Pet tummy trouble should be addressed by a veterinary examExperiencing gastrointestinal upset can be uncomfortable, distressing, and downright painful. It can be upsetting for us as well when our pets experience it. Not knowing how to help or what to do can be almost as bad as the issue itself.

Animal Medical Hospital would like to help you understand how to recognize pet tummy trouble, what you need to do, and when you need to call us for help. We are here around the clock to help your pet feel better.

All Signs Point to Pet Tummy Trouble

Sometimes it is obvious when your pet’s digestive system is not functioning at its peak. Clearly, if there is vomiting, diarrhea, or your chowhound is refusing his dinner, something is not right. Other times, though, our animal friends can be more subtle.

Less obvious indications of pet tummy trouble can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Increased flatulence
  • Drooling
  • Straining to defecate
  • Bad breath
  • Noisy digestive sounds
  • Increased or decreased thirst
  • A bloated appearance
  • Discomfort when the abdomen is touched
  • Sitting or lying in an odd position such as a play bow

All of these symptoms can point to digestive disturbances and warrant your attention.

What You Need to Do

Not all digestive disturbances in pets are cause for panic. Just as you might not rush in to see your doctor at the first sign of indigestion, many times these types of issues are self limiting.

As a concerned pet owner, the most important thing that you can do is be observant. Is your pet eating normally? When is the last time you saw a bowel movement, and what did it look like? Is there anything that your pet may have gotten into? Have there been any changes in the diet? The answers to these types of questions can help us to troubleshoot should your furry family member end up in our exam room.

If symptoms are mild, 24 hours of small amounts of bland food frequently may be helpful. We are happy to recommend low fiber, low fat options for your pet. If you are making something at home, a mixture of equal parts lean, boiled chicken breast and white rice is an appropriate choice.

Avoid offering any over the counter or human medications as they may be ineffective or even harmful.

When to Raise the Bat Signal

There are times when we need to intervene for pets with digestive disturbances. Dehydration and systemic effects can set in quickly if your pet is experiencing a more serious episode. If your pet seems to be in pain, has more than two episodes of vomiting or diarrhea in a 24 hour period, or has not been eating for 24 hours or more (sooner for puppies and kittens), we want to see them right away.

Some pet tummy troubles can be emergency situations. Please don’t hesitate to bring your pet in any time of day or night if she:

  • Is retching unproductively
  • Cannot keep food or water down
  • Has had a known exposure to a toxin or foreign object
  • Has blood, especially dark coffee-grounds, in the stool or vomit
  • Is increasingly lethargic or painful

It is often better to be safe than sorry. Many more serious causes of digestive upset have a better outcome the sooner we act, so never hesitate to give us a call if you are unsure. Pet tummy trouble is no fun for anyone, and we want to be sure that your family is back to normal as quickly as possible.