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📷 by Morgan Lane

If your pup has started vomiting and having diarrhea — or maybe they’ve started munching on grass and are turning their nose up to their kibble — there’s a good chance that they have an upset stomach.

It can be nerve-wracking to see your pup suffering, but the best first step to take is to think through what could be causing the stomach ache. This will help both you and your vet ease your dog’s pain.

Common causes of upset stomachs in dogs

There are many reasons why your dog may have an upset stomach. Here are some of the most common things that can trigger an upset stomach in dogs:

Symptoms of upset stomachs in dogs

Typically, dogs with an upset stomach will exhibit some or most of these symptoms:

Should you visit the vet or treat at home?

When to go to the vet

Home remedies may work for some dogs who don’t have a serious underlying cause for their stomach ache, but it’s important to take your dog to your veterinarian right away if you notice any of the following in your dog:

  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • A fever
  • Continuous vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Nervous pacing
  • Uncontrollable drooling
  • Retching without anything coming up
  • Blood in their stool
  • Their stomach appears distended

These can all be signs of something more serious, including pancreatitis, parvovirus, a severe allergic reaction, or parasites. And even if your dog has a case of only mild stomach upset, always talk with your vet before trying any home remedies.

Home remedies

Keep your dog hydrated — It’s really important to keep your dog hydrated at all times, but especially if they’re vomiting or having diarrhea from an upset stomach. Dehydration is very common and can happen within a few hours if your dog is frequently vomiting or having bouts of diarrhea. Giving them ice chips every 2-3 hours can help get fluids in their system. It’s also a way to see if they can even keep water down. Dogs also need electrolytes and vitamins to regain hydration — giving them Pedialyte or bone broth is an easy way to restore these.

Check your dog’s temperature — Use a rectal thermometer to check your pup’s temp at home (there are also ear thermometers for dogs, but they’re not as accurate). A dog’s normal temperature is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog has a  temp of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it’s considered a fever and you should get them seen by the vet immediately.

Determine what caused the upset stomach — Dogs get stomach viruses just like humans, but more often than not a dog’s upset stomach is caused by something they ingested. Dogs are notorious for eating things they shouldn’t, like socks, toys, sticks, and dirt. Try to retrace their steps and figure out what they could’ve gotten into that could be causing their stomach troubles — this will also help your vet treat them properly.

🚨 Make sure they didn’t ingest poisons like xylitol (found in chocolate and sweets) or common foods like onions which are poisonous to dogs.

Try a bland diet — You can give your dog’s digestive system a break and make digestion easier by feeding them something bland. This could be giving them plain boiled chicken, sweet potatoes, or white rice for a few meals, or mixing a tablespoon of unsweetened yogurt or pumpkin into their kibble.

👉 It’s important to note that a bland diet should be used as a short-term solution as this isn’t a well-balanced diet for a dog.

How to prevent your dog from getting an upset stomach

Put away foreign objects — Don’t leave things lying around the house for them to eat. This includes socks, small pieces of toys or bones, or other objects that could block their GI tract. If you were too late to stop them from eating something foreign, you can give them hydrogen peroxide to force vomiting and try to keep it from hitting their GI tract.

Try a special diet — Speak with your vet about finding a food designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies, or try adding probiotics to their diet to promote good bacteria in your dog’s gut.

Avoid human food — Try to avoid feeding your dog table scraps and human food. Keep the counters clear if your dog is a “counter cruiser” when you’re not around and keep the garbage can closed or out of reach.

Frequently asked questions

What medicine can I give my dog for an upset stomach? Is Pepto Bismol safe for my dog?

Even though a small dose of Pepto can be recommended, it’s not the best choice to relieve your dog’s stomach ache. It’s easy to give too much and can cause problems like gastric bleeding. Pepto is broken down into salicylic acid, and dogs don’t tolerate this well. Immodium is another common recommendation, but it can be a serious problem for dogs with the MDR-1 gene mutation (making them sensitive to some medications). Imodium crosses the blood brain barrier and can be dangerous. Famotidine (Pepcid) is a better option when looking for an OTC medicine to help settle your dog’s stomach.

Why is my dog throwing up yellow liquid?

If you’re noticing your dog is throwing up yellow frothy liquid, especially in the mornings or evenings, there’s a chance they might be suffering from bilious vomiting syndrome. If they’re throwing up the yellow liquid after having thrown up multiple times, it likely means there’s just nothing left in their stomach and it’s time to reach out to your vet and determine the underlying cause.

What breeds are more susceptible to sensitive stomachs?

While any dog can get an upset stomach, there are some breeds more prone to sensitivities. German shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Fox red Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, collies, boxers, and Yorkies are some of the more common breeds.