Why Does My Pet Have An Upset Stomach?

January 18, 2023
Amber LaRock - LVT & Vetted Vet Pro

GI upset is a health complication that most pets will experience at least once throughout their life. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most common pet emergencies seen in animal hospitals, as so many factors can cause a disturbance in their gut health. 

Our team at Vetted wants to empower you through education on your pet’s health, so let’s introduce you to everything you need to know about GI upset in pets. Let’s discuss the potential reasons why your little one has an upset stomach, and help you determine the best plan of action for your pet moving forward!

If you would like to speak to one of our skilled Vet Pros directly, you can always send a message in our 24/7 pet health chat by downloading the Vetted app. We are here for you and your little one anytime!

What Are The Signs Of An Upset Stomach In Pets?

Before we dive into the reasons why your pet has an upset stomach, we should first list the most common signs of GI upset to be on the lookout for. Not all upset stomachs in pets will result in obvious diarrhea or vomiting, so it’s important to keep an eye out for the following symptoms as well. 

The most common symptoms of GI upset in dogs and cats include:

  • Soft stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased bowel movements
  • Flatulence
  • Blood in the stool
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Appearing restless

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your little one, we suggest reaching out to our skilled Vet Pros on our 24/7 pet health chat. We can help you better understand your pet’s current struggles, and determine the best plan of action for your little one moving forward.

Why Does My Pet Have An Upset Stomach?

If you think your little one could have an upset stomach, then you are likely wondering what this could mean for their health. GI upset can occur due to a variety of underlying factors, so it’s important to get to the bottom of your little one’s symptoms. 

While the only way to diagnose the cause of your pet’s upset stomach is by having them assessed by a vet, we can offer a few examples of the potential causes of your pet’s GI upset below. 

Change in diet: If your little one gets their paws on something they shouldn’t be eating, then this can cause them to develop an upset stomach. Our pets are known to eat things out of the trash, eat items found outside on their walks, and so many other items that shouldn’t be consumed. When this happens, many little ones will develop signs of GI upset. 

Stress or anxiety: Any change in our pet’s standard routine or environment can lead to stress or anxiety. Our pets are creatures of habit, so any life changes can cause a major disturbance in their mental wellbeing. Stress can take a major toll on our pet’s body, and this can lead to an upset stomach. 

Bacterial infections: Bacteria exists in every corner of the world around us. Our pets can come in contact with this bacteria through digging in the soil, drinking water outdoors, dirty toys, and so much more. If this bacteria makes its way into your pet’s digestive system, this can lead to symptoms of an upset stomach. 

Intestinal parasites: Intestinal parasites are another common cause of GI upset in our little ones. Both dogs and cats can be exposed to intestinal parasites when they spend any time outdoors, and they can also become infected from flea bites. Intestinal parasites can wreak havoc on a pet’s digestive system, so most pets will develop severe GI symptoms when they become infected. 

Infectious illness: If your little one is not fully vaccinated against infectious illness, then they can become infected with contagious bugs that cause GI upset. Both cats and dogs can become infected with contagious bacteria and viruses that lead to GI upset, so it’s important to make sure they are up to date on each of their vaccines. 

Chronic illness: There are a variety of chronic illnesses that can lead to an upset stomach in our pets. Whether the condition impacts the digestive system or GI upset is a side effect, this can deeply impact the furry friend affected. However, if your pet’s diarrhea or vomiting is due to an underlying chronic condition, you will typically see other changes in their standard behavior outside of GI upset as well. This could be lethargy, weight loss, changes in their coat, and more. 

If you think your little one is experiencing any of the complications we listed above, you can always reach out to our Vet Pros on our 24/7 pet health chat, or you can schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Diarrhea and vomiting can lead to dehydration in our little ones, so we always suggest seeking veterinary advice if their symptoms last for more than 24-48 hours. 

What Should I Do If My Pet Has An Upset Stomach?

We understand how concerned you are about your pet’s upset stomach, so you are likely wondering how to best move forward. While you can reach out to our Vet Pros at any time for skilled guidance, we always suggest seeking veterinary care if your pet’s GI upset lasts for more than 24-48 hours. This is especially true if they are having multiple rounds of diarrhea, if they have vomited more than once, or if they are not interested in eating. 

All pets will experience an upset stomach from time to time, but we still encourage you to monitor their symptoms closely and try to get to the bottom of their illness. If you are ever concerned about a sudden shift in your pet’s health, or any other behavioral changes you notice, we encourage you to reach out to our Vet Pros on our pet health chat for skilled help! We are always here to help you and your beloved pet.