Ways to Calm a Dog's Upset Stomach

By Carol Strider

Dogs tell us they have an upset stomach when they vomit, have diarrhea or refuse food. Sometimes we can also hear noises from the dog's stomach telling us the dog's stomach is upset. Knowing ways to calm a dog's stomach problems is key in maintaining a happy, healthy pet. Multiple symptoms of an upset stomach warrant veterinary investigation if they continue for more than 48 hours.

Signs of an Upset Stomach

While vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite can be early indicators of illness, they can also be merely transient conditions indicating passing stomach upset. Dogs who go off their food at the same time as having either diarrhea or vomiting should be taken to the veterinarian. Another symptom of an upset stomach is when the dog walks in a hunched position, protecting the stomach.

Removing the Cause

Removing the cause will go a long way to calming an upset stomach. The dog's yard should be checked for old bones or garbage. Removing any bones or garbage should bring quick relief. Sometimes a dog's food upsets its stomach, so experimenting with the dog's food might calm it. Any change in food needs to be done gradually or risk further stomach upset.

Rest and Hydration

One of the first things a veterinarian will recommend for an upset stomach is to withhold food from the dog for a period of 24 hours to see if the problem resolves itself. This fasting period allows the stomach to rest and calm itself. For puppies, the fasting period should only be 12 hours. During the fasting period, dogs should be provided with plenty of fresh water. Hydration can help to calm an upset stomach.

Home Remedies

Some veterinarians recommend the use of over-the-counter remedies like bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol). This remedy coats the inside of the stomach to provide soothing relief. Some dogs experience side effects using this remedy and the dosage. For initial dosing, consult a veterinarian. Another remedy to try at home is active manuka honey, which may provide some relief.


Sometimes a dog's stomach can be calmed with bland foods. When the dog is able to take in food and keep it down, the food provides the dog with hydration, which calms the stomach. The dog should be given several small meals of boiled, chopped chicken and brown rice, spaced throughout the day.