What should you feed dogs with an upset stomach ?


Dogs are naturally scavengers so have evolved with incredibly robust digestive systems, allowing them to cope with the unspeakable things that they seem to delight in finding and eating.

Even with this digestive toughness, from time to time things do go wrong and they get an upset stomach – so what do you do when this happens.

Common causes of stomach upset in dogs

In the vast majority of cases, it is something that they have eaten that is causing the problem. 
Less common causes are infections and allergies.  Stress can also trigger an upset stomach and sometimes it may be a sign of other conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease or urinary tract infections, 

However, before you worry too much - the most likely reason they have an upset stomach they have eaten something that they should have left well alone

When should you take them to the vet?

A bit of vomiting and diarrhoea is the body’s natural way of clearing the out the problem.  It is nothing to worry about and not worth a trip to the vet. Just keep an eye on them and see if the symptoms start to improve.

You should take them to the vet if you see any of these

  •  The vomiting or diarrhoea is continuous or carries on for several hours or is getting worse
  •  The vomiting or diarrhoea carries on for more than 24 hours
  •  Swelling of the abdomen 
  •  Signs of blood in the vomit or diarrhoea
  •  If they seem to be in pain
  •  If they seem tired or lethargic

If you see any of these signs, or if you are worried, then take them to the vet.

What are the signs of a dog with a stomach upset?

The most obvious signs that something is wrong with their digestive system are diarrhoea or vomiting.  

However, dehydration, tiredness, excessive gas, drooling, and loss of appetite could all be signs of a stomach upset.

A tip to see whether they are dehydrated is, gently pinch their skin between your thumb and forefinger. If the skin springs back quickly then they are well hydrated, if it goes back more slowly then they may be dehydrated. 

Recommended food for dogs with an upset stomach

What do you feed a dog with an upset stomach?

The first thing to think about is water.  Vomiting or diarrhoea can cause dehydration, and that can happen quickly, within a few hours, so you want to replace the water.  The problem is if they drink too much then that can make the problem worse.  Try giving them some ice cubes and if they keep that down then try a small amount of water in the bowl and keep doing that – so keep them hydrated but don’t let them gulp down water.

Their ability to digest foods may be impaired so foods made with highly digestible ingredients and extra vitamins and minerals will help them get the nutrients they need. 

The vomiting or diaorreah will have caused them to lose electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium and these need replacing.  Specialist digestive recovery diets have increased levels of these electrolytes to help replace losses.

The type of food to help with digestive disorders will depend on the cause of the problem.  




Maldigestion / Malabsorption / Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)

In cases of maldigestion and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) the digestive process, is not working properly, leaving undigested food in the gut and reducing your dog's nutrient intake.  Undigested food can be used by adverse bacteria, leading to diarrhoea. Diets made with easy to digest ingredients and low fibre content maximise digestibility and increase nutrient absorption, helping your dog get the nutrients they need and leaving less undigested food in the gut. Fermentable fibres promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and beta-glucans support the body’s immune response. MOS (mannan-oligo-saccharides) bind to bad gut bacteria, preventing them from attaching to the intestinal wall and zeolite absorbs toxic components in the gut

CID & CIW Digestive Support

Colitis / Inflammatory bowel disease 

Colitis and Inflammatory bowel disease are digestive upsets involving inflammation of the gut. Diets rich in omega-3 from fish oils can help by supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes. The condition may also involve an allergic reaction so hypoallergenic diets are also recommended COD-HY & COW-HY Allergen Management Plus
Food allergy and intolerance Digestive upset can be caused by a reaction to certain foods - food allergy and intolerance. Hypoallergenic diets are made with low allergen ingredients, reducing the risk of triggering a food reaction

CDD, CDW & CDD-HY Food Allergen Management

COD-HY & COW-HY Allergen Management Plus

Fibre-responsive chronic diarrhoea / Constipation  Fibre-responsive chronic diarrhoea  and constipation are helped by high fibre diets that result in larger, softer stools that move more easily through the bowels 

CRD-1 & CRW-1 Weight Reduction 

CRD-2 Weight Control

Cholestasis Cholestasis is a disease where the bile duct is blocked. Bile helps digestion by breaking down fats, so low-fat diets are recommended to support this condition 

CRD-1 & CRW-1 Weight Reduction 

CRD-2 Weight Control

Pancreatitis In pancreatitis, the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas produces enzymes that break down fats and proteins and diets with reduced fat and protein levels give the pancreas some rest and a chance to recover.  

For more information on pancreatitis click here

CID & CIW Digestive Support

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