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Common Causes of Upset Stomachs in Dogs

An upset stomach is a common health issue that can afflict your furry friend, causing discomfort and distress. Before we address the remedies, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of upset stomachs in dogs:

 

Swallowing Indigestible Substances

Like inquisitive toddlers, dogs often have a habit of putting anything and everything in their mouths. Unfortunately, this can include substances that are not meant for digestion. Eating indigestible substances like stones, toys, socks, or plastic bags can upset your dog’s stomach, resulting in vomiting and other symptoms.

 

Blockage

Foreign objects

Foreign objects are a common cause of blockages in dogs. Dogs are curious animals and may ingest items such as toys, bones, rocks, or even clothing. These objects can get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, causing a blockage. Symptoms of a blockage may include vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and constipation.

What to do:

If you suspect your dog has ingested a foreign object, it is crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

 

Tumors

Tumors can also lead to blockages in dogs. Tumors can develop in any part of the gastrointestinal tract and can obstruct the normal passage of food and waste. Symptoms of a blockage caused by a tumor may include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and a change in appetite.

What to do:

It is essential to have any unusual lumps or masses in your dog’s abdomen evaluated by a veterinarian to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

 

Intestinal Volvulus (twisting)

Intestinal volvulus, also known as twisted intestines, is another potential cause of blockages in dogs. This occurs when the intestines twist upon themselves, leading to a blockage of blood flow and the passage of food. Breeds with deep chests, such as Great Danes and German Shepherds, are more prone to this condition. Symptoms of a twisted intestine may include severe abdominal pain, bloating, restlessness, and unproductive attempts to vomit.

What to do:

Immediate veterinary intervention is necessary to save the dog’s life in such cases.

 

Hairball Obstruction

Certain dog breeds, particularly those with long hair or heavy shedding, can experience blockages due to a buildup of hair in their gastrointestinal tract. This condition is known as a hairball obstruction. Dogs that groom themselves excessively or ingest large amounts of hair while grooming are at higher risk. Symptoms of a hairball obstruction may include vomiting, constipation, and a decrease in appetite. Regular grooming and the use of specialized diets or supplements can help prevent hairball obstructions in susceptible breeds.

 

Dietary Changes

Just like humans, dogs can also respond negatively to sudden changes in their diet. Whether it’s a new brand of dog food or a tidbit from the human table that they’re not used to, it can upset their stomach. Simple diet adjustments can sometimes cause issues if not done gradually.

 

Switching from Kibble to raw food

As most know, I believe the best dog diet is a raw food diet. Switching from kibble to raw can cause an upset stomach and loose stools in some dogs. This is normal and short-term. There are a few things you address to help your dog through this process.

  • Trim some of the fat from the meat. Chicken skin, beef, and pork fat. When things stabilize, you can trim off less.
  • Add more meaty bones to the diet. Normally we suggest meaty bones to be about 10% of the total meal, but this can go all the way to 20% is some dogs.
  • Too many organs meet too fast. Organ meats like live can cause loose stool, so add that after you see a firm stool by adjusting fat and bone ratios.
  •  Add slippery Elem when you experience loose stools. It does not take much. Start with 1/4 tsp.
  • Add coloidial silver in case the loose stool is cased by bacteria.

If you still have issues after implementing the above, please get in touch with me for help.

 

Eating Too Quickly

Eating too quickly is another common cause of upset stomachs in dogs. When dogs gulp their food down too swiftly, they can also swallow a great deal of air. This can lead to a condition known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), a serious bloating condition that can cause an upset stomach.

Vomiting happens sometimes. Much less in raw-fed dogs, though. If it happens, it is usually due to a bigger piece of meat going down without being chewed properly (cut into smaller pieces by chewing).

Be aware of this: Dogs are gulpers by nature. They are pack animals and mealtime is comepetiton time. The one that eat the most has a much better change of surviving. The siliva’s main function is to lubricate and make digesting peieces of food easier without much chewing. A carnivore will only bite (chew) into a piece of food to divide it into peaces they can swollow. Otherwise they gulp it woen with no wasted time chewing. Compareted to omnivores (including humans) we benefit from chewing. Our saliva conatin ensymes that help with digestion and the absorbing of nutirents. Dog has no digstive enzymes in their salive. Their deigestive process starts in the stomach.

What to do

If your dog constantly eats too fast and throws up, feed the meal in smaller portions and wait a minute between portions. You can also add some water to the food to slow down the speed at which they “inhale the food.” Too much water will dilute the stomach liquids and make the acidic level drop, making the digestive process harder for the stomach.

One more thing. When your dog throws up food, let him/her eat it again. I know it’s disgusting, but only to us. For a dog, it’s normal and still delicious. Taking it away will confuse the dog, thinking he is doing something wrong.

 

Parasitic Infections

Parasites such as worms can infect a dog’s gastrointestinal tract and cause an upset stomach. Regular deworming is essential to prevent such infections and subsequent stomach issues. Remember, even the cleanest pet can become infected by parasites.

This is quite common in kibble-fed dogs, not so much in raw fed dogs.

What to do:

I do not use any form of dewormer that requires a prescription. They come with side effects I refuse to expose my dogs and cats to. There is a very effective natural solution that has zero side effects. It is called Diatomaceous Earth.

 

Diatomaceous earth is known for its ability to control parasites and worms in dogs. The sharp edges of the particles can damage the exoskeletons of fleas, ticks, worms, and other external parasites, causing them to dehydrate and die. This makes diatomaceous earth a popular natural alternative to chemical-based flea, tick, and worm treatments. However, it is important to use food-grade diatomaceous earth specifically labeled for pet use, as other forms may contain additives or impurities that could be harmful to dogs.

 

My remedy for a severe loose stool that has lasted more than 3-4 days.

  1. Fast for 24 hours
  2. Feed a raw food diet. Start with 1/2 of the recommended for the first meal. Then normal portions after that.
  3. Add Slippery Elm to the food for a few days.
  4. Add Colloidal Silver to the water and give 10-20ml 3-4 times a day using a feeding syringe for one week.
  5. If stool improves but is still soft, adjust the fat/bone ratio until the stool is firm.
  6. If there are still no significant improvements after a few days. Contact me.

Transitioning to a raw food diet.

If you experience loose stool when transitioning to a raw food diet, there is a simple strategy that can help. Start by adding one protein at a time, beginning with chicken, then moving on to beef and other proteins available in your area. It’s best to do this over a period of days or weeks. Once you have introduced 3-4 different proteins, start adding organ meats in small portions. The liver is a good place to start, followed by the kidney, spleen, and pancreas. It’s important to note that heart is actually a muscle meat, but it is still a great source of nutrients. By following this method, you should be able to resolve any issues with loose stool.

 

 

FAQ

1. How can I tell if my dog has an upset stomach?

Dogs with upset stomachs may exhibit a range of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain or discomfort, excessive gas, and lethargy. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

2. Can I give my dog over-the-counter medications for an upset stomach?

It is not recommended to give your dog over-the-counter medications without consulting with your veterinarian first. Some human medications can be toxic to dogs, and the dosage and safety of certain medications may vary between species. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend appropriate medications or natural remedies based on your dog’s specific condition. If you prefer a more natural approach contact an animal naturopath for remedies based on natural products.

3. Are there any natural remedies I can try for my dog's upset stomach?

Yes, I mentioned this above. Slippery elam, Colloidal Silver and Diatomaceous are in my opin ion the most effective.

4. When should I seek veterinary care for my dog's upset stomach?

If your dog’s upset stomach persists for more than 2-3 days, if there is blood in the vomit or diarrhea, if your dog is showing signs of dehydration (such as excessive thirst, dry gums, or sunken eyes), if there is severe abdominal pain, or if your dog’s condition worsens, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. These could be signs of a more serious underlying condition that requires medical intervention.

5. My vet says that a raw food diet is dangerous for a dog or cat with an upset stomach due to the possibility of harmful bacteria like e-coli and salmonella.

It is a common argument among veterinarians that a raw food diet is not suitable for dogs due to possible bacteria in the meat.  However, my experience has been the opposite. The digestive system of dogs is designed to handle raw food, as they are also natural scavengers. Their acidic stomach and their short and fast digestive system make it difficult for bacteria to colonize. In my experience, adding Colloidal Silver, Slippery Elm, and Diatomaceous Earth to their diet aids in restoring the balance in their digestive system better than any special diet or medication.

Thomas Sandberg CSAN, CCNC, AADP

Thomas Sandberg CSAN, CCNC, AADP

Thomas Sandberg is a board certified animal naturopath and carnivore nutritionist. He founder of Long Living Pets Research Projects, a 30-year observational study into raw-fed dogs and cats. Thomas also consults in animal naturopathy, including the prevention of chronic diseases and longevity using all-natural modalities. With more than 20 years of experience with hundreds of cancer cases, he has a deep understanding of why so many dogs and cats get cancer today and how we can lower the risk significantly.

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