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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Quentin Coleman has written for various publications, including All Pet News and Safe to Work Australia. He spent more tan 10 years nursing kittens, treating sick animals and domesticating semi-feral cats for a local animal shelter. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.