Despite some of the unsavory things that dogs do, such as eating feces or getting into the garbage, they tend to have finicky stomachs from time to time. Discussed here are common reasons for a dog to develop an upset tummy, and how you can remedy the situation.

Causes for Upset Stomachs in Dogs

There are many common reasons that a dog might experience an upset tummy, which include:

Change in Food

Ironically, your dog can steal your entire meal from your dinner plate and not experience a single problem, yet replacing a ¼ cup of his or her old dog food with a new brand can cause diarrhea or loose stools.


Overfeeding your pet, whether on purpose or on accident, can lead to an upset tummy for dogs. This phenomenon is also true when supplements, such as coconut oil (which can cause greasy stools) or turmeric (which can cause diarrhea), are given in too high a dosage.

New Treats

Just as a change in food can cause an upset tummy, so can a change in treats. Many dogs have undiagnosed food allergies or sensitivities, and certain ingredients such as corn, soy, grains, and preservatives can lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

Dirty Water

Despite our best efforts, dogs have a tendency to do things we don’t approve of, such as drinking from puddles or stagnant ponds. Dirty water can lead to an upset stomach if bacteria or foreign matter, such as car oil, is present.

Picked up Item Outdoors

Dogs also have a tendency to develop an upset tummy after picking up inedible or unsafe items in the yard or on a walk. Sometimes their curiosity gets the best of them, which can lead to the ingestion of tree bark, road kill, discarded food, or other items that can cause gastric distress.


What can you do when your dog develops an upset stomach that lasts for more than a couple hours? Listed here are a few tried-and-true remedies.


Pumpkin is a great ingredient that can cure both constipation and diarrhea in dogs. When your pet has an upset stomach, mix up to a ¼ cup of plain canned pumpkin (making sure it is not pumpkin pie filling) in with your dog’s food to ease digestive distress.


Rice can be used two ways to ease digestive troubles in your pet. If your dog has been experiencing prolonged diarrhea or vomiting, giving your pet cooled rice water (the water that is left behind after cooking rice) can restore electrolyte balance and rehydrate your pet. Alternatively, plain, white, long-grained rice can be fed to a dog with an upset stomach as part of a bland diet, replacing his or her dog food.


A sick dog requires protein; however, his or her dog food might contribute to more tummy distress. Plain chicken, such as pieces of boiled chicken breast, can be mixed in with rice or pumpkin to provide your dog protein. Be cautious not to overfeed your pet, and stick to small pieces of chicken.


Finally, fasting is a great way to allow your dog’s stomach and digestive system to “reset” when it is upset. For 24 hours (12 hours for puppies) do not give your dog any food or treats. Limit your dog’s water intake, as pets have a tendency to gorge themselves on water until they vomit when their stomachs are hurting. Instead, give your dog ice chips to stave off dehydration.