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Pooches' food habits

Dogs that swallow air – especially those that eat rapidly – are more likely to experience flatulence. Overweight, obese and sedentary dogs are at a higher risk of developing chronic flatulence, regardless of diet.

Pooches food habits
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What causes flatulence in dogs ?

It is normal for gas to be produced and to accumulate within the gastrointestinal tract. However, in some situations, this production of gas increases and can become excessive. The most common cause of excessive flatulence is a change in diet or due to the dog eating something new or spoilt. Most cases of chronic flatulence are caused by a diet that is poorly digested by the dog. These poorly digestible diets cause excessive fermentation in the colon and subsequent gas formation. Soybeans, peas, beans, milk products, high-fat diets and spicy foods are all commonly associated with flatulence in dogs. Dogs and cats are lactose intolerant and if they are fed milk or dairy products they will often experience flatulence. Dogs that swallow air, especially those that eat rapidly, are more likely to experience flatulence. Overweight, obese and sedentary dogs are at a higher risk for developing chronic flatulence, regardless of diet.

The most common clinical signs include:

Expulsion of gas from the anus, with or without odour;

Mild abdominal discomfort;

Mild stomach distention or bloating;

Excessive gaseous sounds or rumbling from the abdomen;

If a dog has an underlying malassimilation problem, clinical signs may also include loose stools or diarrhoea, vomiting and weight loss.

Some of the common causes include:

Aerophagia (increased swallowing of air)

Nervous eaters

Gluttony or compulsive eating

Respiratory disease

Feeding shortly after exercise

Brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds

Diets high in soybeans, peas or beans

Diets high in fermentable fibres such as lactulose, psyllium or oat bran

Milk and dairy products

Sudden change in diet

Spicy foods and food additives

Spoiled food

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Tumours

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Intestinal parasites

Enteritis

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Other diagnostic tests that may be required to determine the cause of excessive flatulence include faecal examination and evaluation, rectal cytology, feacal cultures, blood and urine tests, trypsin-like immunoreactivity (TLI), serum cobalamin and folate tests, abdominal radiographs, abdominal ultrasound and Treatment is based on diagnosis and commonly involves a change in diet. Diet recommendations include a diet that is highly digestible with a low fibre and fat content.

What do I do if my pet dog is diabetic?

Like humans, when dogs have diabetes, staying trim is the key. If your dog is overweight, losing some pounds can help his cells better use insulin – a hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in check. That makes it easier for his body to turn food into fuel.

The goal for any pooch with diabetes is to keep blood sugar (or glucose) levels as close to normal as possible. This helps your dog feel good and makes it less likely for him to contract diabetes-related complications, such as vision-clouding cataracts and urinary tract infections.

When should I change my puppy's diet to an adult dog food formula?

When your puppy's growth in height slows, you should begin switching to an adult-formula dog food. This usually occurs around nine to 12 months for small breeds, around 12 months for medium breeds and around 12 to 24 months for large breeds.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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