Can a Dog in Heat Get an Upset Stomach?
My dog is in heat and she suddenly got an upset stomach, can an upset stomach in a dog in heat be correlated or is it just a coincidence? This is a good question.
As with other upset stomach causes, there's no way for sure to tell what's triggering it unless a vet conducts specific diagnostic tests, but if those upset stomach symptoms punctually pop up every single time your female dog is in heat, and not at other times, there's a possibility that the two can actually be correlated.
Other Health Issue
As you can see under the upset stomach causes subhead of this website, dogs can get stomach problems for a vast array or reasons and some can even be quite serious. While it's true that some dogs can get diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting when in heat, it's also true that they can get it for many other reasons.
Your dog could have eaten something that didn't agree with her stomach, she could have parasites or a blockage and even though it may seem a coincidence to show up with her heat, it could be she's suffering from something totally not associated with the heat cycle. When in doubt, it's always best to see the vet.
A Matter of Hormones
However, some owners do report that their dogs do get an upset stomach the moment they go in heat. The culprit may be those hormonal changes that can mess things up in the digestive tract in sensitive dogs. These can lead to mood changes that can cause mild gastro-intestinal upset, explains veterinarian Rebecca Osterfund. Some female dogs may also lose their appetite temporarily as they're so focused in searching for a mate.
A Vet's Advice
If you can ascertain that your dog is suffering from digestive upset caused by the heat cycle, you can try to give some temporary supportive care, but only if it's a mild digestive upset. Veterinarian Dr. Loretta suggests giving Nutrical every 4 hours to provide calories for dogs who aren't eating and trying a bland diet.
She also suggests giving pepto bismol at a dose of 1 teaspoon for 20 pounds every 8 hours. Dr. Loretta explains that it's not unusual for dogs to get nauseous during their heat cycle, but it usually subsides in a few days. If it doesn't, this could be sign of another type of digestive issue that will need addressed by the vet.
Not Out of the Woods
However, something concerning is a female dog who is vomiting after the heat cycle, especially if older than 2 years old.
The symptoms of pyometra generally occur within 3 to 5 weeks after the heat cycle, explains veterinary surgeon Dr. Daniel A. Degner of Vet Surgery Central.
Other symptoms may include weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, enlarged abdomen, vaginal discharge, but the symptoms may vary from one dog and another, so any non-spayed dog should be seen immediately by a vet if she appears sick. Pyometra is a life threatening condition, so all owners of intact female dogs should learn to readily recognize the signs, and see the vet the moment something does't look right.