First, if his gums are paler then usual, we do need to tread with care. Paling of the gums can be a sign of internal bleeding, circulation compromise, and anemia. And if he is on Rimadyl, there is always risk of stomach irritation and even ulcers as a side effect of this drug. So, we do need to hold off on that drug until he is settled and monitor for any further paling here. Otherwise, further to the side effects of that drug, his signs also raise concerns of a bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa infections, general dietary indiscretions, and ingestion of harmful items (thankfully less likely for Smokey).
With this all in mind, as long as he can keep water down, we can try some home supportive care to try to settle his stomach. To start, if he hasn’t just vomited (since otherwise we’d need to rest the stomach for a few hours first), you can consider treating with an OTC pet safe antacid [ie Pepcid (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid), Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac)]. Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. And we'd use this every 12 hours. Of course, do double check with your vet if he has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned. Also if you give this and he cannot keep it down due to nausea that is usually a red flag that we need to bypass his mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication from his vet.
Once he is more settled, you can plan to try small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (garlic/onion free only) There are also OTC vet diets (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) that can be used too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise continuing this until the signs are settled, and then weaning slowly back to what you normally feed.
Since dehydration is a risk if his gums are not moist like your own and the skin is tenting, we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check this and make sure dehydration isn’t an issue, there are a few parameters you can test. Further to checking for gum moisture, you will want to make sure his eyes are not looking sunken either. To see how to check these, you can find a good video HERE (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html). If you do see any of these signs already, then that would be our cue to have him seen before this becomes an additional issue (especially since its often dehydration that makes them feel unwell).
Overall, a wide range of agents could trigger the signs we are seeing with Smokey. His medication could cause what we are seeing (or make his stomach more sensitive) but we do have those other concerns too. Therefore, we’d want to start supportive care to try to settle his stomach. Though if he cannot keep that or water down, appears dehydrated already, or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to get his vet involved. They can assess his hydration, rule out fever, ensure nothing in his stomach that shouldn't be, or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, his vet can treat with injectable anti-vomiting medication, gastroprotectants, fluids, +/- antibiotics to settle his stomach and get him back feeling like himself.
Please take care,
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