Gastroenteritis in dogs

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining that covers the inner wall of the digestive tract (intestine and / or stomach). It is most often manifested by vomiting (gastritis), diarrhea (enteritis) or both (gastroenteritis). One of the dog’s diseases is gastroenteritis in dogs.

Usually with a good prognosis, however, these symptoms should attract your attention as they can be serious in some cases. The first thing to do if your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea is to put him on a diet. Remove all access to food for 24 hours, but leave him water available. Then contact your veterinarian for a professional opinion on the need to consult or not.

Causes of gastroenteritis in dogs

Gastroenteritis can have different causes:

  • Food: ingestion of spoiled, contaminated or unsuitable food for canines (dogs fed on human food scraps for example) can cause gastroenteritis.
  • Virals: rotavirus, coronavirus and parvovirus are the most common. Parvovirus manifests as an acute or over and usually severe form of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
  • Parasitics: Dogs are often carriers of intestinal parasites. This is the reason why they must deworm regularly. If this is not done, or in the event of accidental massive contamination, the digestive parasite infestation can lead to vomiting and / or diarrhea.
  • Toxic: certain toxic substances have an irritant action on the digestive tract. The toxic substances include chocolate , certain plants or detergents for example.
  • Bacterial: colonization of the intestine by certain types of bacteria, Escherichia Coli or salmonella. For example, is also the cause of gastroenteritis.
  • Tumors: an infiltration of cancer cells within the digestive wall (lymphoma for example) leads to digestive inflammation.
  • Immune: there are, in dogs, disorders of the immune system concerning the lining of the digestive tract. There is a large influx of white blood cells into the digestive wall causing chronic inflammation.

Some of these causes associate with an acute or chronic course.


Symptoms other than vomiting and diarrhea may be present in gastroenteritis.

In the first place, the dog usually has an associated loss of appetite, as well as depression and abdominal pain. If this condition persists, the animal may lose weight. In some cases (bacterial or viral causes), hyperthermia may also be present.

The presence of blood can note in vomiting and / or in the stool when the lining of the digestive tract is very irritated, which can be observed in certain infectious or toxic gastroenteritis. In cases of gastroenteritis of parasitic origin, the presence of worms can be found in diarrhea, but this is far from systematic.

In some acute and severe cases, or in the absence of improvement in the animal’s condition, the general condition may deteriorate. Dehydration can cause by water loss due to vomiting and diarrhea. Weight loss can be significant. In the extreme, renal and / or hepatic insufficiency can occur, compromising the vital prognosis of the animal in the more or less long term.

Gastroenteritis in dogs


Your vet will start by performing a physical examination of your dog to assess his general condition and check for any other symptoms. This will allow him to make assumptions about the origin of the gastroenteritis. It is important that you can tell him what your dog may have eaten and when, what his usual diet is, when he was last dewormed, and when the symptoms first appeared. All of these will help him make his diagnosis.

In some cases, he may suggest performing additional examinations, such as x-rays (in the event of a suspicion of ingestion of a foreign body, for example) or analyzes from blood or stool, such as abdominal ultrasound, such as digestive endoscopy associated with digestive biopsies.

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Treatment of gastroenteritis in dogs

In the absence of serious or emergency character, the veterinarian will prescribe symptomatic treatment: anti-diarrhea, anti-vomiting, antispasmodics, intestinal dressing. Most often, he will also prescribe a diet of at least 24 hours, but always leaving water available. Antibiotic treatment may be necessary in cases of bacterial origin.

The resumption of the diet may possibly require the prescription of a specific diet, hyperdigestible for example, to continue for a longer or shorter time depending on the situation.

In cases where the animal’s condition considers more serious, the veterinarian may need to hospitalize it to rehydrate it by infusion and administer drug treatments in injectable form.

In chronic forms, the treatments put in place can last several weeks. And, in some cases only temporary remissions can be achieved


To avoid digestive problems as much as possible, one of the first preventive measures is diet: a balanced quality diet will allow your body and digestive tract to better defend itself against infectious risks in particular. Sudden changes in the power supply should also avoid. Better to make a smooth transition to give it time to adapt. Consult with your veterinarian to recommend the most suitable food for your dog.

Of course, you must also prevent your dog from eating unsuitable things. For example by preventing him from accessing trash cans, cupboards, household products, etc.

Regular vaccination is also a means of prevention, vis-à-vis the risks of parvovirus in particular.

Likewise, regular deworming helps prevent significant parasitic infestations.