastric dilation volvolus (GDV).'' Very often the culprit of such a serious disorder, may be what we may consider as minor occurrences such as: gulping down a large amount of water right after eating, exercising on a full stomach, over eating, eating too fast, swallowing a large amount of air or stress.
A dog affected by bloat will often exhibit the following symptoms: retching, restlessness, pacing, a hunched up position, lack of normal stomach noises, pale gums, bloated abdomen, lethargy or anxierty. This condition is an emergency where hours or minutes can make the difference between life and death. Some over the counter products such as Mylanta gas or Gas-x may give some relief while heading to the closest emergency center. Ask your veterinarian's advice.
-Foreign Body Ingestion
If your dog or puppy likes to eat and swallow odd items, he/she may be prone to an intestinal blockage. Dogs with this condition will start to strain and will not produce a bowel movement. Suspect a potential blockage also if the dog starts vomiting as well and is unable to keep food down. Do not be tricked though if your dog develops some diarrhea, as sometimes some feces make it though around the obstruction in this liquid form. If your dog loves ingesting rocks, buttons, coins or just about anything he finds around, and the above symptoms seem all too familiar, then a prompt vet visit is required. X-rays will confirm the obstruction and emergency surgery may be needed.
If your dog is a puppy or an unvaccinated adult, Parvo can be a potentially dangerous disease. Dogs with Parvo will stop eating, will vomit, will have a bad smelling diarrhea, will become lethargic, may develop a fever and often blood will appear in stools. If you suspect Parvo have your dog seen ASAP as supportive care is essential to prevent dehydration.
This condition can be life threatening as well as often it is caused by consuming fatty meals. Dogs that eat greasy "people food" may develop this condition but so are dogs affected by some systemic disorder such as high amounts of lipids or high amounts of calcium in the blood. Dogs with pancreatitis will vomit, have diarrhea producing a yellow greasy stool, assume a hunched up posture, and also will have a distended and very painful abdomen. Treatment must be aggressive and consists of withdrawing food and water for 24 hours, giving under the skin fluids and providing medications.
A dog with gastro- enteritis is suffering from an inflammation of the stomach and the intestines and therefore will be vomiting and having diarrhea. Other symptoms are as follows: inappetence, lethargy, listlessness, dehydration, presence of blood in the stool and shock.
Dogs will need to be treated aggressively by fasting, preventing dehydration by giving sub Q fluids, giving anti-nausea meds and in many cases antibiotics.
Many parasites are known to cause stomach and intestinal disorders. Routine stool checks should be performed to rule out common parasites such as roundworms, coccidia, hookworms, tapeworms etc. Almost all puppies are affected by roundworms so it is vital to have the vet run stool checks and give dewormers during the puppy's first shot appointments.
These are some of the most common, yet dangerous conditions that may affect a dog's gastro-intestinal system.. There are many other causes such as poisons, toxins, protozoans such as Giardia, food intolerance etc. So now that you have ruled out the most serious conditions and have come to the conclusion that your dog may have a simple tummy ache, here are some home remedies:
Home Remedies For Dogs With Upset Stomach
Tummy aches you can try to treat at home are those generally triggered by minor causes such as sudden diet changes or dietary indiscretions. You can try to treat your dog at home if your dog is still bright and alert, but have him seen by a vet if he is lethargic, dehydrated and not acting as his usual self. These may be signs of something more serious going on.
1) Pick up all food
The general protocol for dogs vomiting or with diarrhea, is to fast these dogs for a minimum of 12 to 24 hours. Puppies should not be fasted for more than 12 hours, usually the whole night will suffix. The fast will consist of no food or treats. Water may further upset a vomiting dog, so ice chips may be a good alternative until the dog feels better.
2) Bland diet
After the 12-24 hour fast offer a bland diet composed of boiled rice and chicken or boiled rice and hamburger. If you choose chicken, make sure the skin and bones are taken off. If you choose hamburger, make sure the fat is drained off. Make sure the rice is the bulky part of the meal. Offer this in 3-4 small meals throughout the day.
3)Good old bacteria
Adding a dollop of plain yogurt or cottage cheese may allow some good bacteria to help out the inflamed intestines.
4) Check the hydration level
You need to make sure your dog is not becoming dehydrated. Lift gently the skin on the back or between the shoulder blades in a tent. If it snaps back into position, good. If it delays, or worse, stays lifted then the dog may need subcutaneous fluids from the vet.
5) Replace electrolytes
If the dog is having frequent liquid squirts of diarrhea, the odds of becoming dehydrated are great. You may help by giving some unflavored Pedialyte or by mixing some Gatorade 50/50 with water in his water bowl. If the dog is vomiting persistently offering water may further cause vomiting making the situation worse. You can try to freeze some Gatorade and offer it to lick. However, in severe cases the only way to keep dog hydrated is through fluids provided by the vet.
At this point, all you can do is monitor your pet. Do not hesitate to have your dog seen if he becomes lethargic, laying around and not acting like its normal self. Ensure that following the bland diet your dog has no more vomiting episodes and that the stools are better formed. At this point, gradually add the regular diet and taper off the rice meal. If the vomiting or diarrhea still is present, then the dog needs medical attention because the underlying cause needs addressed. The dog may have a parasite infestation, or if the vomiting is persistent the dog may have swallowed a foreign object that is causing a blockage or it may be Parvo.
The natural home remedy of a bland diet may therefore be helpful in many cases, however there are those cases that need immediate vet attention. Usually, your dog's behavior will give you hints on what to do. Chances, are if your dog is not acting right the vet may need to be seen the same day.
Disclaimer: The above article is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian nor is the source to be used as a diagnostic tool. If your dog is sick, please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination.