What Can I Give My Dog To Settle His Stomach?

You take your dog for a walk, along the way he picks up a stick and starts chewing on it.  You immediately take the stick out of his mouth, but he managed to swallow some of it.  You're hoping that he'll be fine he's done this before and his stomach was able to settle itself.

A few minutes later he's chewing on some mulch from the front of a neighbors house. 

You get home, he drinks water and goes an settles into his comfy bed and takes a nap.

You go about your business finishing up a conference call for work and a report review, wrapping up your work day.

Now its time to make dinner for everyone, starting with getting your dog fed before dinner.

You call your dog over for dinner, and he doesn't respond.

He's laying in a weird position and where he usually sprints to the kitchen for dinner, tonight he's not.

You know he has an upset stomach or gastroenteritis. Gut health impacts your dog's overall health.

Dogs suffering from diarrhea or intestinal upset and vomiting and a upset stomach are the 5th and 6th most common reason for trips to the veterinarian.

What causes dogs to have gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is the clinical term for an upset stomach.

It is irritation is in the stomach or gut that can lead to a variety of symptoms ranging from pain, nausea, bloating and vomiting.

There are multiple causes for an upset stomach or gastroenteritis in dogs, with some that are very common verses others.

Here are a few of the most frequent causes:

  1. Changes in food and diet or eating something they shouldn’t have
  2. Food allergies
  3. Parasites - worms and microorganisms
  4. Viral or bacterial infection
  5. Intestinal blockages in the digestive tract (my dog ate a rock once and did this)
  6. Organ failure

Don't panic and jump to the worst cause of gastroenteritis, it rare that it is due to serious health problems, odds are it is far more likely from something your dog ate.

Signs your dog has an upset stomach

The hardest part of knowing when your dog feels sick is that they can’t talk and tell you, so you have to watch body language and behavior.

Some behavior signs are very obvious -- vomiting, diarrhea, spitting up bile, others require owners watching for the signs of an upset stomach.

Here are 12 signs that your dog’s stomach may be bothering them:

  1. Bad breath – Acidic smelling breath can be a sign of stomach acid build-up.
  2. Acting lethargic or uncomfortable – There are a few behaviors that may
    What Can I Give My Dog To Settle His Stomach?
    indicate stomach aches. A dog acting lethargic may be trying to minimize discomfort. They may also stay in a scrunched-up or tense position, or a praying position with their but in the air.
  3. Gulping, gagging and lip smacking – All of these behaviors indicate your dog is has nausea. They are trying to hold back an urge to vomit.
  4. Excess gas – If your dog is farting more  or burping more than usual, that is a sign that gas building up in their stomach.
  5. Swollen or distended stomach – Bloating or swelling of the stomach can also indicate gas build-up. Be aware that a  belly that has bloated to were its feeling hard or tight is a serious medical emergency and you need to see a vet immediately.
  6. Behavior change – If your dog is normally energetic but begins to act differently, especially if their behavior is showing signs of lethargy, they’re likely dealing with both discomfort and low energy levels due to weakness caused by poor digestion. 
  7. Gulping, gagging and lip smacking – The production of saliva is initiated by the salivary glands and increased saliva can be due to two different scenarios: either too much saliva is being produced or there is a decreased clearance of saliva. In the case of nausea, the overproduction of saliva is common. Because vomit is highly acidic in nature, it can cause potential harm to the dog’s throat, mouth and teeth. An increase in salivation,  helps reduce this damaging effect. All of these behaviors indicate your dog is has nausea. They are trying to hold back an urge to vomit.
  8. Inflammation of the stomach – This can cause muscles contractions, which lead to vomiting.
  9. Inflammation of the intestine – Same as inflammation of the stomach, this causes muscle contractions within the intestines which speed the contents of your stomach through the tract, leaving it too little time for the fluids to be properly absorbed back into the intestines. This is what causes diarrhea.
  10. Vomiting and diarrhea – These are the most obvious and immediate signs of upset stomach. a dog with repeated vomiting or diarrhea can have serious health consequences leading to dehydration.
  11. Low quality dog food  - Dog food that is made with low-quality grain fillers and zero probiotics is likely to cause upset stomach over time.Seventy percent of a dog’s immune system is located in their gut microbiome and their food quality is critical.
  12. Weight loss – If you notice your dog’s appetite dropping off, or if they begin to lose weight unexpectedly, call your vet without delay.. Prolonged loss of appetite always requires an immediate visit to your vet.

Dogs love eating grass, but is grass good for them to settle an upset stomach?

Many dog owners believe that eating grass is a sign of an upset stomach in dogs; however, research has yet to support his concept..

While some grass eating may be an attempt to settle the stomach, it’s not the only plausible explanation. A lot of dog enjoy the texture and taste of grass. They may also be bored, and eating grass gives them something to do.

If your dog suddenly begins to eat a lot of grass, this is more likely a sign that they’re not feeling well. It could also mean they feel they’re about to vomit.

Personally, I'm not a fan of letting a dog eat grass today.

Grass that was recently treated with herbicides and pesticides can make dogs sick and could kill them.

  • They can also ingest these chemicals by licking their paws and pads after a romp on a freshly treated lawn. While most homeowners and municipalities will be considerate and give pet parents a heads-up with signs, not everyone does. So after outings, wipe down their paws to be safe.
  • Dogs eating grass-eating in public areas, like dog parks and common dog-walking areas are more likely to ingest a pathogen or parasite (hookworm) that was left behind by other dogs’ fecal matter.
  • Letting your dog get in the habit of eating grass could lead your dog to chomp on other garden and landscaping plants. Many varieties of plants and shrubs can be irritating, toxic or deadly to dogs, it’s a smart idea to stop this behavior early.

Dogs are smart. If their habit of eating grass get your attention, they’ll learn this behavior rapidly. If my dog if feeling ignored,when I stop during a walk to talk with a neighbor, she'll start to eat grass to get my attention.

How to treat an upset stomach in your dog

if you have a dog with an upset stomach, there are several home remedies you can try for dog ingestion or an upset stomach. These range from the following:

  • Wait it out – Often a bout of indigestion may be a single occurrence resulting from something bad your dog ate. The best answer is to let nature do its work and see if they can pass the problem on their own. In such cases, avoid feeding your pet for 12 to 24 hours so that you are not compounding the problem.
  • Ice – Although you may be tempted to give your dog a lot of water after they’ve been throwing up or having diarrhea, this may make things worse. Keeping your dog hydrated is important, but it’s possible that your dog drinks too much water and makes things worse. Instead,try a bowl of ice chips to chew on once every hour. If your dog can keep those down, then move to water.
  • Adding Probiotics  – Probiotics help promote the production of good bacteria that live inside your dogs digestive system. From the stomach to the intestines, it’s vital that your dog has the right amount of probiotics in their diet. Any microbiome imbalance will directly affect your dog’s ability to absorb nutrients. This means they’ll have a harder time producing usable energy from their caloric intake. Consider adding a bone broth that has natural occurring probiotics to your dogs daily diet, their stomach and digestive tract will be forever grateful.
  • Canned pumpkinCanned pumpkin is one of the best holistic remedies for pet indigestion. It has a low glycemic index, that doesn't rapidly increase blood sugar, so it slowly absorbs, which helps with upset stomach and digestion. Make sure to get canned pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie mix, as you don’t want to feed your dog spices. Smaller dogs (approximately five pounds) can be fed ½ teaspoon of canned pumpkin, while larger dogs (approximately 75 pounds) can be fed 1 tablespoon.
  • Diet change – If the digestive problems are the result of gastric acid buildup, you may want to change your dog’s diet. A change in diet is usually an effective way to improve digestion in a dog’s body. Withhold food for a day or two, and then feed them small and regular meals of low-fat, low-protein foods, since fats and proteins are often the cause of an increase in gastric acid.
  • Bone broth – One of the best ways to settle and upset stomach and hydrate your dog is feeding them a bone broth. Making bone broth at home take up to 24 hours to make, Active Dawg offers a long shelf life powered, USDA Certified Organic chicken bone broth that contains probiotics and undenatured Type II collagen that helps settle and upset stomach and protects and repairs damaged collagen and joints.
  • Baby Food Veterinary emergency hospitals use certain types of baby food to feed the dogs in their care. Baby food is very easy to swallow and digest and is a great way to give oral medications. Vets will recommend using Stage II meat based baby food such as chicken, lamb, turkey.  Read the label you need to ensure that the baby food does not contain any garlic or onion powder, both can be fatal to dogs.

  • .Shredded Chicken Shredded chicken is easy on upset stomachs and acts as a huge eating incentive for dogs with decreased appetites. Plain, unseasoned, boiled, shredded chicken is easy to digest and is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids, making it a great snack for dogs feeling under the weather.

  • Chicken and Rice Chicken and rice are main ingredients in many dog foods, and these mild foods sit well on upset canine stomachs. and it's a bland meal is easy to prepare. All you need are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and rice. Use white rive vs brown rice. White rice blandness makes it better for upset stomachs. Stick with plain boiled chicken and rice with no fats, butter or seasonings added.

When to see a Veterinarian

Your dog’s digestive health is critical to their overall well-being.

Consult with your veterinarian immediately if any symptoms of indigestion or an upset stomach continues.

If your dog’s upset stomach or GI distress is not getting better, he may be suffering from something more than just regular digestive issues.

An occasional upset stomach is not abnormal for dogs, but when your dog’s health begins to decline, that’s when you have to go see a vet.

Certain symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting can be signs of serious health problems. While it’s likely no more than an upset stomach, we encourage you to be as safe as possible.

You need to confirm that there’s no blood in the vomit or fecal matter. It’s crucial that you take your dog to the veterinarian for further testing in order to determine whether or not there are serious underlying health issues.

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