What Causes Digestive Health Problems In Dogs?

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Digestive health problems (which may include symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation, stomach ache or vomiting) are common in dogs and can be caused by a variety of different things. Here are some of the big causes to look out for so that you can prevent/treat them. 

Toxic foods

A number of human foods such as onions, grapes and dark chocolate are very toxic to dogs. These foods can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and – in more serious cases – death. 

Always be careful when eating or cooking with these foods around dogs. If you suspect your dog has eaten such foods, see a vet immediately.

Poor diet

Other foods may not be toxic to dogs, but could still be unhealthy for your dog’s gut. This includes many human processed foods, as well as poor quality dog foods (which for some dogs with sensitive guts can cause gassiness and diarrhea). 

Make sure to feed your dog high quality dog food. If your dog has a sensitive gut, you may want to buy Burgess sensitive dog food online or another similar brand. Try to avoid giving your dog human processed foods like cheese, bread and cakes. 

Change in diet

Sometimes changing to a new dog food brand or a raw diet can cause a dog to have the runs. This is usually only temporary as their gut adjusts to it – if you notice permanent issues, you may want to stop using that brand of food.

Transitioning food gradually can help to avoid digestive problems. This could include switching back and forth between an old dog food brand and a new dog food brand for a few days. 


If dogs eat too much or eat too quickly, they can develop a painful and potentially life-threatening condition called bloat in which their whole abdomen becomes swollen. This is common in younger dogs and larger breeds.

You can avoid bloat by watching how much your dog eats. Scoff bowls as compared here at K9 of Mine can be useful for slowing down dogs that eat their food too quickly. If you think your dog is experiencing bloat, you should see a vet immediately. 


Dogs can sometimes eat large objects whole, which can become stuck in their gut. These obstructions can cause severe constipation – they often need to be surgically removed by a vet. 

Puppies are most prone to this problem. By supervising puppies and watching what they put in their mouths, you can usually prevent them developing obstructions (common objects that can develop obstructions include rocks, bones and toys). 

Chemical poisoning

Dogs can sometimes get poisoned by accidentally consuming household chemicals such as detergent or pesticides. A dog may display various symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach pain and vomiting when this occurs and should be taken to a vet straight away.

Prevent this danger by locking away all household chemicals in cupboards or by placing them out of reach. 

Worms and parasites

Dogs can eat various larvae found in dirt, pond water or stools. This may result in parasites developing in the gut. Such parasites could result in constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting or worms in stools.

It could be worth taking your dog to a vet to be dewormed if you suspect this to be the case. You can avoid such parasites by watching what your dog eats and not letting them into stagnant water. 

Viruses and bacteria

Dogs can also develop various digestive problems from viruses and bacterial infections. These can be passed on from other dogs or could be picked up from sources such as stagnant water or eating stools. Certain viral infections may be prevented by vaccinations. It’s worth taking your dog to a vet if you suspect a virus or bacterial infection to be the cause.

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