The most common digestive problems in dogs are diarrhea and vomiting. If these symptoms appear occasionally, this should not worry a dog owner. However, if digestive problems affect a dog constantly it may be due to a serious medical condition. This article deals with different causes of digestive issues in dogs.
Introduction to Digestive Problems in Dogs
Dogs can be affected by digestive problems because of a benign conditions such as a viral infection or serious diseases like metabolic disorders or cancer. Digestive problems in dogs are common and usually quickly resolve on their own. But, if vomiting and diarrhea remain persistent and severe, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian to get accurate diagnosis.
Apart from diarrhea and vomiting, digestive problems may include excess gas, nausea, indigestion, stomach ache, loss of appetite, passing blood or mucus and fatigue.
Causes of Digestive Problems in Dogs
Digestive problems in dogs may occur due to numerous causes and some of them cannot be avoided while others can. A dog may suffer from digestive problems due to an abrupt change in diet. This can be avoided by introducing a new food item gradually. Overeating can also cause symptoms of digestive problems in dogs. Dogs should always eat the same amount of food.
Food allergies can lead to digestive problems as well. Some dogs may be allergic to soy, corn and wheat.
Dogs may experience symptoms of digestive problems after eating inappropriate foods. A dog will usually vomit in case of ingestion of harmful substances. This may happen if a dog owner feeds his pet with chocolate. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. It has toxic effects on dogs. Large amounts of chocolate can affect dog’s nervous system, cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. In such case, the dog will vomit to get rid of the poison or otherwise it may die.
Apart from chocolate, substances that are harmful to dogs include antifreeze, drugs, insecticides, gasoline, kerosene and certain flowers, houseplants and outdoor plants. If a dog ingests any of these substances, the owner should immediately call his veterinarian. Sometimes the vet will recommend inducing vomiting but the owner should never do that without veterinarian’s advice as it may, in certain cases, lead to a fatal outcome.
Ingestion of foreign bodies can be also a cause of digestive issues in dogs. This can lead to obstruction in the digestive tract and be life-threatening.
Finally, digestive problems can be a sign of certain disease. Dogs affected by inflammatory bowel disease, parasites, liver disorders, pancreatic disease, infections, kidney failure or cancer can exhibit symptoms of digestive problems. In such case, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms can be relieved by treating the disease that has induced these problems.