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Digestive Issues: Prevention Is Our Favorite “Treatment”

Updated: Jul 2, 2022

I think every pet parent has experienced an adverse GI event in their pets. It may have been the loose pile of poop you stepped in or finding the dried pool of vomit under the couch. I had a friend who thought her puppy was over his diarrhea but then the poor little guy had a HUGE accident in her minivan!

Gastrointestinal issues are stinky and dirty and no fun for you or your pet. What is the cause of these unpleasant symptoms? I have the perfect answer even if it’s not the most helpful one…. It depends.

What does it depend on? Well, is there blood or mucus in it? Has your dog been overeating or undereating? Could it have possibly eaten something like a foreign object or chemicals?

Let’s think about the digestive system in four areas:

· Digestion

· Motility

· Absorption

· Elimination of feces

Having a systematic way to think about and diagnose symptoms is helpful especially when you want to rule out the more serious and problematic conditions.

So, we want to identify in which part of the digestive system the problem lies and then we are better able to determine the cause and hopefully treatment.

One of my favorite treatments is prevention. It’s probably your favorite too. You keep your pets from eating dangerous foods or chemicals. You make sure they have plenty of access to clean, fresh water. You select the best food that you can afford for them. You provide probiotics….. wait…. What’s that? You didn’t know dogs can benefit from probiotics? Well yes, they can.

I’m not saying every dog and cat has to be on them, but in the spirit of preventing illness and promoting health and wellness I like the idea of them. What I love to see is a probiotic that is encapsulated to prevent degradation from exposure to light, air and moisture. That gives it the best chance of still being live and active. The more colonies that are live and active, the better.

While we may not be able to prevent every adverse gastrointestinal event in our pet, we can do our best to prevent them. Check with your veterinarian if you have any questions; the sooner you can get your pet diagnosed, the better.

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