What is gastroenteritis in dogs?

Gastroenteritis in dogs refers to the inflammation of a dog’s stomach and intestines, typically resulting in recurrent bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.

I think my dog has gastroenteritis, what should I do?

Gastroenteritis in dogs can be caused by a number of issues ranging from food intolerance to more serious life-threatening conditions. If you suspect your dog has gastroenteritis you should contact your vet, or out of hours your nearest Vets Now ,as soon as possible so that any underlying causes can be treated.

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What causes gastroenteritis?

The main reason for the condition is often unknown but possible causes include:

  • Dogs eating something they shouldn’t, such as spoilt food or non-food items
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Viruses or bacteria (such as parvovirus or distemper)
  • Toxins
  • Foreign bodies
  • Certain cancers
  • Underlying health conditions

What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis in dogs?

Vomiting and diarrhoea, sometimes containing blood, are the most common signs of the condition but your dog may also show other signs such as pain around their abdomen, lack of appetite, weakness and depression.

If your dog is suffering from severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea this could be a sign of a condition known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis which can be fatal if left untreated.

How is gastroenteritis diagnosed?

Your vet will typically examine your pet and ask you questions in order to identify the cause of the problem and rule out more serious conditions. They may also decide to carry out further tests such as blood tests, urinalysis and x-rays, among others.

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How do you treat gastroenteritis in dogs?

Treatment will depend on the cause of the problem and your vet will be able to decide on the best treatment after examining your pet. This could include simply withholding food for around 24 hours to allow the gastrointestinal tract to settle, feeding only a bland diet or prescribing medication to treat the sickness and diarrhoea or other issues. If your dog is dehydrated they may be given fluids through an intravenous drip. Your vet may advise you on how to care for your pet at home or they may have to stay in the clinic if their condition is severe.

If gastroenteritis is a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as kidney failure or cancer, your vet will be able to discuss the best course of treatment with you.

How long does dog gastroenteritis last?

In many cases, gastroenteritis in dogs often resolves within a few days but this depends on the underlying cause. Keep an eye on your dog and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

How can I prevent gastroenteritis in dogs?

Given the multitude of potential causes of gastroenteritis, it’s impossible to completely prevent your dog from catching it. But you can help minimise the risk by stopping your dog from scavenging, keeping unsuitable human foods out of their reach and keeping up to date with their vaccinations and worming treatment.