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8 Natural Ways to Soothe a Dog's Upset Stomach

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Got a pup with a tummy ache? Try these natural remedies to give your poor pooch relief

Every dog owner knows that few things are worse than when your poor pup is feeling under the weather. When the ailment is tummy-related, it typically doesn't warrant a trip to the vet, so it's easy to feel helpless in the situation. Happily, though, there are a few natural ways to soothe a dog's upset stomach.

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Of course, it goes without saying that you should always touch base with your pup's veterinarian if your dog shows any significant changes in appetite or behavior. And you should certainly run any home cures you intend to use to provide your pooch with some much-needed relief by your vet.

Once you've got the green light, give the following natural remedies a try.

1. Fasting

Let's start with the most extreme solution, but one that is typically very effective: fasting. If a dog's tummy is constantly digesting food when it is upset, the stomach won't have time to rest and recover. Try limiting food and water for 12 to 24 hours for adult dogs, followed by a bland diet for a few days. Dogs Naturally magazine goes so far as to recommend regular fasting for adult dogs to "detoxify years of toxic build-up and restore normal homeostatic balance." Make sure you make an appointment with your vet before you decide to make fasting a part of your dog's regular routine.

2. Ginger

Have you ever sipped ginger tea or eaten a ginger chew to calm your rumbling tummy? The root of this tropical herb is favored in both traditional Chinese medicine and Western herbal medicine for its antiemetic properties — in other words, it curbs nausea and vomiting. In addition, it relieves (and possibly prevents) uncomfortable bloating in dogs.

3. Nux vomica (poison nut)

While something called "poison nut" certainly doesn't sound like something you would want to give your dog with an upset tummy, this homeopathic remedy is actually well-known for relieving a host of digestive issues — think everything from flatulence to vomiting and diarrhea.

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4. Plain, unsweetened yogurt

Adding one (for small dogs) to two (for larger dogs) tablespoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt to your pup's food can help soothe his stomach and start to replace healthy bacteria in the gut. Just make absolutely sure you never feed your dog a yogurt containing Xylitol or artificial sweeteners. An alternative more specifically suited to your dog's diet is a pet probiotic.

5. Pumpkin

There is a virtual plethora (yes, a plethora even!) of reasons you should consider adding pumpkin to your pup's diet. But when it comes to a pup with an upset tummy, this nutrient-rich veggie can help settle digestive issues when added to your dog's dish. Because it is high in fiber, pumpkin helps out with any bowel issues, and you can't go wrong with all the antioxidants.

6. Bananas

Like sweet potato, bananas can be added as a nutritional "filler" to your dog's food. Because bananas are loaded with vitamin C and potassium, they will help prevent bacterial growth, boost your pup's immune system and maintain an optimal fluid balance (thanks, electrolytes).

7. Oatmeal

When it comes to wonder foods, oatmeal definitely earns its reputation. You may have already used oatmeal formulas on your pup's coat to soothe dry, itchy skin or hot spots, but did you know it is also ideal for soothing an upset tummy? This has a lot to do with the abundance of natural, soluble fiber and myriad vitamins and minerals found in oatmeal. Just be sure not to use prepackaged varieties packed with sugar, which could actually make your pup's tummy more upset.

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8. Sweet potatoes

For starters, your pup will probably perk up at the sight of sweet potato in his bowl. But beyond just his excitement over this culinary treat, sweet potato packs a healing punch. It is chock-full of antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber — all of which help restore a dog's digestive system.

Before you try anything

Remember, it is always crucial that you speak with your vet before giving any natural remedy to your dog. An upset tummy could be a sign of something worse, so you definitely want to check with your vet before giving your pup any kind of treatment — even if it is natural.

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