Labradors are generally prone to digestive problems as they are voracious eaters. Some labs eat excessively, some eat quickly and some eat unnecessary things. These kinds of eating behaviour can cause labrador digestive problems that can be fatal to your dog sometimes.
As dogs can’t speak, it is sometimes difficult to identify the health condition of the dog. Hence the best way to assess its health is to observe its pooping and eating habits. In simple words observe its digestive habits.
Digestion is the wholesome process of breaking down food, absorption of nutrients, preventing toxin entry into the bloodstream and finally the elimination of faeces. Disturbance in any of the processes is likely to cause digestive issues in your Labrador.
The 3 general Labrador digestive problems
There might be many labrador digestive issues. But these 3 issues occur generally to your Labrador. Therefore having a better knowledge of these conditions can stop making things worse for him.
1. Labrador constipation
Excretion is a natural process of waste removal from the body. This is similar to both humans and your dogs. This process has to happen easily without any difficulty. But if your lab is struggling to pass the stools, or if it is not passing stools regularly, probably your labrador seems constipated.
How many of you neglect Canine constipation? Is it a serious issue? Yes, it is a serious issue. Neglecting constipation can cause more serious complications to your dog’s health because a poorly functioning digestive system is the root cause of all diseases in your dog. The beginning of ill-health occurs in your dogs gut.
There might be various causes for Labrador constipation such as
2. Lack of fibre in food
3. Insufficient exercise for your Lab
4. Swallowing of dirt and waste materials
5. Formation of hairballs in the stomach
6. Stressful conditions for your dog.
7. Side effects of various medications
8. Enlarged prostate
9. Kidney diseases
10. Tumours around the anal region
Not only these reasons, but there might also be a list of factors that cause labrador constipation. Hence it is always recommended to visit your Vet if your dog suffers from severe cases of prolonged constipation. But general causes for a healthy labrador might be dehydration, lack of fibre in food, lack of proper exercise and swallowing debris.
Natural remedies for Labrador constipation
1. Add probiotics to the diet
Adding probiotics such a yogurt to your dog’s diet can be a great remedy for constipation. Remember your dog’s gut is a combination of good and bad bacteria. There needs to be a balance between both these kinds of bacteria. Addition of probiotics to your dog’s gut can increase the fermentation of digested food, and the food passes easily through the digestive tract.
2. Feed him Pumpkin
Pumpkin is rich in soluble fibre and water. It is a great home remedy for a dog suffering from constipation. Hence feeding your dog raw pumpkin can help him to poop easily. Do not feed pumpkin in excess quantities as it may cause diarrhea to your dog. You can also add other fibre rich foods such as oats and wheat bran to your dog’s diet.
3. Exercise your Dog
Exercising your dog properly can make the movements in the digestive tract normal. This generally works for my dog. Whenever my dog feels a bit constipated, I take him for an extra-long walk. As a result, his urge to poop increases and he passes the stools easily.
4. Lots of water
One of the most general causes of constipation in dogs is less water intake. We generally feed food to our dogs properly but forget the importance of feeding him right amounts of liquids. Your dog must always have easy access to clean, freshwater. Keeping your dog hydrated can prevent problems of constipation.
5. Add olive oil to his diet
Adding a spoon of olive oil in his diet can help your dog get rid of constipation issues. However olive oil is highly beneficial to the overall digestive system of your dog. Hence add a teaspoon of olive oil in your dog’s diet. Remember, do not feed olive oil in excess quantities.
6. A little quantity of milk is not harmful
Milk is a dog laxative and can be given in moderate quantities. Feed your dog a 1/4th cup of milk which enhances the intestinal mobility of food. Thus milk can be given to your constipated dog in small quantities to help him eliminate stools easily.
2. Labrador diarrhea
Labrador diarrhea is a common canine problem every dog undergoes in his life. But it cannot be neglected because the cause of diarrhea can either be a simple tummy upset or a serious digestive system disorder. Hence it is very necessary to determine the cause of diarrhea in your Labrador.
If your dog passes loose stools for a while, it might not be a serious issue. But if this diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours, there might be an issue in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Various causes of diarrhea can include food intolerance, food toxicity, bacterial or viral infections, intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney or liver disease and even cancer. Hence it is always advisable to contact your vet to rule out such serious conditions.
I have seen many dogs with diarrhea. Generally one of the main reason for diarrhea is “Food intolerance”. Simply to say, maybe you have changed your dog’s diet suddenly or maybe your dog kept his mouth in the garbage. My dog always goes to the garbage can in search of remains of food. This behaviour had caused diarrhea to him sometimes. This kind of simple tummy upset can be treated easily.
Labrador diarrhea treatment
1. Stop feeding your dog
Diarrhea simply indicates that your dog’s digestive tract is under strain. So the simple solution is to give his tummy some rest. Its always better to stop feeding him for 12 to 18 hours. But remember to provide him with clean and freshwater all the time. This helps him to stay hydrated. If he does not drink enough water, you can feed him a diluted broth of chicken and vegetables (do not add bones in the broth)
2. Start a bland diet
After 12 to 18 hours of starvation, offer him a bland diet of boiled chicken and cooked white rice. Boiled turkey and mixture of pure pumpkin will also help in soothing his tummy. After feeding this bland diet for 4-5 days, you can shift back to his regular food depending upon the condition of his stools.
3. Add Probiotics
Your dog’s gut in its natural healthy state can heal itself because the body has an amazing self-healing capacity. Disturbance of your dog’s gut bacteria is the root cause of all other health issues in your dog. Hence maintenance of gut balance is very important for your dog’s health. Therefore adding probiotics to your dog’s diet kickstarts the self-healing capability of your dog and automatically helps to relieve constipation.
It is important to add probiotics suitable and beneficial to your dog. Probiotics suitable to the human body may not be beneficial always. I suggest feeding yogurt to your dog. You can also add acidophilus cultures for your Labrador suffering from diarrhea
Diarrhea that needs immediate medical attention
1. Diarrhea that lasts more than 48 hours
2. Stools containing fresh blood in it.
3. Black tarry stools
4. Stools that smell extremely foul
5. When your dog suffers from fever and loss of appetite during diarrhea
If you notice any kind of these symptoms, better take your dog to the vet immediately as these kinds of symptoms indicate an underlying serious health issue.
3. Labrador Bloat
Labrador bloat is a serious condition during which the abdomen of your dog swells abnormally. This is a serious condition and can be fatal to your dog. This medical condition is known as Gastric dilation-volvulus. Gastric dilation is the process of build up of excess pressure inside the stomach and volvulus is the rotation or twisting of the stomach. This condition is also called Gastric dilation or Twisted stomach.
During bloat when the stomach gets twisted, both the ends become completely tied off and oxygen supply is restricted to the stomach. The increase of internal pressure exerts pressure on other surrounding organs which triggers other problems that can be fatal to your dog. In many cases, the dog dies within a few hours after the occurrence of Gastric dilation.
As this is a serious condition i do not suggest home treatments and take your dog immediately to the hospital. As Labradors are more susceptible to bloat, it is important for every labrador owner to know regarding this issue. Observe any kinds of symptoms of Labrador bloat and make sure that the issue is attended immediately.
Symptoms of Labrador bloat
1. Your Dog feels uneasy
2. Your dog drools excessively
4. Distended stomach
5. Stomach feels little hard to touch
6. Your dog tries to vomit but he is unsuccessful
7. Your dog’s behaviour seems strange such as hiding away, unable to sleep on the floor, not allowing to touch his stomach.
Labrador bloat is to be considered an immediate emergency. Hence take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Any kind of delay in the treatment can cost a life.
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