Just like people, dogs can have digestive problems. It's easy to know when your little pooch is having problems with his tummy, but it's not always easy to know how to solve them. There are, however, key signs that your dog is experiencing digestive problems, and there are several causes for why your dog might be feeling less than his best. One of the main reasons that your dog might be having tummy problems is because his microbiome, a collection of microbes in the body, is not healthy and in balance. But, thankfully, there are several things that you can do to promote a healthier biodome and gut bacteria in your dog.
Symptoms of Digestive Problems
There are several symptoms of a dog's digestive problems, and they'll be easy to spot because they are very similar to symptoms of digestive problems in humans. One of the most common and easy to recognize symptoms of digestive problems is vomiting. It's a symptom that is difficult to miss because he will not have control over when he vomits. Consequently, you will likely be cleaning up a lot of messes. Another symptom is diarrhea. Always be aware of your dog's stools so you can head off digestive problems before he had suffered for too long.
Along with that, be aware when he hasn't passed a stool for more than 24 hours or if he takes a particularly long time to go when he tries. These could be signs that he is constipated. Flatulence is another sign that your dog is having difficulties breaking down the food that he is eating, and you'll likely notice a distinct smell.
Why Dogs Have Digestive Problems
There are many reasons that a dog might have digestive problems, but when you know what your dog is doing to get sick, you have a better opportunity to help him. One of the reasons that a dog might have digestive problems is because he has eaten something he shouldn't have. Some common culprits are garbage, table scraps, and, of course, chocolate. Another reason that he might be getting sick is because he has worms, parasites, or a virus that was contracted from exposure to feces. Pancreatitis can also occur when a dog ingests something that he has difficulties digesting but aren't necessarily classified as a poison, virus, or parasite. For instance, your dog might not be able to tolerate a meal that is high in fat.
Both humans and dogs have something that is called a microbiome. This is made up of all of the microbes that are on the body, including those inside the gut. The microbiome is all of the genes within the complete set of microbes, and this microbiome is responsible for training our bodies on how to deal with bacteria and stress, as well as how to metabolize food. If your microbiome is not functioning well, this can lead to digestion problems. A healthy microbiome in your dog can help him in five ways. First of all, microbes that are healthy for your dog secrete chemicals that kill bad bacteria. They can also consume nutrients that the bad bacteria need to survive. The microbiome can also create a barrier that will cause toxins to pass through the body rather than be absorbed. The microbiome also helps your dog absorbs nutrients by breaking food down and aiding in passing nutrients through digestive walls. Finally, the microbiome affects mood and the immune system.
What You Can Do to Promote a Healthy Gut in Your Dog
Aside from preventing your dog from eating anything that is rotten, high in fat, or otherwise negative for his health, you can also promote a healthy microbiome by ensuring that he has plenty of healthy gut bacteria. And there are many ways that you can expose him to bacteria that will make his gut healthier.
Take Him on a Walk
When we go outside, we are exposed to a new, varied set of microbes. This is also true for your dog. Microbes exist in the air that we breathe and the dirt and plants that your dog sniffs. When you take him for a walk, you allow him to breathe in and even ingest many types of microbes that he won't be exposed to in the house, so a daily walking routine is not only good for his muscle tone and cardiovascular health, but it is also good for his gut health.
Some dog owners choose to give their pets probiotics in pill form. This will give your dog a short-term gut flora boost, but it should not be used as the sole means of boosting your dog's microbes and immunities.
Change His Diet
If you want to switch the microbes in your dog's diet, try changing his diet. Switching out a high-fat diet for a low-fat, high-protein diet can help your dog's digestive microbes switch to those of a leaner dog.
Relieve Your Dog's Stress
Stress can worsen an already unhealthy gut, and activities that relieve stress will also improve the balance of microbes in the gut. If you want to alleviate stress through activities, try making sure that he gets plenty of exercise. Pats on the head, playing with other dogs that he gets along well with, and avoiding negative stimuli can all have an effect on his gut flora. For instance, you should avoid placing your dog around animals that he'll fight with. You can also keep your dog in the basement during storms if he is afraid of the lightning and thunder.
Whenever a dog is sick, it's natural to want to fix it right away. There are some things that you can do to treat acute and chronic gut problems. For instance, you can change out his diet and relieve his stress. But an even better approach is to improve his gut bacteria before he gets sick by making sure that he's getting what he needs now.