Vomiting and Diarrhea:

Treat for the first 12-24 hours by withholding food and water. After 12 hours, you can offer ice cubes or 1-2 ozs. of Gatorade or distilled water (in case the tap water has the contaminants). If this is handled well, you can advance to the small meal. If vomiting or diarrhea continues during withholding of food and water and is longer than 24 hours, seek veterinary help. When advancing to a small meal, this should be rice with lean, cooked, drained, meat; the ratio is 75% rice to 25% meat. Alternatively, you can offer baby cereal (cream of rice or cream of wheat) and some cooked egg.


Avoid fatty foods and do not give milk with diarrhea. After 72 hours, gradually reintroduce regular food by mixing with mixture. After first small meal, gradually work up to giving same amounts of mixture as dog is used to receiving at normal meals. A sudden change from bland diet to regular dog food may precipitate a new bout of vomiting/diarrhea. When traveling, baby food rice cereal and baby food meat is more readily available. At this stage, water should be continually available, but
only in small amounts at a time.

Vomiting:

Dogs and cats vomit fairly easily, usually because of overeating, dietary upsets, or over-excitement. If the pet is otherwise normal and the problem doesn't recur, there's no cause for concern. If no other signs, withhold food and water as scheduled above, then begin light meals. If the pet also has diarrhea, or seems dull and depressed, or is vomiting frequently, seek immediate veterinary help.

Diarrhea:

You can give Pepto Bismol or Imodium AD, for diarrhea- (1/2 a 2mg tablet for a 20-30 lb. dog, 2-4x day max at 4-6 hour intervals for dogs, 1/8-1/4 if a tablet or 1ml of the liquid for a 10 lb. cat ; if liquid medication, use a syringe inserted in the side of the mouth ).

One word of caution using Imodium...if there is any vomiting, no diarrhea, or the pet is acting sick, not just having the squirts, be careful using this drug. Imodium acts by slowing to stopping the movement of the gut. If there are a lot of toxins from bacteria or spoiled foods, then this material sits in the intestines and is more likely to enter the bloodstream and make your dog sicker. If there is no diarrhea, just vomiting, you may actually constipate your pet. But if you are traveling or at home, and your pet develops diarrhea and still feels fine, this is a wonderful thing to have on hand.

If your pet passes frequent liquid or semi-liquid motions it may be ill with a minor infection, but could be something more serious. If the dog seems well aside from the diarrhea, withhold food and water as scheduled above. If acute signs are also present (the feces are bloody, vomiting, the pet seems dull and depressed) seek veterinary help.

Guidelines for Handling Vomiting/Diarrhea

If your pet has more than one isolated bout of vomiting &/or diarrhea, the first step towards treatment is to NPO him for 24 hours. This means nothing given orally, food or water. He can have some ice cubes to lick on, as they will provide fluids in extremely small amounts. After there has been no additional vomiting, start back on small amounts of water (pedialyte is OK), a few laps at a time, every 1-2 hours. If he continues to keep this down over the next 6 hrs, gradually increase the volume in one sitting. After keeping water down for 12 hrs, you can start back on small amounts of bland foods. These include cottage cheese, boiled rice, boiled chicken, lean browned ground turkey with the fat washed off, oat meal, scrambled egg, or prescription diets like I/D. Start with 1-2 tablespoons every 2 hours. After 6 hrs, increase to volume and decrease the intervals. A good goal for a 20 lb animal is 1/3 cup every 4-6 hours. If food stays down the next 24 hrs, feed up to 1/2
cup in 3 meals over the next 2 days. Start adding back regular diet mixed into the bland foods. If vomiting or diarrhea persist or if you see blood-seek veterinary
attention immediately.

It should take about 5 days to get back on regular food. Some pets take a little longer, depending on how irritated the gut was to start. If the vomiting/diarrhea continues longer than 24 hrs of NPO, if there is any blood, multiple episodes of vomiting (over 3-4) occur in a short time (30-45 mins), or if the pet is depressed or lethargic, then seek veterinary attention. Young pets less than 6 mos and older pets over 7 years are more likely to dehydrate quicker, so may need medical attention sooner, especially if there is an underlying disease, such as diabetes, kidney disease, etc. Most of the time, minor GI upsets will heal themselves if the gut is allowed to rest.

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