7 Signs Your Dog Has an Upset Tummy
by Tudor Nikolas on Aug 26, 2023.
Most dogs like to eat anything edible that they can find. Because of this, they will at some point in their lives experience an upset stomach.
As a caring pet owner, recognising the signs early can help you address the issue promptly and improve their quality of life in no time.
Let's take a look at seven signs that your dog may have an upset tummy and what the remedies may be, including when to try the much revered dog probiotics.
Three main signs of an upset tummy
- Frequency Matters: An occasional vomit is often not something to worry about. However, frequent or projectile vomiting is concerning. This may indicate that your dog has eaten something that was bad or it could be a sign of more chronic health problems.
- Note the Appearance: The presence of blood or unusual colour can be helpful to know when your vet attempts to diagnose the problem.
TIP: Although unpleasant, it may be useful for your vet to see exactly what the content looks like, so if you can, take a photo after the dog has finished vomiting. Bits of blood, or even dark/ black tarry content can be signs of blood loss. A picture can speak a thousand words.
- Consistency and Colour: The appearance of your dog's stool can indicate various issues, from infections to dietary indiscretions. Yellow dog poop can also be a sign of pancreatitis or the start of more chronic health problems.
- Duration: Occasional diarrhoea might not be alarming, but if it persists, it's time to consult the vet. Again, a picture might help your vet better understand what the poop looks like and can look for clues as to the diagnosis. This is especially important if the diarrhoea is prolonged.
3. Decreased Appetite:
- Changes in Eating Habits: Dogs should be eating plenty and have a strong appetite. A dog refusing its favourite treat is a definite red flag. It is often an early sign of the things to come.
- Potential Causes: Dental issues, infections, or internal discomfort can lead to appetite loss.
More Subtle Signs of an upset tummy
- Behavioural Changes: If your usually energetic dog who normally loves fetching his favourite ball seems disinterested in playing, this could be a more subtle sign that they're unwell. Another sign can be spending more time in his bed or on the floor, rather than being up and about.
- Duration Matters: Temporary lethargy might be due to fatigue, but prolonged lethargy requires attention. Always think whether there could be a reason why your dog is more tired. Is it hot outside and they've already done a lot of exercise? Could they be dehydrated?
5. Excessive Drooling and Other Oral Signs:
- Reasons for Drooling: Apart from nausea, oral injuries or infections can lead to increased salivation. Excess salivation or dog panting are also signs of stress in a dog.
- Lip Licking or Swallowing Frequently: These could indicate nausea or oral discomfort. Try and have a look at your dog's teeth and gums and see if you can spot any problems. Do this gently though because if your dog is in pain they might react badly. Even if you can't spot any problems, it might be a good idea to be proactive and buy a good dental cleaning powder for dogs based on natural ingredients. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid chemicals in dogs as they can be unhealthy and even lead to long term health problems.
6. Abdominal Sounds and Discomfort:
- Rumbling Tummy: Occasional gurgles are normal, but constant noise can suggest indigestion. Is the rumbling different from your dog's usual symptoms? Could it be because they ate something different or had a food brand change?
- Abdominal Pain: Dogs with pain might groan when lying down or might resist being touched around the belly area.
Behavioural indicators of an upset tummy
Just like physical signs, a dog may change their behaviour in response to an upset tummy.
Look for these two signs:
7. Grass Eating and Pica:
- Nature's Emetic?: While the exact reasons are debated, some believe dogs eat grass to soothe their stomach or induce vomiting. Grass can sometimes help, and it's also a phenomenon seen in other domesticated animals such as cats. Dogs are not particularly picky about the types of grass they eat, and there isn't strong evidence to suggest that they seek out specific grasses when they feel the need to graze.
- Pica: Eating non-food items, like socks or rocks, can indicate digestive distress or nutrient deficiencies. Eating their own poop is also therefore a sign of an upset tummy.
8. Restlessness and Body Language:
- Restless during the day: A dog that's constantly moving, changing positions, or pacing a lot may be in discomfort. Always compare this new behaviour to their usual mood pattern.
- Posture: A hunched back or tucked tail can indicate pain or unease. This is a bit similar to humans to may be bending forward when they have stomach pain or cramps.
What are some other reasons a dog might eat grass?
I just wanted to mention that seeing a dog eat grass does not immediately mean that they have digestive problems.
Here are some other common reasons and suggestions of what you can do if you are worried:
|Reason for Grass Eating||Observations||Suggested Action|
|Evolutionary Behavior||Dog eats grass but shows no signs of distress or illness.||No action needed unless grass eating becomes regular and excessive. They will tend to grow out of this as they age.|
|Stomach Upset||Dog eats grass and vomits afterward.||Monitor the dog, and if vomiting persists, consult a vet. Also take into account some other tips mentioned above.|
|Dietary Need||Dog seeks out specific plants or grasses more frequently than usual.||Consider a dietary review by a dog nutritionist and ensure the dog receives a balanced diet. You can also try various dog vitamins or changing your dog's main food.|
|Boredom or Behavioural Reasons||Dog eats grass when lacking other stimuli or activities.||Increase playtime, walks, or introduce new toys they can chew on instead.|
|Intestinal Worms||Dog eats grass excessively and shows signs of weight loss or other symptoms of worm infestation.||Consult a veterinarian for deworming treatment.|
Benefits of Probiotics for Digestive Health
Why Consider Probiotics?
Gut Flora Balance
Gut flora can be destabilised by various external and internal factors.
Antibiotics is a prime example for this. If your dog has just finished a course of antibiotics for an infection, then their gut microbiome may be completely unbalanced in the favour of bad bacteria.
Antibiotics tend to kill everything, whether good or bad from the microbiome.
Specific probiotic for dogs, such as our formula with Bacillus velezensis can be a life saver in re-balancing the cut flora.
A balanced gut flora subsequently contributes to overall immunity, through the gut-brain axis.
High immunity can subsequently reduce the risk of future infections. Even if your dog is exposed to pathogens in the future, their immune system will have the upper hand in fighting if their gut is full of healthy bacteria!
Choosing the Right Probiotic
I have already written a full article on what type of probiotic is best for dogs.
In my opinion, this probiotic is different from the best one in humans. Put simply, dogs have different requirements and the various strains have also been less studied in animals.
I would therefore always recommend a strain of probiotic that has been widely studied. This will minimise the risk to your dog and ensure that the probiotics are working effectively.
If unsure, it's always best to check with your vet before introducing any supplements.
Your dog's well-being is heavily reliant on their digestive health. This link is not anything new, and it has also been comprehensively studied in humans.
Recognising signs of distress and acting quickly can make all the difference to their wellbeing.
While probiotics are a valuable tool in maintaining gut health, a holistic approach that includes regular vet visits and a balanced diet is key to a happy, healthy pup.
To recap, these are the two products mentioned above:
Probiotics for Dogs - also includes a blend of prebiotics and postbiotics
Dog Teeth Cleaning powder - this one is 100% Natural and Organic too! The bulk of the seaweed is organically harvested from Northern Ireland.
In addition, it also contains Spirulina and Chlorella which are known to be high in protein and have a "superfoods" status.