Having a pooch with a consistently grumbly tum can be upsetting and, being honest, really rather smelly. So what do you do if you suspect that your dog has eaten something that hasn't quite agreed with him? We asked our friendly, and very clever vet Dr Scott Miller for his advice on what to look out for if you suspect your dog may have a food intolerance.
Dr Scott says:
"Dietary intolerances in pets are very common, and just like their humans not all foods suit all individuals. Dietary intolerances are different to allergies but can present in a similar way and tend to be treated similarly too. An intolerance to food is where your pets gut does not digest that particular nutritional ingredient well, whereas allergies provoke a response by their immune system leading to an allergic reaction. Intolerances to food can present as vomiting or soft, inconsistent stools and excessive wind. Other symptoms can include weight loss, abdominal discomfort and noise, while food allergies can cause these symptoms and also skin irritation, coughing or sneezing.
Certain breeds of dog can be more pre-disposed to food intolerances and allergies, so it is worth doing your research and speaking to your Vet, when starting to feed your new puppy or kitten.
If your pet constantly seems to have soft, poorly formed faeces and bad gas, and you believe that they might be suffering with a dietary allergy or intolerance, it is worth bringing a poo sample and your furry friend to see your Vet. They may try a dietary exclusion trial, basically where all but one protein source features in your dogs diet, and that includes treats and titbits.
You can try to experiment at home by just simplifying their diet, offering one flavour of good quality, completely balanced food and sticking to it for 6-8 weeks. It does take a while to cleanse the system and for any allergic reaction to calm down, hence the long time frame, switching to a different protein source if you don't see any improvement. If things are going well, you could always try and re-introduce a new foodstuff, though always do it one at a time and take notice of their faeces over the coming days to ensure it has been well received.
In my experience, as much as we want our dogs to enjoy the 'spice of life' when it comes to food, keeping it simple can bode well for a healthy gut, healthy pet and happy pet parent!"
At Barking Heads we pride ourselves on making top notch doggie dinners, including a variety of single-source protein recipes including salmon, beef and duck. And if you're looking for a different protein for your dogs dinners you could even consider our Plant-Powered Pooches recipe for a meat-free alternative.
For those of you looking to exclude wheat and grains from your furry friend's diet, Barking Heads and Meowing Heads also have a number of grain-free recipes that may be suitable for your pet to enjoy.