What does it mean when your Dog has Vomiting or Diarrhea?

Vomiting and diarrhea are common issues in pet dogs. Most pets will experience a mild stomach upset now and then and won’t need much intervention. However, sometimes these symptoms can be a sign of a significant medical issue which does require veterinary treatment.

It is important to know how sick your dog is and to be able to decide if they should be treated at home or not. Read on to determine what vomiting and diarrhea can mean, and what you need to do.

What can cause canine vomiting and diarrhea?

There are a wide range of potential causes for these gastrointestinal disorders affecting your dog’s digestive system including:

  • Toxin ingestion
  • A bacterial or viral infection
  • A hormonal disorder such as Cushing’s Disease
  • Dietary indiscretion (when your cheeky pooch eats something they shouldn’t) 
  • An obstruction within the G.I. tract due to e.g. a foreign body such as a ball or sock
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Parasites
  • A food allergy or sensitivity
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Other causes

When should I worry?

We need to consider the age of our pet and whether or not they have any underlying medical issues. A lively five year old Spaniel who has had diarrhea for 24 hours is less of a concern than a lethargic 10 week old German Shepherd who has been vomiting for several days.

It is important to check our dog’s hydration by ensuring their gums are wet to the touch. Be aware though, that the drooling that can accompany nausea may be confused for wet gums. If in doubt, have your vet check for you.

Affected dogs should have good energy levels and be eager to eat. Their breathing should not be fast or labored and they should have soft (rather than tense or bloated) abdomens.

A mild stomach upset should run its course in one or two days and your dog should still be able to go for their walks and have a quick play. They should be encouraged to rest and it is sensible to keep walks short, to allow them to recuperate.

What can I do?

Check around your home and garden for anything your pet may have ingested, such as rubbish from an open trash can or a packet of human medicine. Similarly, think back to what they have eaten in the last few days, as it may have triggered their stomach upset.

If mildly affected and otherwise well, consider feeding your dog a bland diet e.g. chicken and rice for 48 hours. Offering some probiotics and a fiber supplement for dogs can also help. Consider soft chews like Kenn & Kitt's Digestive Probiotic Supplements  as it contains enzymes and ingredients such as papaya to aid in the protection of your dog’s digestive system. 

Monitor closely and you should find that your dog perks up quickly. If not, or if concerned at any time, give your local vet clinic a call.

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