Looking after your dog’s gut health

Your dog’s digestive system can normally look after itself if it is getting the right food and nutrition. But even with your care, it can sometimes encounter unexpected problems.

Your dog loves the nutritious food and occasional treats you give them – a great mealtime is all part of their fun and active lifestyle! When their food is such a source of excitement for them and a pleasure for you, it can be easy to forget about keeping an eye on their digestive health.

But there’s no need to worry – many of these problems are easily solved through a change in diet.

Keep reading to find out about keeping your dog’s digestive health in order, and common problems to look out for.

General dog digestive health

Your dog’s digestive system is fairly hardy (just think what they’d eat if they were allowed!), but it’s a good idea to monitor their appetite anyway. As well as what you feed them, remember that your family and friends naturally love giving your dog a bit of extra fuss, attention and treats too!

Here are some general tips for feeding your dog:

  • Your dog will enjoy good quality, complete dog food most, as not only will it have the right balance of nutrients, a good level of palatability will ensure they really enjoy it.
  • 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 kinds of tricks to persuade you to give them table scraps! Firmly but kindly ignore ‘begging behaviour’ for additional food.
  • When your dog is focused on getting table scraps, give lots of hugs, praise and playtime instead, which you’re both able to enjoy!
  • It’s best to feed your dog at regular scheduled times. Use the correct amount of food to maintain your dog’s optimum body conditions no they stay in tip-top shape

General causes of digestive disorders in dogs

In an ideal world, our dogs don’t have any problems with their digestive systems, but of course you can’t always prevent illness. Digestive (gastrointestinal) disorders generally impair your dog’s ability to digest and absorb all those great nutrients that keep them healthy. So, what are some of the factors that could cause digestive disorders in dogs?

  • Abrupt change in diet
  • Trauma
  • Discretionary eating
  • Toxins
  • Allergies/Intolerance
  • Foreign objects
  • Medications
  • Infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites

With so many potential causes, diagnosing digestive problems in dogs can often be a difficult challenge even for your vet! To complicate matters further, the disorder could originate in any part of your dog’s digestive system, from the mouth to the stomach, liver, pancreas and intestinal tract. There are, however, things you can look out for to make sure your dog gets the promptest veterinary treatment.

Signs of dog digestive problems to look out for

If your dog’s appetite changes or they become a fussy eater, it may be normal – dogs can sometimes be unpredictable, after all! However, it could also indicate an underlying medical problem, so if you are worried about their health make sure you seek veterinary advice.

Digestive problems in dogs are wide-ranging and can include symptoms such as:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Excess gas or flatulence
  • Straining when passing stools
  • Blood or mucus in the stools

General treatment of dog digestive problems

Some problems may simply resolve themselves once your dog’s digestive system is given a chance to rest. However, as more serious conditions could result in weight loss, dehydration and debilitation, you should see your vet with any concerns – they can easily advise you and determine the appropriate treatment for your dog.

With the right treatment, they’ll be back on their paws in no time!