Treating Gastroenteritis in Dogs at Home

Are you worried about your dog’s gastroenteritis? Discover how to diagnose and treat the condition at home with easy, expert tips.

Quick facts: Treating Gastroenteritis In Dogs At Home

✅ Feeding smaller meals more frequently helps to reduce abdominal discomfort in dogs with gastroenteritis (American Kennel Club, 2021)

✅ Adding probiotics to your dog’s diet can help restore a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut (PetMD, 2021)

✅ Encouraging your dog to drink more water can help to rehydrate them and prevent dehydration (AKC, 2021)

✅ Offering boiled white rice and a lean source of protein is a good way to introduce digestible food to the gut (PetMD, 2021)

✅ Adding a few drops of slippery elm extract to your dog’s food may help to coat and soothe the gastrointestinal tract and reduce inflammation (PetMD, 2021)


Gastroenteritis in dogs is a condition that can cause severe dehydration and be potentially fatal if left untreated. It is caused by either an infection or an allergic reaction, and can affect any breed of dog. If a dog has gastroenteritis, the initial goal at home should be to keep the animal comfortable and well hydrated while seeking medical advice from a vet as soon as possible.

Treating gastroenteritis in dogs at home involves:

  • Making sure the animal is properly hydrated.
  • Providing supportive care.
  • Preventing further irritation of the digestive tract, including withholding food for 12-24 hours, offering small amounts of bland foods like white rice mixed with boiled chicken after 24 hours have passed, feeding multiple small meals throughout the day instead of one large meal to prevent overloading the canine’s stomach, monitoring for vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Administering medications as prescribed by a vet.
  • Avoiding table scraps as these are likely to worsen GI symptoms.

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis in dogs is a common condition that can cause discomfort and can even be life-threatening. Symptoms of gastroenteritis can include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, and lethargy. It is important to watch for these signs so that you can recognize it early and take appropriate action.

Let’s look at the symptoms of gastroenteritis in more detail:


Vomiting is one of the most common symptoms of canine gastroenteritis. Dogs will vomit a combination of bile, partially digested food, and other stomach contents that can often appear foamy and may have an unpleasant smell.

In mild cases, vomiting only occurs once or twice and is infrequent, but in more severe cases it can be consistent throughout the day. If your dog is vomiting frequently it might be a sign they are dehydrated or experiencing electrolyte imbalances, which may need to be addressed more aggressively by a veterinarian.

Additionally, if your dog is showing signs of lethargy or diarrhea along with vomiting this could indicate the presence of an underlying infection which should also be evaluated by your vet.


Diarrhea is a common symptom of gastroenteritis in dogs. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines that can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral, bacterial or parasitic infections, allergies, and toxic ingestions.

Diarrhea in dogs with gastroenteritis usually ranges from watery to semi-formed. It may be yellowish to brownish in color, and there may or may not be any visible blood or mucus present. If there is blood or mucus present in your dog’s diarrhea it should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

In some cases, diarrhea can become severe enough to cause

  • dehydration
  • vomiting
  • anorexia

—so it is important to observe your dog for any changes in health status due to this symptom.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is a common symptom of gastroenteritis in dogs, and it’s often one of the first indicators that something is wrong. Although it’s unique to each pup, loss of appetite in cases of gastroenteritis can be dramatic. It’s common for dogs to refuse treats, skip meals, or stop eating altogether. If your pup shows any signs of anorexia, it should raise a red flag – this could be an indication that something more serious is going on.

Along with decreased appetite, you may also notice a decreased interest in drinking as well. If these symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, it’s important to contact your veterinarian so they can diagnose the root cause and provide appropriate treatment options.

Abdominal Pain

One of the most common and discernible symptoms of gastroenteritis in dogs is abdominal pain or cramping. Your dog may appear to be hunched up, uncomfortable, or whimpering when they experience this type of discomfort. Other signs that your dog might be feeling abdominal pain include avoiding meals, vocalizing while in a resting position, and stopping their activity abruptly if they’re running or playing.

In addition to abdominal pain, other typical symptoms associated with canine gastroenteritis can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Fever

It’s important to keep an eye out for any of these additional signs as soon as possible so that you can provide the best care possible for your dog.

Causes of Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis, also referred to as ‘stomach flu’ or ‘intestinal flu’, is an inflammation of the digestive tract in dogs. It can be caused by a range of factors, such as viruses, parasites, bacteria, or food intolerances. All these factors can lead to an imbalance of essential bacteria in the gut, which can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

This article will explore the causes of canine gastroenteritis in more detail.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are a common cause of canine gastroenteritis. Some of the most common bacteria that cause gastroenteritis are Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens. These bacteria can be acquired through contaminated food or water, and can cause symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

As with viral infections, an antibiotic is required to treat the underlying infection; however, it is important to note that bacterial infections will not resolve until the antibiotics are taken in their entirety.

Certain precautions should be taken when treating bacterial gastroenteritis at home:

  • Isolate your dog from other pets until treatment is finished.
  • Ensure all medication is given on time and at the recommended dose.
  • Avoid human foods that could upset your dog’s stomach such as chocolate or onions.
  • Consult with your veterinarian if symptoms persist or worsen despite antibiotic treatment.

Viral Infections

Viral infections are one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in dogs. These viruses can cause inflammation in the intestines, leading to diarrhea and vomiting, and can be spread when a dog ingests feces or contaminated food or water. Common types of viral infections that cause gastroenteritis in dogs include parvovirus and distemper virus.

Gastrointestinal viruses usually last from three to seven days, but they can lead to severe dehydration if untreated. If your dog is showing signs of vomiting and/or diarrhea, contact your vet right away so they can diagnose the cause and develop a treatment plan.


Parasites can also be a common cause of gastroenteritis in dogs. These are small organisms such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms that can pass through the intestines, causing discomfort and pain.

Treatment for intestinal parasites involves deworming your pet with medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Additionally, it may be necessary to take multiple stool samples to detect the presence of parasites. Some signs that indicate the presence of parasites include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and appetite changes. If left untreated, these parasites can lead to more serious conditions including anemia or even death in extreme cases.

Prevention includes limiting contact with other animals in areas where there is a higher risk of infection.

Dietary Indiscretion

Dietary indiscretion is one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis in dogs. This occurs when a dog consumes something that upsets their stomach, such as people food, too much fat or greasy foods, table scraps, spoiled food or contaminated water. Symptoms of dietary indiscretion may include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. A dog may also be lethargic and have a decreased appetite.

Prevention is the best treatment when it comes to dietary indiscretion; making sure your dog only eats nutritious and wholesome foods will go a long way in avoiding this particular cause of gastroenteritis. If your dog does have an episode of dietary indiscretion, providing them with small amounts of their regular diet as well as plenty of fluids can help them recover quickly.


Gastroenteritis in dogs can be caused by toxins. Toxins may be ingested through the ingestion of certain foods, spoiled food, toxic plants, or environmental contaminants. When a toxin is consumed, it can cause an immune response or, if severe enough, direct damage to the gastrointestinal tract leading to vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Infectious agents such as bacteria, parasites and viruses may also cause gastroenteritis in dogs. Bacterial causes of gastroenteritis include E. coli, Salmonella species and Campylobacter jejuni while viral causes include distemper virus and parvovirus. Parasitic causes of gastroenteritis include protozoans like Giardia lamblia and roundworms like hookworms or whipworms.

Treatment for gastroenteritis caused by toxins includes symptomatic treatment with fluids to replace electrolytes lost due to vomiting and/or diarrhea, as well as medications such as anti-nausea and anti-diarrheal drugs which can help control the symptoms until the toxin is either no longer present in the body or treatment has been successful with medications aimed at eliminating the toxin itself.

Treatment and Care

If you suspect that your dog may have gastroenteritis, then it is important to begin treatment and care as soon as possible. Gastroenteritis in dogs can be a serious and life-threatening condition. It is important to seek veterinary care in order to get a proper diagnosis and the right treatment plan.

In addition to seeking medical care, there are some home remedies and measures that can help your pup recover quickly. So let’s take a look at the different treatment and care options:

Diet Management

Diet management is a key factor in treating your dog’s gastroenteritis at home. Withhold all food for 12-24 hours and then introduce small amounts of plain white rice or boiled, skinless chicken. Avoid feeding high-fiber diets during this time as well as any medications that contain fiber. As the pet’s condition improves, slowly transition back to their normal diet, increasing the amount of food and how often it is fed over a span of several days.

If you choose to feed canned food or kibble, make sure it is low in fat and has easily digestible ingredients like rice or potato as its primary source of carbohydrates.

For pets that are vomiting, feeding small meals throughout the day may be beneficial since large meals can cause further discomfort or vomiting. It may also be helpful to avoid giving treats or table scraps during this time to allow your pet’s digestive system to heal completely and properly.

Lastly, if your pet has had a prolonged bout of gastroenteritis and refuses to eat on their own, consult with your veterinarian about offering nutritional support in the form of a liquid diet or calorie-dense food supplement until they recover completely.


Medication is often used to treat gastroenteritis in dogs. Depending on the severity of the condition and the cause, your veterinarian may prescribe either oral or injectable medications.

  • Oral medications are given by mouth and include anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics and antacids.
  • Injectable medications are those that are administered through a needle and include anti-inflammatories, anti-emetics (anti-vomiting medication) and drugs to improve stomach motility.

It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions when administering any medication. Never give human medication to an animal unless it is prescribed by a veterinarian. Many human medications can be toxic to pets. To ensure that your dog remains safe and healthy, you should always check with your veterinarian if you have questions about any of the medications being given to your pet.

Home Remedies

Home remedies can help treat Gastroenteritis in Dogs and relieve some of the symptoms. One of the most important remedies is to ensure your dog is kept hydrated. Offer them plenty of fresh, clean water or if necessary, isotonic solutions such as pedialyte.

It is also important to ease your dog back into eating. Introduce small portions of boiled chicken breast and white rice, avoiding spices and seasonings. If your pet cannot hold down food, look into alternative sources such as broth-based soups with soft food blended inside.

Additionally, natural supplements such as probiotics can help soothe an upset stomach and provide essential minerals like potassium which may be lost during bouts of diarrhea or vomiting. Activated charcoal capsules are also helpful in treating mild bouts of gastroenteritis in dogs by absorbing toxins that may be causing the issues.

Finally, it’s a good idea to give your pup a break from treats and processed foods until the symptoms subside:

  • Avoid treats and processed foods until the symptoms subside.

Fluids and Electrolytes

Fluids and electrolytes are essential for the prevention and treatment of dehydration in dogs with gastroenteritis. This is because gastroenteritis can cause the body to lose water, electrolytes, and other nutrients.

Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is a common way to treat dehydration in dogs, as it helps replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. This type of therapy may include administration of liquids containing glucose, salts, water-soluble vitamins, trace minerals and other ingredients. ORT is generally done by giving a special solution orally or by subcutaneous injection.

It’s important to remember that ORT should only be part of treatment for gastroenteritis in dogs and should not replace veterinary care that includes medications for treating symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and anorexia. In addition to ORT, veterinarians may recommend other treatments such as:

  • Administration of medications to reduce vomiting
  • Antibiotics if an infection is present


Prevention is always the best way to protect your dog from developing gastroenteritis. Regular visits to the vet to ensure your dog’s health will allow your vet to detect any minor changes in your dog’s health and begin treatment as soon as possible. Additionally, providing your dog with high quality food and making sure it is free from any contaminants can help reduce the risk of gastroenteritis.

Read on to learn more about preventing gastroenteritis in dogs:


Gastroenteritis in dogs can be prevented by vaccinating your pet against common viruses and bacteria like parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, and coronavirus. Vaccines are available from a veterinarian and should be administered according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It is also important to keep up with all the recommended booster shots and examinations for your pet.

Other preventive measures include:

  • Keeping your dog’s environment clean from potential contaminants like fecal material,
  • Practicing good hygiene around your pet,
  • Always feeding your dog an age-appropriate diet that is rich in essential vitamins and minerals; this will help boost their immune system and protect them from gastroenteritis.

Proper Diet

Providing a proper diet for your dog when they are suffering from gastroenteritis is essential for them to recover quickly and without complications.

After the first 24-48 hours, offer your pup easily digestible food such as:

  • Chicken and rice
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Whitefish with vegetables like carrots and spinach

Once they have been accepting food, adding in wet food or canned pumpkin can add more nutrition while also staying easy on their stomachs. Giving small meals throughout the day will help prevent additional vomiting or diarrhea episodes while offering a variety of foods slowly will help your dog get back to eating what they were before gastroenteritis occurred.

If solid foods are not accepted, then you can give puppy milk replacer to make sure your pup is still getting some nutritional value during recovery.


Cleanliness is a key prevention measure for gastroenteritis in dogs. It is essential to maintain hygiene when dealing with pets and other animals that can carry bacteria, viruses, and parasites; some of which can cause gastroenteritis. All surfaces used to look after the pet should be washed regularly, preferably using hot water and detergent.

Also, it is important that the area where the dog lives and sleeps is clean and hygienic. Anything like bedding or toys needs to be regularly washed in hot water and detergent. Furthermore, pet owners should make sure that the food being fed to the dog is from reliable sources and handled in a safe manner – this includes avoiding feeding food that has been left out for long periods at room temperature.

Finally, regular trips to the vet for check-ups are also an important factor in ensuring good general health of your pet – as this helps identify any issues quickly before they become worse.


In conclusion, treating gastroenteritis in dogs at home can be a complicated process, but with the right knowledge and the right supplies, you can help your pet get back to good health in no time.

Start by consulting your vet to determine the cause of your pet’s illness and what treatment options are available. Then, stock up on plenty of food, probiotics and activated charcoal to help keep their nutrition balanced while they recover. Finally, make sure that you monitor their symptoms carefully and if required bring them back to the vet for further investigations or treatment.

With these tips in mind, you’ll have your pup feeling better in no time!

FAQs about: Treating Gastroenteritis In Dogs At Home

Q: How do I know if my dog has gastroenteritis?

A: The most common sign of gastroenteritis in dogs is diarrhea, which is usually accompanied by vomiting, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain. Other signs can include lethargy, fever, and dehydration.

Q: What can I do at home to treat my dog’s gastroenteritis?

A: To treat gastroenteritis at home, it is important to make sure your dog is getting plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. You can also offer small amounts of food, as long as it is easy to digest. Additionally, it is important to monitor your dog’s symptoms and contact your veterinarian if they become worse or if they do not improve within a few days.

Q: Are there any home remedies I can use to help my dog’s gastroenteritis?

Yes, there are a few home remedies you can use to help treat UTI in Dogs. For example, adding a bit of plain, unsweetened yogurt to your dog’s food can help restore the healthy bacteria in their gut. You can also try adding a bit of cooked white rice or cooked, pureed pumpkin to your dog’s food to help with digestion. Additionally, adding a few drops of plain, unsweetened yogurt to your dog’s food can help soothe their digestive tract.

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