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Causes of Digestive Issues in Pets

If you have noticed that your pet has been suffering from symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, this is a sign that there is an issue with their digestive system which should be overlooked. The best way to bring your pet some relief is to identify and eradicate the cause of the problem.

Common causes of digestive problems

Eating the wrong thing – even if you try to provide your pet with the best nutrition, we all know that sometimes they can eat something they’re not supposed to. For dogs in particular, this may mean eating rancid or spoiled food that can cause stomach upsets, or swallowing foreign objects that can cause trauma to the digestive tract. Even cats, who are normally more careful eaters, can come into contact with toxic plants that may cause gastrointestinal distress when consumed.

Food allergies – just like humans, animals can suffer from allergies or intolerances to their food. The most common problematic ingredients include beef, lamb, chicken, egg, dairy, soy, and grains.

Change in diet – even if your pet does not suffer from any food intolerance or allergies, sometimes a change in their regular diet can also result in changes to digestion or an imbalance in gut bacteria.

Dehydration – if your dog or cat has been suffering from constipation, you may wish to check if they are drinking enough water. A lack of fluids can cause stools to become dryer and more difficult to pass.

Lack of exercise – this may seem unrelated to digestion, but a lack of regular exercise may cause constipation in animals. Exercising helps to stimulate the nervous system and the natural contractions of the digestive system.

Ingesting hair– this is a problem for cats in particular due to the way they groom. Some hair is caught on their rough tongues as they clean themselves, but this is usually passed out naturally. However, if there is excess hair this can clump together and cause a blockage in the intestinal tract.

Stress– although this can be one of the hardest causes to diagnose, stress can be a factor in many gastrointestinal issues, whether it’s a new environment, changes in household routine or a reaction to stressful situations such as fireworks.

Infections – dogs and cats are susceptible to a whole range of bacterial infections including e coli or salmonella and viral infections such as canine parvovirus – which often result in symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.

Internal parasites – there are a number of parasites, including hookworm and roundworm, that can take up residence in your pet’s digestive system causing vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Fortunately, these can be eradicated with an over-the-counter worming medication.

Polyps or tumors – digestive complaints can be an early warning sign that there are more serious problems with your pet’s health. Polyps or tumors that develop in the stomach or digestive tract will cause problems such as diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting, as well as blood in the stools.

Trauma – dogs, in particular, have a tendency to chew on things they shouldn’t, and it’s not uncommon for pieces of toy, bone or other foreign objects to be ingested. While these can sometimes pass through the body with no issue, they have the potential to cause damage to the digestive tract or create a blockage, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Causes of Digestive Issues in Pets

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