Your dog’s diet and their digestion
The food you give to your dog can affect their digestion and the microflora in their gut. A dog’s digestive system is naturally less robust than a human being’s; a varied diet can therefore cause unnecessary strain on your dog’s digestion and cause problems.
Their food needs to be highly digestible to avoid putting pressure on their system, and contain easily-absorbed essential nutrients. The most common dietary component is protein, which is commonly provided by beef, chicken and lamb meats; high-quality manufactured foods will use proteins which are more easily digested and less likely to trigger digestive problems. For example, wheat gluten is highly digestible, contains glutamine (which helps maintain digestive integrity) and is a highly concentrated protein source which also reduces the flow of indigestible proteins into the latter stages of your dog’s digestion.
Fibre is an important part of your dog’s diet but needs to regulated carefully as digesting certain types of fibre can be strenuous. Fibre can be used as part of their diet to help regulate movement in their large intestine and improve stool quality, which is particularly helpful if your dog has symptoms like diarrhoea.
Carbohydrate is an important component of your dog’s food, as they provide a great source of energy and support bodily functions. For example, fibres can support healthy gastrointestinal function and help increase satiety. A useful carbohydrate-based element in your dog’s food are prebiotics. These are substrates – almost a ‘platform’ – on which beneficial bacteria can grow and thrive in your dog’s system, helping shift the composition of microflora so it is healthier and more effective.
Fat can be a useful element in managing your dog’s digestive sensitivities. High fat diets can be effective in giving your dog the energy it needs without it having to consume large quantities of food, which may be difficult if it is struggling with swallowing. However, lower fat diets can help in instances of stomach sensitivity where it’s important for the contents to be emptied regularly and avoid causing stomach upset.
If you’ve recognised your dog is suffering from a digestive issue, make sure to visit your vet; they will be able to advise you on the best food for your dog which helps maintain a healthy system and manages their sensitivities.