Gastritis In Dogs

Alex Seilis
Gastritis in dogs

Gastritis is any condition in which your dog’s stomach becomes inflamed. 

While acute cases of gastritis tend to resolve themselves quickly, in as little as a day, chronic cases can cause permanent damage if the condition isn’t managed. 

That’s why it’s important to not only understand the symptoms of gastritis in dogs, but the causes, types, and possible treatment options. Here’s everything you need to know.

Symptoms Of Gastritis In Dogs

Wondering how to tell if your dog has gastritis? There are a few common symptoms of gastritis in dogs, including: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the intestinal tract (often seen in stool or vomit)
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Poor coat appearance
  • Dehydration

What Causes Gastritis In Dogs?

There are many possible causes of gastritis in dogs. It could be from a lifetime of eating foods your dog doesn’t digest well, or a one-off occasion where your dog ate some garbage or a specific food that upset his stomach. Here are the most common causes of gastritis in dogs. 

1. Food

Certain foods can cause gastritis in dogs. If the gastritis has just started, and you’ve made recent changes to your dog’s diet, it could be that something you’ve added to his food doesn’t agree with him.

2. Allergies

It’s possible your dog is allergic or sensitive to a particular food or ingredient. Long-term exposure to environmental allergens can also cause gastritis in dogs. 

3. Medications Or Chemicals

Pharmaceutical drugs or chemicals found in household cleaners or other products can ause gastritis and other problems, especially if your dog swallows them directly. 

Some common household products and chemicals that irritate dogs include:

  • Deodorants
  • Detergents
  • Heavy metals
  • Driveway salt and bath salts
  • Acids and rubbing alcohol
  • Bleach and other cleaners

4. Garbage

When a dog eats foreign bodies or garbage, he may develop “garbage gut” – a catch-all term for when dogs swallow molds, fungi, spoiled or raw food, leftovers, cat litter, or other garbage. Eating these things can cause acute gastritis in dogs. 

5. Illness

Finally, gastritis can also be a symptom of underlying illnesses, such as kidney or liver disease. These systemic diseases and infections can cause chronic gastritis in dogs.

Types of Gastritis In Dogs

There are three types of gastritis in dogs: acute, chronic, and atrophic. While all types of gastritis tend to have similar symptoms, there are important differences when it comes to the length of the illness and severity of symptoms. 

Acute Gastritis

Acute gastritis in dogs is by far the most common. Since it’s acute, the condition usually resolves itself quickly … usually in less than 24 hours. Gastritis that lasts up to a week is still technically classified as acute. The quicker timeline can make it harder to determine the cause of acute gastritis. Most of the time, though, it’s caused by eating foreign bodies, medication, or a new kind of food. 

If you know which of these things caused the acute gastritis, then you can take measures to prevent it from happening again. For example, maybe you tried feeding your dog broccoli only to find that it doesn’t agree with him. In the future, you can avoid feeding broccoli. Similarly, if you know a certain kind of medication upsets your dog’s stomach, you can try to avoid it or alert your vet in the future. 

Chronic Gastritis

Any form of gastritis that lasts longer than seven days is technically chronic gastritis. If your dog experiences digestive issues, vomiting, or other gastritis symptoms for more than a week, he may have chronic gastritis. 

If chronic gastritis is left untreated for too long, it can lead to serious intestinal damage, and even stomach bleeding. Since chronic gastritis can also be a sign of other illnesses, you may want to take your dog to the vet to rule out a more serious issue. 

Atrophic Gastritis

If chronic gastritis is left untreated, it can develop into atrophic gastritis. At this point, serious damage has been done to the stomach lining, which means there is a higher risk of ulcers, infections, and long-term digestive issues. 

How To Test For Gastritis In Dogs

How can you tell if your dog has gastritis? Aside from the symptoms above, there are a few ways your vet can diagnose gastritis in your dog. 

Since acute gastritis is so short-lasting, it usually passes before any type of testing is necessary.

Chronic gastritis, on the other hand, can pose long term risks if it isn’t corrected, or it could be a sign of other illnesses, so it’s important to test for gastritis if you think your dog might have this condition. 

Your vet can perform several test for gastritis, including:

  • Chemical blood profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Complete blood count
  • Abdominal X-rays, contrast X-rays, and abdominal ultrasounds

Treatment For Gastritis In Dogs

If your dog has acute gastritis, no treatment is necessary. The issue should resolve itself in 7 days or less. 

However, if your dog’s symptoms last longer than that, it may be time to speak to your vet about the possibility of chronic gastritis.

If the gastritis is severe, medical treatments can include prescribed anti-vomiting medications and gastrointestinal protectants. In severe cases of stomach ulcers, a proton pump inhibitor may be used and H2 receptor antagonists may be prescribed. 

However, before resorting to these drugs, which can have some side effects, there are also a few ways to treat gastritis at home. 

How To Treat Gastritis In Dogs At Home

Start by withholding food from your dog for 24-48 hours. If he goes 24 hours without vomiting, you can reintroduce a bland, easily digestible food (like bone broth, or cooked ground turkey with pumpkin). 

After 24-48 hours with no ill effects, resume feeding your dog small meals throughout the day. For example, you can feed 4 small meals instead of 2 large ones, etc. 

It’s very important to give your dog plenty of water throughout this period. Gastritis symptoms can cause serious fluid loss, and you don’t want your dog to get dehydrated. 

Over the course of the next 2 to 3 days, you can gradually increase your dog's food meals to normal portions. If your dog resumes vomiting at any point, it’s time to speak to your vet. 

How To Prevent Gastritis In Dogs

As with many things, preventing gastritis in dogs comes back to a high-quality diet, making sure your dog doesn’t have any parasites, and feeding him a healthy (preferably fresh whole food raw meat based) diet consistently over time. This is the best defense against chronic gastritis. 

As for acute gastritis, monitoring your dog to make sure he’s not eating anything he’s not supposed to can go a long way. If you’re introducing new foods or medications, do so slowly and pay attention to see if he develops any negative symptoms.

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© 2024, Four Leaf Rover - The content on this website is not meant to replace veterinary advice. Please support the hard working holistic vets who make this information possible. To find a holistic or homeopathic vet near you or to find one who will do phone consultations, visit The Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy.