Dealing with dog stomach issues and our favorite home remedies
Did you know that over 80% of a dog’s immune system resides in the digestive tract? And their digestive tract can reach a pH of 1–2 during digestion?
Dogs digestive tracts are arguably the most important system when it comes to maintaining good health. The digestive tract identifies nutrients from toxins and respond appropriately to each. Ensuring a healthy digestive system is the best way to ensure a healthy dog.
Like humans, dogs’ digestive tracts are home to an entire ecosystem of bacteria that help break down food into more bioavailable and absorptive nutrients, guard against infection, produce essential vitamins and minerals, and regulate the environment to optimize digestion. Collectively known as the microbiome, the type and abundance of gut bacteria are highly influenced by the dog’s diet, environment, and overall health.
3 Common Causes of Upset Digestive Systems
- Heavily processed food:
Most dry food is heavily processed, including high-temperature cooking processes and preservative-heavy recipes, to ensure it can last for years in a warehouse or on a store shelf. This means that most, if not all, of the nutrients once abundant in the food, including probiotics, essential oils like omega-3’s, and enzymes, are cooked off. Furthermore, what is often remaining, like carbohydrates, helps to promote overgrowth of gut bacteria that consume carbohydrates and do not produce essential vitamins and minerals that would be beneficial for the dogs. Instead, they produce byproducts like methane (hello gassy dog, gurgly belly, diarrhea and more!).
2. Stress and anxiety:
Loud noises, fireworks, changes in the household environment, and even slight changes in a routine can cause stress for our four-legged friends that results in irregularities in their digestive systems due to the gut-brain axis (the connection and relationship between the gut and brain). You may notice that a dog refuses to eat, or over-eats, during these changes. In some instances, stress may also manifest in your dog through symptoms like looser stool or constipation.
3. Illness (parasites, viruses):
Distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and more are highly contagious among dogs and can spread quickly within multi-dog homes and community centers, like dog parks, day cares, and more. Weakness in your dog’s digestive system can often result in a compromised immune system and reduced ability to fight invading pathogens for increased susceptibility or prolonged sickness. Additionally, frequent use antibiotics can result in the inadvertent loss of good bacteria that support a healthy digestive system.
3 of Our Favorite Home Remedies
- Fresh, whole foods:
Consider adding a sunny-side up egg or organ meat, fermented foods (kefir or kimchi are great options), and fresh vegetables as toppers to your dog’s mealtime. These delicious and nutritious additions will provide whole nutrients to boost your dog’s digestive system while reminding them how yummy mealtime can be! Dogs don’t need dessert, so make their meal as tasty as possible with fresh food additions to their bowl.
2. Physical and mental exercise:
Hunger is the best spice, and a tired dog is a happy dog! Ensure your pup is getting plenty of structured physical and mental exercise time (appropriate with their age, breed, and health goals), especially when you can anticipate potentially anxiety-inducing situations. In addition to a long walk or jog, revisiting training basics like puppy push-ups or nose-work with a snuffle mat can provide mental stimulation to help your dog adjust to otherwise stressful stimuli and better regulate the impact to their tummy.
3. Supplements (probiotics, prebiotics, and natural soothers):
Adding to your dog’s care routine is another great way to support a healthy dog. Supplementing your dog’s diet with high-quality probiotics helps to rebalance the digestive tract and maintain overall health and immunity. Additionally, prebiotics, such as pumpkin, are the food for probiotics (and not bad bacteria!), which help the good bacteria optimally function and either convert nutrients to aid digestion or create vitamins and minerals themselves. Lastly, giving your canine companion natural digestive soothers, like slippery elm bark and marshmallow root, can help reduce symptoms associated with inflamed mucous membrane lining in the gastrointestinal tract.
There is so much more to dive into so let’s continue the conversation. Comment below or email us — we’d love to talk with you!