8 Remedies for Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

Sick dog with an upset stomach resting on their owner's bed

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If you’re reading this article, it means that you’re on the hunt for practical remedies for your dog’s upset stomach. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to address this health concern and ease your pup’s discomfort.

Many things can bring on an upset stomach in your dog, from consuming certain foods and plants,12 to eating too fast, to serious health issues such as pancreatitis (to name just a few!).3 It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian if:

  • Your dog’s vomiting or diarrhea is severe
  • It appears to be getting worse
  • It is accompanied by other serious symptoms like abdominal pain or enlargement, depression, lethargy, or repeated unsuccessful attempts to vomit.

A vet will be able to diagnose your dog and recommend appropriate treatment options. Vomiting and diarrhea can be signs that big trouble is on the horizon, so when in doubt, always seek expert advice.

A vet may be able to identify different issues your dog is having as being related to areas other than food, such as a dog’s need for daily exercise or something like a puppy having issues with sleeping through the night (if sleep is indeed the issue you can also check out our series of dog bed buying guides to: the best waterproof dog beds, the best outdoor dog beds, the best elevated large beds, and the best dog couches).

On the other hand, if your dog is only suffering from a mildly upset stomach and seems to feel fine otherwise, one of the following 8 remedies may be able to help.

1. Fasting

Fasting dog staring hungrily at his empty dog bowl next to him

Fasting gives your dog’s upset stomach a chance to rest and heal, so it can be a good way to treat a mild case of vomiting. A fast typically lasts between 12 and 24 hours,4 but the ideal amount of time will depend on your particular dog.

If your dog is still vomiting after fasting for a few hours, they may require a full 24 hour fast before you transition them back to eating. But if your dog’s stomach has settled after a few hours of fasting, you can begin to transition them to a bland diet.

But do not fast younger dogs or dogs with underlying health problems without first talking to your veterinarian.5 Also, only withhold food but not water when fasting your dog. If your dog has a tendency to gulp down large amounts of water, offer them small amounts frequently.

2. The Bland Diet

Putting your dog on a bland diet for a few days can be a good remedy for a dog who is experiencing a mild case of diarrhea or vomiting. As the name suggests, a bland diet is a diet made up of plain foods that are highly digestible, so they’re easier on your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.6

If you’d like to give a bland diet a try, the following foods may be suitable to feed your dog:

  • Boiled white meat chicken (no skin or bones)
  • Boiled lean hamburger
  • Cooked white rice
  • Boiled and mashed potatoes

Add equal parts of one of the proteins mentioned above with one of the starches and mix thoroughly. Remember, the whole point of this diet is to focus on bland foods, so steer clear of any added spices, fats, and oils!

The key to an effective bland diet is patience. Start with just a very small amount and wait an hour or so to see how it goes. If your dog holds the food down, you can give them a bit more. Slowly increase the amounts and decrease the frequency until your dog is eating a small meal every four hours or so.

When your dog can hold down food again, you can begin to transition them back to their regular diet gradually after one to two days on a bland diet. Similar to fasting your dog, if symptoms persist, don’t delay in taking your dog to the vet.

3. High Fiber Meals

Cocker Spaniel lying next to a bowl of high fiber dog food
Photo courtesy: Pixabay Public Domain

If your dog is experiencing loose stools, it may be helpful to consider switching them to a high fiber dog food or giving them a fiber supplement. Adding more fiber to your dog’s diet can help firm up stools and promote a healthy population of gut bacteria.

Always consult your vet before making the switch to a high fiber diet. There are many different kinds of fiber, each of which tends to have particular benefits, and it can be hard to know which type to use under different circumstances.7 Also, high fiber dog food may not be suitable for all dogs, particularly younger dogs or those with high energy requirements.

4. Bone Broth

Similar to the comfort a warm bowl of chicken soup provides when we’re feeling under the weather, a bone broth may help soothe your dog’s upset stomach. Bone broth tends to sit well on an upset stomach and can help pets stay hydrated while also providing them with some protein and other nutrients.8 You can either try making a homemade bone broth for dogs or purchase a pre-made broth from a reputable pet food brand.

5. Ice Cubes

Melting ice cubes scattered on a table
Photo courtesy: Pixabay Public Domain

One of the many things you’ll need to be mindful of when treating a dog with an upset stomach is hydration. Both vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, particularly in combination. To make matters more complex, drinking too much water all at once on an upset stomach can cause your dog to vomit even more.

So how do you ensure your dog maintains a healthy level of hydration when they have an upset stomach? In between small drinks of water, give them some ice chips to chew on.

6. Probiotics

Regardless of the initial cause of your dog’s digestive issues, their symptoms may continue due to disruptions in the populations of microbes that normally live in the gastrointestinal tract. Giving probiotic supplements can help. Probiotics supplements increase good bacteria in your dog’s gut, which can aid digestion.9

However, it is best to consult your vet about whether these supplements are the right remedy for your dog and if so, which brand they would recommend. This is particularly important given that the quality and effectiveness of probiotics are not always known.10

7. Slow-Feed Dog Bowls

A slow food feeder filled with kibble

Does your dog tend to eat a whole meal in just a few seconds? Eating too quickly can cause vomiting and other health problems, so it’s a good idea to put a stop to it.11

Slow-feed dog bowls (and automatic dog feeders) are a convenient way to encourage your dog to nibble rather than gulp. Unlike a typical dog bowl, the interior of slow-feed dog bowls feature ridges or other obstacles that prolong the time it takes for dogs to consume a meal. Not only can they encourage your dog to consume food at a slower pace, but they also make mealtimes more fun and mentally stimulating. 12

8. Medicine

Depending on the cause of your dog’s upset stomach, medication may be able to help. For example, an antidiarrheal medicine, like loperamide (Immodium) may help ease their diarrhea.13 You should only give your dog over the counter medications under the guidance of your veterinarian, so contact your vet before giving your dog loperamide or any other medications or supplements. Dogs with more severe or persistent symptoms may need medications or other treatments that are only available through veterinarians.

If you’re in doubt about which of these remedies for your dog’s upset stomach is best for your pup or you have any questions at all, talk to your vet. 

Additionally, if you’re concerned about your dog’s upset stomach, you’re likely interested in your dog’s food and your pet’s overall health. Luckily, we have a lot of resources to help! We can even answer the question of how long does it takes a dog to digest food. We also have a dog weight predictor, a guide to how much your dog should weigh, and we even have a list that answers the question what foods can dogs not eat?

Beyond that, if you’re looking for additional resources to help keep your puppy healthy and looking good we also have a series of buying guides to help you select a medicated dog ear cleaner, the best professional dog clippersdog clippers for poodle hair, and our guide to finding the best dog brush for an Australian Shepherd.

Article Sources

Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. ASPCA. People foods to avoid feeding your pets. Aspca.org. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  2. ASPCA. Poisonous plants. Aspca.org. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  3. Brooks W. Pancreatitis in dogs. Veterinarypartner.vin.com. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  4. Arlington Animal Hospital. Bland diet feeding instructions. Arlingtonanimalhospital.biz. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  5. Arlington Animal Hospital. Bland diet feeding instructions. Arlingtonanimalhospital.biz. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  6. Arlington Animal Hospital. Bland diet feeding instructions. Arlingtonanimalhospital.biz. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  7. Heinze C. Fiber frustrations. Vetnutrition.tufts.edu. Published November 4, 2019. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  8. Dr. Phillips Animal Hospital. How to get a sick dog to eat. Drphillipsanimalhospital.com. Published July 31, 2020. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  9. Collings G. Pet health: Vital ingredients? PETS International magazine. Published November, 2011: 18-19. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  10. Williams K, Ward E. Diarrhea in dogs. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  11. College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. Vomiting pets. Vetmed.wsu.edu. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  12. Buckley L, Lees J. Go slow feeding bowls: How effective are they are getting dogs to eat more slowly? Veterinaryevidence.org. Accessed March 8, 2021.
  13. Gollakner R. Loperamide. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed March 8, 2021.
Dr. Jennifer Coates
Dr. Jennifer Coates was valedictorian of her graduating class at the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and has practiced in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado. She is also the author of numerous articles and books including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.