Your Dog's Sensitive Stomach

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Have you ever noticed that you may have two dogs on the exact same diet, in the same environment, with the same routine and yet when it comes to their stomachs, they react in completely different ways? That is because, much like our children or ourselves, the internal characteristics of the dog may be vastly different from one another. 

In this series of articles we'll take a look at some of the usual suspects when it comes to causing both vomiting and diarrhea in your working dog. Remember that working dogs, including police K-9 and service dogs, tend to be exposed to much more tense environments than a pet. These dogs have a job to do and it can be stressful to be focusing on the job at hand while dealing with the external forces at play.

Please remember that it is imperative to recognize and emergency for exactly what it is - an emergency requiring the care of a professional veterinarian. We can not stress this enough. This article may help you identify causes of your dog's upset stomach, but they should never infringe on proper medical care for your canine.

So, let's jump right in to some on the first of these problems.

Your dog has swallowed something they shouldn't have

It's important to note that this issue significantly decreases in occurrence with proper supervision of your dog. When things are put away properly and when you keep an eye on Fido, the chance of this happening goes down considerably.  Materials like metal, fabric, plastic, rubber and other materials simply cannot be digested by your dog's body. I've had dogs grab and swallow socks that were left out by young children and I almost lost a Doberman once when he swallowed a weighted bouncy ball that had been left in some grass.  We couldn't even see the bouncy ball, but the Dobe sniffed it out and swallowed it - the result was a $3,000+ surgery that night.

While our Doberman's situation was unique it is especially the weightier items that can cause massive problems. Generally, if the object is small, you will be able to notice it in the dog's stool during an upcoming bathroom break. Diagnosis of the severity of the situation is often done by your veterinarian using X-Ray or ultrasound. 

According to Alexis Newman, DVM*, "a small intestinal foreign body can become life-threatening. Most often, if a foreign material can pass into the colon, it will pass".

We should make sure, as much as humanly possible, that we clean up around the house and yard to avoid this situation as much as possible. Put away those batteries, those socks and anything else that is a possible snack. I know we can't stop everything, and many dogs are capable of making their own trouble if they can't find any, but a little bit of clean up will go a long way.

*Quotation from Police K-9 Magazine, March/April 2013. Magazine article contributor - Alexis Newman, DVM.

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