Most dogs develop upset stomach or vomiting and less often diarrhea, from time to time.
Pets with vomiting or diarrhea should be fasted for 12 to 24 hours because food can cause stomach irritation and prolong the condition. That means absolutely no food and no treats! Water consumption should be controlled in dogs with vomiting, but offered freely to dogs with diarrhea.
When food is re-introduced, a bland diet should be fed for several days. The bland diet consists of 50% canned 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) plus 50% boiled fat-free ground turkey or turkey breast. The turkey is boiled to remove as much fat as possible and then rinsed to remove any surface fat. The reason we are concerned about the fat content of the meal is because fat can exacerbate pancreatitis and gastrointestinal symptoms. We use pumpkin instead of white rice in our bland diet because the pumpkin is rich in soluble fiber, which coats the gastrointestinal tract and slows gastric emptying time. Pumpkin is also more species appropriate than rice. The bland diet should be fed in 2 to 3 small meals a day for about 72 hours, and then the dog gradually weaned off of the bland diet and onto the regular diet.
We generally add a bit of slippery elm powder to the bland diet, as well as to the regular meal for a few days after coming off the bland diet. Slippery elm is an herb prepared from the inner bark of the slippery or red elm tree and is well known for its ability to protect and lubricate the gastrointestinal tract. Slippery elm is a very safe herb that can be used in dogs of all ages. The usual dose is ½ teaspoonful per 10 pounds of weight, added directly to the food.
The causes of diarrhea in dogs are varied, but can include dietary indiscretion, intestinal parasites, and a variety of other conditions. Diarrhea can also be a side effect of some medications. Vomiting is often benign in dogs and can result from eating indigestible substances, overeating, eating too fast, exercising immediately after eating, motion sickness, stress, and parasites, as well as a variety illnesses, some serious. If these conditions last more than 24 hours or your dog shows signs of pain or severe lethargy or has repeated bouts of diarrhea or vomiting, you may want to seek the advice of your veterinarian. Of course, if you know your dog has consumed a toxic substance, do not delay in getting him to the vet. Blood in the stool or vomit also suggests a trip to the vet. The combination of vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign of intestinal obstruction, which is a medical emergency.