"Dog Stomach Problems and aches can have
causes including ulcers,
blockages, tumors, bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus), Addison's
disease and gastritis. Dogs can also exhibit vomiting and diarrhea as a
reaction to a problem in the intestines, food allergy or food
The most common stomach related symptom is vomiting with or without
should resolve itself within 24 to 48. Be sure to differentiate
vomiting (which is related to stomach problems, with regurgitation –
see below for differences).
Risk factors for stomach or abdominal problems include any dogs that
take corticosteroids or anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), eating garbage
or other unusual foods (pancreatitis), eating a foreign body which
causes an obstruction, injury to the abdomen and a hernia, which is a
bulge in the wall of the abdomen.
Note that if your dog licked antifreeze in the street, this is a poison
and requires immediate treatment.
When to Call the Vet:
Be sure to call your veterinarian
immediately if your dog is under age 6 months, you see objects in the
vomit such as plastic or worms, your dog swallowed an object, you see
blood, you see the stomach getting larger, your dog has other health
problems or if the vomiting is persistent for a period of 4 hours or
Video on Dog Stomach Upset and Aches
A dog's digestive system is made up of several organs including the:
Within these organs, the body digests, absorbs nutrients, moves
through the body and then eliminates it through liquids and stools. Dog
stomach problems and related issues involve identifying where in the
process things went wrong and then to seek the appropriate treatment
for each underlying cause. Symptoms provide the best clue.
For example, vomiting digested food (undigested food refers to
regurgitation, see below) indicates some type of stomach inflammation
as gastroenteritis. The challenge becomes differentiating a
simple stomach issue from something that requires an advanced treatment
approach such as liver or kidney disease. If vomiting for less
than 4 days and there are no other symptoms, then treatment is usually
withholding food and water until the vomiting stops, and then water
only for 24 hours. If other symptoms such as weakness, weight
loss, drooling, or trouble walking, lack of energy, then consult with a
veterinarian. Also if you dog vomits everyday for more than 4
days, then a detailed veterinary exam is needed.
Other symptoms such as
diarrhea usually indicate some type of bacterial infection, virus or
parasites. Diarrhea color and consistency are important clues in
reaching a diagnosis.
As a rule of thumb, if your dog is in pain,
or if there is blood in
vomit or diarrhea then contact the vet. Behavioral changes, aches,
pain, or a
distended abdomen also indicate that a veterinarian should be
consulted. Note that an enlarged and/or painful abdomen is
considered to be an emergency and requires immediate medical care.
Causes of Dog Stomach Problems
Dog health stomach issues can be due to many different types of dog
stomach problems including:
Inflammation caused by foreign objects, bad food, food allergy,
Symptoms: Appetite loss, vomiting, abdomen pain
Diagnosis: Blood, Urine tests
Treatment: Nothing by mouth until
vomiting stops followed by sips of water and fluid therapy. Antiemetics
such as Chlorpromazine used to stop vomiting. Stomach calmed with
over-the-counter products such as Kaopectate and pepto-bismal.
Prevention: If changing diet, make switch
gradual, If vomiting 2 to 3 times, nothing by mouth for 24 hours. Watch
dog like a hawk if prone to swallowing objects.
Canine inflammatory bowel disease (also called immune-mediated
inflammatory bowel disease) happens when the stomach or intestines
suffer from inflammation. It is caused by either eating table scraps or
by a parasitic infection.
Symptoms: Symptoms of dog IBD
include chronic vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, straining to defecate
and mucus in the stool
Diagnosis: Fecal tests
for parasites, blood and urine tests, endoscopy to check the stomach,
small intestine and colon, biopsy if needed
Treatment: Treatment includes limiting food
intake and eliminating the underlying cause. Medications are used to
inhibit the immune system response (Cyclophosphamide). Sulfa drugs
(Sulfasalazine) are used to address an inflammation, bacterial
problems and colitis. Hypoallergenic
diet with highly digestible proteins is recommended (chicken, duck,
lamb, rabbit). Patient will need special diet and be monitored for life.
Ulcer (GU) and Right:
Duodenal Ulcer (DU)
Symptoms: Dogs can have no symptoms to vomiting
mixed with blood. Dog may have abdominal pain. Blood poisoning can
occur if ulcer causes any perforations in the stomach.
Diagnosis: X-ray images and endoscopy
Treatment: Fluid therapy to rehydrate the
patient. Medications for HCI production (Omeprazole and H2 antagonist
(Cimetidine). Avoid use of NSAIDS unless instructed by Veterinarian
(provide only with food unless instructed otherwise)
Like people, your dog stomach problems can be due to motion
Symptoms: Symptoms of dog motion sickness
include excess salivation, yawning and vomiting. Young dogs that are
not used to being in a moving car sometimes get motion sick. Once your
dog gets used to the motion, they should be fine. Until then your
veterinarian can prescribe common motion sickness drugs such as
Treatment: Treatment is also similar to
humans with the use of Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) and Gravol. The
dosage for dogs is 2 to 4 mg for every pound of your dog's body weight
every 8 hours. Give your dog the mediation 1 hour prior to traveling.
Never give your dog an over the counter medication without consulting
Other tips for canine motion sickness are to give your dog a ginger
snap cookie and have her travel on an empty stomach. Dogs can outgrow
the problem as they get used to car travel.
Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism)
Canine Addison’s Disease is a dog stomach problem that impacts
your dog's adrenal glands. These are the glands that sit on top of the
kidneys and are located in the abdomen. The glands secrete hormones
that help the body regulate itself. The disease occurs when the body's
own immune system attacks the glands and causes them to shut down. When
a dog collapses with no known cause, canine Addison's disease is
Adrenal glands excrete hormones that help the body function. This is
not a stomach problem, but the symptoms are similar, such as diarrhea
Addison’s can be triggered by other illnesses and toxins that destroy
the adrenal glands (toxic medications, tumors, infections). The glands
can also be damage by an autoimmune reaction or in dogs that take
corticosteroids (side effect of steroids).
Breeds predisposed to Addison’s include:
Portuguese Water Dogs
Intermittent diarrhea and vomiting
Diagnosis: Diagnosis is made with a ACTH stimulation test.
Treatment includes the use of corticosteroids and intravenous fluids.
Prescription medications such as Florinef and Percorten can treat this
condition along with intravenous fluids. Chronic cases are treated with
oral cortisone. Dog's respond will to this approach and require
treatment for the rest of their life.
Obstructions are Caused by
Dogs That Eat A Foreign Object Shown: X-Ray of Foreign Object
Sometimes dog stomach problems are confused with problems that
affect the different places along the digestive tract (GI disease),
such as in the small intestine, large intestine and colon. Common
causes and problems include:
Eating foreign objects (stones, bones, grass)
Causes retching and appetite loss, increased salivation and
Treatment involves removing the object causing the problem.
Intussusception: a problem where the intestines enfold into
itself. Causes vomiting with or without blood, when the intestine
enfolds into itself)
Viral Infection such as Parvovirus: Signs are diarrhea that is
often mixed with blood. Accompanied by depression and appetite loss.
Megacolon: signs are straining to defecate, vomiting, small and
hard feces, vomiting
Acute Diarrhea: caused by diet change, medications or
stress, provide nothing by mouth for 24 hours, water is ok if any
vomiting has stopped.
Parasite Diarrhea: caused by parasites or protozoa (giardia,
Coccidia). Treatment requires medications such as Anthelmintics
(parasites) or antiprotozoal medications.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease: diarrhea with weight loss
The key to understanding these issues is the severity of the
and how long they last. If the stomach is the problem, then the most
common symptom is vomiting. If the problem is due to inflammation in
the digestive tract then vomiting is often accompanied by diarrhea,
weight loss, appetite loss, avoidance of eating (anorexia).
Stomach Problems Caused by Ingested Rubber Ball. Rubber Ball Being
From Dog Stomach
Signs of Dog Digestive Problems
If you see these signs related to a dog stomach problem, then take
your dog to a veterinarian:
Shaking or seizures
Drinking unusual amounts of water
Diarrhea, constipation or frequent urination
Passing gas more than usual
Burping more than usual
Blood in vomit or stool
Changes in behavior:
Lethargy (acting tired)
Abnormal postural changes (praying position or others in order to
find a comfortable position)
Stomach that is hard and round
Vomiting vs. Regurgitation
The most common symptoms of a dog stomach problem is vomiting. It
is important to distinguish between regurgitation and vomiting. In
regurgitation food that enters your dog is rejected before it enters
the stomach. It is due to an issue with the esophagus, which is the
tube that leads from the mouth into the stomach.
Regurgitation happens when there is something blocking the esophagus
such as something your dog has eaten. Another accompanying symptom is
drooling. A partial blockage will result in a persistent problem.
Vomiting is when the contents of your dog’s stomach is expelled by the
body. It usually has a bad smell and looks like it contains food that
hasn't been digested all of the way.
Stomach problems are related to vomiting. Other illnesses related to
dog vomiting includes diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, liver disease
or a problem with your dog's electrolytes (the sales and minerals that
help the body conduct electrical impulses).
Dog Stomach Ultrasound
Dog Upset Stomach
Upset stomach is a general description of many possible dog stomach
problems. For example if your dog persistently vomits after eating it
could be caused of any of the problems listed below including some type
of blockage, a thickening of the stomach wall or even a problem with
the way the stomach empties.
Vomiting can be a sign of a simple problem (eating fast or eating
grass) or something more sever such as pancreatitis, kidney disease and
Your veterinarian will take x-rays or use ultrasound to see inside the
stomach to determine the route of the problem.
Home Remedies and Dog Stomach Problems
If your canine has persistent dog stomach problems and medical
been ruled out (see following pages), one option is to try a remedy
formulated to strengthen the dog's dietary system.
When your dog isn't eating right, or not getting the right
foods/ingredients it could result in digestive imbalance. In the wild
dog's naturally can select those things that are required to balance
the diet. Household pets rely on pet parents.
Herbs and other natural ingredients act as a substitute for things
in your dogs diet that might be missing, but that occur naturally in
nature. There are several natural herbs that have been shown to support
the stomach lining and digestive tract. These include:
Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice): associated with support of the
lining of the digestive tract. It also helps with bowels.(Arase Y,
Ikeda K, Murashima N, et al. “The long term efficacy of glycyrrhizin in
chronic hepatitis C patients”. Cancer 1997;79(8):1494-1500.)
Ulmus fulva (slippery elm): common herb used to support digestive
health (DeHaan RL. Home remedies for pets. J Am Holistic Veterinary Med
Althaea officinalis (marshmallow): sooths the mucous membranes
and the digestive tract lining.
One product worth researching and discussing with your veterinarian
dog stomach problems is called Digestive
Support. Discuss this and other options with your
that he or she can track your dog's progress.
Preventing Stomach Problems
Prevention of dog stomach problems includes feeling your dog
balanced diet and avoiding opportunities for your dog to over eat or
ingest a foreign object. A balanced diet contains:
As long as you are feeding your dog a reputable commercial brand
is AAFCO certified. then you should be providing the necessary
nutrients for dog stomach health. The biggest difference between types
is the amount of water in the food, which isn't an issue if your dog is
drinking properly. Dry dog foods tend to cost less and are fine for
most dogs. If you believe diet is a problem your veterinarian can
recommend a Prescription Diet that limits certain parts of the diet.
Ask Our Vet A Dog Stomach Related Question, We'll Answer It For
Have A Question For Our Vet About A Dog Stomach Problem?
Do you have a question for our veterinarian about a dog stomach problem? Share it and we will answer it for free!
Please include your dog's age, breed, medical history and if possible, a picture of the condition.
Other Reader Dog Gastrointestinal Related Questions and Vet Suggestions
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
How to Treat Dog Stomach Pain Not rated yet Reader Question: What to do for dog stomach pain?
Thank you for a great detailed article. I have a three year old male standard poodle. For almost …
Treating A Dog Stomach Tumor or Mass Not rated yet Reader Question: Treating a Dog Stomach Mass or Related Problem
My 11 year old Bulldog/Black Lab "Ebby" ate raw venison at a friends house that processes …
Recovery After Dog Swallowed Bone Not rated yet Reader Question: Dog Swallowed Bone Recovery
Our Cane Corso got into the trash and swallowed a small cooked beef short rib Friday. He quit eating …
Dog Stomach Problems After Eye Surgery Not rated yet Reader Question: Dog Stomach Problems After Surgery
Hi my dog has recently had an corneal transplant and started to be sick from the anti inflammatory …
Causes of An Enlarged Dog Stomach Not rated yet Reader Question: What Can Cause My Dog's Enlarged Stomach
My dog is a 9 year old Pitbull that has had all of the regular shots. Now he has an enlarged …