Brown and white dog upset on a bed

A dog with a bad stomach should be fed little and often.

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What do you give a dog with an upset stomach?

By Dr Hester Mulhall MA, VetMB, MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

With dogs getting a bad stomach from a variety of causes, which treatment will be best for your pet?

Dogs are renowned for scavenging and eating all kinds of unsavoury things, both on walks and at home. This is one of the most common causes for a stomach upset in your pet pooch, but there are many other causes of gastrointestinal symptoms too. These include: worms, viruses, eating food that is too high in fat or is toxic, underlying food allergies, an inflamed pancreas, poisoning, anxiety and other underlying diseases.

This means that there is no quick fix when it comes to treatment, and you should contact a vet practice for advice on what to do. They may suggest an appointment with a vet to help diagnose the cause of the stomach upset, so that the best treatment plan can be given.

How do you settle a dog's upset stomach?

To settle a dog’s stomach do not feed them for a couple of hours (or more if advised by a vet) and avoid anything high in fat. Make sure they have free access to water, because a pet with vomiting and/or diarrhoea can become dehydrated.

When you feed your pet, keep the portion size small and make sure that you are feeding something very bland. Most vet practices or pet shops will be able to suggest an appropriate food for sensitive stomachs, this is often a tin of wet food. Otherwise you can feed a home-made diet of plain white fish or chicken breast with a small amount of rice. Do not use any fat or oil when cooking. Remember that this diet will only be suitable for a couple of days, as it is not nutritionally balanced.

A bland diet should be fed until 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea. You can then reintroduce their usual diet gradually over a few days. It is best to hold off on giving treats or chews until your pet is fully back to their normal diet. If any symptoms start to return, or worsen, you should contact a vet for further advice.

Can I give my dog Pepto-Bismol for an upset stomach?

You should not give your dog Pepto-Bismol. It contains a medicine that is very similar to aspirin. This is not tolerated well by dogs and can cause a range of side effects including worsening gastrointestinal symptoms. If you have given your pet any human medication, you should contact a vet immediately as your pet may need treatment to limit any harmful effects of the medication. 

Do bananas help a dog's upset stomach?

No, they don't, so you should not give your pet bananas to help with stomach upset. Although bananas are not toxic to dogs, they are not a healthy snack either. This is because they are high in natural sugars, as with other fruits, which can lead to a range of health problems in your pet. A very small amount of banana is probably OK in a healthy pet as a treat. But if your pet has an upset stomach, you should avoid feeding them treats such as banana and should instead feed them a bland diet

What can you give dogs for diarrhoea?

This depends on the cause of diarrhoea, and a vet will be able to advise what treatments (if any) are necessary in addition to a bland diet. These may include probiotics, oral rehydration fluids and diet trials. Your pet will not usually require antibiotics for diarrhoea, as a bacterial infection is very unlikely to be the cause.

What stops diarrhoea fast for a dog?

Unfortunately, diarrhoea often takes time to pass through your pet’s system. Make sure to feed them little and often of a bland diet, and contact a vet if their symptoms worsen.

When should I talk to a vet?

Vomiting and diarrhoea can be very common in dogs, but you should contact a vet if their symptoms are not improving within a couple of days or if you are concerned at all. There are also certain warning signs to look out for that mean you should contact your vet. These include blood in your pet’s vomit or faeces, foul-smelling diarrhoea, yellow vomit, stomach bloating, significant lethargy, vomiting multiple times a day or bringing up undigested food more than a couple of hours after the meal.

You should also seek veterinary advice if you have a young puppy with vomiting or diarrhoea, because they can become dehydrated very easily. You can contact a vet for advice on the best diet plan to follow and to book an appointment for your pet.

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