Your Dog's Stomach

Dogs eat the strangest things. But while some canines appear to have stomachs of steel where nothing they eat irritates them, others only have to look at certain foods to have their tummies turn queasy. Like people, some dogs just seem to have stomachs that are more sensitive than others.

It's not unusual for a canine tummy to gurgle and grumble from time to time, and a few stomach rumblings here and there are nothing to worry about. Besides, it's the rare dog that doesn't vomit at least once in his lifetime. But you should be concerned if your dog has repeated episodes of vomiting.

Why do dogs eat grass and then throw it up?

Many reasons are suspected. Maybe dogs just like the taste of grass, or perhaps eating grass helps them rid their stomachs of an irritation. They could also be trying to supplement commercial or unbalanced home-cooked diets lacking essential nutrients and fiber.

There's often no apparent reason for this discomfort, but in some cases there are a few good explanations. Sometimes, the problem is caused by overeating. At other times, ingesting rotten or tainted food or food that's difficult to digest will cause tummy upsets. But your dog does not have to suffer from digestion problems. Preventing him from rooting through garbage cans and compost piles helps avoid stomach issues. It's also a good idea to keep all toxic substances, such as antifreeze, human prescription medications, cleaning products, fertilizers, and pesticides out of paw's reach. Dogs can suffer from a range of afflictions that affect their gastrointestinal well-being, including the following:

  • Bacterial infections

  • Cancer

  • Food allergies

  • Foreign substances in the digestive tract

  • Infectious diseases

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Kidney or liver failure

  • Metabolic diseases

  • Pancreatic disease

  • Viral infections

All About Digestion

When a dog's digestive system is working properly, the typical meal takes between seven and ten hours to pass through the digestive system. Digestive problems can begin anywhere along the GI tract. Sharp, specially shaped molars break down the food by gripping, tearing, and shredding it. This aids the digestive process by helping to digest animal flesh and fat. Saliva lubricates the food as it makes its way down the esophagus.

If your dog has severe or frequent vomiting and diarrhea that persists for more than two days, she may become dehydrated and malnourished. Call the veterinarian immediately. He may ask you to bring in a fecal sample. If your dog has watery diarrhea without blood or mucus and shows no sign of straining when defecating, it may indicate inflammation of the small intestine.

The stomach produces hydrochloric acid. This is necessary to help break down animal proteins, bones, and fat. A fluid known as chyme migrates into the small intestine to combine with other digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas and liver. These enzymes add carbohydrate and fat digestion — converting carbohydrates to simple sugars, fats to fatty acids, and proteins to amino acids. When the food reaches the large intestine, the nutrients have been absorbed into the system and whatever remains is disposed of as stool.

  1. Home
  2. Natural Health for Dogs
  3. Gastrointestinal Problems
  4. Your Dog's Stomach
Visit other About.com sites: