At some point, your puppy may end up having an upset stomach. Puppy stomach bugs are no fun to deal with and if your dog is sick, immediately contact your vet for advice. However, with proper treatment, puppies and adult dogs can recover quickly from an upset stomach.
Please keep in mind that we are not medical professionals and that this article is meant purely for informational purposes. Always consult your veterinarian for medical advice concerning your pet.
How Common is it for a Puppy to Have an Upset Stomach?
The good news is that an upset stomach is relatively common in puppies and adult dogs so you don’t have to be too worried right away.
Your dog may simply have a sensitive stomach. Make sure you adjust your dog’s diet properly to address stomach issues.
Whether due to dietary changes or illness, your dog will likely show symptoms of an upset stomach at one point or another.
Though an upset stomach should be treated quickly and seriously, most cases do not result in any long-term issues.
If your dog experiences multiple upset stomachs in a short period of time, or if they experience symptoms of an upset stomach for a long period of time, you should take them to a veterinarian for treatment.
A veterinarian will be able to accurately diagnose the source of your dog’s upset stomach and provide the best treatment possible for them.
Signs Your Puppy Has an Upset Stomach
An upset stomach can show itself in different ways in your dog.
Observe your dog’s behavior as well as their physical symptoms to determine if they may need treatment for stomach problems.
If you suspect your puppy may have an upset stomach look for these symptoms.
Physical Symptoms of a Puppy Having an Upset Stomach
If your puppy has an upset stomach, it may display obvious physical symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms That a Puppy Has an Upset Stomach
- Drinking Less Water
- Drinking an Unusual Excessive Amount of Water
- Eating Grass
- Loss of Appetite
- Loose Stool
- Shows Signs of Pain When Touched on the Stomach
- Stretching, Licking, Swallowing, Unusual Behavior
- Swollen Belly
If your puppy has severe symptoms, is vomiting, and has loose or watery stools, it should be taken to a vet immediately to be treated for dehydration.
Is Your Puppy Drinking Water?
Observe their water intake and how much they are eating around the time they vomit or passes loose stool.
In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, your puppy may show a swollen belly or distended abdomen.
You May Notice a Bloated Belly
Since they have an upset tummy, their intestines may be inflamed or show signs of slight swelling.
You can feel your puppy’s tummy to see if you feel any inflammation or bumps, or if your puppy reacts to any pain from your touch.
Behavioral Symptoms of a Puppy Having an Upset Stomach
In addition to obvious physical symptoms, your dog may display various behavioral changes which may indicate an upset stomach.
A common behavioral change you may see in a dog with an upset stomach is eating grass. If your dog is eating grass outside, it may be instinctually doing this to soothe its stomach.
Is Your Puppy Not Eating?
Your dog may also decrease its food and water intake if they have an upset stomach. Dogs with upset tummies may feel nauseous and therefore have a loss of appetite and desire to drink.
Alternatively, dogs with upset stomachs may also drink more as frequent vomiting and diarrhea will dehydrate them.
Finally, more frequent stretching, licking, swallowing, or other general discomforts may be signs of an upset stomach in your dog.
Causes of Upset Stomach in Puppies
There are several potential causes of upset stomachs in puppies including dietary issues or illness.
Puppy Dietary Issues
New Food or Treats
If you introduce your puppy to a new type of dog food or treats too quickly, it can cause them to have an upset stomach.
Because your dog’s stomach is not used to the food you have changed them to (due to protein percentage, fat content, or other ingredients), it may get an upset stomach.
They may also become sick if you give them a large amount of food or too many treats in a short span of time. Giving them small amounts of a new food or treats is always the best way to start.
Though not as common, your dog may have a food allergy.
If your dog frequently has an upset tummy after eating and other solutions do not solve it, your dog may simply be intolerant to your food choice.
Talk to your veterinarian about choosing a different type of food, whether by flavor or other ingredient content.
Eating Too Quickly
Does your dog scarf down food as if they may never eat again? If so, they could experience an upset tummy from eating too quickly!
If your puppy doesn’t give its stomach time to digest the food they are eating, its stomach may become too full too quickly, resulting in vomiting and/or diarrhea.
A dog’s upset stomach can also be caused by a bacterial infection. When providing your dog time outside, make sure they do not drink any standing water or eat any wild plants.
In addition, make sure you change your puppy’s food daily. Dogs that ingest standing water, wild plants, or old food may find themselves with a bacterial gastrointestinal infection that is no fun to deal with.
Finally, a viral infection can cause an upset stomach in your puppy. Parvovirus is the most common virus that can cause an upset stomach in dogs.
Parvovirus is extremely contagious and is especially seen in shelters since dogs are in close proximity to one another.
A puppy with parvovirus should be taken to get veterinary care immediately as it can kill quickly.
Luckily, a vaccine is available for parvovirus that puppies should receive between 14-16 weeks of age.
Potential Treatments for a Puppies Upset Stomach
So your dog has an upset tummy. Now what? Consider the below treatments to help your puppy through its tummy ache.
As previously stated, remember that we are not medical professionals. Any questions or concerns about your puppy should be brought immediately to your veterinarian.
The first thing you should look at to find the source of your puppy’s stomach issues is its diet.
Whether due to allergy, or simply a bad batch of food, consider all your options when it comes to changing your puppy’s diet.
Short-Term Diet Changes
Short-term solutions to changing your puppy’s diet include stopping treats and providing a bland diet.
An easy-to-digest puppy diet typically consists of bland food such as skinless chicken breasts, bone broth, brown rice, and white rice.
These foods are easy on your dog’s stomach and are easier to keep down while they recover from their tummy trouble.
Another solution is pumpkin. Pumpkin is easy on your dog’s stomach and also provides a higher level of hydration if they have not been drinking much water.
Be sure to get regular pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling as you do not want to give your dog items such as cinnamon and sugar!
Some people find that baby food is tolerable for a puppy with a sick stomach.
Long-Term Diet Changes
Long-term changes to your dog’s diet include changing permanent food and finding a diet that works best for your puppy. Some dogs need to be on low-protein, grain-free, or high-fat diets.
Discuss options with your vet before switching to a new food permanently and be sure to switch your puppy slowly over the course of a few days.
In addition, there are medicated foods that are developed with sensitive tummies in mind.
Though you need a prescription to purchase them, your vet may be able to prescribe this food for your puppy to try.
It is more expensive than most other food types, but well worth it if it means no more upset tummies!
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent a Puppy From Having an Upset Stomach
Sometimes, changing your dog’s lifestyle is best to prevent future belly aches. Consider the below short-term and long-term changes before deciding if these are right for your dog.
Short-Term Lifestyle Changes
If your dog is experiencing an upset stomach, you will want to provide him with fresh water and lots of comfort.
In addition to this, you may find that a leisurely walk may help your puppy if they have an upset stomach from gas.
A slow walk may help them stretch their muscles and pass gas more naturally than if they simply lay at home.
Long-Term Lifestyle Changes
In the long term, you may want to consider increasing the time between meals for your dog.
If your dog’s mealtimes are too close together, they may be getting too full too frequently, leading to an upset stomach.
You may also want to decrease your dog’s exercise immediately before and after a meal.
Too much exercise around mealtime may cause your dog to eat more quickly or struggle to keep food down after eating.
Keeping your dog calm and relaxed around meals helps them to digest its food properly without having to vomit it back up.
Medicine for a Puppy’s Upset Stomach
You may have had ginger ale to soothe your upset stomach and nausea before.
Though ginger ale is not a good choice for your dog due to the sugar and carbonation, a small amount of ginger itself is a natural remedy to soothe your furry friend’s upset tummy.
There are also several probiotic supplements that are sold over-the-counter at most pet stores or online that can improve your dog’s digestive health in the long term.
If your dog’s upset stomach does not go away with over-the-counter supplements and rest, it may indicate that your dog needs to be prescribed medicine by a veterinarian.
Typically this is a result of bacterial or viral infections that need antibiotics, antivirals, or prescribable anti-nausea medication.
Discuss your concerns and observations with your vet to help them find the best medication possible to help your puppy.
Medical Attention for a Puppy’s Upset Stomach
What if My Puppy is Not Feel Better?
If over-the-counter medications and supplements are not improving your dog’s condition, contact your vet for a further diagnosis.
Your puppy may have a more serious condition such as parvovirus, a bacterial infection, or an intestinal blockage.
An experienced veterinarian will be able to prescribe the best possible treatment for your puppy.
An Upset Stomach Could Lead to Serious Medical Problems if Untreated
If you believe your dog has a more serious condition causing an upset stomach such as parvovirus or bacterial infection, call your vet immediately for treatment.
Dogs left without immediate treatment for these serious diseases will quickly become dehydrated and the disease can turn fatal.
Keep your dog as hydrated as possible on the way to the vet and expect your dog to receive IV fluids in addition to antibiotics, antiemetics, or antiviral medications.
What Home Remedies Can I Give My Puppy For an Upset Stomach?
Natural remedies you can give your puppy in small quantities include ginger, pumpkin, and apple cider vinegar.
You may also want to consider some probiotic and prebiotic supplements to improve your dog’s gut health over time. Again, ask your vet first.
Why is Ginger Ale Not a Good Choice for My Puppy?
Though ginger by itself can be beneficial for a nauseous puppy, ginger ale has too many sugars and other ingredients in it for it to be healthy for your dog.
It is also carbonated which can actually make your dog’s upset stomach worse.
What Dog Breeds are More Prone to Having upset Stomachs?
Yes! Boxers, Irish Setters, and Scottish Terriers are three examples of dogs that are known for their sensitive stomachs.
However, there are several more breeds that are known for being prone to developing upset stomachs.
If you own one of these breeds, you may need to carefully select a food brand that will be easy on their stomachs.
What Cleaning Agents are Best to Clean Up After a Sick Puppy?
If your puppy has an upset stomach, you probably have some serious messes to clean up including dog vomit and feces.
It is best to use an enzyme-based cleaner for any pet messes at home as they help to break down stains and odors.
You may also want to leave down more puppy pads or invest in a carpet cleaner if this is a frequent issue for your pup.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index is a range on which food is rated based on how many carbs it contains and how quickly the body breaks it down.
For dogs with frequent upset stomachs, you will want to look for foods with a low glycemic index so they eat less and digests more slowly.
All dog owners know that a healthy dog is a happy dog. Though an upset stomach is common in dogs, there are many ways to prevent them.
If you ever find yourself with a sick dog, be sure to provide these simple remedies at home and bring him to your vet to get the proper care they need for their stomach.