What makes a dog’s digestive system healthy?
A healthy digestive system influences the overall health of the dog. What is a healthy digestion for your dog and how can you tell if your gastrointestinal system does not work properly?
Helping your dog maintain a healthy digestive system can improve many aspects of its overall well-being, from the quality of its bowel movements to its appearance.
How dogs digestive system works
As in other mammals, the digestive system of dogs works to break down and digest the food they eat, and absorbs the nutrients that are needed as the food passes through the different organs involved.
The small intestine is the main organ of the digestive system; Vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates are absorbed in it. This organ has a large surface area covered by different types of cells that help in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, together with microflora (“beneficial” bacteria), which contributes to the health of the intestine. The digestive system of dogs also houses the largest number of immune cells in the body, which helps protect them.
A healthy digestive system in dogs presents the right balance of “beneficial” bacteria, immune cells that work properly, so an appropriate diet for each individual will be a guarantee of health.
The effects of a sick digestive system
If your dog suffers from digestive sensitivity caused by an acute episode (usually, having eaten something he should not have), parasites or a chronic illness, he is likely to have the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Possible changes in your eating habits
- Dry, dull or brittle hair
How a dog’s diet affects his digestive system
What a dog eats affects his entire body, including his digestive system. A specific diet, adapted to the needs of your dog, can help a lot to control your digestive sensitivity and promote a healthy digestive environment.
Foods that contain prebiotics can be effective in rebalancing your dog’s microbiota and improving the health of your intestine. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria and, therefore, can influence the composition of gut bacteria.
Highly digestible and high quality proteins are essential to provide your dog with the basic components necessary for cell growth in his body. Foods that contain protein from high quality sources can help keep your dog’s digestive system healthy and prevent its digestive sensitivity from getting worse.
Dogs also need the right balance of fiber in their diet. A high quality diet should have the right balance of fiber to ensure that your dog can absorb nutrients easily without causing your intestine an unnecessary effort.
The age, breed, size and lifestyle of your dog are important aspects when choosing a diet that contributes to your good digestive health. Consult the veterinarian for more information and advice on the most appropriate feeding for your pet.