It’s 5:30 in the morning. You’re asleep when you suddenly find yourself bolting out of bed, ninja style, after hearing that all too familiar lurching, retching sound. This response is commonly known to dog parents as jumping out of bed because the dog is about to barf.
It is normal for dogs to get an occasional upset stomach just as we do. Causes vary from environmental to physiological related changes due to weather, seasonal or food allergies, eating something they shouldn’t have, or aging. Dogs cannot tell us that they are sick or just how sick they are, so unless your dog has a diagnosed stomach or intestinal issue, it can be difficult to really know if the issue is mild or severe.
Check for Signs and Symptoms
- Eating grass
- Change in appetite
- Profuse salivation
- Passing gas (more than usual)
- An audible gurgling stomach
- Dehydration from vomiting or having diarrhea
Figure Out Why It’s Happening
Try to think back on what your dog ate right before a stomach problem. Was it a new brand of food? Could the treats you are giving be the cause? Did she munch on a plant outside? Steal people food from the table? If doggie stomach upset is due to a particular food item, make sure to avoid giving it to her from now on, but possibly eating a poisonous plant will require an emergency vet visit. Another contributor to upset stomach is aging. As dogs get older, they will begin experiencing changes in metabolism, digestion, and overall health. Noting as much as you can is especially important if you end up having to take your dog in to the vet.
Know When to Go to the Vet
Remember, while occasional vomiting or stomach gurgles is not uncommon, it is not normal for her to remain ill for an extended period of time. Observe your dog for out of the ordinary behavior or extreme distress and contact a veterinarian for a medical diagnosis. Such unusual behavior include a dog’s stomach appearing distended, pacing nervously, experiencing lethargy, drooling and retching, not able to vomit, regurgitating, hacking and heaving, and signs of dehydration. When a dog is constantly vomiting or having liquidly diarrhea, she will lose a lot of fluids and quickly become dehydrated. Check skin for elasticity by using two fingers to gently lift up a small section of skin on the back to a point, then let the skin go. Skin that quickly returns flat to the back is good, but skin that moves slowly or doesn’t reform to the back at all is a sign to go to the vet.
Prepare Home Remedies
If your dog has a mild stomach issue that does not appear to be life-threatening, you can treat it at home with some natural remedies; check with your veterinarian first if you are unsure. Try these home remedies for occasional dog stomach upset, but do take a dog to the vet that still has unchanged symptoms after a few days or if symptoms worsen.
Fasting — This may sound mean, but restrict all food and treats and limit water for twelve to twenty-four hours for adult dogs. Like humans, an animals’ body can heal itself and fasting allows the dog’s stomach to rest, recover from possible intestinal inflammation, to hopefully clear itself up.
Rice — Make a warm rice water by straining the water after cooking a small amount of uncooked rice in a larger amount of water. Boil and stir 1 cup rice in 1 quart water for about twenty minutes, then strain the rice and give some of the warm or cooled rice water to your dog. You can also make a watery rice porridge by boiling already cooked rice in a pot of water or homemade veggie broth. Cook 1 cup rice as usual in a rice cooker or pot, then add it to 3 quarts low boiling water or broth for twenty minutes stirring occasionally. Rice grains should look mushy like little stars. Give your dog enough to remain hydrated and store the rest in the fridge for later. When you warm up another bowl, add a little water to thin it out.
Hope your four-legged companion feels better soon!
Image source: Takashi Hososhima/Flickr