At some time or another, most dog owners will have to deal with the occasional upset stomach in their pet. Stomach upset can be caused by many things and when it happens, it can be miserable for both dog and owner.
Why do dogs get an upset stomach?
Dogs can get an upset stomach for many reasons and when symptoms are mild, most of the time it can be handled at home. Some of the most common reasons a dog will throw up or get gas and diarrhea include:
- They ate something they shouldn’t have
- Eating too much
- Too many snacks
- Sudden change in food
- Food sensitivity
- Stale or contaminated food or water
- Medical procedures
What should I feed my dog when it has an upset stomach?
For mild stomach upset, a bland diet will usually help. All of these foods should be cooked and fed unseasoned. Foods that you can feed your dog when its feel unwell include:
Boiled chicken and rice. Skinless chicken breasts and plain white rice are the preferred combination when a dog has nausea, gas, or diarrhea.
Boil chicken breasts until cooked. Once cooked, removed skin and fat retaining water for the rice. Cook rice according to package directions.
Feed your dog 1/3 portion of chicken to 2/3 portions of rice. Feed ½ to 1 cup at a time to see how the food is tolerated. Feed for a couple days. When starting your dog’s regular diet, mix half the chicken and rice mixture into their normal food and monitor how they feel.
Cooked ground turkey breast and white rice is great for dogs that don’t handle chicken well. It’s very low in fat and also easy to digest.
Cook ground turkey in a small amount of water in a skillet until done. There will probably be no fat to drain. Cook rice according to package directions. Mix 1/3 portion of turkey with 2/3 portions of rice. Feed ½ to 1 cup to see how the food is tolerated. When starting your dog’s regular diet, mix half the chicken and rice mixture into their normal food and monitor how they feel.
Scrambled eggs with white rice is very easy on the stomach and packed with high quality protein. This works well for dogs that need a small meal to help settle their stomach after taking medication, etc.
Scramble one egg and mix with a cup of rice. Feed one serving to see how the food is tolerated. Once the dog is feeling better, mix some egg and rice into their food and monitor how they feel.
Boiled lean ground beef and white rice is recommended by vets for dogs that can’t eat poultry.
To cook, add raw ground beef to a skillet. Break apart with fork and cover with water. Simmer until no longer pink and drain off excess water and fat. Mix 1/3 portion of boiled ground beef with 2/3 portions of rice. Feed ½ to 1 cup to see how the food is tolerated. When starting your dog’s regular diet, mix half the chicken and rice mixture into their normal food and monitor how they feel.
A stage II, meat based baby food can be used to give medications or sooth an upset stomach. Choose a protein such as chicken, turkey, or lamb. Be sure the food is free of artificial sweeteners, garlic or onion powder, which can cause stomach upset. Baby food can also be mixed with rice to create a meal. And, it can also be mixed with your pet’s regular diet when reintroducing their dog food.
Feeding bone broth is a great way to sooth an upset stomach. Bone broth freezes well in ice cube trays so it’s something that can easily be kept on hand for use when you need it.
To make a simple bone broth, take 3 to 4 pounds raw bones with marrow (chicken, turkey, beef, etc) and add to large pot or crock pot. Cover with water. Add ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. If you have it, add a couple inches of fresh ginger root and a couple stalks of celery. Cook on low heat 12-24 hours. Cool. Skim fat. Keep any leftover meat but discard the bones in a place that your dog can’t get to them. Never feed the bones. A large breed dog can eat about 6 ounces total a day. When feeding, you can also dilute with water to see how your dog tolerates bone broth, if they’ve never had it before.
A small amount of cooked, plain pumpkin (not pie filling) is a go to for many pet owners when their dog has a upset stomach. A small amount (1 tsp – 1 tbsp.) fed with their regular food is sometimes all they need but can also be added to a bland diet.
RX, easy to digest food
If you expect your pet might get an upset stomach from a medical procedure, medication, or schedule change, talk to your vet. There are easy-to-digest gastro foods made just for mild stomach upsets.
When should I call my vet?
Mild stomach upset should resolve in hours or a day or two. With mild symptoms, a dog should be able to tolerate bland foods without throwing up or having uncontrolled diarrhea or pain. Call your vet right away if your dog has:
- Severe or uncontrolled diarrhea
- Bloody stools
- Dry heaving once or continual vomiting
- Refusing to eat
- Can’t hold their food down
- Painful abdomen
- Unproductive retching
- Abdominal swelling
- Posturing in a praying position (front legs on floor, hind end in the air)
- Seems in distress or generally unwell
There are serious health problems associated with stomach upset and some are life threatening emergencies. They may include but are not limited to:
- Bloat, gastric torsion (life threatening emergency)
- Poisoning (emergency)
- Parvovirus (emergency)
- Blockage (emergency)
- Food allergy
- Irritable bowel disease
As a dog owner, you know your pet best. If you feel like there is something wrong, or your dog can’t tolerate a bland diet, or refuses to eat and drink, call your vet. Mild stomach upset is usually self-resolving and quickly improves so if symptoms linger or get worse, it's best to call your vet.We hope these suggestions work out for you and your dog feels better soon. Please feel free to pass along to your friends.