Top tips to maintain a healthy digestive function in pets

As a pet owner it is important to understand how to support and maintain healthy digestive function for your cat or dog to prevent unwanted trips to the vet.

Dogs are especially curious and can pick up objects they shouldn’t. Maintaining healthy digestive function helps your pet to live a healthy and happy life, however there are a number of causes that can affect your dog’s digestion, which include: eating spoiled food, scavenging, food intolerance, bacteria imbalance, change of diet, stress of parasites.

Typical signs of a sensitive tummy can be characterised by a frequent runny nose, loose stools, loss of appetite, excessive flatulence and marked lethargy.

Here are some tips to help keep your pet’s gut healthy:

Water

Your pet should be encouraged to consume more fresh water, and this should be presented in a way that your pet prefers whilst having access to a constant supply. The aim of this is to reduce the chances of dehydration.

Avoid table scraps

The food we eat may not be suitable for your dog or cat. To maintain your pet’s digestive health, try to prevent family members from feeding your pet food not intended for them. Try not to give your pet table scraps or snacks, which could lead to a sensitive or poorly tummy.

Try to prevent your pet from scavenging

When out on walks keep an eye on your dog to prevent them from picking up any foreign objects or discarded food. Also, prevent them from drinking from puddles and eating plant material.

Diet

Your vet will be able to offer the best advice on your pet’s specific dietary requirements. A bland diet that is easily digestible, such as boneless cooked chicken breast and white rice can be advisable. A specialised diet for gastrointestinal imbalance may be beneficial with small amounts of food given several times a day. Try to keep treats to a minimum as too many could cause your pet to have a sensitive tummy.

Minimise stress

Try to reduce any stress within your pet’s home and outdoor environment. You could do this by keeping to your pet’s routine as much as possible, including sleeping, food and walking. Ask your vet about Nutracalm, Vetpro or some of the plug-ins on offer such as Pet Remedy and Adaptil, which can all help to reduce stress and calm your pet’s behaviour.

Keep up to date with deworming and vaccinations

Be sure to keep on track with deworming and disease vaccinations. Speak to your vet who will be able to advise a suitable course of action for your pet, dependent on their age and size.

Foreign bodies

Be careful when giving your dog or cat small toys to play with. These can get chewed and swallowed, as well as causing discomfort for your pet, they can also cause choking. Keep an eye on your dog when playing with chews toys.

Outside access

To avoid accidents within the home it is better to give your pet easy access to go outside or take them out frequently. However, it is important to monitor your pet’s toilet activities and general demeanour. Be sure to keep a close watch on them and don’t let them stray too far.

Consider using Probiotics

To help maintain long-term gut health and a healthy digestive balance, probiotics can help with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic or infectious diarrhoea. Probiotics can also help to optimise the efficiency of the immune response to help fight infection and boost the immune system, whilst helping to repopulate the balance of good bacteria that antibiotics can wipe out. Vets often have access to veterinary strength probiotics such as Nutrabio, Vetpro and Nutraflora which they often recommend, and others are available online such as Pro-Kolin and Fortiflora.

Follow your vet’s advice

Be sure to take on board and follow any advice from your vet. They will be best placed to help with your pet’s gut and digestive health.