If there's one thing puppy's do well aside from looking cute, it's eating. When your pup's hungry, he's not afraid to shove his face in his food bowl and begin munching down. If you recently switched his food or he's developed an intolerance to a certain ingredient, his digestive system or immune system can be thrown out of whack.
Keep an eye out for allergy symptoms. Aside from the occasional upset stomach that results from switching your pup's food, one of the most common adverse reactions to a certain type of food is an allergic reaction. Your puppy's immune system tags one or more ingredients in his food as a danger and reacts by having a fit of sorts, resulting in a boatload of potential symptoms. Excessive scratching, skin lesions, hot spots, snoring, vomiting and diarrhea make up the bulk of the problems.
Look at your pup's stool. A big sign that your puppy's food is disagreeing with him is an increased need to defecate and a loose and sometimes watery stool. He may not always have diarrhea, although that's certainly a possibility and not always connected to an allergic reaction. Loose stool may stem from a hasty switch from his old food to a new food or from an ingredient that he has difficulty digesting properly.
Pay attention to his behavior and activity level. Diet-induced nausea will cause your puppy to become less active. He might not play as much or seem as energetic and bouncy, like puppies normally do. Excessive drooling and licking are also signs of nausea. Vomiting doesn't usually happen with a change in food unless a food allergy is at play, but it is possible.
Consider your puppy as a possible culprit if any noxious smells start snaking through your house. Puppies who start eating a new food without being slowly introduced to it often have flatulence for a few days, until they become used to their new diet. If his flatulence doesn't improve, he may have an intolerance to a certain ingredient. Any ingredient that he has difficulty digesting may result in a gassy experience for the youngster.
Watch for a loss of appetite. If your puppy's not eating regularly, he may be telling you in a not-so-subtle way that his food is causing him problems. A lack of appetite usually coincides with other symptoms, such as nausea or an allergic reaction.
- If your puppy cannot digest a certain ingredient properly, your vet will likely instruct you to feed him a food without ingredients known to commonly cause digestive problems, such as soy and wheat.
- If you switch your puppy to a different food, mixing in mostly old food with a tiny portion of new food for the first day and then slowly adding more new food at each feeding will prevent most digestive problems.
- The aforementioned symptoms don't always point to a problem with your puppy's diet. Lots of medical conditions can cause things like vomiting and diarrhea, and eating too fast often causes flatulence.
- Always talk with your vet if your puppy's symptoms do not disappear after one or two days, especially if those symptoms include vomiting or diarrhea. If you notice he has bloody stool or bloody vomit, contact your vet immediately.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images