3 Easy steps to improving your dog's digestive system.
Dogs can develop difficulties digesting their food for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes just the problems result from veterinary conditions that need to be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.
Most times, however, they just have difficulties related to what a dog is eating, it’s a level of general health and its level of digestive health.
In these cases, the nutritional approaches outlined below are likely to produce significant positive results.
How to Tell if A Dog Has Digestive Issues
If your dog has diarrhea or loose stools, is vomiting once a day or once every few days, has difficulty keeping weight on or has a very foul-smelling stools, then he probably has some digestive issues and is a good candidate for the nutritional approaches outlined below.
However, if you think your dog may be suffering from a veterinary condition, please don’t pursue these approaches as a substitute. Contact your veterinarian to treat a rule out any veterinary issues.
Afterwards, you and your dog can safely pursue the goal a better health through improving digestion.
Went to Contact your Veterinarian
Contact your veterinarian if you feel your dog is not improving, the condition is getting worse or other symptoms develop.
How to Help Your Dog’s Digestive Issues
To help heal my dog’s digestive issues, I used this three-step process.
- Feed your dog or more digestible diet
- Improve the health of your dog’s digestive system.
- Address your dog’s overall health.
Note: Some dogs will be helped with just one or two of the steps listed above. Other dogs may require more changes.
1. Feed your Dog a more Digestible Diet
Dogs are scavengers by nature, built to thrive on a diet of decay, yet dry dog food on the market today is very processed and preserved.
If we work with the dog’s natural digestive capabilities, then we are likely to get better results. This diet consists of lots of meat, moderate to high levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates and are minimally processed.
Remember that a less processed diet demands less of the digestive system.
Increase the digestibility of your dog’s diet - The less processed food is, the more digestible and bio availability it is. Raw food is the least processed and most compatible with your dog’s digestive system.
Switching all, or just part of a dog’s diet from kibble to a high-quality raw diet, can have dramatic effects on his digestion, overall health and temperament.
Look for diets with moderate to high levels of protein, from meat, and fat and minimal carbohydrates.
Include canned food in his diet - Canned foods, dehydrated and freeze-dried raw foods are also much less processed and therefore require less work on the part of your dog’s cat.
Canned diets to consider include FirstMate, Wellness CORE, and Weruva.
Switch to a denser kibble - If your dog will eat nothing but kibble, try transitioning slowly to a nutritionally dense kibble.
Denser kibbles include Nulo, Kasiks, FirstMate, Natures Variety Instinct, Candidae Grain Free, or Stella and Chewys.
2. Improve the Health of your Dog’s Digestive System
If you want to run faster, you improve the strength and health of your muscles. If you want to improve your dog’s digestion, you improve the strength and health of his digestive system.
Supplement with digestive enzymes - Digestive enzymes, found naturally in raw food, are key to breaking food down into tiny little bits, so that they are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
These help to release more nutrients from any food that your dog is eating. Look for products with Protease, Amylase, Cellulase, or Lipase.
Digestive enzyme supplements to consider are: InCover Optagest, Animal Essentials Plant Enzymes & Probiotics, Herbsmith Microflora Plus, and the Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom Goat Milk.
Add probiotics - Probiotic supplements put good bacteria into your dog’s digestive tract.
Probiotic supplements to consider include Animal Essentials Plant Enzymes, and Ark Naturals Gentle Digest treats.
Tripe is an excellent natural source of healthy probiotics. Most humans find the smell unappetizing, but most dogs love the taste!
Recommended sources of tripe are Vital Essentials froze and freeze-dried toppers, K9 Natural freeze dried, frozen and canned foods, and ZiwiPeak air dried and canned foods.
Add prebiotics - Pre-biotics feed the good bacteria already in your dog’s digestive tract. You can choose a diet that includes prebiotics or add them as a supplement.
Prebiotics include fructooligosaccharides (FOS), insulin, oligofructose, chicory fruit, dandelion, burdock, wild yam, jicama, and agave.
Prebiotic supplements to consider include: InClover Optagest, Ark Naturals Gentle Digest treats, The Honest Kitchen Perfect Form, and Herbsmith Microflora Plus.
Improve pancreas, liver and intestinal health. Intestinal cells pull nutrients out of the intestines and into a dog’s bloodstream.
Liver cells detoxify, recycled bile acid for fat absorption, and further digest amino acids and glucose into nutrients that can feed every cell in the body.
Pancreatic cells secrete enzymes to digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates and insulin production for the use of glucose, blood sugar.
Supporting your dog’s organs allows your dog’s body to better nourish itself.
Processing organ supplements designed to provide ongoing support include: Herbsmith Milk Thistle, Animal Essentials Detox, or Senior.
3. Improve Overall Health
Supplement with a high-quality vitamin/mineral - If your dog has had difficulty digesting his food for more than a few weeks, he may well be suffering from deficiencies in one or more critical nutrients.
Nutrient deficiencies decrease overall health and can further degrade a dog’s ability to effectively digest his food.
You can eliminate potential deficiencies by adding a high-quality nutritional supplement to his diet.
Consider Animal Essentials Herbal Multivitamin Pet Supplement, VeteoScience Multivitamin, Green JuJu, or Life Line Organic Ocean Kelp.
Calm the Inflammation of your Dog’s Digestive Tract
Reduce inflammation with herbs.
Many herbs reduce intestinal inflammation or calm the digestive tract.
Some excellent sources of these include: slippery elm, plantain, marshmallow root, raspberry leaf, organic goldenseal, nettle, licorice, and yucca.
Herbal remedies to consider include:
Increasing dietary digestibility should begin producing results within a few days or weeks.
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