It’s a day or two after Christmas and you’re woken up in the middle of the night by Fido vomiting on your bedroom floor. You recognize bits of festive fare in the mess, and you know Uncle Fred has been naughty and passing treats to the dogs under the table, in spite of telling him not to! He’s already gone home, leaving you to deal with the fallout. Or Fluffers, your fussy puddy, has gone right off her food and just lies listlessly in front of the fire. Here are a few suggestions from the team at Richmond Hill Animal Hospital to help get them back on track.
Fasting your Pet
The first piece of advice your veterinarian will usually give you is to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours, depending on the size and age of the pet. This gives your dog or cat’s stomach a chance to rest and expel any rich food that may be causing irritation. Also:
- Make sure your pet has unrestricted access to clean, fresh water, though; if he has diarrhea he may get dehydrated and that could cause other problems.
- He should also have frequent opportunities for walks, both to get his metabolism going and to ensure he doesn’t “hold it in” any longer than he needs to.
During this time, keep a close watch on him for any signs of weakness or lethargy, which could indicate a virus, poisoning or problem other than too many holiday treats.
Give Bland Food
If you must feed your pet, or after the 24 hours is up, give a dog bland food such as plain, cooked rice, and add some shreds of chicken breast boiled without the skin or fat. For a cat, plain boiled chicken breast alone should do the trick. Start your pet off with a smaller portion than usual and make sure he doesn’t eat too quickly, which could overload his stomach all over again. Hand-feed him if necessary to get him to eat at a moderate pace, pausing in between to allow him to digest the food.
Buy Over-the-Counter Tablets
Visit your local pharmacy and buy some Famotidine over the counter for young, healthy dogs. For large dogs, you can use the 20 mg tablets, and for dogs less than 10 kgs or 20 pounds in weight, use the 10 mg tablets. A human acid-reducing product similar to Pepto-Bismol, Famotidine is not suitable for cats. Put the tablet as far back on the dog’s tongue as possible and then massage his throat to get him to swallow it without the aid of food.
Get Veterinary Help
If your pet continues to have an upset stomach in spite of fasting and bland food, that’s when you need to bring him to your vet to check that there isn’t a more serious problem. In a cat, vomiting could simply be caused by a hairball, unless it happens more than once a day or the cat displays other symptoms. With very young puppies and kittens or elderly pets, you need to take care to ensure they don’t have the opportunity to get “holiday tummy” because it could compromise their good health in the long-term. If you’re in any doubt about the cause of the upset stomach, contact Dr. Issam Kadri at Richmond Hill Animal Hospital before you do anything.