Posted by Pet Honesty on

4 Most Common Dog Digestive Issues

Table of Contents

Your dog’s digestive system is complex, and at times, can be a little temperamental. While some GI tract issues can be fixed with a simple dog digestive supplement, other health problems may need a more aggressive treatment plan. There are many possibilities for why your dog may be experiencing gastric distress, but below, you will find some of the most common dog digestive issues.

Dog Digestion Problems

Abnormal Inflammatory Response

This particular digestive issue is one of the most basic and more prevalent digestive issues in dogs.  According to the Pet Health Network, this can be caused by a number of different triggers including, changes in diet, bacteria, spoiled food, allergies, a virus, etc.  

Sometimes an abnormal inflammatory response is an isolated incident, but it can also be a symptom of deeper dog digestive problems as well.  Like most digestive problems in dogs, it is accompanied by symptoms like bloating, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, a lack of appetite, and canine indigestion.  

Esophageal Discomfort

This is another typical digestive issue in dogs and occurs when the pressure from stomach acid pushes excess acid up and out of the stomach and floods the esophagus. 

It sometimes be hard to identify as there are often no visible symptoms. Nonetheless, other visible signs of obvious discomfort and distress make it easy to tell if your dog is suffering from esophageal discomfort.  Look for some of the following signs to help you identify this in your dog:

  • Weight Loss
  • Choking during and after meals
  • Occasional mucusy throw-up
  • Lack of appetite or an unwillingness to eat
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Starting and stopping meals without finishing a full serving

Esophageal discomfort can benefit from a prescribed veterinary antacid. The veterinarian may also recommend following a specific diet plan especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach. Switching to low acidic foods, feeding smaller quantities throughout the day, and avoiding fatty human foods are all measures that should be taken to combat this issue.

Stomach Bruising

This occurs when an excess amount of stomach acid begins to erode the lining of the stomach, creating little holes in the stomach tissue. Most commonly, this is  brought on by excessive medication use or more serious conditions, and can even be caused by other preexisting digestive issues. 

PetMD asserts that bloody vomit and hard dark stool are the two most common visible symptoms of stomach bruising in dogs.  While signs may not always be visible, they are often detected due to unexplained weight loss accompanied by signs of fatigue and lethargy.  

Stomach bruising is typically addressed within six to eight weeks depending on the severity, but in rare cases, can only be managed long-term.


Parasites are a problem that most dog owners will deal with at some point during their pet’s life. Worms are the most common parasite and enter the body when your dog eats contaminated food or fecal matter. 

Worms are most commonly found in the intestines where they feed on the nutrient-rich food that your dog’s body is attempting to absorb and digest.  Worms deprive your dog of much-needed nutrients which can lead to dehydration, canine diarrhea, weight loss, fever, and vomiting.  

Usually, worms will show up in your dog’s stool, but if you suspect your dog has worms within his gastrointestinal tract without any visible evidence, your vet may suggest bringing in a sample to be analyzed.  Worms are easily treatable through antibiotics. 

It is imperative that you contact your veterinarian for professional help if you suspect your dog is sick.  While having a good understanding of potential issues your dog may be experiencing, it is no substitute for the breadth of knowledge and superior care your dog will receive by seeking the correct medical assistance from a professional


Camille Arneberg and her dog

Camille is a co-founder of Pet Honesty and VP of Pup Parent Education. After watching her own family dog suffer from joint issues for years she became passionate about improving dogs' quality of life. With the help of a team of veterinarians and dog nutritionists she now helps educate other dog owners about the small but powerful things they can do to positively impact their dogs' health and wellness! She lives in Austin, TX and loves cuddling puppies, being outside and reading.