Your dog's diet and their digestive health
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from digestive problems, which cause discomfort, unpleasant signs and sometimes wider-reaching health issues. Their diet is an important part of helping manage digestive sensitivities and maintaining a healthy digestive system.
How a dog’s digestion worksAlong each stage of the digestive system, your dog digests and absorbs nutrients from its food. One of the main organs that does this is the small intestine, which has a very large surface area with different types of cells to make nutrient absorption as effective as possible. In the small intestine, your dog absorbs fats, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals, and completes the digestion and absorption of protein, which begins in the stomach.
Across these organs, microflora—also known as "beneficial" bacteria—contribute to a healthy and functioning digestive system. The bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract are regulated by genetics and other factors, including diet. In the small intestine, these beneficial bacteria are accompanied by cells that act as a protective immune response against foreign bodies or "bad" bacteria.
Your dog is naturally tolerant of their own microflora, but if they develop an intolerance this can lead to chronic gastrointestinal issues. Similarly, if the immune response cells begin to react to things it would normally tolerate, your dog’s digestive system may begin to develop an intolerance to normally harmless elements, such as food.