7 Causes of Digestive Problems in Dogs You Should Know


Last Updated on December 29, 2020

Image by Isa KARAKUS from Pixabay

If you want a healthy dog, you must keep them on a balanced and healthy diet – this can be the key for your best friend to live a happy and healthy life. Many people have this wrong idea that they can feed their dog anything, from unhealthy treats to human food leftovers, and this is a huge mistake. In fact, not minding your puppy’s diet can result in serious consequences to their digestive system. Digestive issues in dogs, when left untreated, can turn into something more serious and even life-threatening, as it might harm their immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to subsequent health problems. But your dog can’t talk, so how can you know if they are suffering from digestive issues? What are the symptoms of digestive problems in dogs?

Symptoms of stomach problems in dogs
Unlike humans, dogs can’t express their emotions through words. As a dog parent, it’s your job to recognize the messages your puppy is sending you through their behavior and body language. That being said, it is useful to be aware of the various signs that might indicate that your dog is suffering from stomach problems. We compiled a list of signs that is practical and easy to remember.

Common signs of digestive problems are:
Excessive gas (from burping to a rumbling stomach)
Lack of interest in dog food
Weight loss (as a result of vomiting, diarrhea, and not eating)

The more severe signs that require urgent care are:
Extreme dehydration
Vomiting nothing but liquids
Panting and shakiness

If your dog keeps acting weirdly and any of these signs follow their behavior change, you might want to pay a visit to the vet.

But what causes digestive problems in dogs?
Many things can cause your dog to experience digestive issues, and while some are pretty harmless, some others require proper diagnosis and professional attention. In some instances, being aware of what might be causing the problem can save your dog’s life. So, here are the most common causes of digestive issues in dogs.

1. Sensitivity to certain dog foods

While you might be careful when picking out healthy food for your dog, there is also a chance that your dog’s body won’t tolerate certain ingredients. This is quite common, and it can be an immune-based reaction or a non-immune based reaction. Every dog reacts differently to different foods, and the truth is that these food sensitivities often involve standard ingredients, like wheat, chicken, dairy, or beef. If your dog starts vomiting after eating or experiences diarrhea right after a meal, chances are they might be sensitive to some foods.

2. Stress

Maybe this comes as a surprise to you, but dogs experience stress, just like people. Like people, the way stress affects dogs may vary, causing diverse negative reactions, which may include an upset stomach. Triggers for stress in dogs can include exposure to new daily life situations, moving to a new home, loud noises or even separation anxiety. So, if something has changed in your dog’s life recently, chances are that it might be what is causing their digestive system to be upset.

3. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites

A vast range of conditions caused bacteria, viruses, or even parasites can affect your dog’s health. When bacteria and viruses affect the stomach, your dog may experience abdominal pain, leading to behavioral changes. This discomfort is often followed by vomiting and diarrhea as well. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can easily spread from dog to dog, which is why you should always be extremely careful with your puppy.

4. Worms

Thinking about the possibility of having creepy worms inside your beloved puppy is quite an unpleasant idea, but you shouldn’t look the other way. Some of the general warning symptoms that your dog might be suffering from worms include vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration, and a pot-bellied appearance. In some severe cases, you might even detect blood in your puppy’s stool. You must get a proper diagnosis and seek professional treatment.

5. Food poisoning

While it’s ok to treat your furry friend to human food from time to time, you should be aware that dogs can’t digest food the same way humans do. So, some human foods are inappropriate for canine consumption and can lead to food poisoning. Some of these foods include candies, chocolate, avocado, alcohol, garlic, onion, dairy products, or raisins, but there are many more. As a pet parent, this is something you should pay special attention to.

6. A sudden change in your dog’s diet

If your dog has been eating a certain type of food for a while and you suddenly change it, this can result in gastrointestinal upset. Consequentially, your dog may experience a decrease in their appetite, accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting. Suppose you decide to make changes to your dog’s diet. In that case, you should gradually introduce these changes to facilitate the transition and allow your dog’s digestive system to adjust to these changes.

7. Bloating

Bloating is a common condition, but it can be pretty dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. If your dog is suffering from bloating, you need to seek treatment right away, and the best way to be able to do so is by recognizing all the signals. This issue occurs when your puppy’s stomach fills with food, fluid or gas, which causes it to expand. As it expands, it starts putting pressure on your dog’s other organs, leading to dangerous problems, like a lack of blood flow to the stomach and heart lining, for example. Bloat can happen very suddenly, and to show you that they are in pain, your dog might present a restless behavior, drool, look anxious, and pace. They will try to vomit, but nothing will come out, and, of course, they will look swollen in the stomach area. If you don’t take them to the vet, they might collapse. Take care of your dog’s health!