Most dogs can experience an upset tummy from time to time, but what action should you take if your pet becomes ill and when should you seek veterinary attention? Read on for some helpful tips.
How to spot a tummy upset in your dog
Identifying an upset tummy is usually pretty straightforward. Your dog may exhibit one or more of the following signs that all is not in order:
- loose stools
- swollen, sore tummy
All these signs are generally caused by your dog eating something that hasn't agreed with his digestion, he could have picked up something whilst out for a walk, for example. Signs like these can also be caused by a simple change in the brand of his food or a few too many titbits.
Other signs of a potentially more serious problem can include:
- blood in the stools
- loss of appetite
These symptoms can be a sign of a bacterial infection, gastroenteritis, a stomach ulcer or pancreatitis.
What to do if your dog has a tummy upset
If the symptoms appear mild and your dog is otherwise happy and bright, the first course of action you should take is to withdraw any food from your dog for 24 hours or so. This will allow the digestive system to naturally remove the source of the upset, and things should quickly return to normal. After the fast, if your dog is looking for food, offer him boiled rice and chicken for a day or so to prevent overloading his digestive system. Once all is back to normal, you can revert to his usual feeding regime.
Dehydration is a risk if your dog has diarrhoea so make sure that he always has access to a bowl of clean, fresh water. You can check to see if your dog's hydration level is satisfactory by pressing gently on his gums until the colour changes. If the colour doesn't revert to normal when you remove the pressure, your dog is dehydrated.
Sometimes, pests can use dog water bowls that are kept outside. This can result in your pet picking up a disease so it's recommended that you remove water bowls each evening and give them a good clean before refilling the next day.
When to seek veterinary consultation
If your dog appears depressed or unusually lethargic, shows no interest in food, is vomiting and/or has diarrhoea, you should take him to see the vet.
You can overcome mild tummy upsets by careful management and feeding, but if your pet's symptoms persist or repeat themselves regularly, you should always seek veterinary advice.