There are a number of ways to check to ensure that your dog is digesting
her food properly. First, is she eating it? You may be paying big bucks
for a specialized food, but it obviously won't do a bit of good if your
dog won't eat it. Find a good quality food that she likes (pet supply
stores often offer free samples) and introduce it gradually - begin by
mixing a small amount of the new food in with the original food so that
over the course of a week, you have replaced the old food completely.
Another thing to check for healthy digestion is your dog's stool. Are
they firm and well-formed, not loose or runny? If your dog has loose
stools or diarrhea for more than two or three days, a visit to the vet
may be called for as there may be parasites or bowel irritation.
You can also gently palpate (feel) your dog's stomach if he's not eating
well or has lost energy to see if it is bloated or tight. He may have
gas or some other condition. Again, if this persists for more than 2 or 3
days, take him to the vet to be examined.
If your dog is throwing up on a regular basis, this is also cause for
concern. She may be ill or even have an allergic reaction to an
ingredient or ingredients in her food. Again, apply the general rule of
thumb and take her to the vet if it continues for more than a couple of
Another factor for healthy digestion is stress. If your dog feels
uncomfortable about his eating situation, he may not digest his food
very well. For example, if you feed your dog in a quiet area where there
is no perceived competition, this may make all the difference. It's a
good idea to have meal time be a calm, enjoyable time without a lot of
noise and activity.
If your dog is especially "mouthy" or young and curious, make sure you
remove any possible objects he might want to pick up. Eating objects
that aren't easily broken down in the normal digestion process can leave
your dog with an obstruction or at the least, a serious tummy ache.
As a general rule, the quality of the pet food which is offered in
grocery stores and discount department stores is not very high. Read the
ingredient labels; if there is any mention of "by-products" of any
kind, avoid it. Spending a little more for a better quality food will
help ensure your dog's health and longevity.
Many pet owners make their own dog food, using human grade or organic
meats, grains and vegetables. Preparing a week's worth of food and
freezing it will save on prep time; you can simply remove a portion as
you need it and let it defrost. There are many recipes on the Internet
which can be varied somewhat to accommodate your dog's tastes, age and
The old adage that you are what you eat is true not only for humans but
for our canine friends as well. An investment in good quality food is
worth it in terms of your dog's overall health and happiness.