Everybody gets a little sick to their stomach now and again. When our dogs are the ones suffering from nausea, though, it can be especially difficult. They don’t understand what’s happening to them, just that they don’t feel good!
If your dog is throwing up frequently, has lost their appetite for more than a couple of days, or you see blood in their vomit or stool, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet to find out what’s going on. However, when your dog first starts showing those symptoms, or in the event of an occasional minor bout of tummy trouble, there are a few steps you can take to provide your dog relief right at home.
Signs of nausea in dogs
If your dog throws up, obviously, that suggests that they are feeling nauseated! Otherwise, though, there are a few signs you can look for to detect nausea before your dog loses their lunch:
- Eating grass
- Gurgling belly
- Floor licking
- Soft or runny stool
- Excess drooling
Feed a bland, high-fiber food
One of the best ways to help your buddy feel better, is by feeding some home-cooked foods that are easy to digest, to give their tummies something easy to work on while they recover.
Boiled, unseasoned chicken or white fish may not sound appetizing to you, but most dogs love it, and it’s very easy for them to digest! That makes it a great base for your dog’s bland meal.
Add in some fiber-rich foods that aren’t too salty or fatty, to help restore regular digestive function. Pumpkin, sweet potato, rice, green beans, and many flavors of baby food all contain lots of fiber, while being low in calories, fat, and sugars, so they should be easy on your dog’s belly.
Finally, bone broth isn’t just good for settling stomachs; it’s also quite rich in calories and nutrients, which is good when your dog is only able to eat a little bit at a time. Plus, it’s super tasty for dogs, so it can really help get that appetite going!
Note that without any vitamin and mineral supplementation, home-cooked meals typically don’t contain all the nutrition that dogs need long-term, so it’s not a good idea to feed this bland diet for more than a couple of days, unless you’re able to add a multivitamin supplement to help balance it.
The Radiant Canine multivitamin supplement that I helped Canine Sciences to develop contains over 45 different ingredients, each with their own unique nutritional benefits, and dogs like the taste too, so it’s a very convenient and effective way to make sure your dog is still getting plenty of vitamins and minerals while they’re recovering.
Add a digestive supplement
Including a supplement which contains digestive enzymes, probiotics, and/or additional fiber can go a long way towards restoring regular digestion.
When a dog gets sick, it often depletes their digestive tract of the beneficial enzymes and bacteria that live in their guts and help them to break down the food they eat.
This is especially true for dogs on an antibiotic regimen, since those drugs don’t distinguish between the harmful bacteria that’s making your dog sick, and the good bacteria that help them to digest. This depletion doesn’t just make it harder for your dog to digest food, but it can also perpetuate their nausea.
Digestive supplements typically contain a mix of digestive enzymes which help dissolve food into their constituent molecules, probiotics which help protect and promote the intestinal immune system, and fiber to help soothe irritation and absorb excess water in the digestive tract.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that our Radiant Canine supplement contains four probiotic strains, three digestive enzymes, and a big shot of dietary fiber, making it a great utility when using diet to help dogs recover from nausea.
Try a human medication
There are a few differences between the way human and dog digestion works, but overall, they function pretty similarly. That’s why some over-the-counter medicines intended to treat human digestive problems can be safe and helpful for dogs too.
That said, because these medications are designed for humans, I strongly recommended checking in with your veterinarian before administering them to your dog. They’re perfectly safe for the majority of dogs, but can occasionally interact negatively with certain dog health conditions or medications, primarily bleeding disorders or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.
To be specific, bismuth subsalicylate – known more commonly as Pepto-Bismol – can be effective at treating dog nausea, and it’s safe for most dogs too. 1 tsp for every 10 pounds of weight is generally an appropriate dosage. I wouldn’t recommend giving more than a couple of doses unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian, however. And if this causes diarrhea in your dog or worsens that symptom, stop immediately.
Famotidine, also known as Pepcid, is also a common remedy recommended by veterinarians for dogs experiencing tummy trouble, especially when it’s related to acid build-up or ulcers. Typical recommended dosage is 10mg for every 20 pounds of dog, though again, it’s a good idea to verify that with your vet, especially if your dog has any ongoing health conditions.
Keep your dog hydrated
To be clear, water alone isn’t going to do much to help your dog feel better. However, nausea often leads to dehydration, and dehydration makes nausea worse in addition to causing a whole bunch of other potential health problems. That's why I always encourage dog owners whose dogs' are experiencing nausea to make a special effort to keep their dogs hydrated.
Of course, loss of appetite can also make dogs reluctant to drink, so making sure your dog’s water bowl is full isn’t always enough. If your dog doesn’t seem interested in their water, some low-sodium broth can help their appetite and encourage them to stay hydrated.
Wishing you and your dog the best of health,
Dr. Edward Tuk
Thanks to its veterinarian-formulated cocktail of digestive aids and nutrients, our Radiant Canine nutritional supplement can be a very useful tool in addressing dog nausea. Just a small scoop or two each day, added to your dog's meals, absolutely supercharges their nutritional intake!
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