How to help your dog's digestion

As a dog food company that’s known for their healthy diets, one of the most frequent questions we have from new customers is “how do we improve our dog’s digestion?”.  If you’re in this position then don’t worry as there are some quick and easy ways to improve your dog's digestion.

Over the years we have kept a close eye on the feedback we have received from customers facing digestion troubles when they first make contact with us.  With years of data now behind us we feel suitably confident in our ability to share our tips on how to improve your dog’s digestion through diet.

Before considering diet, rule out the more serious causes of digestion troubles

There are varying reasons why your dog has poor digestion.  If you suspect that your dog’s problems are a result of one of the more serious causes listed below then we suggest you consult a vet.  Some serious causes are:

  • Trauma
  • Foreign objects
  • Virus, bacteria, or parasites
  • Toxins
  • Digestive disorders such as Colitis & Pancreatitis

All of these things will need intervention from a vet for both diagnosis and treatment.  Even vets can find digestion problems difficult to diagnose since there can be so many causes ranging across the full digestive system.

All of the above causes will likely result in a sudden onset of symptoms and you should consider what your dog has been doing on the run up to these.  This will help you determine a cause

If you are dealing with less acute symptoms, or ongoing symptoms to a lesser degree then you should consider your dog’s diet.

1 - Pick ingredients that help your dog's digestion

Not all ingredients are created equally.  Just like the human digestive tract, dog digestions cope better with certain ingredients than others.  As a healthy dog food brand, one of our considerations is making sure that your dog gets on as well as possible with their diet.  That’s why most of our recipes are formulated with digestion in mind.

Here is our breakdown of the top ingredients to look out for if your dog is prone to digestive upset.

Probiotics

This ingredient is a game changer, but would you believe that most commercial pet foods don’t actually include probiotics in their formulations.  Probiotics are made up of healthy bacteria that restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut.  They help your dog’s gut and intestines break down their food more efficiently and can have excellent results on both stool quality.  There are a lot of dog supplements that you can buy to add to their food or give them orally each day, but we strongly believe in adding probiotics to our range of dog foods.   We use probiotics MOS (Mannan-oligo-saccharide) and FOS (Fructo-oligo-saccharide) in the recipes we suggest for dogs with digestion troubles here.

Another benefit of probiotics is that they are thought to have an affect on dog happiness and temperament.  Harvard University has noted the link between improved gut health and mood in humans, and we like to think they have the same results with our dogs.  Is your dog prone to separation anxiety or stress?  Using a dog food containing probiotics could help.

Easy to digest proteins

Certain proteins are less taxing on your dog's digestive system and we would suggest feeding a food containing an easy to digest protein source if your dog is prone to digestive upset.

Fish can be very easy to digest and we formulate our own recipes with haddock, trout or salmon for this very reason.  Not only do they avoid taxing your dog’s digestion, but they taste spectacular too!

If your dog doesn’t like fish, or they have an allergy to fish then we’d suggest Chicken or Turkey.  Poultry is easier to digest than red meats and makes an excellent ingredient choice for those seeking a diet sensitive on digestion.

2 - Avoid ingredients that are bad for your dog's digestion

There are a number of ingredients we suggest avoiding if you want to help your dog’s digestion improve

Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as barley and wheat and is best avoided if you think your dog has a particularly sensitive digestion.

Dairy products

Dairy doesn’t cause problems with some dogs, but others simply can’t tolerate it in their diet.  It all depends on how they tolerate the nutrient Lactose that is present in all dairy.   We suggest avoiding dairy altogether just in case, and we avoid all dairy products in our recipes to air on the side of caution.

Artificial colorings, ingredients and preservatives

We recommend avoiding artificial additives in dog food due to the unpredictable reaction that some dogs have to them.  We don't think a dog food should contain artificial additives, and in our opinion a dog food that does is trying to cut corners!

3 - Employ quick tips that help your dog's digestion

Changing the way you feed your dog can provide some quick help with your dog's digestion.  Many customers know these already but they are always worth repeating.

What to do when changing foods

Have you recently changed their diet?  Digestive problems can be the result of changing their diet too quickly.  Doggy digestions can be very sensitive and a fast transition can upset the balance with dramatic results such as diarrhea or sickness.  This will normally resolve by itself as soon as their digestive symptom fully acclimates to the new food.  But those that have experience this before know that the best way to keep everything running smoothly is to take preventative measures when you plan on changing their dog food.

Firstly, make sure that you have enough of their old food left to transition slowly.  We don’t recommend waiting until the last minute before deciding to change their dog food.  We suggest rationing at least one week’s worth of their previous diet to allow your ideal dog food change.

Secondly, transition them slowly over the first week.  Do this by introducing the new food in a small amount on the first day by mixing it with their old food.  For those that like numbers, 10% new food to 90% old food works quite well in our opinion.  Over the first week you can gradually start increasing the ratio of new food to old food until you have completely phased out the old food altogether.  This is how we suggest introducing our dog foods - because it actually works!

Helpful ways to feed your dog

Another quick tip that can help minimise digestion troubles with your dog is to split their meals up across the day.  Most of us tend to feed our dogs once or twice a day, and for most dogs this works perfectly.  If you have repeated digestion issues then you could try splitting meals up into smaller portions across the day.  This can stop overloading their digestive system with too much food at once.

Try a different approach to dog food selection

Believe it or not, food allergies and intolerances are actually relatively rare.  For customers with on going stressful digestion troubles you may want to undertake an allergy test with your vet.  Although expensive it could help give you an understanding of which ingredients to avoid.

This isn't an option for everyone and from our experience customers manage to help their dogs by simply changing their dog food choice.  If you regularly feed a dog food with one main ingredient then try a food that avoids this completely.  For example, if you pick a chicken based food that your dog is having digestion issues with then change to a food with no chicken content whatsoever.  This often helps and we have some great novel protein choices for you to use if you are struggling.  Our duck and haddock foods work really well.

4 - Pick the best food to help dog digestions

As mentioned already there are some easy ways to help your dog improve their digestion and stop issues like poor stool quality, sickness and gas.  By far the easiest way is to select a dog food that has been formulated in a way to be as gentle on digestion as possible.

Make sure to pick a food that is made from an easy to digest protein source, is free from artificial additives, and is free from things known to cause digestion troubles in sensitive dogs.  Make sure to supplement with probiotics, or where possible, select a dog food that already has them included as part of the recipe.

We have a dedicated product section on our website for all our dog foods that help with digestive issues.  Take a look at these for a quick and easy way to help your dog.

*first time customers only.

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