Digestive health for dogs and cats is key to having a healthy and happy furbaby. It is the foundation of health, making up more than 80% of the immune system. Without a healthy digestive system, furbabies can’t eat and function normally.
The dog and cat digestive system anatomy consists of the oral cavity (salivary glands, tongue, teeth), esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, pancreas, rectum and anus. It’s responsible for food intake, nutrient absorption, motility and the elimination of feces.
Unfortunately, poor digestion in dogs and cats is common, leading to other cat and dog digestive system problems. So, get to know how the digestive system works and learn how to improve a cat and dog’s digestive system.
Pet Digestive System 101
A Dog’s Digestive System
A Cat’s Digestive System
How it Works
Digestion begins the moment your furbaby places food in his mouth. Like humans, they have enzymes in their saliva to help break down the food chemically and coat the food to ensure a smooth passage through the esophagus, then food is broken down further in the stomach.
From the stomach, the food is taken through the small intestine, where nutrients are extracted and absorbed, and eventually, filtered and sent into the bloodstream. Once done, the food goes to the large intestines where the water is removed, and poop is created and ready to be excreted.
Factors that Influence Digestion
- Health status
- Existing medical conditions
- Type of food and water
So, how long does it take for a cat or dog to digest food and poop? There is no definite answer, and will depend on two things: lifestyle and type of foo. On average, dry food takes about approximately 8 to 10 hours, while 4 to 6 hours to digest wet food. Pooping will depend on the digestive process.
Common Pet Digestion Problems
To familiarize yourself, here are some of the common pet digestion problems:
- Inflammation of the stomach (Gastritis)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
One of the keys to gut health is to check on your furbaby’s poop! Learn how poop looks and what it means here.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight encourages the efficient management of the calorie intake and burnt and the regularization of the speed of his metabolism. Together, these result in the proper digestion of food and the allocation of nutrients to the body.
TIP: Combine a balanced diet and exercise for your cat or dog.
- Provide only the best cat and dog food for gut health
Quality ingredients is key to gut health. Pick only healthy and nutritious food that match the needs of your furbaby. For example, cats are obligate carnivores and require a high protein, low cab diet. Creating a diet based on his needs smoothens the process of digestion.
TIP: Learn how to read the label and identify what your pet need needs. Pet shops in manila and Cebu like Bow and Wow offer only organic and all-natural food that contain quality ingredients.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets
- Feed supplements that are good for digestion
There are different supplements that support gut health and help with specific areas of concerns, such as: smelly and irregular stools, gas, flatulence, bad breath and more.
TIP: Determine what’s going on with your furbaby and choose the supplement that best addresses his concern.
Bixbi Digestion Support
Ark Naturals Gentle Digest Capsules
- Avoid pet poisons
Chocolate, pesticides and human medication can harm your furbaby’s digestive system. View the full list of pet poisons here.
TIP: Properly store potential hazards as these can be fatal to your furbaby’s life. Place them in hard to reach areas and storage rooms that are difficult to open.
- Check the poop
It’s gross, but it’s a must! Poop can be characterized in terms of the following: consistency, texture, color, shape, size and color. Unusual compositions can be signs of cat and dog digestive problems and other underlying illnesses.
TIP: Learn how to analyze your furbaby's poop here.
- Dental hygiene
Oral hygiene one of the keys to gut health. Keep it clean to prevent bad bacteria associated with chronic inflammation from thriving in the mouth and making their way to the gut. When this happens, the bacteria tend to settle in the intestines where they trigger chronic inflammation.
TIP: Brush your cat’s teeth regularly. There are special toothbrushes and toothpastes available in Bow and Wow designed for your furbaby.
The keys to gut health of pets: food and water! By giving the best cat and dog food for gut health, you are secure that your furbaby feels good inside and out. But if your furbaby is experiencing cat and dog digestive system problems, don’t hesitate to call or visit the veterinarian.