Chihuahuas are one of the smallest breeds of dogs and are members of the toy group. They are intelligent, lively, loyal, and well known for their big personality. Like all dogs, they may suffer from stomach problems from time to time, but due to their diminutive size, vomiting and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration and more serious complications. Knowing what to do if your Chihuahua shows signs of a stomachache is very important.
Signs that your Chihuahua has tummy trouble
Chihuahuas are great communicators and will normally let you know if they are not feeling well. Diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, or bloating of the belly are obvious physical signs, but your dog may give you more subtle signals or perform behaviors that you may not immediately associate with illness or tummy health issues.
Video of the Day
If a dog appears restless or depressed, loses their appetite, or reduces their water intake, these are early signs of something going on. You may notice your Chihuahua hunching their back or trying to stretch frequently due to abdominal pain. Lip licking, gulping, and drooling are also common, but more unusual symptoms of intestinal problems can include licking the air, the floor, walls, or other nonfood items.
Causes of stomachache in Chihuahuas
There are many reasons your Chihuahua may be having tummy problems. Something as simple as changing your dog's diet or the stress of a routine change can lead to diarrhea. Chihuahuas are intelligent and inquisitive, so they may find and swallow spoiled items of food they find on walks or may even swallow objects that can cause obstructions, such as bones.
However, you should be aware of other common causes of stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs. If your dog is unvaccinated, there is a risk that they may have caught a viral disease. Parasites and toxins are risks for all dogs and are commonly found to be the source of digestive disorders.
Diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach discomfort can also indicate gastrointestinal infections, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, other digestive system diseases, or even pancreatitis. This is why it is essential to take it seriously if your Chihuahua is showing any signs of tummy trouble.
First aid for a Chihuahua with a stomachache
The first thing to do if your Chihuahua has diarrhea or vomiting is to withhold food. Sometimes, giving your dog's stomach a break will help aid recovery. Not only will withholding food help lessen discomfort in the stomach but it will also reduce the likelihood of further vomiting or diarrhea. Always ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean drinking water. If your Chihuahua is having difficulty keeping water down or if there is blood in their vomit or poop, seek veterinary advice urgently, as this may be an emergency.
When to call your veterinarian if your Chihuahua has stomach issues
Because Chihuahuas are so tiny, they can deteriorate quickly from vomiting and diarrhea. Therefore, it is always wise to see your veterinarian if your dog is showing signs of an upset tummy. They will be able to assess whether your Chihuahua is suffering from dehydration and decide which tests may be necessary.
Your veterinarian may perform bloodwork, perform X-rays, or conduct an endoscopy. They may also want a fresh stool sample from your dog if possible. The sample should be no more than four to six hours old and can be collected using a zipper storage bag.
Be sure to inform your veterinarian of any changes in behavior you may have observed in your Chihuahua. Let them know if the dog has eaten anything unusual or if you have recently changed their diet. It is also important to tell them if your dog has been socializing with dogs or exercising where large groups of dogs congregate, as this is a common way for dogs to contract parasites or viruses.
Treatment for a Chihuahua with stomach problems
If the veterinarian believes your Chihuahua is dehydrated, they will provide appropriate fluid therapy. They may ask you to withhold food and then gradually reintroduce a light diet to help resolve the upset stomach. A prescription dog food for sensitive stomachs may be recommended. Alternatively, your veterinarian may suggest a homemade, bland diet of boiled and skinless chicken, lean ground beef with the fat skimmed off, and rice, fed in small, frequent meals.
Mild stomach upset should resolve within a day or two at most. If your dog's symptoms continue or worsen, follow up with your DVM as a matter of urgency.
Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories may be prescribed if your veterinarian diagnoses a gastrointestinal infection. Your veterinarian may also recommend digestive enzymes or probiotic supplements. If parasites are found, anti-parasitics will be given. Obstructions, cancer, or other digestive diseases that cause a blockage in the digestive tract may require emergency surgery. Your veterinarian may also ask a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist to evaluate your dog's health.
The bottom line
Chihuahua dog owners should know that this breed is particularly vulnerable to rapid dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea because they are so small. There are many causes of a dog's upset stomach, including infection, viruses, and parasites. If the digestive issues do not clear up, your veterinarian may refer your pooch to a specialist. In life-threatening cases, surgery may be required.