Signs & Symptoms of Intestinal Problems in Dogs

by Quentin Coleman, Demand Media

    Watching a pet suffer from digestive problems is a scary situation for any dog owner. Intestinal distress has a wide range of causes and symptoms in dogs, some of which can be very alarming. Not every intestinal problem is serious, but some of them can be life-threatening.

    Malnutrition

    Dogs are potential hosts to various intestinal parasites, which siphon nutrients from food that the dog consumes or directly from the bloodstream. Even if the dog is eating his regular amount of food, he may be literally starving to death if there are enough parasites leeching from his system. Your dog may also starve himself if his bowels or stomach are in pain, which can be a sign of serious intestinal diseases like cancer.

    Diarrhea

    As disgusting as it may sound, it is a good idea to pay attention to your dog while he goes to the bathroom. If he consistently has diarrhea, then he might be having some intestinal trouble. Diarrhea is the result of excessive intestinal activity. The feces moves through the organ too quickly, so there is too much water in it when it is released. This can dehydrate your dog very quickly, so he will likely spend more time at the water bowl than he used to.

    Internal Bleeding

    If your dog's stool is dark or reddish, or if it contains obvious traces of blood, then your furry friend is probably suffering from digestive dysfunction. While it is certainly scary to see blood in your dog's feces, it does not necessarily mean that he has a serious disease. However, you should take him to a vet as soon as you can. Blood may indicate the presence of parasites, ulcers, physical abrasions or infections.

    Constipation

    If your dog frequently begs to go outside, but doesn't take care of his business once you let him out, then he may be suffering from constipation. Constipation can result from an inappropriate daily diet, an infestation of intestinal parasites or a physical obstruction. If your dog is constipated, he will spend a lot of time hunched over as if to defecate without accomplishing anything. He may also yelp in pain frequently while attempting to use the bathroom.

    About the Author

    Quentin Coleman has written for several news publications as well as the University of Delaware's public relations department. He also spent more than 10 years working with a local animal shelter to help nurse kittens, treat sick cats and domesticate feral animals. Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.