Lowest price guarantee - We will beat any price!
Free worldwide shipping for orders over $50
 
Brands
Info
 

Symptoms of Digestive Problems in Dogs and Cats

It’s common enough for any dog or cat to experience an upset tummy from time to time, but any owner should be aware that symptoms can reflect a more serious issue. Signs of gastrointestinal distress can be very non-specific, and related to any number of issues, so keep an eye on your pet if they show any of the signs below, and speak to your vet if you have any concerns.

Common signs

Vomiting or regurgitation – although similar, these are actually two different bodily functions, and often have different causes. Knowing the difference may help with identifying the issue. Vomiting is a reflex action in which food is forced up from the stomach and upper intestine. Vomiting is often accompanied by nausea – your pet may not be able to tell you how they feel, but you may notice they look apprehensive or start to drool. Food that has been vomited will appear partially digested and may contain bile. Regurgitation, on the other hand, is a more passive action, in which the food is brought up from the esophagus before it has reached the stomach. There may be some coughing or burping, but you won’t see the retching or heaving that is associated with vomiting.

Diarrhea– while the occasional soft stool is nothing to worry about, an acute bout or ongoing diarrhea can be a problem. There are actually two kinds of diarrhea: small bowel diarrhea and large bowel diarrhea, and these present somewhat differently. Pets with small bowel diarrhea will produce a larger volume of feces which is very watery. This can quickly lead to the animal becoming dehydrated. Large bowel diarrhea results in small amounts of feces that may be difficult for the animal to expel. These also may contain mucus and blood.

Constipation– your dog or cat should be producing at least one stool a day, so if you notice they haven’t produced anything in 48-72 hours, it’s a sign they are constipated. Alternatively, they might be defecating, but the stools produced are hard and dry, and they may experience pain and discomfort while expelling them. It is important to note that if your pet is straining to defecate, it is not necessarily a sign of constipation. Some other gastrointestinal issues, including large bowel diarrhea, may result in your pet struggling to defecate.

Lethargy– if your normally active pup or cat seems lacking in energy or reluctant to play, this could also be a sign of gastrointestinal distress. If they are suffering from pain or nausea, it is only natural that your pet will not be feeling their best. As digestive issues can cause dehydration, this can also lead to lethargy. Similarly, if chronic digestive issues have led to your pet not absorbing the proper nutrients from their food, they will not be getting the energy they need to function well.

Dehydration– pets that have been experiencing vomiting and diarrhea are at risk of becoming dehydrated. Make sure your dog or cat has access to plenty of clean water and encourage them to drink. If your pet has ongoing diarrhea or cannot keep water down without vomiting, they may need to visit a vet to receive intravenous fluids. As well as being a symptom of digestive issues, dehydration can also be a cause of constipation.

Change in appetite – as a pet owner you will be aware of how much your dog or cat normally eats, and noticing any changes to their appetite is important for keeping track of their general health. An animal that is suffering from nausea, abdominal pain or constipation may have a reduced appetite or go off their food altogether. If your pet has a digestive issue such as small intestine malabsorption that prevents them from getting the nutrients they need, they may want to eat more in order to compensate.

Weight loss– other symptoms such as abdominal pain or nausea will often cause a loss of appetite, which will lead to weight loss over time. Similarly, if your pet is suffering from ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, they will not be properly digesting their food. If your pet is eating regular amounts of food but still losing weight, they could be suffering from a gastrointestinal problem that is preventing them from absorbing nutrients from what they eat.

Abdominal pain – while your fur baby cannot tell you when they are hurting, there are some signs they may be suffering from abdominal pain. They may be sensitive to touch in the area or adopt a hunched or curled up position that protects their stomach. Animals that are in pain may lose their appetite, become lethargic or shy away from interactions with humans or other animals.

Fever – a low-grade fever is common in cases where poisoning, infection or inflammation is present. Pets with a fever should be encouraged to drink small amounts of water at regular intervals. Never give an animal medication that is intended for human use.

Diagnosing digestive issues

As so many digestive complaints result in similar symptoms, it is important for any ongoing or acute issues to be diagnosed by your veterinarian. Symptoms alone are not usually enough to pinpoint the cause of the problem, so your vet will also need to know:

  • Your pet’s full medical history
  • What your pet has eaten in the past 48 hours
  • A list of recent symptoms
  • Any recent changes in diet
  • Any recent changes to the home environment
  • Any medications or supplements are given in the past month

Your vet will also perform a complete physical examination to check for signs of fever, dehydration, abdominal pain, bloating or swelling. At this stage, your vet may need to perform clinical tests in order to fully diagnose the problem. These may include:

  • A blood cell count to check for infection and dehydration
  • Electrolyte tests to check for imbalances
  • Urine tests that can detect organ problems, diabetes, dehydration, and kidney disease
  • X-rays and ultrasounds to check for blockages, swellings or other abnormalities.

Symptoms of Digestive Problems in Dogs and Cats

There are no products to display

What we’ve been talking about!

See all

Food allergies in dogs: What they are and how to help

by james on 11 Jan 2022
Food allergies are among the most common allergies in dogs, but many pet parents don’t know how to help. Consulting your vet is Step One.  Food allergies in dogs: What they are and how to help Food allergies are among the most common allergies dogs face. When your pet’s body reacts to a foreign substance, it can cause inflammation, irritation, upset stomach and a host of other problems other pets don’t experience when exposed to the same substance. Fortunately for parents of allergic pets, there are ways to identify what is causing Fido’s reaction to food.  When your dog experiences an allergic reaction, his body is responding to a substance it has identified as foreign, leading to the release of antibodies to counteract the supposed threat. This can create a host of unpleasant symptoms for our pets including skin irritation, upset stomach, and even infections. Over time these symptoms wreak havoc on our pets, so it is important to identify and treat any food allergies your dog is facing. Surprisingly, only about one-fifth of food allergy cases lead to gastrointestinal problems in dogs, but other issues including skin redness, itching and irritation are common signs your pet is allergic to something he is eating. Other reactions common to food allergies include swelling of your pet’s face, rashes, hair loss, itchy or runny eyes, excessive drooling, excessive gas, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive licking, stomach pains, sneezing and, in more serious cases, anaphylactic shock. Chronic infections can also point to a food allergy, as can recurring issues with irritated bowels, anal glands, hot spots, and skin sores. With such a wide range of symptoms, suspected allergic reactions require a veterinarian’s professional opinion. Your vet can help diagnose the source of Fido’s problems and, if he or she suspects they are due to food allergies, can put him on an “elimination diet” for several months to see if his symptoms improve. If they do, you can set to work feeding Fido a new diet based on advice from your veterinarian. In some cases, vets recommend adding some food slowly back into your dog’s diet to see which are the culprits behind your pet’s immune response. This is a good way to broaden your dog’s diet as much as possible while managing his allergies, but foods must be added back one-at-a-time over the course of several months to allow time for any adverse reactions to reappear. This way, if you notice your dog’s symptoms returning, you can remove the offending allergen again. In more severe cases of food allergies, your veterinarian may recommend putting your pet on a prescription diet. Many dogs with one food allergy are allergic to multiple sources of nutrition, so this can help curb serious reactions. A prescription diet reduces allergens, but ensures your pet is still receiving the nutrients he needs to remain healthy. In severe food allergy cases, your vet may also recommend medications such as Cyclosporine, Apoquel or Cytopoint, which help decrease inflammation. Talk to your veterinarian to determine which program is right for your pet if you suspect he is suffering from food-related allergies.

How to help your cat lose weight

by james on 29 Dec 2021
Indoor cats live longer lives, but are more prone to pack on extra weight. Here are a few tips to help keep Kitty lose weight gradually. How to help your cat lose weight Keeping your cat indoors can help him live a longer life, but housecats are prone to a more sedentary lifestyle that can lead to problems with weight gain. To help keep Kitty a healthy weight, you may need to reconsider his diet by and lifestyle by providing him with nutrient-rich food, carefully considered portions, and interactive toys to inspire activity and play. Before ever starting a weight-loss program for your pet, talk to your veterinarian about establishing a plan that supports healthy dieting and avoids severe food restrictions. Rapid weight loss can cause a serious disease in cats called known as fatty liver disease, so this is a not a step you should skip when putting your cat on a weight-loss program. Once your veterinarian has approved a plan, you can begin working towards achieving a healthy weight for your pet. What “healthy” means is unique to each animal, but you can use your pet’s body to establish a good baseline for your companion. Objective measures of a cat’s body condition are based on observable features, such as whether you can see his ribs and a distinct waistline, and how easily you can feel your pet’s bone structure. At a healthy weight, you should be able to see your cat’s waist behind his ribs; feel, but not see, his ribs; and observe a small pouch of fat on his stomach.  Cats should never lose more than 2 percent of their body weight in a week, so shedding excess body mass should be a gradual process. While your veterinarian can assist in calculating calorie goals and a feeding schedule to help Kitty achieve a healthy weight, you can try your hand at helping him lose weight through small changes such as modifications to his food type. For example, a diet high in fiber and low in fat can help your pet feel fuller longer by allowing him to consume more volume of food without excess calories. Likewise, a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can help your pet feel fuller longer and contribute to weight loss. Choosing wet foods with more water content will help with weight loss by increasing the volume of Kitty’s portions without contributing calories. In addition to feeding your pet nutrient-rich food in controlled portions, you can help him lose weight gradually by supporting a more active lifestyle. Though living indoors increases cats’ life expectancies and protects wildlife such as birds that serve as prey for outdoor pets, housecats are less active and are prone to packing on extra weight. You can help your pet become more active by using toys such as laser pointers or fishing pole to play with your pet; giving him a puzzle feeder to challenge both his body and mind; or providing him with more vertical spaces for jumping and climbing, such as a cat trees and perches in windowsills. Combined with a healthy diet and portions, this can help your pet shed unhealthy weight in a controlled way.

How to teach your dog to stop barking at strangers

by james on 09 Dec 2021
Some dogs have a habit of barking at strangers, but you can help Fido master social etiquette by understanding the reason behind his behavior. How to teach your dog to stop barking at strangers Whether it is excitement, fear or being territorial, some dogs have a habit of barking when strangers walk by. To put a halt to his habit of harassment, it is important to find the underlying cause behind Fido’s excessive barking and address what he is trying to say. Some dogs are simply excited to meet a new potential friend and are expressing joy when they bark at passersby. These social butterflies will exhibit other friendly behavior, such as a wagging their tails and showing a comfortable demeanor. Other pets, however, use their voices as warning signals to passersby to stay away from their owner or home. You can tell your companion is letting out territorial cries if he only vocalizes at others as they approach you or your house and shows other on-edge body language such as being highly alert with his ears pricked forward and tail raised high. Still other dogs bark at people passing by due to a lack of socialization and fear of the unknown. When dogs have been under-exposed to other people, they often appear timid and may even growl as unfamiliar humans approach in an attempt to save their space. After you have identified the basis behind Fido’s barking, you can begin to address the problem. Start by showing your pet that shouting at strangers will not lead to what he desires most, which in the case of friendly pets is attention. Practice this by asking a friend who your dog does not know well to pose as a stranger. Have this “stranger” walk by, ignoring your pet as he barks or lunges at him or her—safely on a leash, of course. Any time your dog remains quiet, have your friend reward him with a treat. After a few practice rounds, your pet should begin associating a calm demeanor with a tasty treat. Likewise, under-socialized pets will benefit from gradually meeting new people and learning that they are not a threat. Your friend can help with this by gradually interacting with your pet more and more and offering him treats. If your dog tends to be territorial, be sure to keep him on a leash and maintain a confident demeanor, showing yourself as his “pack leader.” Practice obedience training and reward calm behavior with treats and praise when he does not assert himself by barking at a stranger. Other techniques for teaching Fido to behave calmly around new people include distracting him from the situation. When your dog begins to bark at a new face, immediately get his attention by making noise. Once you have his attention, continue the diversion by asking him to sit and stay. Reward him with a treat and praise as soon as he successfully executes the command, and soon you will be ready to practice greeting a newcomer politely. Ask a stranger—or your friend posing as one—to approach your pet after you’ve given the “sit” command. If he remains calm in the sitting position, reward him with a treat. If, however, he stands up or begins to bark, give the command again and do not offer any praise until he is sitting calmly. This will take some practice, so be patient with your pet. If possible, explain the training process to someone and enlist their help as your dog’s social etiquette with strangers improves over time.