Indigestion in Dogs

Indigestion in dogs is a common health problem and may be caused by various foods or non food items the dog ingests. In some cases, indigestion may be indicative of an underlying condition that needs treatment. There are various means of treatment for canine indigestion and if this is a common occurrence in your dog, you should find means to prevent it.

Causes of Indigestion in Dogs

Indigestion is often a result of a new food the dog has consumed that is difficult to process by the digestive tract. The culprit ingredient may be an ingredient your dog is not used to eating, starting from raw meat to bones or other table scraps. However, there may also be other causes of indigestion:

  • A fatty diet and the lack of a sufficient amount of fibers
  • Overeating
  • The ingestion of non food items (i.e. tiny toys, paper clips)
  • The ingestion of toxic substances
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Stomach or esophagus tumors
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hepatitis

Symptoms of Indigestion

Dogs with indigestion may display a series of symptoms that include:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Bad breath or halitosis
  • Stomach pain
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy

If the dog has ingested a non food item, this may cause an intestinal occlusion, which will cause constipation and will require immediate intervention.

Diagnosing Indigestion in Canines

Indigestion in canines will be diagnosed based on a physical examination of the pet. The vet will also ask you questions about the dog’s diet and whether the dog has ingested any non food items or any ingredients his system is not used to. The vet may choose to perform a series of tests that could help detecting a possible underlying condition, especially if the indigestion is chronic. The tests will include:

  • Complete blood count
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Biopsy, if tumors are detected

Treatment Options for Dog Indigestion

The treatment of indigestion will vary according to the vet’s diagnosis. If there is a culprit ingredient that causes the indigestion, the vet will recommend withholding food from the pet for 24 to 48 hours, to allow the digestive system to rest. A change in diet may be recommended if the dog’s diet lacks fibers or contains a high amount of fats. If the dog has ingested a non food item, the vet may wait for a few days to see if the dog eliminates the object or will perform surgery to remove it. If the dog has an underlying condition, the vet will prescribe suitable treatment, which should also prevent future occurrences of indigestion.

Preventing Indigestion in Dogs

Indigestion can be prevented in some cases by making sure the dog has a balanced diet with fibers, proteins, fats and probiotics. Don’t feed table scraps to your dog and ensure he won’t eat from the garbage. Pay attention to your pet’s elimination habits and get veterinary help if you notice any unusual behavior.