Hi again Anne Marie,
Hopefully, all those bones you saw is all that is lurking in her stomach. As I am sure you can appreciate, bones are something we do need to be careful with in dogs, since they can trigger these type of GI signs but can also cause damage or blockages in the GI. Therefore, since you saw these, I do just want to note some signs to monitor for over today. So, any signs of paling gums, belly pain, restlessness, lethargy, vomiting blood or coffee ground material, straining to pass feces, or black stools; and a bone potentially causing trauma, obstruction, or gut compromise would be a worry. And if we see any of those signs, then we'd want her seen urgently so the vet can feel her abdomen +/- xray her.
Those aside, resting her stomach is reasonable at this stage. We will often withhold food for 8-12 hours but water should remain on offer in small volumes to help her settle.
Once she is a bit more settled, you can consider treating her with an antacid to settle her stomach. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to use are Pepcid (More Info/ Dose
) or Zantac (More Info/Dose)
. These are usually given 20 minutes before offering food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if your wee one has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
Once that has had time to absorb, you can consider starting her on a light/easily digestible diet. If you do so, start with a small volume (a spoonful) to start. Examples would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). When you offer that spoonful, give her 30 minutes to settle. If she keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. As her tummy stabilizes, you can offer more. The aim of the easily digestible diet is that it will be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. Also by feeding this in small frequent meals, it will reduce diarrhoea volume. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until the diarrhoea is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.
Since vomiting and diarrhoea can quickly dehydrate a dog, we need to keep an eye on her hydration. The reason is because no matter how much they drink, we often find that dogs just cannot keep up with diarrhoea fluid losses for long (and dehydration is what makes them feel poorly). To check her hydration status to make sure they are not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, since she is small, then you do want to have her seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for her.
If you are concerned that she is becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage her to drink by offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Furthermore, you can offer rehydration solutions like Pedialyte. Pedialyte is nice (though aim for a flavourless one) because it will get some of those lost electrolytes back into her as well. Do note that you should not give this via syringe if her vomiting doesn't settle first. If it does, then you may and a typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48mls per kilogram of weight a day. Of course, her requirement will be higher since we'd have to also consider how much fluid is being lost but this is a good starting point. And of course, if she were to vomit when you offered fluids via syringe, you would need to stop (since we'd not want to cause vomiting with out intervention).
Furthermore, there are some anti-diarrheals that can be used in dogs to slow things down for their gut if her stools are very runny. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure (since cures would depend on the culprit and might include antibiotics or anti-parasitics, etc.) but would slow the diarrhoea to aid the body potentially absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhoea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options for your wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose) or PeptoBismol (More Info/Dose) available from your local pharmacy. Furthermore, Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vet practices; example) would be another option. All will slow diarrhoea and the Pro-Fiber has the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI.
Overall, GI signs of this nature can be triggered by a wide range of agents. Hopefully the bones are just a red herring (especially as we'd not assume they were causing her loose stools), but we do need to monitor for any sign that they are an issue. Therefore, we'd want to consider monitoring and using the above supportive care to settle her stomach over the weekend. If you try this over the next 12-24 hours and don't see improvement or she is appearing dehydrated or has any of those signs, then we'd want to consider getting her vet involved at that stage. Depending on the exam +/- any xrays, her vet can pinpoint the trigger for her GI upset and can treat her with injectable anti-vomiting medication and antibiotics to settle her stomach and get her back on track for you.
Finally, just to note in case you were keen to have her seen today, some veterinary practices in our country have Sunday office hours. As well, even if yours does not, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, you can get him seen today. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get her checked out sooner or saw any of those worrisome signs suggesting bone based complications then there are options to have her seen today too.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,