Tummy troubles in pets are one of the most common reasons owners contact a vet.  The clinical signs of a gastric upset are vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, inappetence  and lethargy. These symptoms can be present for a variety of reasons  

A sudden change in diet   

  • Eating something that  does not  agree with them  
  • Eating mouldy food  
  • Ingestion of a foreign body that could be causing a blockage  
  • A virus
  • A bacterial infection  
  • Accidentally eating something toxic or poisonous   
  • Intestinal parasites  
  • Trauma to the abdomen  
  • Pancreatitis  
  • Reaction to medication   


Some symptoms can be managed at home.  Reasons to contact your vet straight away would include:

  • Your pet being very young or very old
  • If your pet has a distended abdomen 
  • Your pet being very lethargic  


The general advice for adult cats and dogs with diarrhoea is to feed small amounts of bland food such as boiled chicken breast or white fish with rice or pasta more often than you normally would. Little and often keeps the intestines moving and should help the faeces firm up more quickly.  

For vomiting pets try withholding food for 24 hours from their last meal then reintroduce food as you would for diarrhoea, bland food little and often. If your pet seems to be improving, then think about slowly weaning them back onto their own food after 2 – 3 days. In all cases ensure your pet has access to fresh water.  

The most common toxins for pets are: 

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Onions/garlic
  • Xylitol (found in sugar free gum and sweets)
  • Ibuprofen for dogs and paracetamol for cats
  • Daffodil, Crocus and Bluebells (bulbs, leaves and flowers)
  • Lilies for cats  


If you think your pet may have eaten something poisonous and they develop a tummy  upset,  then time is of the essence! You can contact one of our Registered Veterinary Nurses using this link https://pet-gp.co.uk/telephone-veterinary-nurse-service/ to check if the substance is toxic and they will offer advice or ask you to contact your vet if they are concerned.