What Can I Give My Dog for an Upset Stomach? (Plus 4 Foods That’ll Help!)

Every dog owner will have a day when their pup has an upset stomach.

And since we as owners know what it’s like to experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps… it’s only natural that we want to help our dogs feel better when they are sick.

However: Medications for humans aren’t always safe to give to dogs.

So, what can you do when your dog is sick?

What Should I Feed a Dog With an Upset Stomach?

When a human is sick, doctors recommend the “B.R.A.T” diet which stands for “Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast”.

Basically… it’s a bland diet. And the same theory applies to dogs.

But the foods are slightly different.

The following foods that could help to settle your dog’s stomach:

1. Rice

Rice should be cooked in water with no seasoning.

It can be fed either warm or cold.

Just be sure to check the temperature before feeding your dog – you don’t want to burn their mouth!

2. Chicken

Just like rice, the chicken should be cooked, preferably boiled, and shredded into smaller pieces with no seasoning.

Shredded chicken is easy for dogs to digest and contains many essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids, too.

3. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is high in fiber and is great for helping to regulate the digestive system.

The pumpkin should be peeled, cooked, and unseasoned.

Using canned pumpkin is fine… but don’t purchase pumpkin pie mix… simply “canned pumpkin.”

Start out with a ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon at a time to ensure that your dog will keep it down.

4. Baby Food

Meat-based baby foods are a good way to provide your dog with a nutrient-rich meal that’s also tempting for your dog to eat.

Just make sure the formula is as bland as possible and doesn’t contain garlic or onion powder.

Always start out by feeding your dog just a small amount of the food you’ve prepared for them. Depending on the cause of the upset stomach, even bland foods can… “reappear”.

Feed bland foods until your dog seems to feel better then, very slowly, reintroduce their normal dog food diet.

For example: If feeding chicken and rice… mix ¼ of the normal amount of dog food fed to your dog for a meal. The next meal, if all goes well, make ½ of the meal dog food and half rice.

Should I Change My Dog’s Regular Diet?

This is a great question and the answer really depends on what’s causing the dog’s upset stomach.

If your dog has a chronically upset stomach, your veterinarian will likely recommend a change in diet to a food that’s specially formulated for easier digestion.

Some of the most popular sensitive stomach foods for dogs include:

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This chicken-based diet includes prebiotic fiber, an ingredient that helps to support beneficial GI bacteria. The food is highly digestible and encourages the absorption of nutrients.

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This is a salmon-based diet, created for dogs that might have an allergy to other kinds of protein. Rice and oatmeal are easily digestible and this diet also contains prebiotic fiber for a balanced GI tract.

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This formula blends soluble and insoluble fibers which help to aid intestinal movement and digestion. Highly digestible proteins and prebiotic fiber also help to support healthy gut bacteria. This is also a chicken-based diet.

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Veterinarians designed this diet for dogs with severe food allergies or who have other serious GI medical conditions. You will need a prescription in order to purchase this food.

Always follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding your dog’s diet. Introduce new foods slowly as a sudden change can actually cause an upset stomach.

Can I Give My Dog Medication for Their Upset Stomach?

You should always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any over the counter medications, but yes, there are medications that are appropriate to give a dog with an upset stomach.

These OTC medications include:

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Pepto-Bismol is safe to give dogs – but don’t ever give it to your cat! Additionally, dogs with bleeding disorders or who are pregnant/nursing should never be given Pepto-Bismol.

The salicylates in the drug can cause gastric bleeding and since the bismuth included can turn stool black, any bleeding might be hidden. This medication can help with vomiting and diarrhea.

The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds, given every 6-8 hours. If, after 24 hours your dog continues to have an upset stomach, stop giving this medication can call your vet.

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Imodium can help dogs with diarrhea. This drug may interact negatively with other medications so consult with your veterinarian before giving it to your dog.

Dosage for dogs is one 2 mg pill per 40 pounds. It can be given 2 – 3 times a day.

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Famotidine can help with stomach acid build-up and gastric ulcers and you can typically get it from your veterinarian or at a local drug store.

The dosage is 10 mg per 20 pounds given every 12 – 24 hours. It’s best to give this medication before feeding.

Ondansetron

Ondansetron can help dogs who have been vomiting. Dogs with liver disease or heart disease that causes abnormal rhythms should not be given this drug.

The ondansetron dosage is 0.5 mg per pound every 12 to 24 hours.

With any of these medications, it’s important to give the right dosage. If your dog continues to have an upset stomach despite diet changes and OTC medication, you should take them to the veterinarian immediately. They could be suffering from a life-threatening medical issue.

GI Issues in Dogs That Can Be Dangerous

The following are medical conditions in dogs that can result in vomiting and diarrhea that could be potentially life-threatening.

GI Foreign Body

Dogs can be very silly creatures (but we still love them!) and they don’t always understand what they should and should not eat.

Foreign bodies can become lodged in any part of the GI tract or can perforate the tissue, resulting in tissue death.

Common foreign bodies in dogs include rocks, towels, underwear, plastic bags, tampons, toys, and bones.

Poisoning

Another issue that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs is poisoning.

Dogs are unintentionally (yet commonly) poisoned by:

Medications: Examples include Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, and antidepressants.

“People” Food: Examples of people food that should never be given to dogs include grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and the sweetener xylitol.

Plants: Plants like rhododendrons, tulips, azaleas, and sage palms can call cause vomiting and other health issues in dogs.

Rat Poison: Rodenticides don’t just poison mice and rats, it also poisons dogs.

If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned don’t’ bother with a diet change or over the counter medication – rush them to the vet immediately.

Bloat

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, more commonly known as bloat, occurs when the stomach fills with gas, fluid, or food causing it to expand and placing pressure on other internal organs.

The stomach will twist internally, halting the GI tract, and also stopping the flow of blood.

Surgery is typically required to save the dog’s life.

Large, deep-chested breeds like Great Danes, Akitas, and St. Bernards are susceptible to bloat but it can happen in any dog.

Always monitor your dog carefully if they have an upset stomach as quick action could save their lives.