Pet Digestive Issues & Care

Rabbit with digestive issues

Digestive issues are a common problem among pets of various breeds, and affect nearly every animal at some point in their life. Knowing how to care for your pet when they are experiencing digestive distress can help to ease any discomfort and speed their recovery.

What types of digestive issues can pets experience?

Pets can experience many of the same digestive issues that their human counterparts do, such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn and reflux, and bloating. Pets can also experience digestive troubles such as obstructions, twisted stomach, hairballs, and worms.

How to tell if your pet has digestive problems

Pets often try to hide their discomfort, as in the wild illness makes them an easy target for predators. You might not even notice that your pet is experiencing digestive issues until there is a big problem. Digestive problems in pets can include symptoms such as:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Regurgitation
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Excess gas or flatulence
  • Straining when passing stools
  • Blood or mucus in the stools
  • Changes in the color, consistency, or frequency of stools
  • Whining, pacing, and abnormal postures

If you believe your pet is experiencing a digestive issue, you should have them evaluated by a veterinarian to help determine the cause, and come up with a treatment plan.

Causes of pet digestive issues

Digestive issues in pets can be caused by any number of things. Just like their owners, pets can experience bacterial and viral infections of the digestive system. They can also have genetic issues such as allergies or stomach cancer. Another frequent cause of digestive issues in pets is parasites. This includes various types of worms.

Contamination of food or water by feces, or even eating another animal’s poop can cause a pet to experience infections or parasites leading to digestive issues.

Treating pet digestive issues

When treating a digestive system problem, your vet will try to figure out which part of the digestive system the problem is in. Once they’ve narrowed down where the problem is, they can then determine a specific cause and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. Most pet digestive issues fall into one of four categories: digestion, absorption of nutrients, motility (movement through the digestive tract), and elimination.

Treatments for digestive issues in pets may involve medications, supplements, or surgical interventions. Diarrhea, heartburn, vomiting, constipation, parasites, and other issues are often treated with medications. Medications typically focus on managing the symptoms, not curing the condition. More serious digestive issues such as obstructions, cancers, or severely bloated or twisted stomachs require surgery to repair. Supplements such as probiotics, digestive enzymes, and hairball remedies can help to prevent digestive issues from bothering your pet. Your pet may need fluids and electrolytes replaced via an injection or IV if they become dehydrated as a result of their digestive issues.

Digestive issues in pets are common, but with a little bit of sleuthing to determine the cause, pet parents can often come up with a plan of care to help alleviate any discomfort and get their furry friend feeling better in no time.

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