Digestion takes the large pieces of food that are eaten and breaks them down with
enzymes so that the nutrients can be absorbed through the gut wall and transported throughout the body. The end product is feces, which contains the undigested matter.
It goes without saying then, the more nutrient-dense the intake is, the less volume of
stool should be expelled, and knowing what is normal for your pet can help you
determine when there is an issue with their digestive tract.
Understanding the basics of digestion
What Are The Signs Of Digestive Issues
Broadly speaking, We can break these down into 3 scenarios:
1. Digestive disturbance that could be a medical emergency
2. Possibility of an underlying illness or parasites
3. Occasional disturbances
For scenarios 1 & 2 it is best to visit your vet. A medical emergency would include an obstruction or swallowing of a poisonous substance. An underlying illness may be pancreatitis, disorders of the liver or gallbladder. And parasites such as hook worm and giardia can cause digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, gas and diminished appetite.
If you aren’t sure whether your pet’s condition warrants an emergency vet visit, typically the following list can be followed as a guideline:
- both vomiting and diarrhea
- blood in either the vomit or the feces
- if the upset lasts more than a couple of days
- animal is lethargic or listless
- multiple bouts of diarrhea or vomiting in a short period of time
- abdomen is tender to the touch, distended, or bloated
I visit my vet
How Can I Prevent or Treat Issues?
For occasional disturbances, often withdrawing food for a meal or two (always provide water) and then slowly reintroducing bland food such as rice and a low fat protein along with pumpkin in small meals will usually work. You may consider adding probiotics for an extra boost.
If your pet’s digestive upsets are chronic or frequent and your vet has ruled out any underlying illness and parasites, then consider the following:
- their current diet: perhaps your dog doesn’t do well on grains, or the carrageenan thickening agent in your cat’s canned food doesn’t agree with her. Many times simply switching the animal’s food will solve all of their digestive troubles.
- their stress level: like us, stress is often the enemy of our body and this can lead to digestive issues
- eating inappropriate things: does your dog like to eat poop or mushrooms growing in your yard
- pest control products/vaccinations: is their a correlation between administering a flea preventative and your pet’s bout of diarrhea? Has your pet been on antibiotics or other medications?
A little TLC is sometimes
all that is needed
A healthy digestive tract is paramount to a healthy being and PennyPetz has multiple products that can help. Remember, like us, our pets will have days when they don’t feel great and usually with a little home care, they will be back to normal quickly. If their digestive issues have changed or are occurring on a regular basis, check with your vet to rule out any underlying illness. Keeping a journal is a helpful tool for both you and your vet in order to find out what’s going on.
If your pet is cleared by the vet, please feel free to talk to us about these issues and we'll try our best to help you work out what the problem is.