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The main digestive disorders in dogs

Some digestive system pathologies can make your dog's life difficult. It is important to consult a veterinarian at the slightest doubt. A few symptoms should raise the alarm, although they may also be due to an illness unrelated to the digestive system. Let's find out how to quickly identify digestive disorders in canines and what the risks are for the animal's health.

Digestive disorders in dogs: symptoms that should alert you


As a general rule, gastrointestinal disorders cause pain and discomfort of varying degrees for the animal. They can be due to a problem in the stomach or in the intestine. The main symptoms that can make you suspect a digestive disorder in dogs are for example
  • Regurgitation,
  • Vomiting,
  • A decrease in appetite,
  • Bad breath,
  • Bloating due to excess intestinal gas,
  • Intestinal transit problems such as diarrhea and constipation,
  • A state of general weakness.
These signs should not be overlooked because if the dog is not treated, if it suffers from a serious digestive disorder, it may fall victim to complications. The best attitude on the part of the owner is to seek a veterinary consultation without delay.

More generally, by digestive disorders we mean problems in the dog's mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines and other organs involved in digestion (pancreas, liver, bladder, spleen). Nothing should be neglected.

What are the main digestive disorders a dog can suffer from?


Digestive disorders can be harmless, others more serious. All of them require a diagnosis and treatment. Two signs should be taken seriously, especially since in some cases they are the only ones visible to the owner: constipation and diarrhea.
  • Constipation: if it is due to a diet that is too low in fiber, it is necessary to modify the pet's diet. He must consume more soluble fibers but also more water. But constipation can be due to causes unrelated to diet. This is for example the case:
    • The dog's old age,
    • An infection,
    • Certain traumas,
    • Malignant or benign tumors,
    • Nervous disorders,
    • Of a disease which touches more particularly the spinal cord,
    • A prostate problem,
    • An endocrine dysfunction,
    • A foreign body.
  • Diarrhea: stress can be the main cause, but it is not the only one. A female dog can suffer from bloody diarrhea or not in case of :
    • Colonization by internal parasites,
    • Viral or bacterial infection,
    • Unsuitable food,
    • Food poisoning,
    • Poisoning,
    • Organic dysfunction.
  • Gastroenteritis: as in humans, it is an inflammation of the intestines and/or stomach. It causes a significant weakening of the animal's general condition. It is manifested by abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. A radical change of diet can sometimes be the cause because the dog is a sensitive animal at the gastric level.
  • Colitis: it can be suspected when the dog emits mucus, soft and glutinous stools that may contain blood.
  • Intestinal obstruction: if in cats it is frequent because the animal ingurgitates a lot of hair while licking itself, intestinal obstruction in dogs can be caused by a foreign body. It is an emergency case.
  • Pancreatitis: This is an inflammation of the pancreas, an organ located at the back of the stomach. The diagnosis is difficult to establish, whether the dog suffers from the chronic or acute form. Additional examinations are therefore essential. Some forms of pancreatitis are favored by obesity, food intolerance or by certain drug treatments. Dehydration, weakening of the dog, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite are sometimes the only symptoms at the beginning of the disease. If left untreated, complications such as kidney failure or heart problems can occur.
  • A damage of the esophagus: it can be a narrowing or on the contrary an enlargement of the esophagus in case of ingestion of a foreign body or a tumor. The female dog can also suffer from a lesion of the esophagus, an inflammation or a localized cancer.
  • Torsion-dilation of the stomach: it is more frequent in certain dog breeds. Large and giant breeds. Boxer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Leonberger are more often affected by torsion-dilatation of the stomach which remains much rarer in small dogs. It is an absolute emergency because it can lead to the death of the dog in only a few hours.
Any change in the intestinal transit that lasts more than 72 hours must imperatively be evaluated by a veterinarian. A complete cessation of stool output is to be considered seriously and warrants a consultation without delay.

The most common digestive disorders in dogs are for example :

There are many other pathologies related to the digestive system of the dog such as cirrhosis, liver failure or cancer of any organ.

Be careful because many of the symptoms described above can also be due to a pathology that has no relation with the digestive system of the animal. For this reason, it is really necessary to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible in case of vomiting or transit problems in the dog. The earlier a disease is diagnosed, the faster the dog is treated. He has a better chance of getting better.