Pet nutrition may seem like an easy topic to digest, at least at first glance, said Barbara Royal, DVM, CVA of Innovative Veterinary Care, a website that closes the gap between the worlds of allopathic and holistic veterinary care. Owners might think that all they had to do was to feed their dog with dry pet food— no variation and fresh food.
Maintaining your dog’s digestive system affects its overall health ranging from its behavior to stool quality, stated Royal Canin, a French manufacturer and supplier of cat and dog food. Hence, now is the time for you to learn how to improve their dog’s digestive health to prevent any gastrointestinal problems.
Gastrointestinal Tolerance of A New High Protein-Low Carbohydrate Diet Range In Adult Dogs (2016)
G. Chaix and colleagues of JARVM (Journal of Applied Research In Veterinary Medicine), a peer-reviewed “rapid publication,” assessed the digestive tolerance of four test diets, namely Adult Dog Small & Toy (ADST), Adult Dog Neutered Small & Toy (ADNST), Adult Dog Large & Medium (ADLM), and Adult Dog Neutered Large & Medium (ADNLM) in adult dogs— which are issued from the Veterinary HPM diet range. The researchers tested the diets in 284 dogs in 28 days in comparison to their usual diets.
According to the owners, 37%, 28%, 29%, and, 21% of dogs selected for testing ADST, ADNST, ADLM, and ADNLM were described as being digestively sensitive, respectively. Gastrointestinal sensitivity included diarrhea in 65%, 60%, 75%, and 63% of the dogs, respectively. It also included vomiting in 35%, 50%, 19% of dogs, respectively, and/or flatulence in 24%, 20%, 42%, and 50% of the dogs, respectively.
Canines that underwent the four diet tests (93% for ADST, 85% for ADNST, 86% for ADLM, and 75% for ADNLM) described their stool odor as globally acceptable, according to the owners. Meanwhile, flatulence with the usual diet was noted by 54%, 47%, 68%, and 66% of the dog owners selected for testing ADST, ADNST, ADLM, and ADNLM, respectively.
Owners participating in the study for testing ADST (47%), ADNST (40%), ADLM (56%), and ADNLM (52%) had already experienced previous diet transitions when changing their dog’s diet. In that regard, gastrointestinal troubles were documented in 13%, 20%, 25%, and 19% of the dogs, respectively. Soft feces were also seen in 0%, 50%, 46%, and 100% of the dogs, respectively, and/or diarrhea in 50%, 0%, 31%, and 0% of the dogs, respectively. Meanwhile, flatulence was observed in 50%, 0%, 77%, and 0% of the dogs, respectively.
Owners that had their dogs tested for ADST (94%), ADNST (94%), ADLM (95%), and ADNLM (100%) said they were satisfied with the dietary transition. At the end of the study, the satisfaction rates and scores with ADST, ADNST, ADLM, and ADNLM were 91% (7.4/10), 91% (7.7/10), 83% (7.3/10), and 83% (7.5/10), respectively.
The Inner Workings of Your Dog’s Digestive System
A dog’s digestive system— like other mammals— breaks down and digests food. Your dog’s digestive system absorbs the nutrients it needs as food passes through the organs. The small intestine is the main organ where vitamins, proteins, fats, and more are absorbed. Its large surface area is covered in various types of cells that help in digestion and absorption.
The small intestine is also home to “good” bacteria, which aids in your dog’s gut health. Further, it houses the largest number of immune cells that protect your dog’s body. If your dog has a healthy digestive system, it will have the right balance of “good” bacteria and well-functioning immune cells. Your dog’s gut health should be maintained by a diet appropriate for your pet.
The Effects of Diet to Your Dog’s Digestive System
The food your dog consumes affects its entire body. A diet catered to its needs can help manage your pet’s digestive troubles and encourage a healthy digestive environment. Food containing prebiotics— which are carbohydrates that promote the growth of healthy bacteria— can rebalance your canine’s microflora, contributing to a healthier digestive system. Prebiotics also play a role in the composition of gut bacteria.
The Royal Canin said carbohydrates are an essential component of your dog’s diet as it provides your pet with a good source of energy. Carbs in your dog’s diet should be highly digestible. Fat also aids in managing digestive insensitivities. High fat diets are helpful in giving your pet the energy it needs without letting it consume a lot of food. Low fat diets are useful when your dog is sensitive to dietary fat or during instances of stomach sensitivity.
Dogs need the right balance of fiber in their diet, which should be present in high quality food to ensure that your pet can absorb nutrients easily putting too much strain on its gut. Your pet canine’s age, breed, size, and lifestyle are also important factors when choosing a diet that helps manage its digestive health.
On the other hand, digestive issues arise when your dog consumes something they should not have, gets infected by parasites, or has a chronic health issue. Symptoms of an unhealthy digestive system include vomiting, diarrhea and constipation, weight loss, dry, dull, or brittle hair, and potential changes to eating habits. Your veterinarian will provide you with more information and advice when helping you choose the right food for your dog. If you think that your dog is suffering from digestive complications, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Stools among carnivores should not be huge, soft, and voluminous. Normal canines consume most of their food, which should result in stools that are firm, relatively dry, not malodorous, and in a small amount. Poop odor and flatulence in dogs (and even cats) is linked to their environment. Although bacteria produce unpleasant gases and smells, an unhealthy environment will cause your dog’s poop to smell unhealthy.
The amount of filler and inappropriate ingredients you put in pet food will cause your pet to defecate more than twice a day, which is not a normal condition for both dogs and cats. The droppings will be soft, large, and smelly as a result. Monitor the weight and frequency of defecation to help you gauge the proper feeding amount.
A healthy digestive system plays a role in maintaining your dog’s appearance and stool quality. Owners should not put inappropriate ingredients and filler in their pet’s food to prevent digestive issues. An appointment with a veterinarian will empower owners in choosing the right food and supplements for their dog.