Figuring Out Your Pet's Tummy Troubles and What Can Help

18 May 2018 | Written by Freshpet
From vomiting and diarrhea to flatulence and abdominal bloating, digestive issues are one of the most common reasons pets are brought to the vet. So what can you do if you notice your pet is showing signs of gastroenteritis? First things first, make an appointment with your vet so they can get to the bottom of why the issue is occurring and come up with a plan for how to treat it. But more often than not, your pet’s tummy troubles are caused by one of these five main culprits.  

Dietary Indiscretion

One of the most common reasons for an upset stomach is because your pet has eaten something they weren’t supposed to. Spoiled food, grass from the yard, or stuffing from their favorite toy, there are a number of things that can cause severe irritation of the gut and an imbalance in the normal gastrointestinal (GI) flora. It can be difficult to prevent these types of tummy issues, but if your pet commonly gets into things that they shouldn’t, talk to your vet about tips for protecting them from their indiscretions.  

Maldigestion and Malabsorption

Whether your pet’s GI flora is out of balance or an anatomical condition is preventing the absorption of nutrients from food, maldigestion and malabsorption can cause serious nutritional deficiencies. If your vet suspects that these are the cause of ongoing tummy troubles, they will suggest a few different tests. Fecal cultures, blood work, an abdominal ultrasound, and possibly biopsies of the gut may all be required to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan.    


Food allergies account for only about 10% of total pet allergies, but they can have a significant impact on the life of your pet. The difficult thing about this type of allergy is that in addition to gastroenteritis, they can also cause serious dermatological issues. To determine what specific allergen is causing the problem, your vet will conduct a series of blood tests, skin tests, and elimination diets. Once the allergen has been identified, your pet will be prescribed a limited ingredient or hydrolyzed protein diet, as well as medications to help clear up any lingering skin or gastrointestinal issues.


When it comes to parasitic gastroenteritis, fleas, ticks, and heartworms are often at the root of the problem. Fortunately, these types of tummy issues are easily avoided simply by ensuring your pet takes their monthly parasite preventatives. Today, there are many medications available protect your pet from not just one parasite, but several. If your vet suspects that parasites are the cause of your pet’s issues, they will conduct a fecal examination and prescribe antibiotics and deworming agents to treat the problem.  

Viruses and Bacteria

While infectious diseases are most likely to cause acute gastrointestinal distress, this can become a chronic issue if left untreated. To determine whether it’s a virus or bacteria that’s wreaking havoc on your pet’s GI system, your vet will do a fecal culture, blood work, and imaging. If the issue is bacterial, your pet will be prescribed antibiotics and probiotics, while viruses will be treated with supportive care and possibly antibiotics if secondary bacterial infections appear. However, the best way to keep your pet free of the most common viruses is to ensure that their vaccinations are up to date.   To keep your pet’s gut happy and healthy, the best thing you can do is to provide them with plenty of water and a healthy diet of fresh foods, like Freshpet’s line of refrigerated meals. For a little extra help, you can also talk to your veterinarian about supplementing your pet’s food with a daily probiotic to keep GI flora in check.

Responses to this Post

william maita
14 Jun, 2018 at 02:44 am
My 4 legged friend Buddy developed diabetes 4 years ago this August and at first he was really a mess. He couldn't eat most anything and his bowels were horrible. I heard about Fresh Pet and now 4 years later with the help of insulin and feeding him Fresh Pet he has survived and thrived now for nearly 4 years. Every Vet that has had anything to do with my dog, Buddy Boy upon hearing of him being 4 years into the disease of diabetes are actually amazed. The cannot believe how fantastic his body appearance and mobility and the great strong and body definition he has. They tell most diabetic dogs can't preserve a strong, healthy physical body as Buddy has. They tell me most diabetic dogs eventually lose a healthy muscle body make up. I am sure Fresh Pet has had the best helping hand with Buddy's health!
14 Jun, 2018 at 03:44 pm
My 12 paws just love your fresh pet food.
5 Nov, 2018 at 01:23 pm
Hi! Thank you for this informative post! My dog hasn't been feeling very good lately, and I couldn't figure out why. I took him to a vet, and she said he might have some food allergy. Now we will have to take different tests. I hope we will have the results soon, and we will have a special diet for him. It is good to know some alternative reasons for this issues. I think all the pet owners should read this article to make sure how to react if their pet has some gut issues. Thank you so much for the tips!
louis salzer
12 Feb, 2019 at 06:15 pm
my dog's digestive issues has improved 100% since we switch to Fresh Pet.
31 Jul, 2020 at 03:55 am
Mine too! My dog is so happy now.
7 Apr, 2019 at 12:02 am
I’ve been feeding my little Yorker Fresh pet for 4 years .. he constantly has excellent blood work and he’s very active . Beni is 10 years old and young for his age .. he loves his food and remain a happy boy ...♥️
20 Apr, 2020 at 12:35 pm
My little Sam has only been on Freshpet for three weeks but boy what a difference: he has more energy and no loose bowels!!! He is a senior and has lost a lot of teeth so he loves being able to eat Freshpet and asks for more!!! I feel good giving my pet fresh ingredients!!! Now to get Freshpet for my cats
Sandra Weddle
19 May, 2020 at 12:48 am
My little girl can not eat that much food that is in bag can you for later
3 Jun, 2020 at 02:11 pm
Hi Sandra - Check out this Freshpet blog that touches on the topic of freezing, and also discusses the best ways to store our recipes:
Jeanne Molloy
4 Jul, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Can you freeze Freshpet?
Bill Hellmers
1 Jul, 2020 at 09:24 pm
Trying to find out if any of your products are "Low Protein". I need this suitable for an older dog to keep her kidneys from rapid deterioration.
10 Jul, 2020 at 02:33 pm
Hi Bill - If you're open to it, please reach out to our Consumer Care Team at 1-866-789-3737, so that we can gather more info and offer our recommendation accordingly. Thank you!

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