Take Care of your Dog’s Gut

By Loree Walden, Marketing Manager, Yavapai Humane Society

The human body is a mystery with so many different things affecting our overall health. The same goes for our furry family members.

None of us like the feeling of stomach “issues” and in dogs, those issues can cause lowered immunity, which puts them at risk of serious illness.

Your dog’s gut is in charge of breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates they get from their food, as well as making sure vitamins and mineral supplements are being broken down and absorbed into the body.

A dog’s stomach can hold up to 3 liters of food at one time. The average for a human stomach is 1 liter, but it can expand up to 4 liters. Our pups can suffer the same problems we do like constipation, gas and other digestive issues.

It’s just another reason to feed your dog a high-quality diet with quality ingredients.

It can be a process to find what works and what is right for your specific dog because just like humans, no two are alike. We humans are picky about our food no matter how good it is for us, and our pets are, too.

I did some research on some of the pet food I bet most of us have given our pets. It was a little nauseating to tell you the truth.

So, what do we do? We pay attention to ingredients and introduce them to new foods gradually. I say this because sometimes changing their food too abruptly only makes matters worse.

If you start with a mixture of a 1/4 of the new food and 3/4 of their current food for each feeding and then increase the amounts a little at a time, you’ll see improvements in your dog’s digestion with less chance of upsetting their stomach.

When looking at ingredients, remember our dogs are omnivores and not only do they need meat, but they crave it! Meat is an excellent source of protein that is essential to a healthy gut! The first ingredient in their food should always be a “meat protein.”

Also look for fat, which is important for their digestive system. Try to avoid “meat byproducts” and other fillers. I look for food containing carrots, beets and other healthy vegetables for dogs, as well as brown rice.

I started making homemade food for my dog — it’s hit or miss many times on if she’s going to love it or give me the nose snub and walk away! I’ve found a couple recipes that seem to be working and usually make three varieties each week to change it up a bit.

She’s got more pep in her step, she doesn’t have as much gas and she’s getting healthier.

She still has days when something is bothering her stomach, and one of the things I’ve discovered that helps is pumpkin. I buy canned organic pumpkin (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol) and put a teaspoon of it in her food and mix it up.

Any potty issues are usually resolved by the next day, if not sooner. Coconut oil is also good for this, and an added bonus is it helps to keep her coat super soft and shiny!

You may also want to look into adding probiotics into your pet’s diet and find ways to avoid stress for your dog. We all want to see our pups happy and healthy so they can be with us for a long time!

It takes a little extra work and time to, but aren’t they worth it? Yes, they are!