If you’re a dog owner, it’s inevitable that your furry friend will experience vomiting and diarrhea at some point in his life. No one likes to see their dog suffer, but no one likes to pay unnecessary vet bills either. It can be tough to know when your dog truly needs medical attention and when he just needs a day to get better on his own. These guidelines will help you make the right call and keep your pooch healthy!
When to Wait it Out
Just like humans, dogs get sick for a lot of different reasons and not all of them require medical attention. If she got off of her normal diet for a while or got into something in the trash, she’ll probably perk back up on her own within a day.
If your pooch is still interested in food and water and is just as energetic as normal, you’re probably fine waiting another twenty-four to forty-eight hours before coming into your vet.
What to Do While You Wait
In the meantime, you can help him recover by removing access to food for a little while and then starting a bland foods diet. We recommend taking food away for the first twelve hours after your dog has thrown up or experienced diarrhea. Make sure he stays hydrated in this time but try to discourage him from gulping down large amounts of water at once— too much too fast can further upset his stomach.
If she hasn’t had another episode after the twelve-hour waiting period, it’s time to reintroduce food–but don’t return to normal dog food just yet. Even if she’s not truly ill, kibble can still be hard on a dog’s tummy after she’s thrown up and can prolong her recovery.
Boiled meats and gentle starches will help settle your dog’s stomach until he’s ready to handle his own food again. A popular choice is boneless, skinless chicken breast with white rice or canned pumpkin. Try a small meal at first, and if he holds that down for two hours, offer another small meal.
Continue with this diet, gradually offering larger meals farther apart. If his stools are firming up and vomiting has ceased after twenty four hours, start mixing in some of his regular food until he’s back to his normal diet and eating schedule.
When to Bring Them In
If only it were that simple all of the time. Unfortunately, there will be times when your pup just needs a little more help to get better. It’s best to give your vet a call in the following situations:
- You’ve tried the above protocol and your dog is still sick after 48 hours.
- Your dog is showing sudden and extreme changes in behavior like becoming lethargic or irritable.
- Your dog has lost all interest in food and water and refuses to drink.
- Your dog has recently swallowed a non-food item that hasn’t appeared in his vomit or diarrhea after twenty-four hours.
- Your dog’s vomit is frothy and yellow and her diarrhea is completely liquid, very dark, and has a distinctly sickish odor— especially if you have a young dog who hasn’t received all of her shots. These could be signs of Parvo, a virus that can be fatal when it doesn’t receive prompt medical attention.
If your pooch is exhibiting these behaviors, it’s likely that his condition is due to more than just a change in diet or stress. These are hallmarks of a dog who is truly ill.
When in doubt, always give your vet a call and follow his or her advice!