Digestive problems with your dog? How you can help him

Why is the dog's digestive system so important? A healthy digestive system is important for your dog's overall health. The digestive tract is where the food you eat is broken down and digested so your dog can absorb the nutrients he needs. In this article, you'll learn more about this and how to keep your dog's digestive tract healthy.

French bulldog with stick
Table of Contents

The digestive tract includes first the mouth as well as the esophagus, the stomach and the small intestine, the gall bladder, the pancreas, the liver as well as the large intestine and finally the anus.

Everything begins in his mouth

The first organ that plays an important role in digestion is the mouth of your four-legged friend. This is where the food is taken in. In order to absorb the food, a dog uses both its 42 teeth and its tongue.

The dog has great Fangs and sharp Molar teeth - Grinders on the other hand, he does not possess. Accordingly, the food is gulped and only slightly chewed. Accordingly, the quadruped's dentition is specially designed for eating meat. 

Due to this circumstance, hardly any preparatory work is done in the mouth for later digestion. As soon as food is in the dog's mouth, saliva is enriched via the salivary gland. Unlike in humans, this does not contain any digestive enzymes.

The task of the esophagus

The esophagus of the animal is responsible for the transport from the mouth to the entrance of the stomach. Through the saliva enriched by the salivary gland and muscle contractions, the food is passed through the esophagus to the entrance of the stomach. 

What happens in the stomach of the dog?

Your four-legged friend has a so-called Sack stomachwhich is u-shaped. In this area of the digestive tract, the food now mixes with the Gastric juice. This is produced by the glands, which are located on the stomach wall.

The production of the necessary gastric juice begins as soon as the food arrives in the stomach. The juice consists of a large part Hydrochloric acid Regardless, it could also mean that your dog Muzin (mucilage), Lipase and Pepsins. The gastric juice is responsible for killing dangerous microorganisms and the decomposition of the food begins.

Meanwhile, the decomposition of food begins because digestive enzymes and acid are contained in the gastric juice, which prepares the food for the breakdown of proteins. The digestion of proteins begins.

Now, a mush is formed, which is passed through the outlet of the stomach in small amounts to the is passed on to the small intestine. The stomach outlet opens whenever the pH value has dropped and reached a certain level. This increases the filling pressure. Thus, the feed slurry finally enters the small intestine.

In total, the food ingested by your four-legged friend remains in the stomach for about 2 to 8 hours. 

What happens in the small intestine?

The food remains in the dog's small intestine for another 1 to 2 hours. This is very short compared to herbivores, making it hardly suitable for plant matter.

This part of the digestive tract is now where most of the Degradation processes takes place. Therefore, the small intestine is the most important part of the digestive system. Because this is where the important nutrients are absorbed.

The gallbladder, liver and pancreas

These three organs play a crucial role in the breakdown of food. They provide the important digestive juices and digestive enzymeswhich are needed for the decomposition of the individual food components.

In the Liver bile is produced, which is finally absorbed into the Gall bladder is stored. In addition, the liver serves the Detoxification and Cleaning the body.

The liver has another important task: It regulates the metabolism of protein, fat and sugar. It is suitable for both Production as well as for the Vitamins storage responsible.

For the processing of fat, protein and carbohydrates, the Pancreas is required. This is provided by the Pancreas produces.

What are the digestive enzymes?

The dog has Peptidases. These digestive enzymes are essential for the Cleavage of protein necessary. Furthermore, it possesses for the cleavage of Carbohydrates the digestive enzymes Glycosidases. For the split of Fat owns the dog Lipases.

The various digestive enzymes now produce water-soluble building blocks. This process is called Resorption i.e. the absorption of substances from the food pulp.

The water-soluble building blocks are vital for the dog's organism and are absorbed by its body cells. All other building blocks that are not digestible are later excreted by the body.

What are the functions of the colon?

What is left of the food after absorption eventually passes through the small intestine into the large intestine. The food remains there for around 18 to 24 hours. 

In this area of the digestive tract, the food is hardly processed. The still existing Electrolytes (salts, minerals and vitamins) enter the bloodstream and waste products are passed to the liver. The remaining water of the food pulp is extracted.

The dehydrated food residues become now from the colon pushed together. There will be a Fecal clumps formed, which is directed towards the anus.

The after

In the anus of the quadruped are Anal glands. These produce a secretion to keep the Moisten the exit of the anus. This allows the dog's feces to pass more easily.

The dog must defecate as soon as the maximum filling volume of the large intestine is reached. The emptying of the bowel is regulated by the sphincter muscle of the quadruped.

Digestive tract disorders

If a dog has a disorder in one area of the digestive system, it can trigger other disorders. A digestion not intact of the quadruped can cause diseases of the eyes, ears and teeth cause. But also Muscle or joint pain can be triggered by this.

In addition, in the case of disorders in the digestive system, the Immune system of the dog weakened. Therefore applies:

The more stable the digestive system of the quadruped is, the less it is susceptible to diseases.

Recognize digestive problems in dogs

If your quadruped has problems with his digestion, it manifests itself, especially through the following symptoms:

  • noticeable abdominal sounds
  • acid regurgitation
  • Vomiting
  • excessive eating grass
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight loss
  • dry and dull coat
  • Fatigue, listlessness

How can I reduce the risk of indigestion?

A good nutrition benefits not only your dog's digestion, but also his general condition.

You can reduce the risk of indigestion by providing your dog with a high quality lining balanced and healthy diet.

It should be optimally balanced with proteins, natural fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and trace elements. 

The food should be prepared gently. It should have a high meat content and contain natural raw materials and be free of preservatives, fillers and attractants, flavor enhancers, colorants, etc.

We also recommend approx. once a year a restorative bowel cure with prebiotics or probiotics. Especially after a treatment in which drugs such as antibiotics were used, after chemical worming or vaccinations.

However, should there be any disturbances such as diarrhea, etc., these usually subside with a period of fasting and a light diet. More about this you will find here.

Also, your dog should daily enough exercise in the fresh air have and you should allow him enough time to do his business in peace.

Mainly for large breeds be sure to give your dog a rest after meals to reduce the risk of a Gastric torsion to decrease.

A regular preventive check-up at the veterinarian, among others also Stool samples for the exclusion of Worm or parasite infestation you should not neglect in any case.


Veterinarian’s Recommendation

A healthy digestive system is essential to your dog's overall health. The best way to promote a healthy digestive tract is to feed your dog a high quality diet and give him plenty of daily exercise in the fresh air.

Occasionally, there may be disturbances in the digestive tract, which in most cases are harmless and with an appropriate fasting period and a light diet will cure themselves.

However, if the symptoms persist or occur more often, you should consult your veterinarian so that any serious diseases can be ruled out or treated early enough.

Veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic
Veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion, and it is my personal goal to create medically accurate articles and videos to educate pet owners as much as possible.

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