Dietary Indiscretion and GI Upset in Pets

mt. carmel animal hospital GI Upset in Pets

This article explains more information regarding dietary indiscretion and GI upset in pets.

November and December abound with holiday celebrations, and nothing can spoil joy like an emergency trip to the veterinary clinic. If you want to share holiday treats with your furry companion, make or purchase treats made just for them. This article explains more information regarding dietary indiscretion and GI upset in pets.

Causes of GI Upset

There are many reasons a pet can end up with an upset belly. Overall, dietary indiscretion is the most common cause of GI upset in pets. In puppies and kittens with GI upset, intestinal parasites are prevalent and can often be the cause. It’s also possible that stress may lead to GI signs. Depending on the animal, stress is more likely to trigger diarrhea than vomiting. Vomiting and diarrhea seen in older pets could indicate cancer. The veterinarian will consider health history and age when determining what tests to run to assist with the diagnosis.

What is Dietary Indiscretion?

The most prevalent cause of GI upset among all ages of pets is dietary indiscretion. That means that an animal has eaten something outside of their normal diet, like foreign objects, rabbit or deer feces, garbage, or human food. Dogs are more prone than cats to consume something they shouldn’t, but all animals can be prone to this behavior. If something the pet ate triggers GI upset, the direct cause may often be difficult to determine unless the pet owner actually sees what the pet ate.

Signs and Symptoms

How the pet acts and whether he or she wants to eat provides essential evidence for the problem’s severity. It’s always important to take a sick pet to the vet, but it may take some work to know exactly how soon the animal should be seen. If your pet shows interest in eating and doesn’t vomit, then you should contact your veterinarian. If your pet is not able to keep food or water down, is not eating or drinking at all, or is notable lethargic, this could be a medical emergency. He or she could possibly have a blockage in the GI tract, which requires surgical intervention.

In contrast, if your male cat is attempting to vomit and appears to be unable to urinate, this could actually indicate a urinary obstruction and immediate medical attention. It’s better to be safe and have a vet see them than have a potentially harmful outcome.


A number of various tests might be necessary to diagnose the cause of your pet’s symptoms. Some of the common tests include a fecal float to check for intestinal parasites, bloodwork to rule out any metabolic conditions, and radiographs or an abdominal ultrasound to search for potential foreign material. These diagnostics give the veterinarian an idea of what might be happening with the animal’s internal organ function.


Treatment for GI upset in pets depends on the cause and severity. Intestinal parasites are easily treated with dewormers. If your pet has a mild GI upset likely caused by dietary indiscretion, a bland diet and possibly some medication to help soothe their stomach and intestines is typically sufficient. In more severe cases, your furry companion may require IV fluids and medications to help them until their GI system settles and they are able to eat and drink without vomiting or having diarrhea. In the event your pet is experiencing a GI obstruction from a foreign object, surgery will be required to remove the object followed by supportive care with IV fluids and medications.


Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!

This entry was posted on Friday, November 17th, 2023 at 10:12 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.