Digestive Disorders In Dogs
September 15, 2021 | 3 min read
Updated September 15, 2021
By Sarah Milton
Published: September 15, 2021
Updated: September 6, 2022
Summary: “My dog is having digestive problems!” Fear not, pet owner! In this blog, we learn all about digestive disorders in dogs! Dog has gurgling stomach and diarrhea? We’ll learn what the most common stomach disorders in dogs are, when to seek professional advice, and how to identify digestive problems in dogs…
The Signs Of Digestive Problems In Dogs
Signs your dog may be experiencing digestive discomforts include:
- Disinterest in food
- Occasional constipation (not pooping)
- Straining when pooping
- Loose stools
- Changes in poop color
- Abdominal discomfort
If your dog is experiencing any of these occasional issues, then it’s likely they’re feeling very uncomfortable and need assistance. But, what are the potential reasons behind occasional digestive issues in dogs?
The Causes Of Occasional Digestive Discomforts In Dogs
Digestive discomforts in dogs could disturb the ability to process and absorb food and the nutrients within it. Here are a few things that can trigger stomach disorders in dogs…
- Food allergies
- Consuming a non-food item
- Certain medications
- A sudden change to their diet
- Bacterial imbalance
- Disordered eating (scoffing, over-eating, under-eating)
Because there are so many potential causes of digestive discomforts in dogs, and the fact that the digestive system is so big (mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, etc.) trying to find a proper cause can pose a challenge.
Always get anything you’re unsure of checked over by a vet.
What Stomach Discomforts In Dogs Could My Dog’s Be?
If your dog is displaying signs of digestive discomfort, there are several conditions it could be, for which your pup needs a vet visit. Some of the most common digestive disorders in dogs include:
This condition usually displays as diarrhea and may also be accompanied with vomiting. This digestive disorder occurs usually after consuming off-food or something a little unsavory and causes the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) to become inflamed. A vet will need to diagnose this and can supply medication to stop the vomiting and loose tummy. They may also suggest adopting a bland diet of chicken and rice until they’ve recovered.
Colitis is when the colon becomes inflamed and this is usually caused by parasitic, bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, food allergies, or eating a non-food item(s). Colitis usually presents in bloody or mucus-covered poop, diarrhea, and/or frequently passing small stools. Your vet will need to diagnose colitis and they will often offer you medication, maybe even dietary supplements if it’s an allergy, to soothe and control the condition.
If your dog is straining to poop, not pooping at all, or passing hard, small stools then it’s likely they’re constipated. This could be because they have an enlarged prostate, are dehydrated, or not eating enough fiber in their diet. It can sometimes be a sign of tumor growth though, so it’s always worth getting them checked over by the vet if they seem constipated.
Anxiety and stress, just like in humans, can cause the fight or flight response in dogs and this can induce diarrhea. Stress triggers can include (but aren’t limited to) loud noises, being separated from you, changes in their household, the introduction of a new pet or family member, or being adopted into a new home themselves. You can obtain calming aids that may help from your vet or most reputable pet brands (make sure you research them thoroughly before purchasing though). Your vet may even suggest medication or a probiotic supplement to help boost your dog’s gut health and prevent their physical stress response if it’s happening frequently.
How To Support An Healthy Digestive System In Dogs
There are many ways you can help support your dog’s digestive system.
Discourage disordered eating; read our blog on Dog Eating Disorders here and how to help your dog get over particular disordered eating habits.
Keep on top of preventative parasitic treatments and vaccinations; regular flea and worm prevention control can protect both your dog and others they come into contact with from contracting these annoying parasites that can cause digestive disorders in dogs. If they’re not already receiving regular anti-parasitic treatments, it’s time to check in with your vet to get your beloved pet into the most suitable flea and parasite prevention routine and ask your vet if they’re up to date on all their vaccinations.
Introduce new food gradually; changing your dog’s food brand suddenly can be detrimental to your dog’s stomach and cause loose stools. Read our blog on How To Change Your Dog’s Food gradually to avoid this.
Provide more fiber; many dogs don’t get enough fiber in their diets. If a dog has occasional gastrointestinal discomfort, a good boost of fiber may be greatly beneficial to their gut health and help support digestive health in dogs. Try adding cut-up pieces of cucumber, blueberries, or cooked sweet potato to their bowl, particularly if they’re on a kibble diet, or treat them with pieces of carrot instead of traditional biscuit rewards. If your dog is challenged with occasional constipation and they’re on a kibble diet, it may be worth considering moving them to moist, meat-based food to help boost their hydration levels too. Remember, always switch a dog’s food gradually!
Exercise them the amount they need; making sure your dog is getting the right amount of exercise every day is great for reducing stress, keeping their blood flow up, and thus, their digestive rhythm regular. Check out our handy guide on how much your dog should be being exercised below. If you’re still unsure, consult with your vet.
"Common Dog Digestive Problems" Purina https://www.purina.co.uk/articles/dogs/health/digestion/digestive-problems
Author Rubin, Stanly I. DVM, MS, DACVIM "Introduction To Digestive Disorders Of Dogs" MSD Manual Veterinary Manual https://www.msdvetmanual.com/dog-owners/digestive-disorders-of-dogs/introduction-to-digestive-disorders-of-dogs
Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!