Help for Tummy Woes in Your Cat and Dog
By Arden Moore – The Pet Health and Safety Coach™
Doggy farts and kitty vomit. Just like us, dogs and cats can develop tummy woes that trigger flatulence, stomach pain and diarrhea. Some pets even hunch over and vomit. There are all kinds of health issues we have to think about when we have pets, including their mental well-being, oral health, ear, and skin health, and issues like these relating to their gastrointestinal health.
Your dog or cat can develop stomach issues for a variety of reasons, such as dietary changes, stress, or underlying medical issues. Sometimes, the cause of the chronic gastrointestinal disorder, however, cannot be pinpointed. Your veterinarian may use the catch-all term, inflammatory bowel disorder, or IBD, to describe your pet’s stomach situation.
Diet: What your pet eats can play a major role. Switching food brands may trigger an allergic reaction in your dog or cat. Changing diets abruptly can also cause inflammation in the intestine. Or your cat or dog raids the unattended kitchen trash can and gobbles up spoiled food. Pets who woof down their meals can also experience digestive issues.
Stress: Don’t underestimate the toll that stress can take on your pet’s digestive abilities. Changes in the household routine, such as the introduction of a new pet or the departure of a beloved family member can cause emotional upset in some pets that manifest in gurgling stomachs, runny stools, and vomiting. So can separation anxiety in pets now left home, under the care of professional pet sitters, or taken to professional pet boarding facilities while you finally take a vacation.
Medical: Diabetes and pancreatitis are some common medical reasons for gastrointestinal problems because these affect a pet’s ability to eat and digest efficiently. New medications can also have an impact on some pets’ digestive systems. Other medical reasons can include the development of kidney disease or stomach ulcers.
SYMPTOMS TO WATCH AND REPORT
Get in the habit of paying attention to your pet’s eating, pooping and peeing habits. Report any changes that you see, hear, and smell, to your veterinarian promptly. Following is a list of some examples your veterinarian will want to know about:
- Flatulence: If your dog is suddenly releasing pungent farts, don’t laugh it off. Flatulence can be linked to a dietary issue, such as an allergic reaction to a new food or the inability in your dog to adequately absorb and process the nutrients from food ingredients in his bowl.
- Vomiting: Examine the yucky puddle to make sure there is no blood or signs of foreign objects, such as pieces of toys that may signal a serious health situation. It’s important to note, that your dog or cat needs to be seen by a veterinarian for examination and diagnosis if he or she is vomiting more than two times a month or more than twice in a 48-hour period.
- Eating: A waning or no appetite for one to two days can be cause for concern.
- Stools: Changes in the color, consistency, or frequency of feces are another sign of digestive problems.
- Energy: Listless or lethargic behavior is something to pay close attention to.
HOW YOU CAN HELP AT HOME
Safe home remedies for an occasional tummy upset in your pet can include dishing up a bland diet that includes boiled, unseasoned chicken or lean ground beef. For flavor and added digestibility, you may mix in canned pumpkin that contains only one ingredient: cooked pumpkin puree. Read the label and make sure that the canned pumpkin is not pumpkin pie filler because that version is loaded with sugar and salt and other additives that can cause stomach upset in your pet.
Or, your veterinarian may recommend your pet be placed on a LID – that stands for limited ingredient diet. By definition, LID usually contains one single protein source – usually something novel such as duck, rabbit or venison. The diet should also contain limited fats and only one or two uncommon carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes or peas.
Some supplements can be beneficial to pets having occasional GI issues. Before reaching for a supplement, confer with your veterinarian to make sure there will be no health complications for your pet. Make sure you give the right dose based on the pet’s age, weight and health condition. Slippery elm is a supplement that may be recommended to help soothe an inflamed GI tract. Homeopathic nux vomica is another that may be suggested to deal with chronic vomiting. Coconut oil may help lubricate the GI tract.
If you wish to supplement your pet’s diet with probiotics, be sure that they are both palatable and contain what they claim. Probiotics are intestinal microorganisms packaged as capsules or sprinkled on food to combat diarrhea, constipation and other digestive issues. They can be very helpful both by increasing digestibility which declines with aging and in improving food desirability.
Bottom line: adverse changes in your pet’s eating and bathroom habits should not be dismissed. The sooner your pet is examined and receives proper treatment, the better the chances his stomach will be back feeling healthy.