Author: Christin Sander, Health Writer
If your dog is troubled by difficult digestion, it may be something in his diet causing intestinal distress. Most commercial foods are created with grain-based substances and synthetic nutrients, which are not easily digested by dogs. Fortunately, there are many foods you can prepare at home that can help ease your pet's digestive discomfort.
Symptoms of Digestive Problems
Is your pet's digestive discomfort due to his diet? Or is there a larger problem? Some common signs of digestive issues related to diet include:
- Vomiting after eating, particularly if it's runny or watery
- More than 2 bowel movements per day
- Hard stools
- Constant hunger even when fed in proper amounts
- Lethargy, low energy or lack of enthusiasm
- Picky eating or suddenly refusing his usual food
If your dog has diarrhea that lasts longer than 24 hours or has excessive bloating, these can be signs of serious illness and require immediate medical attention. Bloating can be from digestive issues, but it is often symptomatic of an obstruction in the gut which can quickly become life threatening.
Foods for Digestion
Stomach upset can occur when your dog has switched foods, had too many treats or has gotten into something he shouldn't have. For occasional upset stomach or digestive trouble, you can try feeding your dog the following foods.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin is rich in nutrients, low in calories and great for dogs with digestion issues. Pumpkin is a rich source of natural fiber that bulks up and softens the stool. It absorbs water, which can help relieve diarrhea. A tablespoon or two daily is all that is needed to improve intestinal health.
Brown Rice: Rice is easy to digest and can help stop diarrhea. Many dogs don't like plain rice. If it is refused, it can be served half and half with boiled chicken.
Cottage Cheese: Dogs love cottage cheese and it's easy for them to digest since it doesn't contain a high amount of lactose. It is a rich source of many nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus and protein. Low fat and low sodium varieties are the best choice to avoid excess sugar, fat and sodium intake.
Apples: Apple skins contain high levels of pectin, a fiber that strengthens intestinal muscles and works to rid the intestinal tract of toxins. It also creates short-chain fatty acids that keep dangerous bacteria at bay.
Boiled Chicken: Boiled chicken is an easy to digest protein source for dogs. If your dog is having trouble with his regular food or has had an upset stomach, chicken and rice is an easily digested meal that will ensure your dog's nutritional needs are met while giving his digestive tract a chance to recover.
Plain Yogurt: Yogurt should be plain and unsweetened. The probiotics in the yogurt help restore healthy gut flora and aid overall digestion. Yogurt also provides protein, calcium and other nutrients while easing digestive upset at the same time.
In addition to changing foods, there are natural remedies that can also help aid digestion. Herbal remedies like licorice, marshmallow and slippery elm are safe and effective for soothing the digestive tract.