Digestive Issues In Dogs - Symptoms, Causes & The Role Of Food

Digestive issues in dogs are one of the most common illnesses. All dogs have faced symptoms of digestive issues at one point in time or another.

Though a dog’s digestive processes do not need any external aid, sometimes things go south making pet parents run to the veterinarian. 

Dog digestive problem

When it comes to digestive issues in dogs, food and nutrition play a huge role. But even with the right diet - a dog can encounter unexpected issues.

To help pet parents like you better understand digestive problems in dogs - we went digging with our in-house Veterinarian Dr. Sushmitha - to find out the various symptoms, causes of digestive issues and the role of daily diet in such situations!

Important Discussion Points In This Guide

  • What Are Digestive Problems In Dogs?
  • Signs Of Digestive Issues In Dogs
  • Causes Of Digestive Issues In Dogs
  • Role Of Food In Your Dog's Digestion
  • Treating Digestive Problems in Dogs

What Are Digestive Problems In Dogs?

A digestive tract encompasses various organs like the stomach, intestine and liver. From absorption of nutrients to excretion, multiple processes take place in a dog’s digestive tract.

So, when external (diet, parasite etc) or internal (allergies or intolerances) causes, disrupt this process it leads to digestive issues in dogs.

Dog digestive problems

Vet Says - “GIT (Gastrointestinal Tract) diseases in dogs begin from the oral cavity and terminate at the anus. It also involves the liver and the pancreas.Thus, digestive disorders in dogs begin right from consumption (prehension) of food till defecation.”

As a result, if a dog has issues with his digestive tract function - a Veterinarian’s goal would be to figure out the origin of the issue. 

Signs Of Digestive Issues In Dogs

Symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea are quite common in dogs. But not all of them are caused by an upset stomach.

A few of the major signs of digestive issues you will need to look out for are:

  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Inappetence/ Anorexia 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Regurgitation
  • Loose stools
  • Excessive straining
  • Melena (presence of digested blood in the faeces)
  • Hematochezia (blood in the faeces)

What Can Cause Digestive Issues In Dogs?

Multiple factors can contribute to digestive issues in dogs. From external factors like the type of food ingested to internal factors like allergies and infections - the cause behind digestive issues in dogs are many.

A few of the many causes of a disturbed stomach in dogs are:

  • A sudden Change of Diet - If a dog’s daily diet is changed suddenly it can cause adverse reactions as the gastrointestinal system is not fully adapted to process the components of a completely new diet.
  • Dental Issues in Dogs - From bad teeth to a dental infection, a problem with your dog’s mouth can cause them to end up with an unpleasant stomach issue.
Cause of Dog vomiting
  • Bacterial, Viral Infections or Presence of Parasites - Puppies are highly prone to diseases that are caused by bacteria or a virus, these infections can be hard for a puppy’s immune system leading to many signs - one of which is vomiting/diarrhoea. Yet another cause of digestive issues in dogs is the presence of parasites/worms in a dog’s stomach which can lead to inflammation of the intestinal lining, causing diarrhoea and other symptoms.
  • Ingestion of Toxic Substance - A dog can also go through a problem in his digestive tract if he consumes substances like garbage or ingests toxic food for dogs like chocolate or caffeine.

A few more factors that could contribute to digestive issues in dogs are glandular issues, changes in pH level of a dog and endocrine disease.

Role Of Food In Your Dog's Digestion

The food your dog eats daily decides their overall health. Balanced dog food makes sure that your dog receives the right amount of nutrients while providing them with the satisfaction of a tasty and enjoyable meal.

A key feature of healthy dog food is one that is - low in fat and high in protein/fibre. These kinds of dog foods ensure that the meal consumed is highly digestible and nutrient-rich.

Vet Says - “Food rich in protein and vitamins aid in several functions and pathways of digestion. Certain vitamins such as B complexes are also known to support good gut flora and fauna which in turn aid in a dog’s digestion”

Food For Dog With Sensitive Stomach

One such balanced and highly digestible dog food is HoundFresh. Made with quality ingredients, this dog food is not just rich in protein but is also perfect for dogs who face digestive issues often. Furthermore, it is also free of artificial additives making it the best healthy dog food for your pooch.

Vet Says - “ Since every component of your dog’s food has an individual and interdependent role, nothing is mutually exclusive. A balanced diet is the best diet!”

In addition to that, the feeding schedule and food quantity consumed by a dog is also equally important in keeping them healthy. A regularly scheduled balanced meal consisting of perfectly balanced nutrients ensures your dog is of optimum body condition.

Treating Digestive Problems in Dogs

If your dog has digestive issues, as a pet parent, you should come to their aid quickly.

Consulting with a Veterinarian is no doubt the best treatment option. But a few things you can do at home in case of minor digestive disturbances in dogs are:

  • Include curd in your dog’s diet as it is beneficial and is considered to be a good source of pre and probiotics.

Always make sure Drinking Water is available for your Pet and that they do Consume the Daily required amount.

  • Avoid force-feeding, If your pet refuses to eat. At such times it is better to make a vegetarian or chicken broth for your dog without the addition of any spices.
  • In case, your pet is found vomiting - note the frequency and consistency. So that these details can be explained to your Vet.

Inappetence and major digestive issues in dogs should never be taken lightly. If you find your dog in such a situation, it is advised to take them to the Vet immediately.

Vet Says - “A few things to keep in mind to prepare your dog and yourself before a visit to the clinic:

  • Vomiting or diarrhoea is common in a dog with digestive disturbance. Thus, when you travel in your vehicle/public transport it is better to prepare yourself for such occurrences.
  • Diapers for dogs are available in the market and these may be used in case of frequent diarrhoea to lessen the challenges faced while travelling to the clinic.
  • As a pet parent, you should stay calm and comfort your pet. This will, in turn, help your dog calm down and will ease the process of treating your pet at the veterinary clinic.”
Solution For Dog Digestive Problems

Once you visit the Vet, they will diagnose your dog’s digestive issues and recommend treatment accordingly.

It is advised to follow the treatment suggested by your vet to help your dog get back into good health.

Now that you have learnt about “Digestive Problems in Dogs” check out this blog to know the Importance of Protein in your Dog’s diet.

Happy Pet Parenting!

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