Most of us have some experience with tummy troubles, and we know how miserable it can be. It’s hard not to feel a mix of empathy and concern when your pet is suffering from digestive issues, and many pet parents wonder when or if they should call a veterinarian.
Although an upset stomach in pets is never normal, it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Knowing what to do to help your pet, and when you should seek veterinary care, is key to a quick recovery for your furry friend.
Signs and Symptoms
Vomiting is an obvious way to tell if your pet is dealing with an upset stomach. Other ways to know if your pet is in pain may include:
- Hunched/arched back
- Loss of appetite
- Vocalizations (whining, yowling)
Causes of an Upset Stomach in Pets
The causes of an upset stomach in pets are often benign and tend to be related to something they ate (dogs) or a hairball (cats). Stress or anxiety can also lead to symptoms of digestive upset.
More serious causes include:
- Virus or bacterial infection
- Intestinal blockage
When to Seek Help
A one-time vomiting event typically doesn’t require a trip to the veterinary clinic, but call us if your pet is exhibiting any of the following symptoms:
- Vomiting or diarrhea that does not subside within 24 hours, or gets worse over time
- Straining to defecate or urinate
- Attempts to vomit
- Swollen abdomen
- Reacting with pain when abdomen is touched
- Blood in the vomit or stool
- Loss of consciousness
If you know or suspect that your pet has eaten something poisonous, call us or the Pet Poison Helpline. If possible, have the packaging of whatever your pet ate on hand at the time of the call, in order to get the quickest and most effective help for your pet.
Keeping on Top of Digestive Health
We can’t protect our pets from ever feeling discomfort, but keeping their adorable bellies in tiptop shape is relatively simple.
- Provide a high quality, nutritious diet for your pet (your veterinarian can help you figure out the right brand and appropriate amount).
- Inquire about prescription diets to help control hairballs, allergies, and other causes of upset stomach in pets.
- Make sure your pet goes to all of their wellness checkups, and that you keep up with their vaccinations and maintain parasite preventives year-round.
- Reduce stress and anxiety by keeping your pet’s daily routine simple and stable, and be sure to provide opportunities for exercise and fun each day.