Dog Digestive Problems

Dog digestive problems are common, and all dogs are affected by vomiting and diarrhea or constipation at least once during their lifetime. The digestive problems may be caused by various factors including viruses, the ingestion of foreign objects or cancer. In most cases, the digestive problems will go away without treatment, but if the vomiting and diarrhea persist, a vet should be consulted.

Causes of Digestive Problems

The causes of digestive problems are most commonly something the dog has eaten (food or objects). This upsets the dog's stomach and he will vomit, have diarrhea or experience constipation. An upset stomach is not a severe condition, but if the dog ingests an object, this may cause an intestinal occlusion or damage the respiratory tract. Also, if the dog ingests a toxic material this can be severe and fatal if help is not administered in a timely manner. Other causes of digestive problems may include:

  • Infections (viral or bacterial)
  • A sudden change in diet
  • Pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas
  • Overeating
  • Stomach cancer or a tumor located in the digestive tract
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Intestinal parasites

Additional Symptoms

The dog may display additional symptoms, depending on what causes the vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. These symptoms may vary from fever to blood in the vomit or feces, and should help the vet diagnose the causes of digestive problems.

Treatment Options

The treatment of digestive problems in canines will depend on the causing factor.

  • If the dog has ingested too much food, the condition doesn't require treatment. The dog should get a few fibers that will help the digestion.
  • If the dog has ingested a foreign object this must be removed.
  • Intestinal parasites are easy to eliminate with dewormers.
  • Poisoning is a severe condition and the toxic materials should be immediately removed from the dog's stomach.
  • Infections can be treated with antibiotics or other drugs that will eliminate the viruses or bacteria causing the digestive problems.
  • In some cases, a change in diet may be the solution.
  • Stomach ulcers may be treated, but the dog requires a special diet.
  • If tumors are present, these should be removed if possible. Cancer chemotherapy may also be administered.

Preventing Digestive Problems

Digestive problems may sometimes be prevented by keeping your pet away from poisonous materials and avoiding different foods that cause indigestion or vomiting and diarrhea. Having a list of foods that are toxic for dogs is helpful. These include chocolate, alcohol, grapes and chewing gum. There are also a few substances your dog should stay away from: antifreeze, rat poison, insecticides and human medication.

You can prevent the contraction of viruses by keeping your dog away from dogs that may be carriers of viruses. However, this is not always possible, so you should pay attention to your dog's behavior and administer help when the first signs of digestive problems occur.