Your dog loves the nutritious food and the occasional treats you give him – great mealtime is part of his fun and active lifestyle! When their food is such a source of excitement and joy for you, it can be easy to forget to keep an eye on their digestive health.
But you don’t need to worry – many of these problems are easily resolved by changing your diet.
Read on to find out how to keep your dog’s digestive health in order and what common issues to look out for.
General Canine Digestive Health
Your dog’s digestive system is pretty robust (just think about what they’d be eating if they were allowed!) But it’s a good idea to monitor their appetite anyway. Aside from what you feed them, keep in mind that of course your family and friends will love to give your dog a little extra fuss, attention, and treats!
Here are some general tips for feeding your dog:
- Your dog will enjoy a good quality and complete dog food the most because not only does it have the right nutritional balance, but a good level of palatability ensures that it really enjoys it.
- As tempting as it is, adding human food to a nutritionally complete and balanced commercial dog food can cause digestive problems in dogs.
- Your dog probably knows all sorts of tricks to convince you to give them table scraps! Ignore the “begging behavior” for extra food firmly but gently.
- If your dog is focused on getting table scraps instead, give lots of hugs, praises, and play time for both of you to enjoy!
- It is best to feed your dog at set times. Use the right amount of food to keep your dog in optimal body condition so that he stays in tip top shape.
For more information, see our guide to feeding adult dogs.
Common causes of indigestion in dogs
In an ideal world, our dogs have no digestive problems, but of course you can’t always prevent diseases. Indigestion (gastrointestinal upset) generally affects your dog’s ability to digest and absorb all of the great nutrients that keep him healthy. So what are some of the factors that can cause indigestion in dogs?
- Abrupt change in diet
- Indiscreet food
- Foreign objects
- Infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites
With so many possible causes, diagnosing digestive problems in dogs can often be a daunting challenge, even for your veterinarian! To make matters even more complicated, the disorder can start in any part of your dog’s digestive system, from the mouth to the stomach, liver, pancreas, and intestinal tract. However, there are things you can look out for to make sure your dog is getting the fastest veterinary treatment possible.
Signs of digestive problems in dogs to watch out for
If your dog’s appetite changes or he becomes a fussy eater, this can be normal – dogs can be unpredictable at times, after all! However, it could also indicate an underlying medical problem. So if you are concerned about their health, you should seek veterinary advice. If you don’t think the digestive system-related problem is related, check out other general symptoms to look out for instead.
Digestive problems in dogs are wide-ranging and can include symptoms such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Excess gas or bloating
- Strain when defecating
- Blood or mucus in the stool
If your dog is showing any of these signs, it could be an indicator of digestive problems for the dog, such as gastroenteritis, colitis, stressful diarrhea, or constipation. But what are these diseases and what can you do to help your dog?
Here’s how to reduce your dog’s risk of gastroenteritis
- Of course, it’s impossible to keep an eye on your dog every second of the day, but be careful what they’re eating along the way – they may see something that looks “delicious”!
- Keep trash and other ingestible materials out of your dog’s reach as these can lead to nibbles due to their natural curiosity!
Treating Your Dog’s Gastroenteritis
- First of all, your veterinarian is the best person to diagnose your dog’s gastroenteritis.
- If your dog has gastroenteritis, you’ll want to treat it right away. Remember, however, that treating your dog’s digestive condition will depend on its severity.
- If your dog is dehydrated, fluid therapy may be needed. If they vomit frequently, your veterinarian may recommend withholding food and / or water for 12 to 24 hours.
- Before making any dietary changes, any dog who shows signs of vomiting or diarrhea should be seen by your veterinarian.
What is colitis
Colitis, another digestive disorder in dogs, is inflammation of the colon (also known as the large intestine). Colitis can be “acute” (starting suddenly and ending quickly) or “chronic” (where it lasts longer and keeps coming back).
The signs of colitis in your dog include blood and/or mucus in the stool, diarrhea, and often small stools. If your dog has chronic colitis, they may lose weight too.
What causes colitis
Some of the things that can cause colitis in your dog include:
- Bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infections
- Eating non-food items such as grass, plastic, or cloth
- Food allergy
How to reduce your dog’s risk of colitis
Keep an eye on your dog and what he is eating as much as possible and keep litter and other ingestible materials out of reach. Sometimes they are a little too adventurous in their tastes, no matter how bad something maybe for them!
How to deal with your dog’s colitis
Your veterinarian will tell you how to treat your dog’s colitis. Usually, this is easily done through diet and medication, such as B. a dietary supplement. A dietary supplement provides extra nutritional support and ensures that your dog is still getting everything he needs to keep up-to-date.
Stress diarrhea in dogs
What is stress diarrhea?
Dogs can suffer from diarrhea just like us. Stress diarrhea in pets is a common response to stress or anxiety. That said, your dog’s diarrhea may occur because he is worried about something. There are many examples of stressful situations that can cause digestive problems in dogs – and it depends on what your dog finds particularly anxiety-inducing!
What causes stress diarrhea?
Stressful situations that can cause diarrhea in dogs include:
- Separation from you
- Changes in your household or environment
- The introduction of a new pet or family member, even if they are meant to become best friends!
Here’s how to reduce your dog’s risk of diarrhea
Your dog is at a lower risk of diarrhea if you gradually transform him into changes and make the transitions as smooth as possible. Some vets may recommend a probiotic supplement that adds beneficial bacteria to your dog’s intestines to help restore balance.
Probiotic supplements can also be used when you know a stressful situation is about to come. That way, you can prevent the problem from occurring before it starts.
How to deal with diarrhea in your dog
As with prevention, a pro-biotic preparation can be used to calm your dog’s digestive tract and get things back to normal.
Constipation in dogs
What is constipation?
Another treatable digestive disorder in your pet is constipation. If your dog is making an effort to get past chairs, or if they are tough or especially small, this may be the problem.
What causes constipation?
There are many reasons your dog might get constipated. These include:
- A lack of fiber
- An enlarged prostate
However, constipation can also indicate more serious digestive disorders in dogs such as growth, tumor, or neurological problems. These would by no means be the most common causes of constipation, but your veterinarian will be happy to examine your dog to be sure.
This will reduce your dog’s risk of constipation
To reduce your canine companion’s risk of constipation, make sure they have enough fiber or fiber in their diet. It’s also important to make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water and getting enough exercise, which can all help.
If your dog is suddenly or persistently constipated, it’s time for a trip to the vet to make sure nothing else is wrong.
How to deal with constipation in your dog
Fiber, which your dog should include in their food, will reduce constipation. This is because fiber absorbs water, which makes the food in the intestine bulkier and easier to pass through. It also stimulates the movement of the intestinal tract and normalizes bowel movements.
A high quality, complete dog food is designed to provide your dog with proper nutrition, including fiber content. Some of the fiber that is often found in fully manufactured dog foods includes beet pulp or the bran made from oats, rice and wheat – all of these will taste good to your dog too!
Fiber is good for your dog, but remember that too much can have negative effects. These include loose stools, bloating (gas), and increased stool volume.
Effective treatment for your dog
Treatment for constipation in dogs can vary depending on the cause. Treatments include medication, a stool softener, or a high-fiber diet – all you need to keep your dog’s digestive system healthy so you can enjoy each other’s company without worry!
Treatment may also include short-term or long-term diet management or medication, depending on the severity of this digestive problem in dogs. If additional testing is needed to find out what’s wrong with your dog, your veterinarian may recommend laboratory tests, x-rays, or endoscopy. (Endoscopy involves inserting a tube with a small video camera into your dog’s digestive tract to reveal the problem.) In some cases, it may also require a bowel sample or abdominal surgery – none of which sound particularly pleasant. but in the end, they will all help your dog.
General treatment for digestive problems in dogs
Some problems can easily resolve on their own once your dog’s digestive system has a chance to rest. However, because more serious medical conditions can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and debilitation, there is a concern that you should consult with your veterinarian – they can easily advise you and determine the appropriate treatment for your dog.
With the right treatment, you’ll be back on your feet in no time!