How to care for a dog with a stomach upset

How to care for a dog with a stomach upset

Health & Safety

Dogs are very food-oriented animals, which means that they do occasionally have a tendency to overeat, or get into something that they shouldn’t really be eating at all and potentially, make themselves ill.

In some cases, stomach upsets and other such problems with dogs will require veterinary attention, but for others, you can care for minor upsets at home perfectly competently, if you take the time to learn a little bit about how to judge your dog’s condition, and what they need.

In this article, we will look at how to tell whether or not your dog should see the vet for their upset stomach, and when you can take care of it at home-and how to do so. Read on to learn more.

Serious or not?

How serious your dog’s stomach ache is, how long it goes on for any why it has occurred are all factors to take into consideration when deciding whether or not your dog needs to see the vet. The best way to judge this is to err on the side of caution, but in certain circumstances, you can take care of your dog at home unless the problem escalates.

If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten anything toxic or poisonous, this is one situation in which your dog should always see the vet, even if they seem fine-toxicity and poisoning can escalate quickly, and it is better to get an expert’s opinion and care.

If your dog has not been willing or able to drink water for more than twelve hours, if they are running a fever, are shaking or tremoring or otherwise seem to be very miserable and/or suffering, this should also warrant a trip to the vet.

Similarly, if there are any additional symptoms such as a skin rash, anaemia or anything else that does not fall into the basic parameters or vomiting and/or diarrhoea, you should see your vet. Blood in the stools, urine or vomitus likewise, and if your dog is on any medication or has any other pre-existing health condition, the same applies.

However, if your dog is not in a lot of pain and is simply going through a mild stomach ache with vomiting and/or diarrhoea, you can probably care for them at home, as long as they can drink water and their condition improves within 48 hours.

In the next section, we will look at the important things you should do in order to monitor and take care of your dog at home.


The first thing to do if food is not agreeing with your dog is to take away all food for a twelve hour period, to allow their stomach time to settle down. Repeated vomiting and/or diarrhoea will all wear your dog out and worsen the upset of their stomach, as well as serving to dehydrate your dog, which can become a problem in itself.

During this time, make sure that your dog has free access to clean, fresh water close at hand, and of course, remain vigilant for when they need to go out to the toilet.

Don’t be cross with your dog or tell them off if they vomit or pass diarrhoea in the house, as they are of course not well and cannot help it.

During this time, if your dog’s condition worsens, you should call your vet for advice and assistance.

After twelve hours of starvation, your dog should not be vomiting or throwing up any more, and if they still are, you should go ahead and call the vet.

Assuming that your dog has purged out whatever was causing them to become ill, you should be able to look at reintroducing food again, slowly and carefully.


After 12-24 hours, your dog should be improving-they should show interest in food and be a little more alert and less bothered by their stomach. At this point, you can look at reintroducing food to them, using something bland and non-irritating. Plain boiled chicken mashed with brown rice and completely cooled is fine, but start with a small bite or two at a time, wait half an hour to see if your dog can keep it down, and then look at giving them a little more.

You can also buy various different tinned foods designed to be bland and support recovery from things like illness and surgery, such as Hill’s AD and Hill’s ID, which you can order online or buy from your vet.

For a day or so after your dog is able to keep their food down and begins to return to normal, treat them carefully and don’t encourage them to exercise hard or eat full meals-allow them a few days to adjust until they are back in normal health.



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