Gastroenteritis is a general term that applies to any inflammation of your dog’s intestinal lining or stomach. The causes can range greatly – from simple anxiety or food change to a severe disease or parasitic infection. Usually, severe digestive symptoms will appear along with the gastroenteritis and will persist until treatment is administered.
A dog with a stomach issue will usually have acute vomiting or diarrhea that lasts for a number of days along with dehydration, depression, blood in the stool or vomit, and lethargy. Keep in mind that if your dog vomits or has diarrhea occasionally, it is not a direct symptom that they have gastroenteritis. It could merely be something they ate. But, if it persists, it very well may be a disease or infection that needs to be treated immediately.
Who Gets Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis can be caused by a number of factors. Eating foods that are not healthy for dogs is usually a first stop for most vets in diagnosis. They may also be allergic or intolerant to a specific food like corn or wheat, or it could be the result of a toxin or specific infection.
Other possible issues could include blockages or obstructions (which must be treated immediately), metabolic issues with kidneys or the liver, bowel disease, ulcers, cancer, pancreatitis, or other abdominal diseases.
The most common treatment for gastroenteritis is to ensure that the dog gets the electrolytes needed to supply nutrients to the body and keep it hydrated. Food is usually withheld for 24 hours as well to reset the dog’s digestive tract and when it is reintroduced, mild, bland food with rice and boiled chicken are used to get your dog’s digestion back on track. There are also drugs that can soothe the digestive tract or others that will stop diarrhea or vomiting.
The easiest way to avoid stomach issues from environmental sources is to limit what your dog eats and what they have access to. Keep your garbage out of reach; don’t feed them table scraps, and feed them mild foods that are not too rough on their body.