If your pup is anything like ours, they’ll probably eat just about anything they can get their paws on, then ask for seconds.
A dog’s overall health is very closely linked - and very heavily dependent - on their digestive health, so, as much as they are willing to feast on anything and everything, it’s crucial to look after their digestive health.
This is even more important for dogs with health conditions or sensitive stomachs, and picky eaters.
Here are our top tips for improving and maintaining our furry friends’ digestive systems.
1. Find the right food
There are many schools of thought about what the ideal diet consists of, or doesn’t consist of, and even more options to choose from out there.
Wet food, dry food, grain-free, lightly cooked, raw, complete, complementary… the number of options can be overwhelming.
When it comes to doggy dinners, there isn’t always a correct answer. Our advice is to find the food that best suits your dog. This might take some trial and error, but ultimately, your pup’s digestion and overall health will be better for it.
Regardless of the type of food they eat, all dogs need essential vitamins, minerals and prebiotics, so these should be a feature of any diet you choose.
2. Take things slowly
If you are experimenting with different types of food, or making the transition from one to another, make sure to make the change gradually.
Dogs’ digestive systems work differently depending on what kind of food they eat, producing the necessary acids to digest the food. For example, the acids produced to digest raw food are different to those needed to digest cooked food.
So if you’re making a change to your pup’s menu, introduce the new food gradually, and give their tummies time to adjust to the change.
3. Don’t forget about treats
Dogs. Love. Treats.
While treats are a handy way of reaffirming good behavior, and they can be invaluable when training our pups new commands, it’s important to remember that treats are still food, and need as much consideration as our dogs’ actual food.
Dog treats often contain harmful ingredients or fillers, which we wouldn’t otherwise feed our pups. Treat treats the same way you do your dog’s regular food, making sure that the ingredients are suitable for them, nutritious and easily digestible.
It’s also easy to lose track of the number of treats we feed our pups, which can throw their entire diet off balance, so try to weigh out a day’s worth of treats, which makes up a set portion of your dog’s daily food intake.
4. Water helps dogs digest food
Your dog’s digestive health isn’t just about what they eat, but how that food is processed.
If they don’t drink enough water, dogs risk not processing their food properly, and not getting the necessary nutrients out of it.
Dehydration can cause the digestive system to stall, so it’s imperative that your pup remains well hydrated at all times.
5. Things to avoid
There is a long list of things that are dangerous for dogs to eat. Most pet parents know about these and steer well clear of them.
There are, however, some foods that may not be immediately hazardous for dogs, but are still best to avoid so as to not harm your pup’s digestive health.
Things like processed meats (e.g. bacon), snacks with artificial flavoring, or cooked bones, for example, can all be hazardous and should be avoided.
Aside from food, another thing to avoid is excessive exercise immediately before or after meals. This can affect your dog’s ability to process its food, placing unnecessary pressure on its digestive system.