Your senior dog’s digestion – It’s not a very appealing topic of discussion, but it is an important one. After all, your dog’s digestive system does many important things for them: it takes in food, absorbs nutrients, maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, and gets rid of waste. And you can learn a lot about your older dog’s health by getting the scoop on their poop. So let’s talk about it. Shall we?
Having anything to do with dog poop is unpleasant – picking it up in the yard or when you’re out for a walk, cleaning it up when it’s inside the house. But when your dog turns ill and their poop isn’t quite right, you will be asked about its texture and consistency. The vet will want to know what it looks like. They might even ask you to bring in a fresh sample. Ewwwww!
In order to know what is abnormal, you as the owner must establish what is normal for your senior dog. If you monitor your dog’s poop habits daily (how often they poop and the consistency of it), you’ll know when something is wrong. It’s important to note that it can vary from day to day. For instance, some dogs have consistently softer stools or harder stools than others. Click here for a chart and fecal scoring system to help you identify dangerous changes in your dog’s poop.
What Causes Abnormalities in Your Dog’s Digestion?
Abnormalities in your dog’s digestion mean diarrhea or constipation. Here’s what causes trouble in your dog’s digestion (whether they’re young or old):
Diarrhea – caused by infections, internal parasites, stress, the introduction of a new dog food, table scraps or rich snacks, spoiled food, senior dog organ dysfunction.
- Small intestinal malabsorption – inflammation of the small intestine impairs nutrient absorption. Your dog will have persistent diarrhea, lose weight, and will lose their appetite.
- Acute gastroenteritis – caused by eating foods that aren’t good for your dog’s digestion. This includes eating spoiled or rancid foods, people food that is very high in fats, and toxic plants. If they swallow foreign objects, have internal parasites, are stressed, or develop food allergies in the senior years, they can get gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is usually short-lived and will cause your dog to vomit.
- Infection in the teeth or gums – caused a build-up of tartar. This can lead to a bacterial infection in your dog’s gums. Your senior dog has a weaker immune system due to their age. This causes them to have a harder time fighting infection.
Constipation – caused by a lack of exercise, dehydration, eating indigestible materials such as bones or other foreign objects, a diet low in fiber foods.
Treating Poop Abnormalities in Your Senior Dog
Depending on why your dog’s digestion is upset, appropriate treatment may or may not be necessary. If your older dog has diarrhea for several days, and/or there is blood in their stool, yes, take them to the vet for an examination.
And if your dog is constipated for several days, they should be seen.
Even when diarrhea or constipation occurs for short periods of time, but it occurs in combination with weight loss and a loss of appetite, your vet should be contacted. Something dangerous could be going on with your dog’s digestion.
Minimize Your Senior Dog’s Digestion Issues
A healthy digestive system is essential to your dog’s well-being. And there are things you can do to help your dog’s digestive system. Understanding the causes and effects in your dog’s digestion will go a long way towards minimizing digestive problems during their senior years.
And because the Spectra Therapy CANINE Wearable LASERwrap® activates the lymph system and increases blood flow to rapidly decrease inflammation, it's the ideal tool to minimize your senior dog's digestion issues. And you can use it in the convenience of your own home!
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