The price of a stalwart companion is a healthy appetite, at least in the case of the bulldog. They also are known for eating just about anything. Gastritis is not a bulldog-specific concern, but some of the traits and habits of the breed can make this condition a common problem.
What is Gastritis?
Gastritis actually is a generic condition that describes the inflammation of your pup's digestive system. It usually is associated with stomach problems, although the symptoms and causes of gastritis also can involve portions of the intestines. If your dog refuses to eat, which any bulldog owner will notice promptly, or begins to vomit, then he may be suffering from some form of gastritis. There are two common types of this disease, acute and chronic, although the rarer eosinophilic gastritis, which is associated with allergies and parasites, also could be to blame. Extreme thirst, excretion of blood in feces or urine, and signs of pain are other common symptoms, according to PetCare Veterinary Hospital.
Ingesting Foreign Objects
Any dog can suffer gastritis after swallowing an inedible object, although bulldogs are notorious for eating what should not be eaten. Almost every bulldog owner has at least one horror story about the crazy things their dog has put in his mouth, from cat litter to plastic toys. Bulldogs don't have the most discriminating palate, and their voracious eating habits and wide mouth make it easy for them to ingest non-food objects. Keep an eye on your dog at all times when you take him for walks and make sure there are no "bite-sized" foreign objects in your house or in the yard to avoid this unsavory scenario. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your bulldog has swallowed something that he won't be able to digest, as it can cause permanent internal injury if left inside his stomach.
Food Poisoning and Overeating
Bulldogs may have pretty hearty stomachs, but this actually can work against them in the long run. The smell of rotten meat or other spoiled food is not necessarily a turn off for them, although it almost definitely will not agree with their stomach when it gets there. Spoiled food can cause a minor case of food poisoning and cause your dog to suffer temporary, or acute, gastritis. Contact your veterinarian for recommendations on how to proceed in this case. Withholding food and making sure your dog drinks plenty of water may be enough to see him through the two or three days it takes to recover from acute gastritis. Eating too much food, even if the food is perfectly fine, also can inflame your dog's stomach for a few days.
Various pharmaceutical treatments also can cause gastritis in bulldogs. Aspirin is one of several causal agents behind chronic gastritis that can cause painful lesions inside your dog's tummy, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Never give your dog any medicine, even if you know it's dog-safe, without talking to your veterinarian first. Some antibiotics, prescribed to stave of bacterial illnesses, and other medical treatments also are linked to canine gastritis.
Disease and Infestation
While many cases of gastritis are temporary and relatively easy to manage, the condition can be associated with a more insidious and dangerous threat to your dog's health. Inflammatory bowel disease, dysfunction of the endocrine system and pancreatitis are a few of the possible causes that could be responsible for your dog's sour stomach. Disease-related gastritis usually is chronic rather than acute, so digestive trouble, lack of appetite and lethargy may become the norm until the problem is resolved. Infestations of intestinal parasites and some types of fungal toxins also could be to blame.
Your dog's case of diarrhea or vomiting could just mean that something in his daily diet isn't agreeing with him. While many dog owners deny giving their dog "people food," you will be hard-pressed to find a bulldog who hasn't enjoyed a few table scraps from time to time. Regular commercial food brands also can contain allergens, however, so there is no guarantee that your dog is allergen-free if he only eats dog food. Ask your vet about what brands of food are appropriate for your dog if he is diagnosed with food allergies.
- Bulldog image by Benjamin Huseman from Fotolia.com