Special diet: dog food for gastrointestinal

Loss of appetite, frequent vomiting and diarrhea also indicates digestive problems in dogs. These, in turn, can be triggered by disease or simply a sensitive stomach. In the second case, a diet food for dogs with gastrointestinal problems provides relief. Which food is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomach and intestines depends on the cause of the symptoms.

How do problems with the gastrointestinal tract manifest themselves in dogs?

If you have stomach or intestinal problems, your appetite will decrease first. If your four-legged friend does eat, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence or obvious stomach pain will occur. If this happens once, your pet may have eaten something wrong or too much. Then a day of light food helps and the digestion is ok again.

If the symptoms become permanent, this indicates either a digestive disorder or a sensitive stomach.

Rotten stomach

On a walk or in the kitchen, it happens faster than we can react: Dogs eat something, and so quickly that often it is not even clear what he has just swallowed. If gastrointestinal problems and indigestion subsequently occur, this is often due to the fact that what was eaten was not tolerated.

Dog looking at table with cookie dough. Label reads: Some foods your dog steals from the kitchen can cause him gastrointestinal problems.
Some foods your dog steals from the kitchen can cause him gastrointestinal problems.

Sometimes spoiled food is also the cause of a sore stomach. Likewise, dogs are often sensitive to food that is too cold or a sudden change in food. All these causes are not diseases, but merely a defensive and protective reaction of the body.

Gastrointestinal disease: gastritis

Gastritis is one of the most common diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in dogs. This can occur acutely, but can also become chronic and is manifested by various symptoms:

  • repeated vomiting (especially in the morning)
  • soft to liquid feces (frequent, partly uncontrolled discharge)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness and apathy
  • Heartburn (smacking, empty swallowing, eating grass, frequent yawning).
  • cramped posture with hunched back
  • frequent licking of the muzzle or belly
  • Stomach rumbling

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining that can be triggered by various causes. Stomach acid attacks the stomach lining and the underlying muscle. Bad feed, foreign bodies, but also infections, medications, poisoning or parasites can be the cause.

If the gastritis becomes chronic, there is often a serious disease behind the symptoms, also a fundamentally wrong diet, permanent medication or permanent stress can cause this. Stress-induced gastritis is particularly common in sporting and livestock dogs.

IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD is one of the most common chronic gastrointestinal diseases and mainly affects dog breeds with light-colored coats. Golden Retrievers, beige Boxers, Jack-Russells or West Highland White Terriers often suffer from this. The main symptom is recurrent intestinal inflammation accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea and severe pain.

Golden retriever puppy with bone
Whatever feeding method you use, all have advantages and disadvantages.

Liver disease

If the liver is diseased, it unfortunately only becomes apparent in dogs when the disease is already advanced. The symptoms are similar to those of gastritis, with the addition of fever and weight loss, as well as a strikingly high water intake. Very noticeable in this case is also the feces: The amount increases significantly, the feces smells strong and is yellowish in color.

Pancreas disease

Important digestive enzymes are produced in the pancreas. If this organ does not function properly due to an inflammation, this can be seen in various symptoms: Your four-legged friend has severe pain in the upper abdomen, he vomits and in many cases also has a fever. You should see the vet immediately if you experience these symptoms.

Endocrine diseases

Endocrine diseases affect the hormonal balance of the dog. These include hypothyroidism (SDU) and Addison’s disease, a chronic disease of the adrenal glands. Among other symptoms, vomiting and indigestion may also occur.

Giardia: parasites as a cause of gastrointestinal problems in dogs

Giardia (zoonosis) is one of the most common triggers of gastrointestinal distress in dogs. The small single-celled parasites attach themselves to the intestinal walls and disrupt digestion. Here, a dog food for gastrointestinal will not help. Your dog needs treatment from the vet. As a supportive measure, you can give stomach-friendly, low-carbohydrate food during this time.

A list of the advantages of grain-free dog food
Grain-free dog food is not the appropriate feeding method for every dog. However, it is advised in case of giardia infestation.

Feeding recommendation for giardia

Food that contains grain or starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta or rice are taboo for your four-legged friend during this time. You should also avoid dairy products. A strong parasite infestation always indicates a weakened immune system. Make sure that your dog is optimally supplied with all vital nutrients through his food.

Gastrointestinal complaints in dogs due to stress

More often than perhaps suspected, stress triggers gastrointestinal symptoms in dogs. During stress, certain hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol are released. These hormones act directly on the digestive system and have several effects. They affect the intestinal flora, alter intestinal movements and increase the pain sensitivity of the stomach and intestines.

The consequences in sensitive dogs are the classic symptoms of digestive problems, namely diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and flatulence. Not all dogs show this reaction. However, if your dog frequently suffers from digestive tract disorders without organic disease, too much stress could be the cause.

Gentle food for dogs

If dogs show digestive problems or suffer from intestinal diseases, you can try to remedy them with a gentle diet as a first step. It is important that you feed only low-fat and easily digestible food. Gentle diet leads to the stomach to settle down and has time to recover. Particularly suitable are cooked rice, poultry such as chicken, carrots, as well as lean curd cheese and cottage cheese.

As with humans, chicken soup will help your dog as a comfort food.
As with humans, chicken soup will help your dog as a comfort food.

The important thing here is that you cook the food for a long time, so that the rice is slimy and the carrots are very soft. From poultry you should feed only the low-fat parts and cook them as well. You can give the mixture to your dog in several small portions throughout the day.

Of course, this only applies if your pet has no food allergies!

How long can dogs eat bland food?

Gentle diet is not a permanent diet for dogs, because important ingredients and nutrients are missing. However, you can give this food without hesitation for one to two weeks without deficiency symptoms. However, if the symptoms do not subside within a day or two, you should go to the vet and have your dog checked for more serious conditions.

Moro carrot soup – home recipe against diarrhea

A quick and easy remedy for diarrhea and digestive problems in dogs is Moro’s carrot soup. To do this, boil 500 grams of peeled and chopped carrots for 1.5 to 2 hours with a teaspoon of salt in a liter of water. Then puree the carrots and add boiled water to create a pulpy consistency.

The soup is given in small portions and room-warm before each meal. Per kilogram of body weight your dog should eat about 30 ml of it per day. The effect of the soup is based on special active substances in the carrots, which are released by the long cooking and soothe the intestines.

Alternatively, you can give your dog a dietary complete food specifically for intestinal flora. If there is a harmless infection or if the symptoms are stress-related, this feeding usually shows a quick improvement.

For a Mohro's carrot soup you need only carrots.
For a Mohro’s carrot soup you need only carrots.

When is dog food gentle on the stomach?

Dog food for gastrointestinal dogs is a particularly stomach-friendly form of nutrition. This is achieved by giving the feed a lot of fiber and little fat. Overall, easily digestible ingredients such as rice are used and the ingredients are specially prepared. Gastro-intestinal food is available in canned or dry form. It contains many nutrients, vitamins and minerals to meet the needs of the dog.

Stomach-friendly dog food contains special ingredients that have a beneficial effect on digestion. These are for example:

  • Pectins, inulins and crude fiber, which strengthen the intestinal flora and bind water in the intestine. Naturally, these substances are found in chiroceé, carrots or beet pulp.
  • only one source each for carbohydrates and protein (protein)
  • a balanced combination of nutrients perfectly tailored to the needs of dogs

To save your dog’s stomach, you can also offer him several small portions and feed him two to four times a day instead of just once.

Gastro-Intestinal dog food – a permanent solution?

If your four-legged friend often suffers from digestive problems or intestinal diseases, a change of food to a special food can provide relief. This dog food is not a diet food in the strict sense, but is composed in such a way that the dog’s stomach is burdened as little as possible. It is identified by the suffix “Gastro Intestinal”.

Various special foods at the vet. Label reads: At the vet you can also get special food for gastrointestinal diseases in your dog.
At the vet you can also get special food for gastrointestinal diseases in your dog.

Gastro-Intestinal food for dogs is available as wet and dry food. It contains specially prepared ingredients that make the feed particularly easy to digest. This protects the gastrointestinal tract. So that dogs are optimally supplied, it contains all important nutrients, minerals and vitamins.

Feeding recommendation for gastrointestinal infections

If dogs suffer from a gastrointestinal infection, veterinarians recommend the following feeding: you let your dog fast for a day so that the stomach settles. Then the gastrointestinal diet food is fed in small portions. The important thing here is that your dog drinks enough and really doesn’t eat anything other than this food.

The diet is intended to increase the intestinal transit time. This allows the intestine to better absorb water and the intestinal flora to regenerate. Once this is done, the feces also normalize and the symptoms subside.

What soothes the stomach and intestines in dogs?

Besides the already mentioned gentle diet for dogs, there are other ways to soothe the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes even one day of fasting helps to rest the digestive system. Healing clay binds toxins and excess water during diarrhea. Slippery elm bark forms a mucilage that protectively covers the walls of the stomach and intestines.

Probiotics positively influence the intestinal flora and strengthen the immune system. In dogs with acute and chronic gastrointestinal problems, but also in diarrhea after the administration of antibiotics, probiotics usually show a quick and lasting effect. The supplementation can be given from one week to several months or even permanently.

Dietary supplements for support

Alternatively, and after consultation with the veterinarian, you can give additional supplements that support the healing process. These include healing clay, slippery elm bark, probiotics or special mixtures. Some of these agents can absorb harmful degradation products. They serve as additional protection of the gastric mucosa and thus soothe the stomach and intestines.

The right food for frequent diarrhea

If your dog has frequent diarrhea, it may be due to a sensitive gut, but it may also be a symptom of a food allergy or other illness. Until you have found a food that your quadruped tolerates well, it may take a while. The first step must be a thorough examination by the veterinarian.

If the vet diagnoses a disease that triggers the diarrhea, you can adjust the food accordingly. Make sure to change your dog’s diet gradually so as not to put more stress on him. After changing the diet, digestion should soon normalize.

White big puppy watches his mistress picking up his pile from the lawn. Label reads: If your dog tolerates his food, you will notice it in his pile.
If your dog can tolerate his food, you’ll notice it in his pile.

Test feeders – slowly but surely

If the vet finds no cause and also rules out a food allergy, you can test different types of food. Choose food that is as easy to digest as possible and stick with each type of food for several weeks. Only in this way you can be sure that existing diarrhea comes from the food and not from changing the dog food.

You can find information about the ingredients on the packaging or during a consultation at a specialty store.

Short-term remedy for diarrhea

Diarrhea is first of all a cleansing function of the body. The intestinal activity is accelerated, in addition, the feces is enriched with moisture to flush out toxins. If your dog has eaten something spoiled or unsuitable, he reacts with diarrhea to get rid of the ingredients as quickly as possible.

As a first measure for diarrhea, you can have him fast or give him charcoal tablets. The charcoal binds the water and ensures that the feces becomes firm and formed again. Rice or oat gruel and psyllium husks also have this effect, and in many cases the spook is then permanently over.

If the diarrhea lasts longer than a day or two, or if your dog has alternating normal feces and diarrhea, the intestinal flora is disturbed. Parasites such as worms or giardia can also be the cause.

Roundworm in dogs
Toxocara canis – the canine roundworm often causes gastrointestinal problems.

Diet food for gastrointestinal problems in dogs – wet or dry food?

Gastrointestinal diet food is available as wet or dry food. The ingredients are the same for both types of feed: easily digestible, high in fiber and low in fat. Whether you offer your dog wet or dry food is purely a matter of taste. Mixed feeding of both types of food is also possible, as long as it is dog food for gastrointestinal sensitive dogs.

Dogs with digestive problems – feed properly and avoid stress

If your dog has stomach or digestive problems, there are a few things you can do. Dog food for gastrointestinal is not the only solution. In addition to choosing a diet food for dogs with gastrointestinal problems, you should make sure that your dog has as little stress as possible. This means neither over- nor under-challenging him and making sure he gets enough rest.

For occasional diarrhea without organic causes, you don’t need special dog food right away. You can also resort to home remedies for a short time. These help to quickly return digestion to normal. Especially for dogs with sensitive digestive systems, you should also avoid giving bones, frequent food changes and too many treats.

You can find information on the packaging of the dog food for the gastrointestinal tract or seek advice in a specialized store.

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