Dogs and cats get sick just like we do. When it comes to stomach issues the poops say it all. Sometimes it’s just a quick passing bug and sometimes it’s a serious illness that can turn deadly. So how do you know when to freak out and when to remind yourself that “this too shall pass”? It can be tricky sometimes, but here are a few things to look out for and some ways to prevent sickness in your favorite feline or darling dog.
Food allergies can wreak havoc on your dog or cat’s stomach. My neighbor has two beautiful dogs that she rescued from a neglect situation. They are the product of inbreeding. To find out more about her dog’s needs, she bought DNA kits and had them analyzed not just to see what kind of dogs they really were but also what kind of health issues they might have to deal with. It turns out that they have a myriad of food allergies to many grains and vegetables including corn. This is important because many brands of dog food and treat have some form of corn in them. Food allergies can cause runny poop and vomiting. Now that they have an easy test, it’s no longer as time-consuming and laborious as it used to be to test for allergies. There are certain breeds of dogs that have more problems than others. But any dog or cat can have food allergies.
Diets high in fiber can cause gas, and so can dairy. Gas can be very painful and also lead to bloat. Bloat is a very dangerous condition that can turn deadly very quickly. It is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, but cats can get it. The most common reason why dogs get bloat is intense and sustained exercise or play right after eating. Mom always said don’t go swimming until 20 minutes after you eat, the same holds for play with dogs. Bloat is the common term for (GDV) or gastric dilation volvulus. The stomach actually flips over on itself, causing a blockage that does not allow food to pass the way it should or at all. This is very deadly. If you notice your dog dry heaving it is the main symptom of bloat. You should take your dog to the vet immediately.
Photo by: Victor
Another reason for stomach upset is overeating. We had a rescue lab who always thought he was starving, so he never walked away from food even when he had to be full. My husband was the dog expert, but he never had a hungry dog before so he would keep filling Coal’s bowl every time he saw that it was empty. Coal ended up being almost 15 Lbs. overweight. When I brought him in for his regular exam, I got scolded for letting my dog overeat. After that, I became the dog feeder and put him on a strict diet. Our 91Lb. dog, eventually became our 78lb. dog.
Coal was not only in danger of being obese, but he also could have suffered from malabsorption, which
can happen when a dog or cat eats too fast and too much for their body to process effectively. Malabsorption causes diarrhea and very smelly poop because of the lack of micronutrients absorbed during digestion. He was also at risk of developing diabetes, which can also cause diarrhea, and vomiting.
Photos by: Mart Production and Itsme Seher
Overeating is one thing that can absolutely be prevented almost all of the time. By limiting the amount and frequency you feed your dog or cat you can make sure that they get enough to eat without overdoing it. And treats count! We rescued and fostered a pregnant cat who ended up with 6 kittens. Our boy Buddy was a wonderful foster brother, but he was also the official taste tester for the kindle of kittens. He ate almost all of their food which I did not take up because Mama was good at self-regulating, and I wanted the kittens to have access to the food anytime they might want to try some. Buddy gained a pound a month while we were fostering the kittens. He went from a lean mean 11Lbs. to 13Lbs. I got another talking to from the doctor who happened to be a different one than the one who scolded me about Coal. Before he even went in for his exam, I had him on a restricted diet. I am happy to say that Buddy has lost a pound since last year and that is no small feat. Consistent vigilance is the key to keeping him on a healthier path.