Adopting a dog is a huge responsibility that will come with restless nights and visits to the vet, sooner or later. And, while most dog owners probably won’t give too much importance to the digestive system of their pets, we recommend smoothing up the process by offering them special digestive enzymes for dogs.
How many of you actually consider your pet’s digestive system? Sure, you may look after its dietary requirements and aim to always offer organic food that is rich in proteins and low in calories, but do you really know what to do in case your dog suffers from poor digestion?
Symptoms that might indicate something’s wrong with the digestive system of your pooch include diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. Unfortunately, they can lead to severe dehydration or cause other health affections if not treated accordingly by your vet.
Let’s take a closer look at the topic by identifying the potential reasons your dog might have digestion issues, how to prevent these causes and, most importantly, how to improve your pet’s health in the future.
What are the main causes of tummy problems?
Your pooch might not always be able to communicate with you and tell you where it hurts, and this is why you need to pay close attention to its behavior and identify potential signs of digestive problems from an early stage.
Dogs are omnivorous creatures, meaning they can feed on both vegetal and animal foods, although they prefer the latter. Unfortunately, not all owners pay attention to their pet’s dietary requirements based on its age, breed, gender, and lifestyle, and often end up offering the wrong food.
One of the main reasons behind digestion problems is a diet rich in fats. Certain ingredients like soy, corn, wheat, high-fiber products or beans count for many calories but don’t always provide the necessary nutrients for your dog. Therefore, they should be avoided as they will only make your pet’s digestion harder.
Overeating is another problem that not many dog owners address properly. Unfortunately, those adorable puppy eyes can get your pet into trouble because, whenever you give in, you are responsible for the weight of your dog.
The best solution to prevent overeating and, therefore, excess weight or obesity, is to make sure your pet follows a strict feeding schedule. Usually, pups should be fed three-four times a day, whereas adult dogs can stick to just two meals daily.
If you don’t spend too much time at home during the day, it would be best to invest in an automatic feeder that will dispense the right amount of kibbles or wet food for your pet. Keep in mind that filling your dog’s bowl with food to last it through the day is not a good idea because the animal tends to eat all the food at once.
Apart from kibbles, you can offer your pet small treats or snacks as part of a training program. However, make sure they are healthy, organic, and low in calories and sugars to prevent overeating.
Lack of exercise can also have a negative impact on your dog’s health, including its digestive system. If your dog is lazy and doesn’t exercise enough it will often put on weight and be exposed to a series of health issues.
Keep in mind that some breeds like the French bulldogs and Pugs are prone to obesity, and this is why it is highly important to stimulate them to be more active. Opt for lighter foods that are rich in proteins but low on fats. A small dose of carbs won’t harm either because it will boost your pet’s energy and help it exercise more.
How can you help your dog’s digestion?
Feeding the right food
There are plenty of ways to keep your pup happy and healthy but you should start by feeding it the right type of food with the right type of ingredients. When choosing your dog’s food, we suggest looking for organic formulas that have at least 97% organic, natural ingredients and don’t contain any preservatives, chemical dyes, soy, corn, wheat or other harmful ingredients.
However, apart from the regular dog kibbles, you should also introduce your pet to wet food, preferably with simple and natural ingredients. If you have the time, you can serve your pet home-cooked food as long as it doesn’t contain salt, chemicals, low-quality ingredients or refined sugars. Grilled or steamed meat combined with vegetable stews should keep your pooch healthy, strong, and active.
Serve smaller portions
As we previously mentioned, having a strict feeding schedule will benefit your pup in the long term and will prevent health problems, including overweight and obesity.
If you’re feeding your dog dry food, make sure to closely follow the instructions on the package according to your pet’s age, breed, and lifestyle. Active dogs may require up to 15-20% more carbs in their food to boost their energy levels and help them burn calories while running or exercising.
If your household counts for several people, it would be best to designate just one member of the family that will feed the pet to avoid misunderstandings and overfeeding. This way, your dog will learn to be disciplined and not ask for treats or snacks from other members.
Again, if you don’t spend too much time at home, we suggest investing in an automatic feeder that will always dispense the right amount of dry food to keep your dog satiated without getting it fat.
Keep your dog active
No matter your pup’s breed, it is important to help it live an active life. Daily runs and exercises will not only keep its weight within the limits but will also increase its mobility, keep its bones strong, and help its digestive system.
Bear in mind that some breeds like the sweet Frenchies are prone to obesity, so they need to be walked at least half an hour a day and fed less food. On the other hand, Beagles are natural hunting dogs, which means they need to be left outside as much as possible to get rid of all their energy. They can easily get overweight if they don’t exercise for at least 30-40 minutes a day.
When the weather allows it, take your pup out for a long walk in the park. Half an hour of walking daily will do wonders to its digestive system, bones, and joints. If the temperatures drop too much, you might want to put your doggo on a special treadmill to help it stay active and even lose a couple of pounds.
Look for allergies and sensitivities
If you notice your pet is having digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea or vomiting, you might want to check if it’s allergic to certain ingredients from the food it eats. Take it to the vet and have it tested for allergies to discover more. Even if it’s not allergic, some ingredients like soy or corn may be harder to digest, so you should avoid them as much as possible.
Believe it or not, pumpkin is a great choice for doggos with digestion problems. Canned, pureed pumpkin is packed with fibers and also has a taste that most pets will find delicious. It is great against constipation but you need to make sure you feed the right amounts to your dog, depending on its weight, breed, and age.
You should also serve cooked, pureed pumpkin only, so don’t think about pie filling or other pumpkin-based dishes. For most medium-sized dog breeds, 1-2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin mixed with your pet’s food will be enough to get things moving and help with digestion.
Whenever your pup has digestive problems, you can opt for various home-cooked foods that you would usually serve a sick child. From mashed boiled potatoes to boiled chicken or cooked rice, all these foods will help with constipation and diarrhea if served properly.
The potatoes and rice must be “clean”, meaning no added gravy, sauces, butter or other ingredients, including salt and pepper. As for the chicken, it needs to be skinless and fine shredded. Some specialists also suggest mixing one part of cottage cheese or boiled chicken with two parts rice or potatoes and feeding your dog a small amount every 3-4 hours.