As a pet parent, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to your dog and his health and that includes digestive wellness. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what helps with dog digestion and what you can do at home to support a healthy gut, regular stool, and nutrient absorption, keep reading!
What Is Included In The Dog Digestive System
While your dog’s body breaks down, digests, and expels food differently than your human body does, much of his digestive system is similar. And one thing is definitely the same between us people and our pets when it comes to the gut: every aspect of the digestive tract needs to be in working order and well supported for healthy digestion. Here’s a quick breakdown of your dog’s digestive system so you can understand all the working parts that make up his doggie digestive process:
- The Mouth & Teeth: Your dog breaks food down in his mouth so that it can pass through to his stomach and get broken down even further. Because your dog’s mouth and teeth play a big role in his digestive process, dental wellness is key when it comes to digestion, too. You need to be taking care of your dog’s teeth if you want his gut to be able to function to the fullest!
- The Esophagus: This organ helps transport the food your dog chomps and chews from his mouth down to his stomach, where it can continue on its journey to nourish your pup’s body.
- The Stomach: Your dog’s stomach plays one of the most important roles in the digestive process because it takes the partially broken down food your dog has just swallowed and gets it ready to enter the rest of the GI tract where it can actually be used. Your pup’s stomach also acts as a storage device during the digestive process, keeping his food safe & stowed until his body is ready to break it down for fuel.
- The Intestines: It’s inside the small & large intestines that your dog actually absorbs many of the nutrients that are present in his food. This step in the digestive process is what gives your dog energy and it’s also responsible for delivering those nutrients to the rest of his body. Intestinal health is essential for healthy digestion and overall wellness.
- The Pancreas: Your dog’s pancreas is packed with digestive enzymes that help him digest his food. They break down every bite he has eaten even more and help him utilize the fat, carbohydrates, and protein present in each meal.
- The Liver: Your dog’s liver is involved in the digestive process, too! It’s responsible for creating bile, a substance that sounds awfully off-putting, but is crucial when it comes to breaking down fats and also in helping to get waste out of your dog’s body.
- The Colon: This is where the leftovers, or waste, are sent and turned into fecal matter. This is the last step in your dog’s digestive process, and certainly one of the most important! Without this, his body wouldn’t
Dog Digestive Issues: What To Watch Out For
Knowing all the components of your dog’s digestive tract can help prepare you to keep tabs on your pet’s digestive health. When you know that each organ plays a crucial role in your dog’s digestion, you can watch out for potential digestive issues. That said, it’s not always easy to know if your dog’s digestive system is functioning at its best or if it’s causing discomfort for your dog. Here are some signs that might indicate your pet is experiencing some dog digestive issues:
- Irregular Bowel Movements: If your pet doesn’t go #2 every day, it’s cause for pause. Your pet should have regular and frequent bowel movements and if he’s not begging to go outside and do his business, it’s a good idea to discuss with your Vet.
- Gas Or Bloating: Most dogs have occasional gas—it’s totally normal But, if your dog has suddenly developed a stinky, gas habit or appears bloated, he could be experiencing digestive discomfort and you should ask your Vet about whether or not your dog should seek treatment.
- Discomfort: If your pup is visibly uncomfortable or seems a little on edge because he’s not at his best, a digestive issue could be to blame.
- Vomiting: If your dog isn’t able to keep his meals down and seems to be vomiting with some frequency, you should discuss a potential dog digestive issue with your Vet.
- Changes to Appetite: If your normally hungry dog turns his nose up at his dog bowl it could be cause for concern. On the flip side, if your picky pup is suddenly eating everything in sight, it could also indicate he has something going on with his digestive system.
These are just some of the indicators that your pup is experiencing digestive upset or some sort of dog digestive issue. And while many digestive issues are easy to spot, some are far more subtle. To help keep tabs on your dog’s digestive health, keep a close eye on him when he’s doing his business in the yard and at mealtime. This way, you’ll notice any changes to your pet’s behavior, bowel movements, or appetite straight away!
How To Support Your Dog’s Digestive System
When you want to support your dog’s digestive health, it’s a good idea to remember that any changes to your pet’s diet, new ingredients or foods, and changes to your dog’s daily routine can all affect his gut health. To help your dog’s digestive system function at its best, make sure you are introducing foods slowly and checking with your Vet before you feed Fido anything new o make sure it’s ok for your pet. While one ingredient might be perfectly safe for most dogs, your pup could have a negative reaction and it’s essential to discuss this with your Vet before you give a new product or food a try!
It’s also a good idea to remember that digestive health is not just about your dog’s gut. His overall health, immune system, emotional state of mind, and more can all play a role in his digestive function. Because so many aspects of your pet’s health can influence his digestive wellness, it’s important to care for your dog’s whole body when you want to support digestive health. Make sure you are addressing any health concerns that could affect your dog’s digestive health if you want his gut to properly break down his food, turn it into fuel, and help him have healthy bowel movements.
Address Your Dog’s Diet
If your dog has a digestive issue, his diet could be to blame. Take a look at your pet’s food as a first step because so many digestive issues can be helped by addressing diet first and foremost. Some dogs have a hard time breaking down and processing grains, so many pets with digestive issues eat a grain-free diet. Others need a little extra protein for their bodies to feel their best and should eat a diet that’s packed with animal meats. Other dogs still need a little extra fiber to help with digestive wellness and should eat a diet designed with digestive health in mind. This often means it’s a food that contains plenty of fiber-filled ingredients that will help your dog’s GI tract break down and absorb food without discomfort.
Add In A Dog Digestive Supplement
If you want to boost your pet’s current diet to make it a bit more gut-friendly, consider adding in a dog digestive supplement. Choose one that contains lots of prebiotic fiber to help feed the healthy bacteria in your pet’s gut—the bacteria that are essential to a healthy digestive process. Or, choose a probiotic for dogs that contain billions of living bacteria that will help replenish and rebalance your dog’s gut to help with healthy digestion. Or, choose a dog digestive supplement that contains fibrous foods like greens or pumpkin for the best support.
Get Plenty Of Exercise
Help your dog’s gut by making sure Fido gets plenty of exercise. Your pup’s body needs to move and be active in order for all his organs to stay healthy—his digestive tract included! Take your dog for a walk every day to ensure he’s staying active and to aid in healthy digestion. Or, if you’re unable to get outside with your dog, daily, frequent the dog park or doggie daycare where your pup is free to run and exercise to his heart’s desire!
Did you know your dog’s mood can affect his gut health, as well? If your doggo is anxious or stressed, it can put unnecessary stress on his body—including his digestive system. To support a healthy gut and digestive wellness, make sure your dog has a space in your home where he feels safe and can go to be alone and calm down. Consider adding calming supplements to your pet’s diet if he is often on edge or occasionally anxious. Soothing ingredients like chamomile, valerian root, or hemp all help to boost your dog’s mood and help him chill out enough to stay healthy!
PetHonesty Products For Healthy Digestion
Ready to support your dog’s gut with some digestive supplements? Try PetHonesty Digestive Probiotics Chews. They’re packed with gut support thanks to billions of healthy bacteria and a blend of nutrients that promote healthy digestion. Or, reach for a jar of SuperVitamin+ Chews. They contain all your dog’s daily essential nutrients, plus probiotics and some seriously impressive ingredients. These chews are backed by clinical research and support 15 areas of your dog’s health—not just digestive wellness! They’ll also help your dog stay energized, have a robust immune system, support joint mobility, and more.