Holistic Dog Care 101: Tummy Troubles

Jean & Leslie Kessigner, Owners Three Dog Bakery

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It’s not the most pleasant subject to address, but your pup’s bowel habits are important. You need to pay attention to your pup’s poop and gas because it can be indicative of your pet’s health. If your Best Buddy is a little too gassy, or has frequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation, read ahead and find out why and what you can do about it.

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Gassy Situations

It’s normal for your dog to experience occasional gas. The most common cause of canine gas is the fermentation of poorly digested food material in the intestine of your pup.

“Gas is caused either by in-taking a great deal of air while eating or from the gases released when food is digesting in the gut,” says Leslie Kessinger, co-owner of Three Dog Bakery in Franklin.

“Some breeds, like boxers or Bulldogs, are more prone to gas because of the shape of their noses and some dogs are more prone to gas because of the quickness of their eating. For both situations, the dogs are taking in air as they are eating,” explains Kessinger.

“To reduce the intake of air, I recommend finding a feeding tool to slow their eating down. Mazes, slow feeders, and even enrichment toys can be used, as methods of feeding that will slow consumption down,” advises Kessinger.

Other causes of flatulence can be improper feeding frequency, overeating, lack of exercise, or vigorous exercise too close following mealtime.

Kessinger recommends giving your dog probiotics or digestive enzymes to help with excessive flatulence. “The Probioticshealthy bacteria and enzymes work to break down food in the gut at a faster pace, reducing the amount of gas released in the food breakdown process. They can also be effective aids in regulating bowel movements,” she says.

“Constipation and diarrhea are both the result of food breaking down at a less than optimal rate. The supplement of probiotics and enzymes help build up the digestive power of the intestines and produce a firmer stool that passes easily.”

If your pup’s gas is associated with chronic diarrhea or vomiting, or if he is exhibiting signs of pain — hunched posture, restlessness, or adopts a hunched posture like ‘praying’ when he’s laying down –see your vet as soon as possible. Your dog may be suffering from bloat or another serious condition.

The Scoop on Poop

Pups that poop very frequently or who often experience changes in their bowel movements may need to switch foods. “The introduction of raw foods has shown to firm stool, produce less stool — meaning there is less waste resulting from the food in the body — and reduce the frequency of digestive issues,” says Kessinger. “This is due to the bioavailability of the fresh ingredients and the higher ratio of protein to carbohydrate load. Switching your dog to a raw diet or adding frozen or freeze dried raw food to a dry food adds wonderful benefits for the digestive tract.”

Kessinger says if a dog is having extreme difficulties passing stool or has extreme diarrhea, consult your veterinarian. “You can safely use medication like Imodium to help calm a bout of diarrhea, but if the condition hasn’t cleared up in 24 hours, take your dog to the vet so you can be sure nothing else is wrong and so the dog doesn’t dehydrate,” she says.

Constipation can become painful, so if your dog hasn’t pooped recently, or seems to have trouble passing stool, consult with your vet for an immediate remedy to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort.

Visit Three Dog Bakery, located on West McEwen Drive, adjacent to Whole Foods in the McEwen Shopping Center in Franklin for all your holistic dog food and dog treat needs.

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Teddy & Lucky, Pet Proprietors Three Dog Bakery
Teddy & Lucky, Pet Proprietors
Three Dog Bakery

If you have health concerns about your dog, consult your veterinarian. This article is not meant to substitute or act as medical advice for pets.

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