gastrointestinal disease in Dogs

The gastrointestinal system is like the engine of a car – it processes the “fuel” (food) and makes the “car” (dog) go.  If your canine’s GI system isn’t running properly, they’re at risk of “stalling”.

Canine gastrointestinal (GI) disorders affect the stomach and intestines, and can prevent your dog from benefiting from food.  Your dog might show signs of malnutrition, even if he/she has a healthy appetite while suffering this disease.  GI disease can be very common, especially in certain larger breeds (Collies, Retrievers, Shepherds and Great Danes).

As there are many types of gastrointestinal diseases, and numerous causes, GI disorders are often mistaken for other health issues.  Dog owners can be very receptive to their dog’s changes in behavior, but it is tough to know what is going on inside your dog with their inability to articulate their internal irritation and pain.  Understanding the types of GI diseases and the major signs is the first step to helping to prevent them.

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canine gastro instestinal conditions

types of gastro

intestinal diseases in dogs

In terms of gastrointestinal diseases, there are a number of factors that determine the likelihood of your dog developing this disorder.  Age, weight, diet, and breed can have an effect on your dog’s susceptibility to GI diseases.  The most common causes of gastrointestinal diseases:


  • Infection
  • Foreign Objects in GI tract (plastic, garbage, dog toys)
  • Bacteria, parasites or fungi (from ingesting feces, mold or organic material)
  • Allergies
  • Stress/anxiety

There are seven major types of gastrointestinal diseases in dogs:

Small Intestine Malabsorption: occurs when the small intestine becomes inflamed, making it difficult for your dog to absorb nutrients.

Diarrhea: a very common affliction, feces becomes watery and loose due to infection, an imbalance of bacteria, anxiety, or changes in diet.

Constipation: is also common, usually brought on by pain & inflammation in the GI tract, dehydration or blockages (i.e. plastic)

Colitis: can be chronic or acute, involves inflammation in the colon.  Colitis causes painful bowel movements or diarrhea, usually caused by parasites, allergies or reaction to foreign objects in the GI tract.

Gastroenteritis: typically short-term, but causes intense pain/discomfort in the stomach and intestines.  Gatroenteritis is caused by ingestion of spoiled food, parasites from outdoor environment, ingestion of poisonous vegetation, or food-borne allergies.

Pancreatitis: occurs when the pancreas becomes infected or inflamed, due to eating foods high in fat, trauma to the pancreas-area or in conjunction with other pancreatic diseases.

Pancreatic Insufficiency: affects the body’s ability to break down food, due to a lack of enzymes.  Weight loss, changes in appetite and large amounts of feces are typical of this GI disease.

Symptoms of gastro intestinal disease:

For many dog owners, picking up the “dog poo” is one of the most unpleasant chores of the entire week.  As unseemly as it may seem to some, this activity can actually be very helpful in diagnosing and treating your dog’s gastrointestinal conditions.  Monitoring your canine’s bowel movements is important – also gross, smelly and can ruin anyone’s appetite, but necessary all-the-same.

Diarrhea and soft stool are the most common signs of issues in the GI tract, but there’s more symptoms to gastrointestinal disease:

  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Frailty
  • Change in appetite (increase and/or decrease)
  • Excess gas, bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Blood in feces or vomit
  • Vomiting

REMEMBER! What your dog is eating, how much and when are very important factors to consider for GI health, but so it hydration.  Dehydration can be a cause and a symptom of gastrointestinal imbalances, so ensure your dog is drinking a healthy amount of water every day to help minimize the severity and frequency of GI disease.

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Remember to always:

Paws – Think – Act


Why might my pet be at risk? How can I help my pet avoid this ailment? What changes can I impact to minimize the effects associated with this illness?

Why CBD can be an effective treatment for gastro intestinal disease

CBD – or Cannabidiol – can be a useful remedy for many of a dog’s gastrointestinal conditions.  

Cannabidiol (CBD) can be very beneficial for maintaining your dog’s immune system, cardiovascular system and neurological health.  CBD helps to lessen the effects of lethargy, gastrointestinal issues and reduces anxiety, aggression and stress-related disorders.  With CBD included in their daily regiment, canines can experience less pain, stress and discomfort while increasing their mental faculties and overall vitality.

Think of CBD as a supplement that can reduce the severity and frequency of most – if not all – of your dog’s symptoms of GI disease.  It can be ingested, under the tongue, or applied topically to the affected areas.  One of the most beneficial components of CBD is that it does not irritate the skin or cause any hallucinogenic effects.  When introduced topically, CBD can soothe irritation, inflammation and reduce pain associated with numerous ailments.

Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that has been shown to have a prominent effect on many conditions – including epilepsy, arthritis and cancer.  Remedies containing CBD achieve this by interacting with your dog’s endocannabinoid system. Almost all animals, like people, have an endocannabinoid system; this network of neurotransmitters is integral to physiological processes like memory, mood, pain, stress and appetite.

This complex biosystem is very prevalent in dogs in comparison to other species.  Canines have a high concentration of CB1 & CB2 receptors in their brainstem. CB1 receptors affect the brain, lungs, vascular system and muscles, gastrointestinal function; whereas, CB2 receptors are linked to bones, skin spleen and glial cells.  In combination, CB1-CB2 collaborate in influencing the overall immune system, liver, kidneys, bone marrow, pancreas and brainstem.

CBD can help your dog by producing anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, antispasmodic and analgesic effects indirectly – that is, CBD interacts with your dog’s ECS (Endocannabinoid System) opposite to THC which directly binds to the Cannabinoid Receptors of the body.  This does two things: makes the positive remedial properties more bioavailable to your dog; and lessens or negates the psychoactive effects, such as those associated with THC ingestion.

As you can see by the scope of ailments that are affected by CBD, it is clear how introducing CBD into your dog’s routine can benefit their gastrointestinal health.

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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Wild Thing Pets® products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained in or made available through the Wild Thing Pets® website is not intended to constitute or substitute legal advice or consultation from veterinary professionals.

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