Digestion Problems Affecting Dogs

In Cooperation with Royal Canin

When diarrhoea makes life difficult

Digestive disorders are a regularly occurring problem – and a rather unpleasant one at that. There can be many different reasons for diarrhoea. Poor nutrition, organ illnesses and infections caused by intestinal parasites or allergies must be considered possible causes of digestion problems. Initially the vet will treat them by conventional means, which will generally make “normal” diarrhoea disappear quickly. Things get complicated when it comes to regularly reoccurring problems, in which case a closer look needs to be taken at the causes.

The right food

The first important question in such cases regards the diet. The more sensitive the digestive system, the more important it is to offer affected dogs a particularly high-quality and easy-to-digest food. Highly digestible biscuits or complete foods based on fine layers of flakes are particularly suitable for sensitive dogs. In any case, it's beneficial to split the daily food intake into several small portions and to let it swell in water at around 50°C in temperature before serving. This optimally relieves the organs.

royal canin digestive care maxi ie
  • Complete dry food for adult dogs (1+ years) with sensitive digestion
  • Helps improve stool
  • High in soluble and insoluble fibers to improve stool
  • Probiotics: Can help support a balanced and healthy gut flora
  • Contains easily digestible L.I.P. proteins

The right amount

If the symptoms don't subside following this measure, you should check the type and quantity of food. Puppies and dogs that do sport in particular are often fed too much of a food that is too copious. The indications of food portions on packaging are purely theoretical. It's not uncommon for problems to stop if you experiment by reducing the quantity of food or offering one that is less abundant. If you have found a type of food that your dog tolerates, you should try not to deviate from it if possible. If changing the food is unavoidable, you should very slowly switch to the new food, allowing around 10 days for this.

Caution with treats

This is the most common dietary error! Many dog owners only focus on the main meals being of a good quality and forget that occasional treats can also be the cause of problems. Hence, make sure that the ingredients in dog snacks are precisely stated. Generic terms like “meat and animal by-products” or “grain and vegetable by-products” often conceal low-quality ingredients that are hard to digest. “Colourings” and “flavourings” can also be jointly responsible for digestive disorders. Simply steer clear of treats for some time and check if digestive problems emerge during this period. If everything is OK, try feeding your dog just one type. This is a quick and clear way to establish which treats your dog tolerates and which it doesn't.

Has the worm turned?

The next important question regards the last deworming treatment. When did this last take place and what medication was used? Some common products are only suitable for treating certain types of worms, meaning that the dog is not fully freed of worms despite the treatment, or it has been so full of worms that just one deworming treatment isn't sufficient. Hence, the dog's faeces are regularly examined too as a matter of routine with regularly recurring diarrhoea. This gives the vet the opportunity both to spot persistent worm infestations and to recognise whether there may be protozoa in the intestine. Special compounds are needed to tackle such parasites.

If nothing at all helps...

If the “common” causes are all eliminated but complaints continue or recur, there's no alternative but to investigate more closely. There are a whole range of examinations that can help with this matter. Unfortunately the search is time-consuming since many different organs can be responsible for these problems – from the gastrointestinal tract to the thyroid glands. If it's any consolation, once you have recogised the cause you will almost always find ways and means to treat the ailment and to heal complaints. There are also special diets for almost all chronic organ illnesses.

A few more tips to conclude

  • If your dog is clearly not well or is vomiting as well as suffering from diarrhoea, you should immediately go to a vet. If not, this can very quickly lead to severe fluid loss, which can result in shock and later on death!
  • If your dog is cheerful and unobtrusive as well as the digestive disorder not being too severe, a trip to the vet is not absolutely necessary. Get your dog to fast for at least a day so that its stomach and intestines calm down. However, it is important to keep hydrated during fasting!
  • Only when diarrhoea has stopped and stools appear normal once again should “normal” food be carefully reassumed. The transition should take around 10 days.

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