Gastroenteritis in Dogs

icon April 27, 2023

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) and is divided into infectious gastroenteritis and non-infectious gastroenteritis.

Infectious gastroenteritis is a disease of the intestinal tract caused by a variety of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. The main mode of transmission is through the fecal-oral route and usually presents with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever.

Non-infectious gastroenteritis is a relatively common digestive disorder that is mainly caused by poor diet and adverse irritation.

In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of gastroenteritis, its causes, and how to treat and prevent it.


  • Types of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

  • Symptoms of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

  • Causes of gastroenteritis in dogs
  • How is Gastroenteritis Treated

  • When to Take Your Dog to the Vet

  • Prevention of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Types of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Chronic Gastroenteritis

Chronic gastroenteritis is a long-term condition characterized by recurrent or persistent inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, food intolerances or allergies, autoimmune disorders, or other underlying medical conditions. Chronic gastroenteritis can lead to ongoing symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and bloating. Treatment for chronic gastroenteritis often involves managing the underlying cause of the condition and relieving symptoms with medications or dietary changes.

Acute Gastroenteritis

Acute gastroenteritis is a sudden onset of inflammation in the stomach and intestines that leads to diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. This condition is usually caused by viral or bacterial infections, contaminated food or water, or as a side effect of some medications. Acute gastroenteritis typically lasts for a few days and is self-limiting, meaning that it resolves on its own without any specific treatment.

In summary, acute gastroenteritis is a short-lived, self-limiting condition caused by infections or other factors, while chronic gastroenteritis is a long-term condition that requires ongoing management and treatment to control symptoms and prevent complications.

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Gastroenteritis in dogs is a condition characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract, which can result in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Other symptoms of gastroenteritis in dogs may include:

  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Fever
  • Decreased or absent bowel sounds
  • Blood or mucus in the stool
  • Increased flatulence or gassiness
  • Nausea or retching without vomiting

Gastroenteritis in Dogs: What does that diagnosis mean?

Causes of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Gastroenteritis in dogs is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Viral Infections: Canine parvovirus, coronavirus, and distemper are common viruses that can cause gastroenteritis in dogs.
  • Bacterial Infections: Bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter can cause gastroenteritis in dogs. These bacteria can be present in contaminated food, water, or feces.
  • Parasites: Parasites such as Giardia, Coccidia, and Roundworms can cause gastroenteritis in dogs. These parasites can be picked up from contaminated soil, water, or feces.
  • Dietary Indiscretion: Eating garbage, table scraps, or spoiled food can also cause gastroenteritis in dogs.
  • Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to certain foods, causing gastroenteritis.
  • Stress: Stress can also cause gastroenteritis in dogs. Stressful situations such as traveling, boarding, or moving to a new home can trigger the condition.

It is important to note that gastroenteritis in dogs can be a serious condition and should be evaluated by a veterinarian if the dog is showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

What can a dog with gastroenteritis eat and drink

How is Gastroenteritis Treated?

The goal of treatment is to stop vomiting/diarrhea and to stay hydrated.

  • Rest and hydration: Drink plenty of clear fluids, such as water and electrolyte drinks, to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration.
  • Medication: Use anti-emetic/anti-diarrhoeal medication specially formulated for dogs (e.g. Cimetidine/Bismuth alkali carbonate)
  • Antibiotics: If diagnosed with bacterial gastroenteritis, antibiotics may be used. (e.g. metronidazole)
  • Probiotics: Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, may help to replenish the good bacteria in the gut and reduce the duration of diarrhea.

Seek medical attention: If your symptoms persist or worsen, or if you develop severe symptoms such as high fever, bloody stools, or dehydration, seek immediate medical attention.

Recommended medication

Cimetidine+Bismuth Carbonate+Neomycin Sulfate

Gastroenteritis Treatment Vomiting Relief-Tablets Puainta® Acute Diarrhea Relief-Tablets Puainta® Gastroenteritis Treatment Diarrhea Relief-Tablets

The initial phase of treatment usually involves fasting for 12-24 hours, followed by a slow reintroduction of food. A highly digestible, low-fat, low-fiber diet is usually prescribed in small, frequent amounts. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best diet to feed your dog for a quick recovery.

Most cases of acute gastroenteritis will improve rapidly with rehydration. If vomiting and diarrhea do not improve significantly within 48 hours of treatment, call your veterinarian.

When to Take Your Dog to the Vet

Many dogs with gastroenteritis will behave surprisingly normally. They may show no signs other than a change in the quality, quantity, frequency, or position of their stools. If the dog is vomiting frequently, has diarrhea, and is losing its appetite, the late vomiting is frothy mucus and yellow liquid.
This is especially true for puppies, older dogs, or small dogs who are at higher risk of dehydration. Then veterinary care is absolutely essential.

Prevention of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Gastroenteritis is a common condition that affects dogs and is characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It can be caused by various factors such as viral or bacterial infections, dietary indiscretion, parasites, and stress. Here are some tips to prevent gastroenteritis in dogs:

  • Vaccinate your dog: Vaccines can help protect your dog from certain viral and bacterial infections that can cause gastroenteritis.
  • Proper nutrition: Feeding your dog a healthy, balanced diet is important for maintaining their overall health and preventing gastrointestinal problems. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or foods that are high in fat or sugar, as these can lead to digestive upset.
  • Provide clean water: Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Dirty water can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause gastroenteritis.
  • Regular deworming: Parasites such as roundworms and hookworms can cause gastroenteritis in dogs. Regular deworming can help prevent these infections.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your dog, especially if they have diarrhea or vomiting. Keep your dog's living area clean and dispose of feces promptly.
  • Reduce stress: Stress can weaken your dog's immune system and make them more susceptible to gastroenteritis. Keep your dog's environment as calm and stress-free as possible.


Does Gastroenteritis in Dogs Heal On Its Own?

In many cases, mild cases of gastroenteritis in dogs can heal on their own without requiring treatment. However, it is important to monitor your dog's symptoms closely and seek veterinary care if they persist or worsen.

Gastroenteritis in dogs is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary indiscretion, viral or bacterial infections, parasites, or other underlying health conditions. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and dehydration.

If your dog is experiencing mild symptoms, you can try the following steps to help them recover:

  • Withhold food for 12-24 hours to allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest
  • Offer small amounts of water frequently to prevent dehydration
  • Gradually reintroduce a bland diet, such as boiled chicken and rice, once vomiting has stopped

Monitor your dog's symptoms closely and contact your veterinarian if they worsen or do not improve within 24-48 hours. However, if your dog is experiencing severe symptoms, such as persistent vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration, or if they have underlying health conditions, veterinary treatment may be necessary. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of your dog's gastroenteritis and prescribe medications to help manage their symptoms and promote healing.

Is Gastroenteritis in Dogs Contagious?

Gastroenteritis in dogs can be transmitted, depending on the underlying cause of the condition. If gastroenteritis is caused by a virus or bacteria, it can be passed from one dog to another through contact with contaminated feces or vomit, or through contact with objects contaminated with the virus or bacteria.

If your dog has gastroenteritis, it is important to isolate them from other dogs to prevent the spread of the disease. Wear gloves and ensure that any feces or vomit is cleaned up promptly and thoroughly and that surfaces that may have come into contact with contaminated material are disinfected.

Why is My Dog Throwing Up and Having Diarrhea

  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Dietary indiscretion: Dogs often eat things they shouldn't, such as garbage, spoiled food, or non-food items, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Intestinal parasites: Parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and Giardia can cause digestive upset in dogs.
  • Infection: Bacterial or viral infections, such as parvovirus, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Food intolerance or allergy: Some dogs may be allergic or intolerant to certain ingredients in their food, leading to digestive issues.




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