Gastritis refers to the irritation and inflammation or infection of the stomach lining.
As we all know, the stomach secretes strong acids for the digestion of food. So it is not difficult to imagine that a dog will feel discomfort and pain if his stomach lining is irritated or inflamed.
Gastritis in dogs can occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or it can occur on and off over a period of time (chronic gastritis).
But what causes gastritis in dogs? Let’s find out…
Causes of Gastritis in Dogs
Acute gastritis is usually caused by eating spoiled food and other things that are indigestible or disagreeable with the stomach.
As we all know, dogs are scavengers and they eat almost everything! Sometimes, they may have eaten something such as grass, small toys, hair, garbage… All these will definitely cause gastritis in dogs.
Ingestion of poisonous substances such as antifreeze, fertilizers, weed killer, etc. can also cause acute gastritis.
Some drugs, mostly notably NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and corticosteroids, can cause stomach irritation and inflammation as well.
Chronic gastritis is commonly caused by food allergies. Dogs with food allergies develop allergic reactions to certain food items, which could irritate the dog’s stomach, causing gastritis on and off.
Prolonged use of NSAIDs or other drugs may also cause chronic gastritis in dogs.
Other less common causes of chronic gastritis are repeated ingestion of grass, chemicals or toxins.
Some types of chronic gastritis are the result of underlying health issues such as an immune problem or a congenital problem.
Acute gastritis is commonly caused by eating spoiled food. Chronic gastritis is usually the result of food allergies.
Symptoms of Gastritis in Dogs
The classic symptom of gastritis is vomiting.
A dog with acute gastritis vomits shortly after eating. He may also belch and feel nauseated. As a result, the dog may look weak and lethargic.
A dog with chronic gastritis vomits from time to time over a period of days or even weeks. The vomitus may contain foreign material and food eaten the day before.
Also, the dog becomes weak and lethargic as he suffers from appetite loss and weight loss. He may also have a dull hair coat.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastritis in Dogs
A vet usually bases his diagnosis on observation of the symptoms, physical examination and tests such as blood and urine tests, feces analysis, and x-rays.
Endoscopic examination (gastroscopy) with a biopsy of the stomach is a quick way to make a diagnosis of chronic gastritis.
Acute gastritis is usually not serious and the dog will get better on his own in one or two days.
If your dog is having a bout of acute gastritis, To help his stomach rest and recover, fast the dog by withholding food and water for 12 hours. During the 12 hours, if vomiting stops, give the dog a few ice chips to lick every three to four hours.
If vomiting has discontinued after 12 hours, give the dog a little water to drink and some bland food (e.g. 2 parts boiled rice and 1 part boiled chicken).
On the other hand, if the vet has diagnosed your dog as having chronic gastritis, he will do more tests to find out the underlying cause.
Conventional treatment of chronic gastritis involves the use of antacids such as Tagamet or stomach-soothing medications such as Pepto-Bismol.
Depending on the cause of the stomach problem, the vet may recommend a change of diet either temporarily or permanently.
You should take your doggie to the vet if:
- Vomiting continues despite food and water are withheld
- Vomiting recurs when food and water are reintroduced
- The vomitus contains blood
- Your dog looks weak and dehydrated
- Your dog has a fever of over 103°F
Honey for Mild Gastritis in Dogs
If your dog has a bout of mild acute gastritis, consider giving him Manuka honey. This honey has powerful antibacterial properties. Just add a teaspoon of the honey to the dog’s drinking water. Be sure to use Manuka honey with a UMF rating of at least 15 to be effective.