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dog roaming the forest

Pet Digestion: The Ins and Outs

There's a reason you don't see a herd of cattle hunting rabbits, or dogs grazing in an alfalfa field, or a cat collecting acorns.

Animals are genetically programmed to search out-and process-certain foods. Feeding them a diet that closely mimics the foods found in the wild can help avoid many problems.

Why is my dog farting/constipated/throwing up?

Digestive issues can occur for multiple reasons. These include:

  • dietary changes, whether instigated by the owner or the pet
  • improperly balanced diet for that particular pet's needs
  • sensitivity or allergy to ingredients
  • side effects of medications, especially antibiotics
  • stress (new owner, moving, changes in household, vet visit, etc)
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MORE ABOUT THAT:

Antibiotics can't tell the difference between the good bacteria that is helping maintain gut health, and the bad bacteria that they are there to fight. So antibiotics take them all out, sometimes causing an imbalance that is linked to diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.

MORE ABOUT THAT:

Antibiotics can't tell the difference between the good bacteria that is helping maintain gut health, and the bad bacteria that they are there to fight. So antibiotics take them all out, sometimes causing an imbalance that is linked to diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.

Are these symptoms normal?

Symptoms of digestive issues can include bad breath, constipation, diarrhea, burping, farting, gurgly stomach, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Paying attention to these symptoms, and playing detective in searching out possible reasons can help, but issues lasting three days or longer, specifically diarrhea and vomiting, should be addressed by a veterinarian.

How can I make my pet eat more slowly?

While it's actually pretty normal for dogs and cats in nature to eat quickly, throw it up, and eat it again, people tend to find it pretty gross. Using food-stuffable toys or deli items can force your pet to slow down, while also providing some positive mental stimulation and reducing anxiety. Start slow with a few pieces of kibble or a treat that falls out easily, and then work up to packing the item more tightly, or even freezing the stuffed item for a longer lasting meal.

Why is transitioning to a new food a big deal?

Pets that eat the same thing for a long time tend to have bodies that adapt to that, and expect to be processing the same thing in the same way every day. So when new foods are introduced, their bodies get a little freaked out and produce some symptoms of digestive upset.

Try to ease your pet into a new food over 7-10 days, starting with a 75% old diet + 25% new diet mix for the first three days, then half and half for three days, then 25% old diet + 75% new diet. It's a little more work than just putting out the new food, but it could make a big difference to your pet's stomach happiness.

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SHOW ME!

It sounds complicated but check out this video for just how easy it is to gently transition your pet's food, and avoid some of the problems switching foods can cause.

VIDEO: FOOD TRANSITION

SHOW ME!

It sounds complicated but check out this video for just how easy it is to gently transition your pet's food, and avoid some of the problems switching foods can cause.

VIDEO: FOOD TRANSITION

What are probiotics and prebiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria in the lower digestive tract which help in digesting fibrous materials; when there is too much fibrous material or not enough probiotics, the undigested foods can cause gas, gurgly stomach, and/or loose stool. Antibiotics and stress can cause probiotics levels to plummet, and so supplements can help restore balance. Prebiotics are the food of choice of probiotics, working as the yin to probiotics' yang.

What else can I do to help?

Feeding your animal foods close to those found in the wild, carefully transitioning foods over time instead of abruptly, slowing down your pet's eating process using stuffables, rotating foods from an early age to reduce pickiness and sensitivity, and giving a pet digestive aids such as digestive enzymes, probiotics, or prebiotics (depending on the situation) are all potential options for helping an animal's upset stomach. But also keep in mind that issues lasting three days or longer, specifically diarrhea and vomiting, should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Should I worry about my dog eating poop?

Coprophagia is usually nothing to be concerned about, the exception being the possibility of ingesting internal parasites or viruses. If you're just grossed out by it, some common solutions include: putting hot sauce on the poop as a deterrent, jumping in and picking it up before the dog can eat it, or introducing digestive supplements to help the pet better digest food (so that they won't seek out nutrients in less than desirable "foods").

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WHAT'S THAT WORD?

Coprophagia is just a nicer way of saying poop eating. There's no proven cause for it, although it's most common in puppies. It can be an attention-seeking behavior so some people find simply ignoring it to be helpful in getting it to stop.

WHAT'S THAT WORD?

Coprophagia is just a nicer way of saying poop eating. There's no proven cause for it, although it's most common in puppies. It can be an attention-seeking behavior so some people find simply ignoring it to be helpful in getting it to stop.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Human dietary needs have evolved differently from cats and dogs (and even cats and dogs have different needs from each other). While the high acidity in animals' stomachs allow them to consume things that would make humans sick, they still can be susceptible to stomach upsets that shouldn't be ignored.

What we like: Pumpkin is a simple ingredient that can be added to existing food to provide constipation relief for both cats and dogs. And frozen goat's milk is a long-lasting treat (which slows down quick eaters) that has enzymes that make for easy digestion.

Question still not answered?

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Call us at (510) 609-3600 or send a message