Dogs are amazing creatures, so it’s no wonder they earned the title of “man’s best friend.” Being a pet owner is an adventure like none other, full of love and slobbery kisses. You probably do a lot to ensure your pup is happy and healthy too. Unfortunately, dogs can’t really communicate their needs in our language, and sometimes the signs can be hard to read. This is especially true when it comes to how they tell you they’re uncomfortable or in pain.
Tummy troubles are more common in dogs than you might realize. The signs can include but aren’t limited to vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gas or burping, and stress or anxiety. However, dogs can be shy when it comes to admitting they’re uncomfortable, so they might try to conceal their pain. It might take you some time to pick up on these clues, but what can you do to help? Keep reading for four tips to soothe your pooch’s tummy issues.
1. Try Fresh Food
The quality of food a dog gets can sometimes affect their quality of life. Shelf-stable kibble is often full of preservatives and fillers and tends to have less flavor. On the other hand, fresh dog food is made with better ingredients and has more vitamins and minerals. Sometimes switching to this higher-quality diet is enough to make a difference.
Fresh food contains little to no preservatives, meaning it has to be stored in the fridge and doesn’t last as long. However, the chemicals in food preservatives do much more damage than long-lasting food is worth. These chemicals require a dog’s body to work extra hard to fight off toxins caused by ingesting them. This can result in lethargy, stomach upset, and inflammation, which leads to more serious health concerns.
Additionally, many fresh foods have various options for specific health problems, including sensitive stomachs. You might be surprised to learn that many dogs have food intolerances like people do. Some of the most common ingredients dogs are sensitive to are wheat, soy, and dairy products. Fresh food provides options to give your pooch the nutrients they need without containing triggering ingredients.
2. Use Slow-Eating Bowls or Lick Mats
One prevalent issue that causes stomach upset for dogs is eating too quickly. Many pups can get excited around mealtime, especially if they really enjoy their food. However, gobbling up food can result in harmful effects and that doesn’t just include choking.
When a dog eats too quickly, they tend not to swallow properly or get too much air. Getting air in the stomach can cause cramping and painful gas, leading to discomfort and sometimes vomiting. If your dog gets too much air over time, this can result in a deadly condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), commonly referred to as bloat. The huge pocket of air in their stomach can expand and send their body into shock.
Luckily, some feeders have been invented to help prevent eating at too quick a pace. Slow-feeder bowls contain ridges and bumps in them that kibble can sit in, like pockets. This requires your dog to work a little harder to lap up their kibble, meaning they’ll be slowed down. A lick mat is a bumpy surface that you can spread food over for the same effect for soft or wet foods.
3. Cut Down on the Treats
Although you probably love to spoil your fur baby, giving them too many treats can lead to consequences. Treats are essentially an animal’s version of junk food, and too much of that can cause problems. Besides excessive weight gain, treats can also cause tummy troubles.
When a dog eats too many of these rewarding snacks, their digestive system can be thrown off balance. This might take the form of gas, cramping, and loose stools or diarrhea. But how can you figure out how many is too many for your dog? Simply calculate your dog’s daily caloric intake, then don’t let their treats exceed more than 10% of that.
Additionally, giving them human food can result in digestive upset. Their bodies can’t process your food as you can, and many foods and ingredients can be unhealthy for them, but you can add cinnamon in your dog food. Meat with seasonings like salt, pepper, and spices is a no-no, and sugar, garlic, chocolate, and avocado can cause serious problems. Even if they beg for a bite, stay strong and don’t indulge them with what could be harmful.
4. Serve Food in an Elevated Bowl
While this tip is usually recommended for cats, it can also be effective for some dogs. Serving your dog’s food in an elevated bowl has multiple health benefits, from easing arthritis pain to improving posture. Moreover, it can lead to better digestion.
When a dog has to bend over to eat, their throat is turned in a downward position. This requires the esophagus to work harder to get the food down to the stomach after swallowing. Additionally, this positioning can make it easier for dogs to swallow too much air while eating. These both can result in digestive discomfort or worse.
You can elevate your bowls by putting them on a raised food bowl stand. These vary by dog height and usually have slots for the bowls to sit in. You can also find elevated bowls and stands connected in one set if that sounds easier. All these can vary in material, too, from wood to metal to plastic. Some even come in fun designs and colors.
Keep an Eye on Your Pup
Since dogs aren’t the best communicators, it’s important that you keep a close eye on them to monitor any changes in behavior. Note how they eat, bathroom habits, and daily energy levels. Knowing what’s normal for your dog can be extremely helpful when determining if something is off. And if you have concerns, don’t hesitate to see a veterinarian your pup’s well-being should be a top priority.
John Davis is a passionate content writer with a knack for crafting engaging narratives across various subjects. With a keen eye for detail and a love for storytelling, John brings ideas to life through the power of words. His dedication to delivering high-quality and informative content has made him a trusted voice in the digital realm. When he’s not at his desk, you’ll find John exploring new hobbies and seeking inspiration in the world around him.