The dog’s digestive system absorbs and digests food and eliminates solid wastes from the body. During its lifetime, our beloved pet might suffer from dog digestive system problems and diseases. This can be due to infections, diet changes or allergies and even stress.
I have collated information that has helped me to look after my dogs when a bad tummy was acting up. I have learned that in every age and most breeds bad tummy can present itself.
I remember, every time, I had to return to University my dog Lassie developed very bad digestive issues. After some research, I found out that it was due to stress.
I have written my ideas on how to help a dog with gut issues following my experience as a nutrition specialist and vet visits with my dogs.
The digestive system includes all the organs that are involved in taking in and processing food. It begins with the mouth and includes the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines, rectum, and anus. (1)
Signs of a dog digestive system problems can include (but not limited to):
- Excessive drooling,
- Vomiting or regurgitation,
- Loss of appetite,
- Abdominal pain and bloating,
- Straining to defecate.
The location of disease arising can be noted by looking where your dog has a problem:
- Abnormalities with biting, chewing, and swallowing will be a problem with the mouth, the teeth, the jaw, or the oesophagus.
- Vomiting is usually due to inflammation of the lining of the stomach or intestines (gastroenteritis) caused by infection or irritation
Good health begins with a healthy gut. If a dog has digestive health issues like diarrhoea, sensitive tummy, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut or gas you need to consider ways how to help your dog to feel better.
The longer dog has had gut issues, the longer it will take to get better. It is important to monitor your dog’s health and see a vet if anything feels and looks unusual.
It takes patience and persistence to get a dog back to health.
So if it is hard to cure a dog’s gut, it makes sense to make sure gut issues do not appear.
Here are 4 ways to help your dog’s digestive system:
1. Include Prebiotics and probiotics in your dog’s diet.
Prebiotics are the fibre that feeds the beneficial microorganisms residing in the intestine. Probiotics are live microorganisms that when ingested, can enhance intestinal microbial balance. (2)
- Aid in the digestion of food
- Fight off potential pathogens
- Make nutrients and vitamins
- Bolster the immune system
Probiotics live mostly in a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. They are beneficial to a dog’s body and maintain the necessary balance.
Probiotics come in powders, capsule forms. Follow the guidelines on packaging. It is important that a dog has enough of them to keep things stable.
To make it easier for the dog and owner. Probiotics can be added to their daily food bowl.
2. Bone broth.
A dog might have poor gut health from undigested food particles. This might cause inflammation of the intestinal wall lining. Then toxins can enter the bloodstream through tiny holes in the intestinal wall.
Inflammation can form due to inappropriate diet, medicine, such as antibiotics and stress.
Gelatine from the bone broth will help heal the gastrointestinal lining.
It is great to help aid gut issues like leaky gut, IBD, IBS or any other gut issues.
Plus bone broth is packed with vitamins, minerals and gelatine.
Bone broth is a great addition to a kibble fed diet. This adds an extra source of vitamins, glucosamine and glycine to aid digestion.
3. Cut down on medications.
Drugs can impact dogs’ gut health. Antibiotics can destroy the intestinal flora.
Once antibiotic treatment is interrupted many bacterial species recover, however, the return to the initial composition is rarely fully achieved. (3)
If you do use an antibiotic, make sure to give quality probiotics at the same time.
Discuss with your dog’s vet, alternative, more natural medicines for your dog’s condition.
4. Add variety to your dog’s diet.
Regular dog food kibble is heavily processed. Due to high heat treatment kibble loses vitamins and minerals. They need to be put back synthetically.
This can be also done at home by adding natural ingredients.
What to add:
- Raw egg– a great source of protein iron, vitamin A, B12, biotin. Although I don´t recommend uncooked egg due to risk of salmonella and other bacteria contamination. It´s better to cook it
- Goat’s milk– probiotic food, better tolerated by dogs as it does not contain lactose. Also a great source of hydration as kibble leaves the dog in a semi dehydrated state.
- Canned (only in water) or raw oily fish– sardines, anchovies are low in mercury and high in Omega 3s, which improves coat and skin health.
- Veggies– spinach, kale, swiss chard, pumpkin- high in fibre, low in carbs. These vegetables do not have any sugar or starch.
Always speak to your dog’s vet if you notice changes in your dog’s behavior and eating habits.
When it comes to tummy upsets it is best to spot the symptoms early.
Best course of action is to monitor and act accordingly. Check out our article on