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Gastritis in Dogs

Gastritis in Dogs

Gastritis is caused by a variety of reasons such as indiscriminate eating habits, disease, exposure to chemicals, or adverse reactions to medication. This results in vomiting, lack of appetite, and lethargy in dogs. Continue reading to know the causes, symptoms, and treatment for gastritis.
Parul Solanki
Gastritis is a condition that results in the inflammation of your pet dog's stomach along with an inability to digest food properly. It can occur in dogs in an acute or chronic form. This can be caused due to any of the multiple health problems including food allergies, sudden diet changes, foreign bodies, parasites, or other health issues.


The most common symptoms of your dog being affected by gastritis include vomiting, pain in the abdominal area, lethargy, and loss of appetite. The frothy bile in the vomit may also contain flecks of blood which is caused by bleeding in the stomach. Upon display of these symptoms, steps need to be taken to identify whether it is just a simple case of an upset stomach, or if it is indeed gastritis.

While acute gastritis may result in the sudden onset of severe gastritis symptoms, which may increase drastically in a matter of hours, chronic gastritis is generally associated with milder symptoms. However, this chronic condition can affect the dog for a long period of time, usually causing damage to the inner lining of the stomach.


Gastritis can occur from a variety of causes, including exposure to certain types of viruses and bacteria or a reaction to certain types of foods. The other causes include:
  • Immune-mediated
  • Dietary allergy or intolerance
  • Toxins present in fertilizers, herbicides, and cleaning agents
  • Dietary indiscretion which can be caused by consuming plant material, foreign objects, or chemical irritants
  • Metabolic/endocrine disease such as chronic liver disease, Addison's disease, pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Parasitism
  • Certain drugs such as NSAIDs and glucocorticoids
  • Viral infections
  • Mast cell tumor
  • Kidney diseases
In addition to this, it has also been found that certain dog breeds such as Miniature Poodles, Lhasa Apsos, Maltese, Shih Tzus, and other small dog breeds are much more susceptible to the condition as compared to other breeds. Dogs may also develop acute gastritis if they eat foods they do not normally eat, or if they ingest foul meats. Chronic gastritis is often associated with bacteria and viruses, the wrong type of diet, or certain medications. In most cases, dogs respond well to treatments for the condition, and in majority of cases, they can be treated at home.

Treatment and Diagnosis

Since most of cases of gastritis occur when a dog ingests the wrong type of food, the veterinarian will ask if the dog has possibly eaten anything, perhaps from a recent trip to the garbage can, which could be causing the symptoms. For the severe or chronic gastritis, further diagnostic tests in the form of blood tests are needed to rule out any diseases such as parvo or kidney disease. If an undigested material is stuck in the dog's stomach, then x-rays may be used to identify it. An endoscopic examination of the dog's stomach may be done for further tests and cultures.

Treatment options include food restrictions, and in some cases prescription medication, or supportive therapies. For treatment of acute gastritis, you may need to withhold food for at least 24 hours to allow the stomach time to recover and heal from the irritant. Though water is not restricted, it should be offered multiple times in smaller quantities. This is because of the tendency in dogs affected by gastritis to drink large amounts of water at one time, thus causing further vomiting and irritation to the stomach.

In severe or chronic gastritis, where the condition is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will help to treat the condition. However, if the cause is a certain medical condition, then addressing it can help resolve the gastritis symptoms. In case where gastritis is caused by an undigested object in the dog's stomach, surgery is the only treatment option.

Although this health problem in its mild form is relatively easy to treat, the chronic form can quickly become life-threatening because of the dehydration and electrolyte imbalance caused by the vomiting. The best course of action is thus to act quickly and treat your dog's symptoms, so that it can return to its healthy, happy self in a short period of time.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.