How to Deal With Your Dog's Digestive Dilemmasby Lauren Corona
Dogs can suffer from a variety of digestive problems, ranging from a simple bout of diarrhea to chronic disorders like inflammatory bowel disease. While doggie digestive dilemmas are often harmless, they're not exactly much fun. It's always advisable to call your veterinarian if your pooch appears to be having some digestive troubles, as she will be able to advise you if you need to bring your dog in to see her.
Signs of Digestive Problems
When you think of dog digestive dilemmas, dreaded diarrhea is probably the first thing that springs to mind. However, a dog with digestive problems may display a number of other signs or symptoms. These include vomiting, loss of appetite, bloating and occasionally constipation. Excessive gas is unlikely to be caused by digestive problems and is just an unfortunate trait in our darling dogs. If your dog is displaying multiple symptoms or is also lethargic or in respiratory distress, it's likely to be a serious problem that requires immediate veterinary attention.
Seeking Veterinarian Advice
If your dog is showing any symptoms of digestive problems, call his veterinarian and tell her what's wrong. She will advise you whether to come in right away or if it's best just to wait it out, for instance, if your dog has only had a minor case of diarrhea. Digestive dilemmas can be caused by a range of medical issues, including poisoning, parasites, viruses and cancer, so it's important that you seek professional advice.
Dealing With Diarrhea
If your dog is simply suffering from a short-term case of diarrhea, your vet will usually advise you to keep him home and see if it improves. In this case, a few methods might be helpful in alleviating his symptoms. If he's an adult, withhold food for 12 to 24 hours to give his digestive system a break, after which you should feed him a bland diet of boiled rice or a therapeutic pet food for a few days. Ensure that he drinks plenty of water to keep hydrated. If his diarrhea continues or gets worse, or he gets any additional symptoms, get back in touch with his vet right away.
Thinking About Food
Some dogs just have a more sensitive stomach than others, so if your vet has ruled out any underlying medical issues and your dog is still having occasional digestive troubles, consider changing his diet. Look out for a high-quality dog food that's designed with sensitive stomachs in mind. Dogs sometimes don't tolerate grains well, so a grain-free formula might be best. Change his food gradually, mixing in smaller amounts of his old food over time, as abruptly changing your pooch's diet can itself lead to digestive issues. Also make sure you aren't feeding your dog any human foods, as some can even be toxic. Never feed your dog raisins or grapes, chocolate, onions, caffeine, alcohol, avocado or xylitol.
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