So, Fido hasn't been himself lately. Maybe you noticed he's been lying around, seems disinterested, or his nose is dry and warm. Other signs may be an unusually loud grumbling coming from his tummy or a change in stool. If he hasn't been exposed to anything recently that might cause a sudden lethargy to take hold, then it may be he's experiencing digestive problems.
While chances are it's something minor, there is the small possibility it could be something more urgent, such as an obstruction in the bowels or cancer. That's why it's important not to ignore it.
Digestive Problems in Dogs
Fortunately, most issues concerning digestive irregularities are much more minor in nature. For instance, they could be related to something as simple as a change in diet, people food he or she shouldn't have had, stress, something they got into in the yard or trash, or even a virus. Obviously, determining the source of the problem will be the first step in addressing the issue.
One of the first things that comes to mind is introducing new food. If you're going to change brands, gradually phase in the new food with each meal so that over a week's time you've phased out the old.
Eating the Wrong Foods
Eating foods other than their own is the second biggest culprit to digestive irregularities in pets. With dogs, the most common issue is consuming rich scraps and table food. That's a big no-no, but most of us are guilty of it. Just know that it upsets the delicate balance of your pet's digestive process. Another common source is getting into cat food, trash (in the house or out), and items that are likely indigestible in the yard or found on walks. These indiscretions on your dog's part can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
If this occurs, get a can of packed pumpkin, put a small amount in a bowl, add a little water, stir well and see if they'll take it. You can give this to them periodically until the problem subsides. It's basically a tummy soother.
Stuffed to the Gills
A lot of dogs are gluttons that, if allowed, will eat 'til near bursting. This can be a real problem during gatherings, holidays, when you're entertaining house guests, or any time people may be around to directly interfere with your dog's regular diet and feeding schedule. If you know you've got a little piggy on your hands, warn family and friends that they should not feed the dog and alert them to his or her regular feeding schedule while informing them that you will take care of it.
Another problem can be getting into bags of animal feed left on the floor or low enough to get into. Dogs have been known to rip open and eat entire bags of food when no one's around to stop them. Oink, Oink!
Prevention is the Key
The easiest way to prevent digestive problems in dogs is to avoid the most common causes of them. Be proactive. Keep food up, cover trash securely, don't give them people food, and so on. If you're doing all of these things faithfully and they're still experiencing symptoms, try putting your dog on a natural probiotic regimen, such as a small amount of plain Greek yogurt, raw goat's milk or even a dab of cottage cheese daily. The source must contain active cultures. This will shore up their tummies and keep their digestive tracts healthy. Probiotics can even help with bad breath.
Of course, if your pet's digestive issues persist beyond a few days, don't ignore them. Seek medical advice from your veterinarian in order to rule out something more serious. Better safe than sorry.