Have you ever left a plate of food unattended only to return to it and find it completely devoured by your furry family member? Or what about the times you’ve been out on walks and your pup discovers something vaguely resembling food and they’ve chowed it down before you had a chance to intervene? Yes, it seems there is nothing canines won’t eat and it can sometime get them into health trouble.
Whether it’s something they ate or a bacterial imbalance in their digestion system, an upset stomach is no fun. Dogs will show a variety of symptoms when this happens. Some will pace, whimper and lick their lips. Others will seem depressed. An upset stomach usually results in a loss of appetite and some dogs drink less water. Many dogs will show signs of fatigue or simply look uncomfortable.
Upset stomachs can also be a result of parasites, such as giardia – a single celled organism that lives in the intestinal tracts of dogs. Most dogs get this by drinking contaminated water or picking up something in their mouth that has giardia-contaminated feces on it.
Symptoms include the usual upset stomach behaviors but will mostly likely include watery diarrhea and greasy stools. Dogs with giardia might become dehydrated, lose weight and have a poor coat appearance. To determine if a dog has giardia, veterinarians will run a diagnostic test on the feces. Fortunately, medications can wipe out the parasite over the course of three to 10 days.
Fortunately, an upset stomach usually passes in a relatively short amount of time, but it the more serious situations, belly issues can require professional treatment. For example, one of the worst possible health issues related to the stomach is bloat (gastric dilation-volvulus), which is when the stomach twists. Roughly 30 percent of dogs that experience bloat will not recover.
When the stomach twists, the spleen and pancreas go with it. Blood flow is cut off to the organs and a number of bad things begin to happen. This requires immediate veterinary attention, which will likely involve surgery to untwist the stomach and remove damaged tissues.
When your vet has ruled out serious medical issues and has determined that your dog has the run-of-the-mill upset stomach, there are some home remedies that work to get them back on track and feeling better. Perhaps the most popular – the one that just about every vet subscribes to – is rice and boiled protein. This bland source of nutrients is easy on the belly, allowing you to slowly reintroduce “regular” foods in a two-to-three-day window and ease your pet back to health.
Also, keep in mind that the protein source can sometimes be the cause of the upset belly. While one dog can easily digest poultry, others have issues with that source of protein and do better with beef or fish. Try introducing a new protein and see how they react. The American Kennel Club suggests transitioning slowly, as sudden changes only exacerbate the problem.
Finally, talk to your vet about unsweetened yogurt, ginger, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, fasting and oatmeal – ingredients that have been used (individually – not all at one time) by dog owners for years to knock down the sensitive belly issues.
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