10 Signs your Dog Has an Upset Stomach

upset stomach cover

Dogs feel pain the same way as humans do. Although dogs may not be able to communicate how they feel, there are lots of signs which give us hints about how our dogs may be suffering.

Here’s a discussion on 10 signs that may indicate that your dog has an upset stomach:

Upset Stomach

Your dog upset stomach can tell you about many different diseases your dog may have. What exactly can cause an upset stomach in dogs? How can you know about it for certain? There can be problems due to viruses, bacteria, or other reasons.

This article discusses different causes behind the issue and illustrates their symptoms and indications in detail. Often, an upset stomach may indicate deeper medical problems in your dog.

1. Regurgitation

A common cause of a dog’s upset stomach is indigestion. This is caused due to the gastric problems that result from an inability to digest food. The most common symptoms of such indigestion include acidity and nausea.

If a large amount of stomach acid builds up, the gastric system gets overwhelmed and tries to release the pressure. This results in symptoms like bloating, regurgitation, and diarrhea.

upset stomach pill for dog

2. Gastritis

Inflammation at a particular location in the stomach is known as Gastritis. This type of upset stomach may arise when your dog eats something that’s not intended for dogs. The causes of gastritis include food allergies, spoiled food, and viruses.

Gastritis may seem like a normal issue but sometimes it’s accompanied by much more serious ailments. The common symptoms of Gastritis include lack of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating. If these symptoms are observed in a dog, it should be immediately taken to a vet.

3. Viruses

Just like humans, dogs can get viral diseases. Viruses are common in dogs but they have more severe impacts on their health. Sometimes, parasites also set up their targets in a dog’s intestinal tracts and may cause an upset stomach.

The most common virus that attacks a dog’s digestive system is Parvovirus. Owners are advised to get their dogs vaccinated for the virus. Parvovirus can attack a dog’s intestine and enter its bloodstream. Once it’s inside the bloodstream, it can cause infections and cardiac arrest.

The symptoms of the virus include blood in diarrhea. Bloody diarrhea can tell you that the dog may be infected with a virus and you should consult a vet as soon as possible. A dog suffering from parasitic infections may also have worms in its stools. This problem can be treated with antibiotics and other drugs.

4. Lip Smacking

Lip-smacking is also a sign of a dog’s upset stomach. When a dog is suffering from nausea, it starts to smack its lips. This is because, during such a problem, the dog’s salivary glands start producing extra saliva.

Lip-smacking can sometimes be confused with hunger. So, if the dog refuses to eat anything when smacking its lips, it means it has an upset stomach.

5. Drooling

Again, excessive salivation results in drooling. This is a serious symptom and means that the dog’s salivary glands are producing way too much saliva to protect its teeth, mouth, and throat from acidity.

But not all dogs drool with the same intensity. Some dogs don’t drool after getting nauseated. At the same time, some species have excessive drooling even though they’re perfectly fine. It’s up to the owner and the vet to examine the dog and see whether it has symptoms or not.

6. Gulping

A dog’s upset stomach may lead to frequent gulping. It’s another sign that the salivary glands are malfunctioning and there’s some digestive issue or an upset stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux is one of the main reasons why dogs gulp.

A dog suffering from gulping may look restless. It’s common to see a panicked look on the face of such dogs. Sometimes they may also show an esophageal spasm as reflux from the stomach. Gulping may be caused by ingesting a foreign item that gets attached to the esophageal surface.

It also arises due to an injury to the esophagus, e.g. scratch from eating a sharp object or burn from ingesting hot stuff.

upset stomach eating grass

7. Grass Eating

Owners may have noticed that their dogs eat grass on some occasions. After grazing on grass, dogs often end up puking. Do the dogs eat grass because they want to vomit or do they vomit after eating grass? The answer is a little bit of both.

Some dogs graze grass for the fun of it. Others may often be seen lip-smacking or gulping. After that, they immediately try to eat grass. They often pick up the roughest blades. If they’re lucky, they immediately vomit after that and their mood goes back to normal. This shows that they are feeling nauseous or they’re feeling some other gastrointestinal pain.

8. Licking

Excessive licking needs to be closely observed because if too many fibers and hair are ingested, they may cause a life-threatening intestinal blockage that may require surgery. Such dogs should be checked for disorders such as nausea or gastrointestinal problems.

In some cases, there may be a severe disorder, like liver disease, inflammatory bowel, and some forms of cancer such as intestinal lymph sarcoma. Dogs should be given suitable medication for improving digestion. If that doesn’t treat the symptoms, then it should be taken to a doctor for further screening.

9. Guarding the belly

When dogs have pain in their stomachs, they often end up guarding their bellies by tensing or tightening the muscles. This is a sign of a dog’s upset stomach. Caution needs to be taken when dogs are in such a pain because they can bite the owner as well.

Some dogs give clear indications of the pain while other dogs may adopt a reclusive behavior and distance themselves from others.

10. Shaking

An upset stomach also leads to frequent shaking in dogs. You must consult a vet immediately as it can become a serious issue if left untreated.

vet visit


All the symptoms mentioned above can hint that your dog has an upset stomach. A vet should decide whether the problem is serious or not. Sometimes owners try to medicate the dogs by themselves. This can cause delays and aggravation of internal disorders. Therefore, you must consult a vet at once if your dog shows any sign of an upset stomach.

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