Gastroenteritis in dogs is an inflammation or irritation of the stomach and intestines. There are many possible causes, such as viruses, cancer, or simply ingesting something that disagrees with the digestive system.

Because the causes are numerous, treatment can vary widely. In one case, it may be as simple as withholding food for 24 hours (never withold water), blood tests may be taken together with stool samples and it could be as invasive as surgery.

If you see the symptoms in your dog, you must consult your veterinarian so they can form a proper diagnosis and recommend treatment.

The symptoms of gastroenteritis in dogs include vomiting and diarrhea.If there are foreign objects like bones, grass, or bits of non-food items in the vomit/diarrhea, then your dog may have swallowed something disagreeable. If the vomit is dark, then it may indicate internal bleeding.

Dark, tarry feces can also indicate gastrointestinal bleeding. Watery diarrhea often means a problem with the colon, while blood in feces may mean a problem in the colorectal area.

Here are a few other symptoms that accompany gastroenteritis:

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Foamy bile in vomit
  • Dry heaving or gagging, especially after eating or drinking
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Temperature
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Treatments for gastroenteritis in dogs vary widely depending on the underlying cause of the inflammation or irritation of the stomach and intestines. In the case of dietary indiscretion, your vet may recommend withholding food for 24 hours.

Keeping your dog hydrated after loss of fluids due to diarrhea and vomiting is important. Depending on the severity of your dog’s dehydration, a vet may recommend intravenous fluids in order to replenish electrolytes and hydration. If your dog is fit enough to be at home, you can use Oralade which contains essential electrolytes, amino acids, carbohydrates and prebiotics in purified water. Oralade can be purchased from your vet, Amazon and most of the online dog chemists, without the need for a prescription.

Your vet may also recommend a product like Pro Kolin, which contains beneficial micro-organisms, several prebiotic sources, an optimal level of a dual-source binding agent and soothing fibres to support gastrointestinal function.

Having been through an acute case of gastroenteritis with one of my own dogs, I can thoroughly recommend a gastroentestinal food from Hills (available online without prescription) named Hills Prescription Diet Biome with Chicken, available in kibble form, or mine had the stew. It was recommended by my vet when I said she was not keen on boiled chicken, and I felt sure it would go straight through her, but it was like a miracle, and after five days of diarrhea, after just one meal of this food, along with Pro Kolin x 3 times a day, she was back to normal.

For infections, your vet may prescribe medication and advise that you also monitor the situation closely at home, making sure that your dog only gets small amounts of bland food and plenty of water and rehydration liquid.