Vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs

It can be alarming when we hear our dog make that awful ‘retching’ sound that accompanies a vomit, or we bend down to pick up a poo only to see that it is more liquid than solid. Knowing our pets are unwell is always a worry and it can sometimes be hard to know what the best thing is to do.

Do I need to see the Vet?

Certainly, if your dog is showing other signs of being unwell such as lethargy, a bloated abdomen, reduced appetite or if they are very young, it is important to have them checked over. This is also true if the problem is ongoing and does not respond quickly to at-home treatment.

When a dog is otherwise well but has a mild stomach upset (perhaps they have vomited once and their stool is looking a little sloppy), there are some sensible things that we can do at home, with the help from over the counter supportive preparations from us to try to speed up their recovery. These include:

  • Taking away any chews, treats and dog food that may be hard for an unwell dog to digest.

  • Feeding small meals, little and often, of a specially formulated prescription diet for sensitive stomachs. Human food, albeit bland is not always suitable to feed to our canine friends.

  • Allowing your dog to rest and letting them out to do their business whenever they ask.

  • Offering plenty of fresh water.

If the symptoms do not improve quickly or your dog seems to deteriorate, don’t hesitate to have them checked over.

What can cause vomiting and diarrhoea?

Vomiting and diarrhoea are not specific symptoms, meaning dogs can experience them for lots of different reasons. These can include:

  • A viral or bacterial infection

  • Pancreatitis

  • Parasite burdens

  • Liver or kidney Disease

  • A hormonal disease

  • A foreign body within the gastrointestinal tract.

In some instances, we will need to run some tests to get to the bottom of the gastroenteritis (upset stomach). This may include some blood tests, a scan of the abdomen, a urine analysis and a faecal examination.

Treatment will depend on the cause of the vomiting and diarrhoea, as well as on how unwell the patient is. For some, we may need to treat them in the hospital and provide intravenous fluids, anti-nausea and other supportive medicines. The most important factor is looking for a diagnosis, which can then allow us to provide the most appropriate treatment.

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