Sooner or later, it will happen. Your usually healthy and ever-hungry pet will suddenly develop digestive issues that cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, gas or abdominal pain.
Your veterinarian will have a variety of diagnostic and treatment options, but you can educate yourself on the common problems of canine digestive problems in advance of your appointment.
A dog’s digestion functions best when it is allowed to become accustomed to a particular kind of food given at particular times of the day.
You should always feed your dog a high-quality dog food that contains vitamins, minerals and protein that is formulated for the canine system.
Avoid feeding your dog table foods, which can through the animal’s digestion tract into chaos. Many table foods contain excess fat, salt and additives that can upset the canine digestion system.
Discourage other family members and guests from giving your dog treats from the table. Overfeeding can also cause upsets that cause the animal distress and can create a mess for you to clean.
For simple indigestion, feed only small meals of bland food while the upset continues. Plain boiled rice mixed with a little chicken can be soothing to the digestive tract. A small amount of pumpkin can help add fiber to soak up intestinal fluids. Your veterinarian can provide effective medications that help with simple diarrhea.
The Garbage Fest
No matter how well bred and dainty the dog, he or she will still indulge in a spell of garbage eating if faced with some tantalizing, discarded treat. Of course, it’s the owner’s responsibility to prevent the opportunities for garbage eating, but if your dog has somehow found a way into the neighbor’s discards, you may have to deal with a bout of digestive distress.
Fortunately, these episodes rarely linger longer than a day or two. During the interim, reduce the amount of food to allow the digestive tract to return to normal. Canine robotics can help to restore the bacterial balance in the intestines. If the problem continues, see your veterinarian.
It’s not only people that can suffer digestive issues from daily stress. If your household has had an upset such as moving, a change in the composition of the household or a family member that has been away from home, you may find that your dog’s emotions are being expressed in increased stomach upsets.
Whenever a change occurs in your household, try to keep feeding times regular and avoid offering too many treats that could upset your dog’s tender digestive tract. Add extra exercise to his day to work off nervous energy, and give him extra loving attention until he becomes accustomed to the new routine.
Many dogs develop food allergies from grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Unfortunately, many commercial foods contain these grains. Your veterinarian will try to isolate the problem allergen and will advise you on the least allergic diet for your dog. Sometimes, it will take some period of trial and error to determine the best food for your dog’s digestion.
Foreign Body Obstruction
Sometimes, dogs will eat anything. This is particularly true of puppies, who may chew anything to relieve teething irritation, and who may swallow plastic toys, pieces of wood or even rocks in the process. Obstruction of the bowel is a serious condition that should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Surgery may be necessary to remove the object and save your dog’s life.
Your dog can pick up worms or other parasites from any area that another dog has been. The dog may then have stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea and may become listless. Your vet can test your dog for worms at the office and prescribe effective medications to treat the problem in only a few days.
Stomach and Intestinal Diseases
Your dog can catch a virus or bacterium just as you can. This pathogen can result in stomachache, diarrhea, lethargy and a generally sick appearance. Though many “bugs” pass in their own time, you may need to make an appointment at the vet to get an antibiotic.
Dogs can also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or colitis as people do. These problems are treated with changes in diet and sometimes with medications. Some intestinal problems can signal serious disease such as cancer.
Your vet will schedule diagnostic tests to determine if the problem is a simple pathogen or signs of a more serious underlying condition. Many digestive ailments can result in severe diarrhea and dehydration that requires replacement of electrolytes in the body. Consult with your veterinarian on keeping your dog comfortable and well hydrated.