Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Can he keep any water down? Even a sip?
Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?
Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?
His gums are pink and wet. I haven't noticed diarrhea. He has had a raw hide bone this week and he possibly got into the bathroom garbage. He has kept some water down for about an hour now. He liked it when I rubbed his belly for comfort but he wasn't cringing in pain when I did it
Thank you Ashley,Now I am glad to see that he has nice pink gums and is keeping a bit of water down. The ability to do so is quite important since dogs that are too nauseous for even sips of water, tend to be the dogs we need to use injectable anti-vomiting treatment with. Still, if he can keep a wee bit down, we can hopefully take some steps to settle that GI upset for Bear.
Now as I am sure you can appreciate, just like people, dogs can have GI upset with vomiting that is caused by a range of agents. These include bacteria viruses, parasites, toxins, foreign body ingestion, and general dietary indiscretions.That said, hopefully toxins and foreign bodies are less of an issue him because those would be issues we'd want addressed by his local vet urgently.
Now as it has only been an hour, I would advise resting his stomach for a few hours just now. We can offer sips of water or ice cubes every hour or so but want to withhold food to give the stomach a chance to settle.
Once he is a bit more settled, we can then consider treating him with an antacid to settle his 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 ones I tend to use are:Pepcid (More Info/Dose), Zantac (More Info/Dose), or Tagamet (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 Bear has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
Once that has had time to absorb and is more steady on his stomach, you can consider starting him 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 him 30 minutes to settle. If he keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. As his 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. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until the signs settle, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.
Since vomiting can quickly dehydrate a dog, we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check this and 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 he 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,then you do want to have him seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for him. If you are concerned that he is becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage him to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Don't be tempted to syringe feed fluids at this stage, since this is contraindicated for vomiting dogs (since it can make them vomit more).
Overall, GI upset of this nature can be triggered by a wide range of agent. If he had the rawhide a few days ago, it could be our culprit but often these tend to cause trouble in the first 3 days post ingestion if they are going to. Therefore, I'd not rush to blame it. In any case, if he can keep a bit of water down, we can start supportive care to settle his stomach at this stage. Of course if that changes or he has any belly pain, then we'd want to consider having him seen urgently. Otherwise, if he can keep this down, you can try to settle his stomach over the next 12-24 hours with the above. If he settles, we are happy. But if his signs linger, then we'd want to consider getting his vet involved. They can assess his hydration and just make sure there is nothing in his stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on the exam, his vet can treat him with an injectable anti-vomiting medication, antibiotics, +/- appetite stimulants if need be to address this for him, settle his stomach, and get him back to eating for you.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
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