Your dog’s diet can have an impact on their gastrointestinal health. Just as in humans, what your dog eats can affect the health of their gut and, in turn, their overall health.

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There are things to consider when it comes to your dog’s diet and gastrointestinal health:

1. The Quality of the Food

The ingredients in your dog’s food play a big role in their gut health. Look for high-quality protein-rich food and low in fillers and artificial ingredients. These ingredients can be difficult for your dog to digest and cause gastrointestinal issues.

In some cases, GI diseases need urgent attention. Not all vet clinics offer their services after regular office hours. So, you need to find a 24 hour emergency care clinic or hospital near you.

2. The Type of Food

Some dogs take wet food better, while others take dry food better. It’s important to experiment with different types of food to find what works best for your dog. This is because there are many kinds of GI diseases your dog can experience, including:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Food allergies
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Parasites

The symptoms of these conditions vary, but here are the general signs that your dog may have a gastrointestinal issue:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive gas
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Changes in stool (color, consistency, etc.)

If your animal companion shows any of these signs, you should take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis through diagnostic tests and tools.

Once your dog has been diagnosed, you can work with your vet to create a treatment plan that is right for them. This may include changes to their diet, supplements, and/or medication.

3. The Amount of Food.

Overfeeding your dog can lead to obesity, putting them at risk for several health problems, including gastrointestinal issues. Ensure you’re feeding your animal companion the right amount of food based on age, activity level, and weight.

Ask your veterinarian if you’re unsure how much to feed your pet. They can even help you plan for your dog’s individual needs.

4. Frequent Meals

Feeding your dog smaller meals more often may help to prevent gastrointestinal issues. This is especially true for dogs susceptible to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Also, dogs that have undergone surgery, such as a gastric bypass, may need to eat smaller meals more often to prevent vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues. Like any other surgery, such as soft tissue surgery (find out more here), following your vet’s instructions on how to care for your dog post-surgery is essential.

5. Adding Fiber

Adding fiber to your dog’s diet may also help to prevent gastrointestinal issues. Fiber helps add bulk to your dog’s stool and slow digestion, which can be helpful for dogs with diarrhea or constipation.

There are a few different types of fiber you can add to your dog’s diet, including:

  • Soluble fiber: This fiber type dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. It’s found in oats, barley, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables.
  • Insoluble fiber: This doesn’t dissolve in water and helps add bulk to the stool. It is found in wheat bran, whole-wheat flour, nuts, and some vegetables. Ask your veterinarian about adding fiber to your dog’s diet and what type of fiber would be best for them.

6. Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms, like the good bacteria found in the gut. They can help restore the good and bad bacteria’s balance in the gut, improving GI health. These are found in some fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, and they’re also available in supplement form.

Talk to your vet about whether probiotics would be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet.

The Bottom Line

Gastrointestinal issues in dogs are common and can be caused by various factors, including diet, genetics, stress, and infections. If you notice any GI problems in your dog, it’s important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. You can make some dietary changes at home, such as adding fiber, to help improve your dog’s GI health.