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If whatever was eaten induces only mild symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhoea, it should pass in 24-48hrs. For vomiting it is advisable to starve the animal for 24hrs then start on a bland diet (something like chicken or white fish and rice) until better. In the case of diarrhoea it is not advisable to starve the animal as the intestine likes a constant supply of food to help in the repair process. Pro-biotics and kaolin products can also be extremely effective. In both cases maintaining hydration is of the utmost importance. Regularly encourage your pet to drink some water or electrolyte solution, and if they don't want to then syringe in some fluids.
In cases where the symptoms are more severe, or if the animal becomes inappetent, painful or depressed, veterinary treatment should be sought. This can sometimes mean something silly has been swallowed and has the potential to get stuck, meaning surgery may be indicated. Socks (and other items of underwear!), stones and lolly sticks are just some of the things I have had to remove from a dog's stomach or intestine in the past.
In the event that there is a lot of gastroenteritis going round a particular area, the cause is often bacterial or viral. If your pet is feeling unwell with it or has a temperature, seek veterinary attention - antibiotics may be indicated. To reduce the chances of your pet succumbing, try to avoid popular dog walking areas, keep diet consistent, and always clear up after your dog.