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Poor Gut Health in Your Dog – Recognising the Signs

Recognising signs of poor gut health in your dog is crucial not only for their gut health, also for their overall well-being and immune system. 

Your dog’s overall health begins with a healthy gut. Just like in humans, a well-functioning digestive system is vital for dogs to lead happy and active lives. However, identifying signs of poor gut health and understanding how to improve it naturally can be a game-changer for your fur family. 

Line up of 5 different dogs at a park. Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Your Dog by PetWell

In this comprehensive blog, we’ll explore the subtle clues that indicate digestive problems, the root causes behind these issues, and a holistic approach to enhancing your dog’s gut health. Whether you’re a seasoned pet parent or welcoming a new puppy or a rescue into your home, these insights will empower you to make informed choices and provide the best care for your fur family.

Why is Gut Health in Your Dog Important?

A well-functioning digestive system ensures that dogs can effectively absorb and utilise nutrients from their food. Providing the energy and building blocks needed for growth, maintenance, and repair of tissues. However, poor gut health can have far-reaching consequences for a dog’s health. 

Digestive issues, such as chronic diarrhoea, vomiting, or constipation, can lead to discomfort and malnutrition, which may result in weight loss and a weakened state. 

Moreover, bad gut health is closely linked to a range of other health problems in dogs, including allergies, skin conditions, and even behavioural issues.

Fortunately, effective remedies exist such as natural dog supplements. PetWell DIGEST – Digestion Relief is designed for pets of all age groups, with the specific aim of supporting good gut health in dogs.

Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Your Dog. PetWell DIGEST Digestive Relief healthy treats and supplements for dogs and cats

How Gut Health can Affect your Dog’s Immune System

One of the critical aspects of gut health is its profound impact on the immune system. A significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut, and it’s responsible for defending the body against harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. 

When the gut is compromised, as in cases of poor gut health, it can lead to a weakened immune response. This, in turn, can make dogs more susceptible to infections and diseases. Conversely, a healthy gut with a balanced microbiome, consisting of beneficial bacteria, helps regulate the immune system. It acts as a barrier, preventing harmful substances from entering the bloodstream and triggering an immune response. 

Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Dogs

Recognising signs of poor gut health in dogs is essential for ensuring their well-being and comfort. Dogs can’t tell us when they’re experiencing digestive discomfort, so it’s crucial to be vigilant. Watch for changes in behaviour, such as increased lethargy, excessive licking or biting at their abdomen, and a reluctance to eat. 

Keep an eye on their stool quality, as loose stools, diarrhoea, or constipation can all be indicators of gut issues. Additionally, pay attention to changes in their coat condition and overall appearance, as a healthy gut often reflects in a shiny coat and vibrant eyes.

Common Signs of Poor Gut Health

Dog pooping in a field - Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Your Dog by PetWell

The most common signs of poor gut health in dogs include:

  • Diarrhoea and Vomiting: Diarrhoea and vomiting are prevalent digestive issues in dogs and can be caused by various factors, including dietary indiscretion, food allergies, infections, and stress.
  • Constipation: Dogs can experience constipation due to dehydration, a lack of dietary fibre, or underlying medical conditions.
  • Gastritis: Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining and can result from dietary indiscretion, infections, or ingestion of toxins.
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas, can lead to digestive problems, including abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD is characterised by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and can cause diarrhoea, weight loss, and poor appetite.
  • Colitis: Colitis is the inflammation of the colon and can result in diarrhoea with mucus or blood.
  • Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus): Bloat is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and can twist on itself, causing severe abdominal discomfort, bloating, and vomiting.
  • Intestinal Parasites: Worms and other intestinal parasites can cause digestive issues in dogs, including diarrhoea and weight loss.

It’s important to note that while mild digestive issues may resolve on their own, persistent, or severe symptoms should prompt a visit to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. 


Similar to humans, dogs require a properly functioning digestive system to enjoy happy and active lives


Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Dog Digestive System

The following tips will help to keep your dog’s digestive system healthy, ensuring their comfort and vitality. 

Establish a Regular Feeding Schedule

Dogs thrive on routine, so establish a consistent feeding schedule. This means feeding your dog at the same time each day. A regular schedule helps regulate their digestive processes, making it easier for them to digest their meals.

Avoid Sudden Diet Changes

Sudden changes in your dog’s diet can lead to digestive upset. If you need to switch your dog to a new food, do so gradually. 

Mix a small amount of the new food with the old food and gradually increase the proportion of the new food over several days or weeks until the transition is complete. This allows your dog’s digestive system to adapt to the new diet. 

Provide Fresh Water

Dog with gut issues drinking fresh water from a bottle. Signs of Poor Gut Health in Dogs by PetWell

Ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water always. Water is essential for digestion and helps to break down food in the stomach and intestines. Dehydration can lead to constipation and other digestive issues, so make sure your dog stays well-hydrated.

Read for more Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System in Dogs

Monitor Your Dog’s Behaviour

Pay attention to your dog’s behaviour during and after meals. If you notice any changes, such as excessive vomiting, diarrhoea, or discomfort, consult your veterinarian promptly. These could be signs of underlying digestive issues that need attention.

Choose High-Quality Dog Food

Selecting a high-quality dog food that meets your dog’s nutritional needs is crucial for digestive health. Look for foods that list a quality source of protein as the first ingredient and avoid those with excessive fillers and artificial additives.

Choose High-Quality Pet Supplements for Dogs

Providing your dog with a high-quality supplement like PetWell DIGEST is a proactive step to support their digestive health, helping them maintain a robust and balanced gut for overall well-being.

Consider Adding Fibre

Fibre is essential for healthy digestion. Some dogs benefit from added dietary fibre, which can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Be Mindful of Processed Treats – Opt for Functional Treats

Treats and snacks can be a fun part of your dog’s diet, but they should be given in moderation. Some dogs have food sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients and/or ultra-processed treats.

A great option for healthy dog treats are functional treats that have added benefits of supporting their digestive system, such as PetWell DIGEST + KANGAROO functional treats, which can also be used as meal toppers.

Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Your Dog. PetWell DIGEST Digestive Relief healthy treats and supplements for dogs and cats

Regular Vet Check-Ups

Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for your dog. Your veterinarian can monitor your dog’s overall health, including their digestive system, and provide guidance on maintaining optimal gut health.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your dog’s digestive system remains healthy, comfortable, and functioning optimally.

Causes of Digestive Problems in Canines

Understanding the causes of digestive problems in canines can help you take proactive steps to prevent them. Common culprits include dietary factors, such as abrupt diet changes, food sensitivities, or the consumption of spoiled food. 

Environmental stressors, like sudden changes in routine or exposure to toxins, can also disrupt gut health. Additionally, some medications and underlying medical conditions can lead to digestive issues. Identifying and addressing these root causes is key to maintaining a healthy gut in your dog. Read more here: Understanding Canine Digestive Issues: Causes and Solutions

Improving Gut Health in Dogs Naturally

Start by providing a balanced and nutritious diet that supports optimal digestion. 

Incorporate fibre-rich foods like sweet potatoes (steamed and pureed) and pumpkin (steamed and pureed), which aid in regular bowel movements. Probiotics, often found in yoghurt or specially formulated supplements such as PetWell DIGEST, can introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut. Prebiotics, found in foods like chicory root and garlic, nourish these helpful microbes. 

Finally, maintaining a stress-free environment and regular exercise can contribute to a healthier gut. Read more about Natural Ways to Improve Gut Health in Your Dog

Understanding Canine Food Sensitivities 

Dog at a park with Food Sensitivities - Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Your Dog by PetWell 

Gaining insight into canine food sensitivities is crucial for tailoring your dog’s diet to their specific needs. Food sensitivities can manifest as digestive problems, skin issues, or allergies. 

To identify potential triggers, consider an elimination diet under the guidance of your holistic veterinarian or preferably a pet nutritionist. Gradually reintroduce foods while monitoring your dog’s reactions. This process can help pinpoint which ingredients may be causing digestive distress, allowing you to make informed choices about their diet.

Dietary Changes for Dogs with Poor Gut Health

Dietary adjustments can significantly benefit dogs with poor gut health. In cases of chronic digestive issues, a pet nutritionist or naturopath may recommend a special custom diet designed to alleviate specific problems. 

These diets are formulated to be gentle on the digestive system while providing essential nutrients. Additionally, consider feeding smaller, more frequent meals to reduce the strain on your dog’s digestive system and monitor their response to different protein sources.

Importance of Probiotics for Dogs 

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for digestion. They help balance the gut microbiome by increasing the population of beneficial bacteria. 

Probiotic supplements can be particularly beneficial after a course of antibiotics, which can disrupt the gut flora.  Read more here Probiotics for Dogs: Why Gut Health Matters

Managing Dog Diarrhoea and Constipation

Diarrhoea can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary indiscretion, infections, or food sensitivities. In cases of mild diarrhoea, fasting your dog for 12-24 hours and gradually reintroducing a bland diet can help. 

Constipation, on the other hand, may result from dehydration or insufficient fibre intake. Ensure your dog is well-hydrated and consider adding fibre-rich foods to their diet. If either issue persists or worsens, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Dog-Friendly Fibre Sources for Gut Health

Fibre aids in digestion by promoting regular bowel movements. Opt for dog-friendly fibre sources like sweet potatoes (steamed and pureed), pumpkin (steamed and pureed), and green beans. These foods are not only nutritious but also provide the fibre needed for a healthy digestive system. Remember to introduce new foods gradually to prevent digestive upset. 

Read more on Can Dogs and Cats Eat Vegetables? This blog also guides you on how to prepare vegetables for optimum absorption.

Preventing Digestive Issues in Puppies

Puppy running in green field. Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Your Dog by PetWell

Puppies have developing digestive systems that can be sensitive. Ensure they are on an appropriate, high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs. Avoid abrupt diet changes, as puppies are more susceptible to dietary upsets. Monitor their behaviour and stool quality closely and consult a pet nutritionist or naturopath for guidance on the best diet and feeding schedule for your puppy.

Canine Digestive Issues

From poor canine digestion to pancreatitis, dogs can experience a range of digestive problems. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of these issues, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain, seek prompt veterinary care when needed. Early intervention is often key to successful treatment and a quicker recovery.

Additionally, dog stomach problems can manifest as indigestion, gastritis, or even bloat, a life-threatening condition. If your dog exhibits symptoms like excessive drooling, retching without vomiting, or a distended abdomen, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Gut health in canines is crucial to improving digestion, absorption of nutrients, and a stronger immune system. It also plays a role in mental health, as the gut is often referred to as the “second brain.”

Digestive Disorders in Dogs

Conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colitis can impact a dog’s digestive system. Work closely with your holistic veterinarian or pet nutritionist to diagnose these disorders through blood tests, imaging, or endoscopy. Treatment may involve dietary changes, medications, and ongoing management to keep symptoms in check.


Maintaining good gut health through proper nutrition, supplements and a balanced diet is crucial for not only digestive health but also the overall health and resilience of your dog


Canine Gastrointestinal Problems

Gastrointestinal problems can range from minor upsets to more serious conditions. 

Be vigilant about changes in your dog’s appetite, behaviour, and stool quality. If you notice persistent issues or concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian for a thorough evaluation and treatment plan. 

Read more here Gastrointestinal Problems in Dogs: Symptoms and Management

Dog Supplements for Gut Health

Explore canine supplements aimed at improving your dog’s gut health and overall comfort. In addition to probiotics, select a supplement with a range of benefits, such as digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and dietary fibre.

These all-natural, human-grade ingredients work synergistically to optimise gut health, making PetWell DIGEST an excellent choice for a healthier, happier dog.

Read more about Dog Supplements for Gut Health: The Right Supplement for Your Dog

Dog Food for Better Digestion

Cluster of raw meet for Dog Food for Better Digestion. Recognising Signs of Poor Gut Health in Your Dog by PetWell

High-quality, fresh food should contain easily digestible animal protein sources. Look for foods that also include prebiotic fibres like chicory root, which support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. 

Avoid foods with excessive fillers and artificial additives, as these can contribute to digestive upset.

Balancing Gut Flora in Dogs

Explore the role of gut bacteria in canine health and ways to maintain a balanced gut microbiome. The gut is home to trillions of bacteria that play a crucial role in digestion and overall health. Probiotics and prebiotics can help maintain a harmonious balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Consult a holistic veterinarian or pet nutritionist for recommendations on suitable probiotic/prebiotic supplements for your dog.

Holistic Approach to Digestive Health for Dogs

Embrace a holistic approach to digestive health for your dog, focusing on nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Provide a balanced diet that meets your dog’s nutritional requirements. Ensure they get regular exercise to promote healthy digestion and maintain an ideal body weight. Minimise stressors in their environment, as stress can negatively impact gut health.


Together, these strategies can help your dog find relief from inflammation. Promoting better joint function, increased comfort, and an improved overall quality of life. 


In Summary

Your dog’s gut health is a cornerstone of their overall vitality. By recognising the signs of poor gut health, understanding the causes, and implementing natural strategies, you can be a proactive advocate for your canine companion’s well-being. 

From dietary adjustments to the incorporation of digestive support supplements such as PetWell DIGEST, you have the tools to enhance your dog’s digestive system naturally. You can help your dog enjoy a happier, healthier, and more comfortable life.

Gut supplement product reviews

Reviews for PetWell DIGEST – Digestion Relief supplement

“I love the Petwell supplements. I use them with my three dogs, as well as with clients. Made with REAL ingredients. No synthetic vitamins! No fillers! Formulated with beneficial ingredients. Digest – is great for any dog that is suffering digestive complaints. Replenishing the microbiome with probiotics, as well as containing anti-inflammatory properties so help soothe the gut.” – Jacinta, Pet Nutritionist

“Bane battled a staph infection for over 15 months. He has been on antibiotics for 12 months, which has played havoc on his stomach. To help repair his gut, he has bone broth and DIGEST supplement from PetWell.  He has been taking it for 2 weeks, and we have already noticed a positive change in his stool, with less mucus.  SO FAR SO GOOD! – Kasey

“We used Digest on Sanyue when she was sick, vomiting and diarrhoea. Within 24 hours, she was on the improve. The ingredients in digest are incredible! We will keep her on it. Thank you.” – Vesper

“DIGEST helped Dali greatly. Dali suffered with bloating and digestion issues that have greatly improved since he has been taking DIGEST daily” – Carolyn

Disclaimer

The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.

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About the author

Ayda Hornak

Trained in canine psychology and studying natural animal nutrition, Ayda has a passion for natural health and wanted to provide the same for her dog Archie who was born with genetic anxiety. As a result, PetWell® was born. All-natural supplements and treats that help in preventing and managing pet health issues.


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