Causes of Upset Stomach in Dogs

Upset stomach is a common problem with canines of every breed, age and size; dogs can get an upset stomach easily due to a variety of culprits. Fortunately few of these scenarios are serious enough to require veterinary intervention. Knowing the causes of upset stomach in dogs is the first step toward preventing the same thing from happening again in the future.

Symptoms of Upset Stomach

Your dog's upset stomach could manifest itself several ways with symptoms ranging from the very subtle (mild sensitivity in the stomach area) to the very obvious (vomiting). Here are a few things to look for when determining if your dog has an upset stomach:

  • Dry-heaving
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Discomfort centered in the stomach area
  • Side-biting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Grass eating
  • Bloating
  • Decreased energy

These symptoms may appear individually or in combination with other symptoms. Depending on the number of symptoms present and their severity you could be dealing with something more serious than stomach upset.

Causes of Upset Stomach

As mentioned above, a number of different factors could be responsible for your dog's upset stomach. Some dogs are naturally more predisposed to upset stomach than others. Older dogs, dogs with a pre-existing medical condition, dogs with a sensitive stomach or dogs with a weakened immune system are especially at risk.

The most common causes of upset stomach are dog diet related. Whether a dog is getting the wrong food, too much food, is eating their food too fast (bolting) or is having a negative reaction to their food or something in it, this kind of upset stomach is common. Also, because dogs are naturally curious animals it is common for them to eat things that they shouldn't. Stress, motion sickness and physical trauma may also cause upset stomach. Small changes like a switch to sensitive stomach dog food or greater regularity in your daily routine will often resolve these forms of stomach upset.

Symptoms of More Serious Illness

When upset stomach appears as a symptom instead of the primary condition, you are dealing with something more serious than a little indigestion. While vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms of upset stomach, vomit or diarrhea that contain blood are symptomatic of something worse as is any loss of consciousness or symptoms that are sustained for more than 24 hours.

If your dog's upset stomach cannot be resolved, or if any of the above severe symptoms are present, you should immediately consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a diagnosis so you know if your dog's condition is something to worry about.

By knowing the symptoms and causes of upset stomach in dogs, you will better be able to recognize your dog's discomfort and get him treated quickly.