German Shepherd Upset Stomach: A Complete Care Guide


If you have a German Shepherd in your life, they will probably experience an upset stomach at some point. Just like humans, our Shepherd companions are at risk of common illness and complications that can cause their stomachs to grumble.

So what do you do when your Shepherd pup is experiencing gastrointestinal upset?

A German Shepherd with an upset stomach will usually be caused by a change in diet, bacterial infections, parasites, a food allergy, or simply eating something that they shouldn’t have. Effective remedies include fasting your dog, introducing probiotics, a bland diet, and possibly over-the-counter medication.

In this article we’ll discuss the details of GI upset in our furry friends, and offer a complete care guide to an upset stomach in German Shepherds. 

What Is An Upset Stomach?

So what is an upset stomachOpens in a new tab. in dogs anyway? An upset stomach is simply a form of gastrointestinal upset, which can include multiple forms of gastric distress.

An upset stomach in German Shepherds can involve vomiting, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and any other form of GI symptoms.

Over time, we begin to understand our canine companions and their normal digestive habits, so any change in their normal digestive behavior can indicate an upset stomach. 

To lean more in detail about German Shepherd diarrhea, be sure to check out this excellent article that we have linked for you below. It’s all you need to know, and more, about GSD diarrhea!

German Shepherd Diarrhea: All You Need to Know

Symptoms Of An Upset Stomach in German Shepherds

An upset stomach can look different in each Shepherd friend. Whether your pup is experiencing stomach grumbles or full blown diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset can come in many forms.

To help you understand your canine’s digestional health, let’s discuss the many symptoms of an upset stomach in German Shepherds. 

Possible signs of GI upset in Shepherds include:

If your German Shepherd is experiencing any of the above symptoms, they may be struggling with an upset stomach. 

What Causes An Upset Stomach In German Shepherds?

When it comes to gastrointestinal upset in German Shepherds, there are many possible causes behind each stomach grumble.

Common factors of an upset stomach can lurk around each corner, making it so important to be aware of the possible risks.

So what causes an upset stomach in German Shepherds? Let’s dive in!

They Ate Something They Shouldn’t Have

One of the most common causes of an upset stomach in German Shepherds is dietary indiscretion.

Dogs are known to get their paws on things they shouldn’t all the time, leading to a slew of gastrointestinal symptoms that can impact their immediate health.

Dogs can get into the trash, eat table scraps, eat inedible objects, and any other items that are outside of their normal diet.

Any introduction to unfamiliar food items can cause a dog’s stomach to turn, often resulting in diarrhea or vomiting. This is especially true of fattening or greasy food items. 

Not only can dietary indiscretion cause an upset stomach in German Shepherds, but it can also cause an intestinal obstruction if the item is unable to pass through the digestive tract.

Foreign bodies can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, and more when they are left untreated.

Change In Diet

Though we may have the best intentions when changing our Shepherd’s diet, the switch to a new food can lead to an upset stomach if it is not done correctly.

Since our dogs generally eat the same diet each day, their digestive tract gets used to the same ingredients. Due to this, an abrupt change in diet can cause a shock to their digestive system.

This sudden shock can result in diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and any other sign of an upset stomach. This is why it’s so important to transition your German Shepherd to a new diet over time to allow their body to adjust appropriately. An ideal diet switch will occur over 1-2 weeks.

Infectious Illness

There is a list of infectious diseases that can cause our German Shepherd’s harm when they are not vaccinated. Infectious GI disease can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, often to the point of needing hospitalization and other aggressive medical care.

While there are multiple infections that can cause GI symptoms, the most common disease is Parvo. Due to this possibility, it is always best to keep up with your German Shepherd’s yearly vaccinations. 

Bacterial Infections

Multiple forms of bacteria live all around us and our canine companions. Not only can bacteria make their way into their food and water, but it also lives in the soil they step in with each trip outside.

Because of this, bacteria can easily wreak havoc on a dog’s overall health. Once a harmful bacteria makes its way into our dog’s digestive tract, they can begin to experience an upset stomach that will not resolve without antibiotics and probiotic support.

If your dog has gastrointestinal symptoms and has tested negative for other possible causes, bacteria may be to blame. 

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites can negatively impact your German Shepherd when they make their way into the intestinal tract. Parasites can settle in the wall of their intestines, replicate at high speed, and cause severe damage to every tissue they come in contact with.

Because of this, our Shepherd friends can suffer from severe diarrhea and vomiting when experiencing a parasitic infection.

To help your furry friend maintain their digestive health, it’s important to stay on top of their recommended deworming treatments and monthly heartworm prevention. 

Food Allergies

Though this is the most rare cause of an upset stomach on the list, it is certainly possible.

German Shepherds are prone to experiencing allergies, making food allergies a possible factor behind your dog’s upset stomach. When a dog is allergic to a certain ingredient in their daily diet, it can lead to an array of troubling symptoms that impact their daily life.

Food allergies can cause loose stool, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, skin irritation, hair loss, and more. 

How To Soothe An Upset Stomach In German Shepherds

So what do you do when your German Shepherd is struggling with an upset stomach? To help you bring comfort to your beloved companion, let’s discuss some of our favorite tips for soothing an upset stomach. 

Visit Your Veterinarian

The best way to soothe your German Shepherd’s upset stomach is by visiting your veterinarian.

Since so many causes of an upset stomach are due to medical concerns that require professional treatment, it’s important to rule out any of these factors before trying any home remedies.

By testing for any underlying factors that can cause an upset stomach, you stand a better chance at offering your dog the relief they deserve. 

Introduce Probiotics

If your German Shepherd is experiencing an upset stomach, they may benefit from the addition of probioticsOpens in a new tab..

Whether your pup is finishing up a course of antibiotics or struggling with a bacterial imbalance in their gut, probiotics can help to restore the good bacteria in the GI tract.

Probiotics can help to restore healthy gut bacteria, regulate their digestive habits, and even offer immune support as they recover. 

Offer A Bland Diet

When our Shepherd’s stomach is grumbling, they often need a bland diet that won’t further aggravate their GI upset.

While their daily diet may be a wonderful option for maintaining their overall health, it may not be ideal when they are experiencing GI distress.

Some of the best bland diet options include boiled chicken breast and white rice, ground turkey and white rice, or a prescribed bland diet from your veterinarian.

Pull Food If They Are Vomiting

If your German Shepherd is vomiting, it’s best to remove any food or water from the environment until their stomach settles.

Have you ever seen a dog vomit and run to their water bowl directly after, only to vomit again? This canine response to nausea can lead to more problems for our furry friends, making it important for us to step in.

Though we often assume our dog’s need to drink water to restore any fluid loss, this can further upset an angry stomach in that moment.

From the moment that your German Shepherd is unable to keep food or water down, it’s best to pull your dog’s food and water and contact your veterinarian for further care. 

Over the Counter Medicines

Depending on the severity of your German Shepherd’s upset stomach, it is possible that your pup may benefit from an over-the-counter medication.

These include Pepto Bismol and Immodium. However, this really depends on your particular dog, so it is very important that you clear it with your veterinarian before you give your German Shepherd any dosage of these medications.

To learn more about over-the-counter stomach medications for your pup, be sure to check out the highly informative article that we’ve linked for you below:

Can You Give Pepto Bismol To Your German Shepherd?

Upset Stomach In German Shepherd Puppies

German Shepherd puppy with bone

If you have a German Shepherd puppy in your life, there are always a few extra factors to consider when they are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.

While every case of GI upset should be taken seriously, it’s always a bit more concerning when puppies are the one in question.

So what can an upset stomach in German Shepherd puppies mean?

If your puppy companion has an upset stomach, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian about the possibility of Parvovirus and intestinal parasites.

While puppies can still experience GI upset from other causes, these factors are serious possibilities in our younger canine friends. If your German Shepherd puppy is not fully vaccinated or has not been fully dewormed, these possibilities are on the table. 

Your veterinarian can rule out Parvovirus or intestinal parasites with a few simple diagnostics in their clinic laboratory. Once they have an accurate diagnosis in place, they can determine the best method of treatment for your Shepherd friend. 

Preventing An Upset Stomach In German Shepherds

So how can you prevent an upset stomach in your beloved German Shepherd?

Though our canines will be exposed to GI upset at some point throughout their life, there are added safety measures to help keep them safe!

  • Offer them quality food that is approved by your veterinarian
  • Make sure they are always fully vaccinated, especially if they are out in public
  • Never switch their diet abruptly
  • Always transition to a new diet over 1-2 weeks
  • Keep table scraps or greasy food items away from your dog
  • Make sure your dog is dewormed and on monthly heartworm prevention
  • Keep your trash can in a safe area that your dog cannot access
  • Try not to let them eat too quickly (try a slow feederOpens in a new tab. if they do)

Promoting Gastrointestinal Health In A Sensitive German Shepherd

Some German Shepherds have a sensitive stomach that can be easily aggravated. These pups often require special care when it comes to their diet, and often benefit from extra support from probiotics and other dietary supplements.

So how can you promote digestive health in your German Shepherd? Here are a few of our favorite tips!

Sensitive Stomach Diets

If your GSD has a sensitive stomach, they may require a special diet that is easy on their gut. A sensitive stomach diet is often free of common irritants and inflammatory ingredients, often resulting in easy digestion for our furry friends.

Some of our favorite sensitive stomach diets for German Shepherds include:

Daily Supplements

Humans often take daily supplements to promote their overall health, so why not our furry friends too?

Gastrointestinal health is extremely important in terms of offering our Shepherds a full life, so it’s up to us to offer support in every way we can. One of the best ways to do this is by adding daily supplements into your dog’s diet.

Some of our favorite dietary supplements for GI health include:

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many possible causes behind your German Shepherd’s upset stomach.

Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can be better prepared for your dog’s GI upset in the future!

Amber LaRock LVT

I am a Licensed Vet Tech that took my career online to spread knowledge on animal health and welfare. I grew up with a deep passion for helping animals and knew that it was my life’s purpose. With the experience I gained from my time working in emergency medicine, I have been able to spread accurate information online in all realms of pet health. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find!

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