We all have an upset tummy once in a while, but when your pet's stomach is on the fritz, it can be the absolute worst. A dog's farts are, hands down, the most vicious smells in the universe. But how do we get rid of our pet's nasty digestive issues? There are a few steps we can take and measures to try and alleviate our pet's -- and our -- discomfort.
You know how maybe you could've eaten spicy food when you were younger, but now it gives you heartburn? The same is true for your pet: the food that worked great for them last year might not work for them now. The easiest thing you can do when your pet is having digestive issues is to try switching their food. Below are some options for switching food when trying to prevent digestive issues in your dog or cat.
Keep A Food/Poop Diary
If your pet has recurring digestive issues, you may want to keep a food diary. Keep track of how many treats and food they've consumed, as well as anything else they may have eaten. On the other side of things (if you get what we mean), make notes if they're having smelly farts or irregular poops. This record will help you as you begin to switch things up. And remember: if your pet has prolonged (>24 hrs) diarrhea or the appearance of blood (red or black) in the stool, skip these tips and head straight to your vet.
Eliminating Non-Pet Food Items From Their Diet
The first thing you can do to change your pet's diet is removing access to things that they're not supposed to eat. Yes, that means hiding your pizza crusts, shopping bags (why do cats LOVE shopping bags??), cat food (from your dog), dog food (from your cat), and anything else your pet might be digesting that is not part of their normal diet. If you've been feeding a lot of treats, reduce or eliminate the treats temporarily to see if those are causing the problem. If your dog is a dumpster diver, try using a child lock on your trash can to encourage good behavior.
Things To Add: Probiotics and Fiber
Just like humans, when our pets digestive systems get a little rough, adding probiotics and fiber can help. Probiotics are collections of healthy microorganisms that help us digest our food easier. They normally live in the gut, but sometimes can get disrupted, so giving your pet a probiotics supplement can help them return to normal. Similarly, giving your pet some fiber can help firm up runny poops and make your pet more regular.
Things To Add: Raw Food
Sometimes, your pet just needs food that is a little less processed. Raw food is food that has not been cooked or has been only minimally altered from its original state. We're not talking about raw steak here: raw food is made in USDA grade facilities, packaged, and sold in the frozen section of your favorite pet store (hint: that's us!). You can add a little bit of raw food to top your pet's kibble and see if that changes how their digestive system processes food.
Things To Change: Your Pet's Kibble
If you've tried the things above and still aren't getting the results you need, it might be time to switch brands or flavors of pet food. You can try switching meat or grain sources in the diet to see if that helps, e.g., if you've been feeding chicken, switch to a salmon flavor. Sometimes certain proteins just don't sit well after you've eaten them every day for a long time, and the same is true for your pet.
Next Step: Vet Visit
If adding food toppings like probiotics, or adding raw food, or changing the kibble didn't help, it may be time to visit your vet. Bring a stool sample so that they can test for parasites. Your vet may prescribe a special food, a course of antibiotics or dewormers, or have some other steps that you can take to help your pet with their digestive issues.