Dealing with digestive problems


Dogs, on a whole, have incredible digestive systems. It needs to be robust and versatile to deal with all the disgusting snacks your dog picks up on their daily walk. Unfortunately, as we all know, they still have their weaknesses. Too much food, infections, stress, or picking up something particularly gross can all bring digestive problems. In addition, dogs are suffering from an ever-increasing number of food intolerances and allergies. Whatever the cause of the problem, the symptoms are often similar and easy to spot.

What are the symptoms of a dog with a sensitive stomach?

Symptoms of digestive upsets are not pleasant.

Your dog's toilet habits are the best clue to how your dog’s stomach is - so it's good to take a regular look. The most common sign of an upset stomach is what vets call 'loose motions'. In truth, this could refer to anything from a slightly soft to a liquid stool. This happens because the dog's body has detected something bad and rushes it through the system. The other way for the body to eject the problem is, of course, in the other direction - through vomiting.

At the other end of the scale, if a food remains too long in the colon through constipation, water is reabsorbed into the body, making the stool hard and difficult to pass.

When should I worry about my dog’s digestive problems?

Occasional bouts of diarrhoea, vomiting and constipation are nothing to worry about. However, if the symptoms become more severe or last for more than a few days, or if you see mucous in the stool (a common sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or blood (usually a result of colitis) you know that it's time to make some changes.

Whatever the cause, the result will be poor uptake of nutrients, as a result, a less efficient digestive system. If your dog has lost fluids through vomiting they may be suffering from loss of essential electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride.  All of this will result in a loss of energy.

Recommended food for dogs with digestive problems

What is the best dog food for sensitive stomach and diarrhoea?

As you can imagine, diet has a huge effect on digestive health. If there is a problem, it is likely that the current diet is playing at least some part, so a change would be the best place to start. Digestive support foods are free from the most common problem ingredients and are unlikely to cause any upsets.

Dogs with sensitive stomachs and digestive problems need foods with low fibre and highly digestible ingredients so they can get maximum uptake of nutrients. They also need high levels of mineral and fat soluble vitamins to compensate for their reduced ability to absorb them and to replace any lost during vomiting.

SPECIFICTM has a range of dog foods designed for all different types of digestive problems. 

For dogs suffering from most digestive problems we recommend CID or CIW Digestive support diets. These diets are also suitable for dogs with Colitis. If your dog’s digestive upset is due to food allergy or sensitivity we recommend one of our specialised food sensitivity products. And if your dog is constipated, we recommend one of the fibre rich Weight Reduction or Weight Control diets.

You will find details of all these dog foods on the site, and your vet will be able to help you to identify the one to suit your dog’s exact needs.

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Dominic Ebery
SPECIFICTM Nutrition Team, Dechra

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