We have all done it…over-indulged during the holidays. It is not necessarily that we ate too much, but the combination of different foods, rich desserts, and treats can cause uncomfortable results. Is there any reason not to believe that our pets can suffer from the same type of over-indulgence? After all, we love our pets, and the holidays offer us the incentive to treat our pets with love, affection, and extra treats and goodies.
As a human, our GI track responds to this over-indulgence, and the result could be diarrhea and possible vomiting. A dog is equipped to respond the same way. Both acute and chronic gastritis (vomiting) is common in dogs and cats, and there can be several causes. The most common cause of an acute gastritis is related to dietary indiscretion (ingestion of plants or garbage). Of course it can be from over-indulgence of a combination of foods or foreign materials.
Another cause can come from the administration of drugs such as steroids, and antibiotics. If the vomiting is chronic, then a thorough vet workup is necessary. The vet will no doubt suggest a blood work-up, radiographs, ultrasound, endoscopy, a barium study and possibly exploratory surgery. After years of diagnosing the causes of this condition, I have found that simply putting the pet on a natural raw food diet will cure the problem much of the time.
For the human, a remedy could be some Pepto-Bismol, nux-vomica, or similar product to settle the acid content of the stomach. We can do the same remedy for a dog. We have found a nux-vomica formulation for pets that we now include in BARF World’s emergency medical first aid kit.
Another possibility is to let the gastrointestinal (GI) track settle down, much like re-booting your computer. Give it a chance to rest and let the enzyme systems re-adjust to the situation. This involves a one day fast. It doesn’t hurt the dog to allow the GI track to rest. In fact there are several vets and nutrition specialists that recommend routine fasts every week. I personally recommend this approach only when I see that a dog has a GI disturbance or if the dog has a history such as irritable bowel syndrome.
In addition, when offering my advice to guardians that have a dog in distress from vomiting, I offer feeding instructions that are different from normal feeding guidelines. I suggest to feed smaller portions at higher frequency until the GI track has been regulated. In other words, instead of feeding two big meals a day, try four smaller meals throughout the day to give the stomach a break in between.
Like any other organ in the body, if you overtax it, you have problems. The stomach is amazing in that it can function despite a variety of foreign materials and excess volume of contents. The vomiting reflex operates similar to the relief valve on a water heater. The pressure has to be released in order for the organ to function properly. Of course when this happens with your dog, it can also mean a nasty mess for the dog mom and dad to clean us.
So the message for the holidays is to limit the treats for yourself and for your pets…and have the right remedy on hand if you do go a little overboard. Trust me, you will be glad you did.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF diets patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. He and his wife love to travel around the world with their dog, Moxie – a Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese mix. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” monthly e-zine at barfworld.com/ezine