Gastrointestinal upset (also known as GI upset) in your dog can be very scary, especially for new dog owners. There are many causes to GI upset including a change to your dog’s diet, a change in routine, allergies or excessive stress. One of the most common calls to vet offices is related to some version of GI upset – notably around the holiday season. Our Veterinarian Dr. Amy Straut compiled a few tips to help you deal with your dog’s GI upset.
1. Don’t panic
Just like humans, dogs can experience the occasional upset stomach. GI upset is quite common and can happen in some dogs more than others. The first thing to do is not panic. Make sure you have your vet’s contact information handy. You can call at anytime to discuss your dog’s symptoms and determine whether an office visit would be appropriate.
2. Ensure your dog is drinking water normally
One of the most important signs to watch for during GI upset is your dog’s water intake. You’ll want to monitor your dog’s water intake closely. If your dog is not drinking as much as he/she usually does – or conversely – is drinking much more than usual, you should contact your vet. Continue to monitor your dog’s intake for the next few days for any changes, even if the symptoms of GI upset have been resolved.
3. Switch to a bland diet
When your dog is experiencing mild GI upset, your vet may recommend switching to a bland diet. One of the most common bland diets is boiled chicken mixed with white rice. When choosing a bland diet, be sure your are considering your dog’s existing or potential food allergies. Once the symptoms of GI upset have resolved, you can slowly introduce larger amounts of your dog’s usual diet with the bland diet.
4. Give your dog lots of rest
During GI upset, you’ll want to skip your usual trip to the dog park or daycare. Keep walks down to a stroll around the block. Physical rest is important to helping resolve GI upset.
5. Watch for lethargy and vomiting
If your dog seems excessively tired, or if your dog’s GI upset is coupled with vomiting, contact your vet immediately to explain your dog’s symptoms. These could be signs that your dog should come in for a check up. If your dog’s diarrhea lasts longer than 12 hours, call your vet to discuss your dog’s symptoms.