If you own a pet that suffers from digestive disorders, you may be in search of the one diet that alleviates your pet’s intestinal discomfort for good. Unfortunately, there is not one diet that can ease the symptoms of all pet digestive disorders … there are several!
Before selecting a suitable diet for your pet, it’s important that you are aware of the nature and severity of your pet’s digestive discomfort. The best way to obtain this information is by consulting your veterinarian about what could be causing your pet’s discomfort, which part of the digestive system is being affected and if your pet has any other health issues that could influence its diet. With the help of a veterinary professional, you will be able to select the right diet that’s best for your pet.
Types of Gastrointestinal Diets
In general, the ideal diet for pets that suffer from digestive disorders is low in residue along with one or more of the following characteristics:
- High Digestibility: Digestibility is dependent on how readily the nutrients in food are broken down and absorbed into the body. Food with low digestibility is typically behind most digestive symptoms felt by pets. The digestibility of pet food is depicted by percentages ranging from 70-90%. For less digestive issues, it is recommended that you feed your pet with food consisting of 85-90% digestibility.
- Moderate Fat Content: Food that is high in fat content slows down the emptying time for the stomach and increases the risk for acid reflux, vomiting and diarrhea. However, a diet with moderate fat content is more gastrointestinal friendly. Be sure to keep in mind that dog food should consist of 15-20% dry matter and cat food should have 6-15%.
- High Protein Content: Food high in protein is ideal for pets that suffer from digestive disorders. Typically, the symptoms caused by a lack of protein consumption mimic the ones that are caused by food allergies. In order to distinguish between the two, digestive symptoms can be recognized by intolerance to a poorly digestible protein, high levels of fat or additives and preservatives.
- Good Carbohydrate Choices: It’s important that you avoid feeding your pets moderate to excessive amounts of carbohydrates. There are many types of carbohydrates that are unhealthy for your pets to consume; however, there are also ones that will benefit your pet. Some examples of these are: white rice, potatoes and tapioca.
- Low Fiber Levels: Most digestive disorders respond well to low-level fiber diets, with the exception of colitis and other conditions affecting the large bowel.
- Lactose Free: As our pets age, the more they are incapable of digesting dairy products. Lactose products are prone to worsening gas, diarrhea and bloating.
- Supplemented with Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids consist of anti-inflammatory properties that have been proven to successfully combat inflammation in the digestive system.
- Consists of Prebiotics and Probiotics: Many mistake prebiotics and probiotics as being the same thing; however, they are far from it. Prebiotics are specialized forms of fiber that stimulate the growth and the function of healthy bacteria in the intestine. Probiotics are good bacteria that restore the bacterial balance within the intestine. If these components are not present in your pet’s food, you can always provide them as a supplement to keep your pet’s gut healthy.
- Excludes Synthetic Food Additives: Diets with synthetic food additives, such as artificial preservatives, colors, dyes and flavors, are prone to invoke adverse reactions in the digestive system.
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