This guide explores a few natural remedies for dog digestive problems, including the possibility of using CBD oil for your dog's stomach issues. Today, CBD as a nutraceutical may be beneficial for your dog’s upset stomach from diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.
Dog Digestive Problems, Remedies, & More
Does your dog struggle with digestive issues? This article looks at a few of the most common causes, when to seek immediate veterinary attention, as well as some natural remedies for your dog with mild tummy aches.
Symptoms of Dog Stomach Problems
Signs that your dog is having some gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort of any kind are important to pay attention to. Of course, symptoms of GI issues in dogs can range from mild to severe and be either predictable or intermittent.
Be sure to take good notes when you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog. Note the time of day and changes in diet, and be sure to investigate your dog’s stool. These notes can be very important when it comes to giving your vet the clues they need to make a prompt and accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms of GI upset can include :
- Changes in appetite and/or water intake
- Sensitivity to being touched in the abdomen
- Constipation or straining while defecating
- Excessive gas
- Weight loss
- Dry heaving or gagging
- Drooling or “swallowing air” or “air licking”
- Changes in bowel movements including frequency or time of day
- Suddenly having accidents in the house
- Fatigue or other changes in the desire to do things
- Excessive or unusual stretching of the abdominal area
Should You Call The Vet If Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach?
Just like with people, a dog’s stomach problems may come and go in a day or even in a few hours. You don’t always have to drive your dog to the emergency vet just because they have a bit of tummy trouble.
However, some dog digestive problems can indeed be an emergency situation and others require veterinary treatment to get better.
Take your dog to the vet IMMEDIATELY if you see the following symptoms:
- A swollen or hard belly
- Dry heaving, particularly after a large meal or exercise
- Severe pain and discomfort in the abdomen
- Panting and restlessness accompanied by pain and distress
- Blood in the vomit or in the stool
- You suspect your dog may have eaten dangerous plants, chemicals, drugs, or poisonous foods such as chocolate
- Your dog has swallowed something indigestible such as a child’s toy
- Extreme weakness or collapse
- Your dog’s rectal temperature is elevated above 102 degrees F
Call your vet to see if a visit is warranted if you see the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea or vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours
- Mild pain, discomfort, or sensitivity in the stomach lasting more than 24 hours
- Unwillingness to eat for more than 24 hours
- Lack of bowel movement for more than 24 hours
Common Causes of Dog Indigestion
There are many different potential causes for why your dog has an upset stomach. Proper diagnosis and prompt treatment by a veterinarian can make a big difference in your dog’s quality of life.
The following are some of the more common causes of GI problems in dogs:
Bloat is a condition where the stomach twists and traps gas that builds until the stomach ruptures. It is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency vet care and, in some cases, surgery to release the gas.
The exact causes of bloat are not fully understood. However, large-chested breeds seem to be most susceptible. Feeding your dog smaller meals and reducing exercise after meals may help to prevent bloat in dogs.
Intestinal Obstruction or Puncture
Another potential emergency situation can occur when your dog eats something large and indigestible enough to cause an obstruction in the intestines . Or, if your dog swallows something sharp that can actually puncture the gut.
If left untreated, bowel obstruction or puncture can quickly become life-threatening and do permanent damage to the intestines. If you or your vet suspect an obstruction, the first step in treatment will likely include x-rays to track the obstruction and determine a further course of action.
Food Intolerance or Allergies
Just like people, canines sometimes struggle with allergies or food sensitivities to specific ingredients. While this is not necessarily an emergency, proper identification and removal of the offending ingredient will make a major difference in your dog’s quality of life and overall health.
Your vet may recommend an elimination diet trial to identify ingredients in dog food that your dog may be reactive to.
Gastrointestinal Diseases in Dogs
There are many different diseases that can impact your dog’s digestive health including autoimmune diseases and gastrointestinal conditions. Examples include gastroenteritis , pancreatitis , and colitis .
Veterinary diagnosis of GI diseases in canines may include blood and fecal tests. Proper treatment for most of these conditions can vastly improve your furry friend’s quality of life and overall health.
Parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, or giardia can cause many digestive problems for dogs. The most common parasites known to infect dogs can be easily prevented with a regular worming regime available through your veterinarian.
If you suspect your dog may have been poisoned, it is an emergency situation. Since dogs explore their world with their nose and mouth, poisoning is not uncommon and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Common causes of dog poisoning include:
- People food (example: chocolate, artificial sweeteners)
- Drugs (including recreational and medicinal pharmaceuticals)
- Lawn and garden chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides
- Household chemicals
In addition, sometimes commercial dog food that has spoiled can cause fatal poisoning. Be sure to check the use-by date on every package of food you buy and visually inspect and smell your dog’s food before feeding.
Changes in Diet
If you have recently changed your dog’s food, you may see signs of stomach upset. It is recommended that you change food gradually to give your pooch a chance to adjust to their new food.
If symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort are severe or last more than a day, go back to the old food and consult with your vet.
Natural Remedies for Dog Digestive Problems
The fact is, some dogs just have sensitive stomachs that flare up from time to time causing discomfort, loose stools, or other mild symptoms of GI upset.
What should you feed your dog with an upset stomach?
If you have already had your dog checked by a vet and these mild episodes continue intermittently, you may want to try some of the following home remedies to help your dog with regularity and overall intestinal health:
CBD For Your Dog’s Upset Stomach
Digestive issues can affect your furry best friend at any time. Your dog may have issues with abdominal pain, bloating, shock, diarrhea, vomiting or regurgitation. Digestive disorders are probably among the most common reasons we take our pets to the vet for. Today, CBD as a nutraceutical may be beneficial for your dog’s upset stomach from diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.
Digestive disorders are relatively easy- to- spot, with symptoms ranging from diarrhea and vomiting. Understanding the most common digestive problems in dogs, and how CBD may be effective will help you when your furry best friend has digestive issues. Stomach problems in dogs can result from something as simple as a change in diet to excess stress in your dog’s life. They may also be serious and need immediate veterinary care.
Digestive issues present as two types-acute and chronic. Your veterinarian will treat them according to the causes and symptoms. The most common issues are vomiting and diarrhea to weight loss and inappetence.
Gastroenteritis refers to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It normally occurs in the stomach and intestines resulting from a bacterial infection, parasites, or viruses. They can also come about from a reaction to a medication or a change in diet.
Diarrhea in Dogs
This is a sign of a digestive disorder and can be attributed to numerous causes. Watery diarrhea that has a large volume is usually linked to hypersecretion. This is a condition when there is excess fluid that is secreted into the intestines, and maybe the result of a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by malabsorption where the body is unable to properly absorb nutrients.
Malabsorption comes about when there’s a defect in the intestinal cells that are responsible for absorption. This can be due to viruses like parvovirus, coronavirus, and rotavirus. It can also be caused by defects that would limit the ability of the intestines to absorb liquids. Defects in the pancreatic secretions that are needed for effective digestion also cause malabsorption.
Diarrhea can result in dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in dogs, which may result in shock. That said, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to check for specific disorders or diseases affecting the digestive system.
Drugs may not be beneficial in every case involving diarrhea or constipation. Dogs will sometimes be prone to diarrhea when they need to get rid of harmful organisms and their toxins. Additionally, some of these drugs may not be beneficial in treating the condition. Your veterinarian may also recommend fluid and electrolyte replacement to prevent dehydration if your dog has severe vomiting or diarrhea.
If your dog is suffering from one of the most dangerous conditions, bloat, immediate emergency veterinary care is critical in which a stomach tube or surgery may be recommended, if the digestive tract is distended with gas, food, or fluid.
Dogs can easily be affected by foreign organisms that enter the mouth. Infections are spread in the way of direct contact or when food or water is contaminated. Although dogs have a certain amount of intestinal microorganisms in the digestive tract, found mostly in the intestines, these florae are good in helping with digestion, and in preventing infections in your dog.
Infections can occur when these organisms multiply which happens during stressful times, or when food or water is not fresh or clean. Dogs that have a weakened immune system will also be prone to having infectious diseases.
Your veterinarian will try to eliminate the cause of an infectious disease that involves drugs to kill parasites or bacteria, remedies for poisons or toxins. If there is a defect, surgery may be recommended. If there is pain involved, pain meds will be prescribed, but your dog will need to be monitored to ensure that the pain meds are not making the condition worse. Here’s the take on meds used for both bacterial and parasitic diseases:
- Oral antibiotics are given for bacterial infections for several days
- Injectable antibiotics for septicemia (blood poisoning) is likely
- Antibacterial meds
Your veterinarian will make a decision on whether to use antiparasitic drugs to control gastrointestinal parasites in your dog. The response to any of these treatments is fast, yet a combination of good hygiene is important to prevent reinfection. A balanced and high-quality diet is important along with regular veterinary care to prevent infectious diseases in dogs.
The causes of non-infectious diseases that affect the digestive system will include the following:
- Consuming a low-quality diet
- Consuming a foreign object that results with injury to the digestive system
- Enzyme deficiencies
- Gastric ulcers
Digestive system diseases include symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea due to kidney, adrenal gland, or liver failure. The causes of bloat or gastric torsion are still unknown.
Parasites will usually be the most common cause for triggering- off digestive tract disorders in dogs. Parasites can affect your dog’s well-being, overall fitness, and may result in serious disease. Some parasites only have one host with both eggs and larva distributed in the feces. This is infectious.
Fecal testing needs to be done at least twice yearly in both cats and dogs so that intestinal parasites can be screened for. Dogs with parasites that are responsible for a GI illness will have symptoms that include diarrhea and vomiting. De-worming is done to kill all parasites with a follow-up test to ensure that the dog is free of parasites.
Tests for GI illness in Dogs
GI illness that includes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs also includes fecal testing. Your veterinarian may do several tests to diagnose GI. These tests may include:
- Microscopic fecal examination
- Fecal Gram’s stain (to check for abnormal bacteria overgrowth)
- Elisa Test to check for protozoa parasite Giardia
- Fecal PCR test to check for the DNA of numerous parasites, bacterial toxins, and bacteria.
Gastrointestinal Problems and Kidney Failure
C hronic or long-term kidney disease may result in severe kidney damage. This will happen slowly and may continue for months. Your veterinarian will classify one of the four stages after tests and physical examinations are done.
With Stage 4, which is the final stage, your dog will have an accumulation of waste products in the bloodstream. He or she will also be very ill. Your dog’s diet will need to be modified to ensure that there is less phosphorus, and your veterinarian may recommend supplementing his diet with fish oil, and following up with all the necessary medications.
Nausea and vomiting are common with kidney failure, and dogs will start to lose their appetite and lose weight. With uremic gastritis, vomiting is seen in the later stages of kidney failure. Affected dogs may also develop stomach ulcers and vomit blood during the later stages of this disease.
There are also special diets that are recommended for kidney disease. Follow-up visits every month are recommended, where your veterinarian will focus on easing symptoms and pain in your dog. This will include limiting certain proteins or having intravenous fluids or feeding tubes.
With motion sickness, dogs will have a poor appetite, drool excessively, vomit, and also whine and yawn. Poor appetite continues for several hours after travel. It can usually be seen during air, car or ship travel.
Your veterinarian may prescribe meds to prevent motion sickness, and may also recommend tranquilizers or sedatives, and also meds to prevent nausea and vomiting. Taking pups traveling from a young age will help your dog throughout his life, and will minimize motion sickness later on.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid that yields therapeutic and medicinal benefits for all dogs. To help you understand more about the benefits of CBD oil for dogs that have lost their appetite, CBD studies have shown that CBD may be beneficial in improving appetite, easing chronic pain, helping with digestive and skin issues and more!
CBD oil for pets contains 113 plus phytocannabinoids which work together as a therapeutic supplement. THC is the one phytocannabinoid that is not included in CBD pet products. Because hemp plants have low levels of THC, to begin with, it makes it easier for hemp farmers to further eliminate THC levels even further so ensure 100% safety for all cats, dogs, and horses.
Hemp CBD has a higher cannabidiol concentration, and lower THC level compared to marijuana. Hemp is a natural supplement, that cannot be overdosed on. It’s safe and non-toxic, and excess cannabidiol is excreted. That said, it’s much healthier than giving your dog Benadryl or pain meds that may have long-term side effects, and harm the kidneys and liver, although with serious illnesses your dog will need to have pain meds and drugs.
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2018 Study Demonstrating CBD Oil for Nausea & Loss of Appetite
A 2018 study shows how cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective in preventing nausea. The study adds that the researchers “ observed a surge in levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the rat interoceptive insular cortex (IIC) — a brain region responsible for nausea in humans — following injection with the nauseating chemical compound lithium chloride. This increase in serotonin and subsequent gaping behavior (a behavior displayed by rodents to flavors paired with a nauseating treatments) was prevented by treatment with cannabidiol — a form of cannabis that does not contain the component found in recreational marijuana responsible for the drug’s psychotropic effects,” via EurekAlert.
The study goes on to add that “Treatment with a drug that elevates the endogenous cannabinoid, 2-AG, also prevented the elevation of serotonin in the IIC by activating the cannabinoid type 1 receptor. These findings implicate the endocannabinoid system and IIC serotonin release in the sensation of nausea, opening up new therapeutic opportunities to explore in future research.”
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system which controls endocrine processes. When it activates the receptors in the brain and body, CBD also influences the endocrine system. This system consists of a group of tissues that release hormones into the bloodstream, which in turn travel to other parts of the dog’s body.
CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Some hormones will only act on a single tissue, while other hormones affect the whole body. When cannabidiol is used in dogs with reduced appetite, it triggers a “jump-start” on the endocannabinoid system and stimulates appetite. Cannabidiol acts on the endocannabinoid receptors and affects the receptors by regulating neural transmissions. CBD oil for dogs is helpful in the treatment of numerous conditions without taking on the intoxicating effect of marijuana.
Hemp CBD for pets contain phyto-cannabinoids, terpenes and fatty acids which support a huge range of ailments like phobias, anxiousness joint pain, inflammation, digestive issues, mobility, seizures, and anxiety. Today, there are numerous studies that indicate that CBD for pets may have many uses, some of which traditional meds fail to match.
CBD & Seizures
A 2019 randomized clinical trial on cannabidiol by Dr. Stephanie McGrath found that “ Dogs in the CBD group had a significant (median change, 33%) reduction in seizure frequency, compared with the placebo group. However, the proportion of dogs considered responders to treatment (≥ 50% decrease in seizure activity) was similar between groups. Plasma CBD concentrations were correlated with a reduction in seizure frequency. Dogs in the CBD group had a significant increase in serum alkaline phosphatase activity. No adverse behavioral effects were reported by owners,” via PubMed. The study adds that additional research is needed to determine whether a higher dosage of CBD would be effective in reducing seizure activity in dogs by 50%.
Cannabidiol May Be Beneficial for Digestive Health in Dogs
First and foremost, if your dog is showing signs of illness, consult with your veterinarian for treatment. Some signs of digestive issues in dogs can be serious like poisoning, bloat, pancreatitis, liver or kidney failure or an obstruction in the gut or stomach. CBD does not replace veterinary care or treatment.
Gut Health & The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The ECS includes a series of receptors, specialized proteins, and neurotransmitters that all work together to regulate your dog’s body functions. With gastrointestinal motility issues, the ECS is important in regulating GI motility in dogs. In addition, research has found that cannabidiol is effective in improving gastrointestinal motility. It does so by reducing inflammation and allowing for the proper functioning of the digestive tract.
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CBD as an Antibiotic
Another 2019, CBD study from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience with Dr. Blaskovich and his team of researchers together with Botanix Pharmaceuticals LTD, published in the American Society of Microbiology, found that cannabidiol is beneficial in fighting gram-positive bacteria like staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumonia, with potencies similar to that of established antibiotics such as vancomycin or daptomycin. It’s now being researched for its potential as an antibiotic.
CBD for Inflammation Reduction in Dogs
A 2017 study concludes that “Given cannabidiol’s documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation. The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and the potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive,” via Science Daily.” Importantly, the drug retained its activity against bacteria that have become highly resistant to other common antibiotics. Under extended exposure conditions that lead to resistance against vancomycin or daptomycin, Cannabidiol did not lose effectiveness. Cannabidiol was also effective at disrupting biofilms, a physical form of bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections.”
Leading research published in Frontiers of Pharmacology adds that cannabidiol treatment improves endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in mesenteric arteries of Zucker diabetic fatty rats. It concludes that “ this study has shown that a short in vivo treatment protocol with CBD was associated with improvements in endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in mesenteric arteries, and an improvement in the profile of cardiovascular and metabolic parameters,” via Frontiers Media SA.
Today, we understand how closely gut health is related to other body systems like the central nervous system and the immune system. With the endocannabinoid system playing a major role in the gut/brain axis of dogs, it seems that CBD hemp pet products may be beneficial for your dog’s stomach problems. ECS helps regulate digestive signals and transmissions in the body. Receptors (CB1 and CB2) work better with support when the dog’s stomach is upset
It can also be used as a preventative care supplement to boost optimal health in pets.
CBD Oil for Dogs
Cannabidiol oil works together with the ECS to support gut health. If you’re opting to purchase a CBD tincture for your furry best friend as a digestive aid, be sure to look out for the following:
- Organic CBD oil
- Specifically formulated for pets
- Offers accurate and informative dosing information
- Offers a certificate of analysis (COA)
CBD can help pets with Irritable Bowel Disease, gastritis, food allergies, and other stomach issues. Additionally, it may be beneficial for both parasites and infections. Studies are still ongoing. Cannabidiol pet products that are of a high-quality CBD oil can also help to reduce the effects of traditional veterinary medications to help dogs feel more comfortable while they’re being treated.
CBD may help by increasing your dog’s appetite, and also by boosting your dog’s weakened immune system. Cannabidiol tinctures or treats are also beneficial for reducing stress and pain in dogs that are suffering from an upset stomach.
All in all, you’ll need to zero- in on all your dog’s health issues with your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment options. With CBD pet products touted for so many health issues from anxiety and pain relief to seizure reduction and even cancer support, deciding on which CBD pet products to use may seem daunting. Consult with a holistic veterinarian about how to use hemp-derived pet products, and as always, discuss the best dosage and potencies for your dog’s specific illness.