Just like the human digestive system, a dog’s digestive system also begins with the mouth. It includes organs that help in eating and digesting food. The digestive system of a dog consists of the following organs:
Digestion begins when a dog starts chewing the food. Saliva contains some enzymes that begin to break down the food. These enzymes also make it easy to swallow the food. As the food enters the stomach, more juices are mixed in the food to further break it down. The intestines absorb nutrients and the waste is eliminated. This is how your dog’s body gets the essential nutrients. Proper digestion is also important to maintain a proper balance of electrolytes and fluid in the body.
The following are the four functions of the digestive system:
Food is digested, nutrients are absorbed, movements occur through the digestive tract and in the end, waste is eliminated in the form of faeces.
If you feel that your dog is not active enough, not eating or eating less, there might be some issue with the digestive system. Call a veterinarian for dog care in Cornwell. Depending on the symptoms, the veterinarian identifies the digestive system’s part that is not functioning properly. This is followed by some questions related to diet and medical history of the pet. This information helps in identifying the causes of the problem. In the end, the veterinarian determines the appropriate treatment and gives some important instructions.
Signs of Digestive System Problems
You may notice the following when there is something wrong with your dog’s digestive system:
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Regurgitation or vomiting
- Straining to defecate
- Abdominal pain or bloating
Depending on the signs, the veterinarian determines the location, causes and nature of the problem. If there is something wrong with the oesophagus, jaw, teeth or mouth, the pet will find it difficult to bite chew or swallow food. Inflammation of the intestine or the stomach lining causes infection or irritation. This is the primary cause of vomiting. However, there can be some other causes of vomiting such as kidney disease or some other non-digestive conditions. Diarrhoea occurs when there is something wrong with the digestive system. However, there can be some other causes of diarrhea. Hypersecretion causes large volume, watery diarrhea. This can happen due to a bacterial infection as well. Malabsorption occurs when intestines are unable to absorb nutrients properly. This can also be a cause of diarrhea.
Intestines and stomach lining contain cells that absorb nutrients. Nutrients are not absorbed properly when there is some defect in these cells. The following are some of the viruses responsible for this condition:
- Canine parvovirus
Any defect that limits the intestines’ ability to absorb liquids may also cause malabsorption. Newburn pups may not be able to digest lactose. As a result, feeding milk can also cause diarrhoea. Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration may cause shock. This happens due to fluid loss due to diarrhoea or some other condition.
Any changes in the frequency, consistency or colour of faeces also indicate some digestive system problems. If you notice black, tarry faeces, there might be bleeding in the small intestine or stomach. Inflammation in anus or rectum may be responsible for straining during bowel movements. Ingested food, fluid or gas accumulation can cause bloating (abdominal distention). This happens when muscles in the digestive system are not active enough. Abdominal membranes inflammation or stretching causes abdominal pain. Whining, abnormal postures and pacing are signs of abdominal pain.
Don’t ignore any symptoms of digestive problems. Ensure timely dog care in Cornwall by calling a veterinarian.