If your dog has runny poo, bad breath and can clear a room in 32 seconds with its emissions, then you could have a dog with digestion problems.
Digestion issues are becoming more and more common. They’re right up there with skin conditions – itching and hot-spots. These conditions make up a large percentage of the time you spend at the vet and were uncommon just a few decades ago.
To find out why we need to look at how our dogs digest food.
How do dogs digest?
A dog’s digestive system, whilst similar to that of humans, has some significant differences.
Dogs teeth are there for shearing off breaking up the food into smaller pieces – with not a lot of chewing. Quite often a dog will not chew at all, just swallow the food.
The food then passes through to the dog’s very acid stomach after swallowing. This is where the main digestion occurs. A dog’s stomach is highly acidic with a pH of 1-2 (compared to a human range of 3-4).
Whilst we digest mainly in the intestines, a lot of digestion in dogs occurs in the stomach.
That’s why they can swallow large pieces of meat and not have a problem!
The stomach has a layer of mucous which protects the stomach walls from the acid.
A dog stomach is capable of greatly expanding to hold up to 5% of the dog’s own weight in food. The more food in the belly – the more they are able to digest. This enables them to feast when food is plentiful, such as after a successful hunt (back in the day).
After time in the stomach the food moves out into the intestines, where it is mixed with bile, bacteria and various enzymes to help break it down, and is agitated back and forth.
Tiny food particles are absorbed across the wall of the small intestine, water through the wall of the large intestines. The left-over waste emerges from the other end as faeces. If digestion is slow or poor, then a lot of smelly gas arises – which needs to be expelled too!
What should a dog eat?
Now this is where it gets super important.
A dog is an omnivore (not a carnivore) so they eat meat, bones, offal, pre-ground vegetables (mimicking the stomachs of small prey), head, brains, eye balls, eggs, rotten fruit… the lot – not just the meat. It is also important that the fruit & veg are finely ground up.
Raw food is the healthiest for most dogs.
Most processed foods are cooked and cooking destroys about 70% of any of the good nutrients in meat – so another good reason to be avoided.Just like us, a dog will suffer from digestive issues if it’s fed heavily processed food. This means:- Cans, Kibble and Cooked Rolls. These are foods are not optimum for your dog’s health – no matter how good the ingredients are supposed to be.
What dogs shouldn’t eat
This is equally important. Dogs are not meant to eat much in the way of carbohydrates. Their natural diets were mainly protein and fat, with few carbs and perhaps only a small amount of ground vegetable matter. They are just not set up to digest carbs.
Most commercial foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates – up to 80% in some cases.
Carbs can only be digested with a pH of 4-6. Because dog’s rarely have that amount, they can’t do anything with carbs other than gain weight, generate sloppy poo and increased gases.
Carbs can be found in all grains including rice and pasta. Dogs would never naturally eat a dish of these high carb foods and so grains are best avoided for most dogs, most of the time.In some extreme cases, the gas production can contribute to severe bloating which can be life threatening.
Feeding raw can be a pain in the butt., difficult to do and very confusing If you don’t have the time, or really know what a raw diet should contain, then Frontier Pets could have just what you’re looking for.
Frontier Pet food is a freeze-dried raw food. The freeze-drying process extracts the water from the raw ingredients, leaving a dry food that you can just keep in the cupboard. When you’re ready to feed, you just add the water back in, or you can feed as is, dry, like a kibble. What is also great about it is that it contains only 100% ethically sources ingredients – so it’s free-range and organic.
What you will likely find is that after just a few weeks of feeding raw is that your dog’s poo will be firm and smaller in quantity. If they’ve got itchy, smelly skin then it’s likely to go away. If they fart – then these will likely go away too!
It’s all good.
Source material from: Dr Kathy Cornack and Dr Clare Middle – holistic vets and animal nutritionists.