Why does my dog eat hair
Stomach discomfort in dogs and cats
The stomach can also cause some problems for our pets. Many different diseases are known and the symptoms can be both non-specific (coat problems or changes in appetite) and serious (such as frequent vomiting). In the case of stomach problems, it is above all the unspecific symptoms that present us with a real challenge. Meticulous detective work is sometimes necessary here to get to the bottom of the cause!
In particular, puppies and young dogs repeatedly swallow objects that are not suitable for eating. You come across the strangest objects here: toys, socks, pens, keys or even entire purses. Caution is also advised on barbecues or fishing. Sometimes fish hooks or skewers are the only remaining evidence of a secret feast for your cat or dog! If you react quickly, the vet can decide whether to give the dog an injection that will trigger a gag reflex to help the item regurgitate. However, if you are unlucky that a long time has passed after you swallowed the object, surgery is sometimes the only way to remove the object.
Hairballs in cats
We would like to dedicate a very special chapter to the subject of hairballs in cats. Long-haired cats in particular pick up a lot of hair when cleaning their fur. The swallowed hair then clumps together in the stomach to form a ball. These can then either be excreted with the feces or, in the long run, irritate the stomach - and vomit up as hairballs. Preparations such as Kat-a-Lax, Lax-A-Past or Easypill Hairball can be used for treatment. These products can also be used preventively. In addition, regular brushing of the fur is always necessary, especially with long-haired cats.
Inflammation of the stomach lining
Inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis) manifests itself in very different ways. Sometimes only a dull coat or a little less appetite can be seen, sometimes the animal vomits very often (with or without blood). Very often bacteria or viruses cause inflammation of the stomach lining. But it also happens again and again that the animals have eaten spoiled food or licked corrosive liquids. In addition, the intake of certain drugs disturbs the sensitive stomach flora. In some cases, gastritis is accompanied by other inflammatory bowel diseases and diarrhea. Products such as Puur Stomac or Groene Os Magen Compositum are ideal for protecting and supporting the stomach and mucous membrane.
Overcrowding and twisting of the stomach
Stomach overcrowding in dogs can be caused by ingesting too much food and / or swallowing air while eating. Occasionally, this overcrowding causes the stomach to twist, which is a life-threatening situation for the dog. The exact cause of gastric torsion in dogs is unknown, but there are a number of factors that can play a role. The phenomenon is more prevalent in large breeds of dogs with low chests, in dogs who gobble down large amounts of food or swallow a lot of air, and those who are very active after feeding. The spleen often turns with the stomach. The blood supply is severely impaired, so that in the worst case, some parts of the organs can die. Due to the strong expansion of the stomach, the resulting pressure restricts the function of the large blood vessels, the heart and the lungs of the dog. Among other things, this can lead to cardiac arrhythmias.
It is noticeable that the dog is suddenly very sick: he paces restlessly back and forth and tries to vomit without result. On closer inspection, a significant increase in waist circumference can be seen in some dogs. The dog will go into shock within a short period of time and will die without treatment. Quick action is now required! The dog must go to the vet immediately. This is often able to make a diagnosis just by palpation. Surgery is inevitable in many cases.
As a preventive measure, as a dog owner, you can ensure that your dog does not eat too quickly or ingests too large quantities at once. A very simple method in which your dog eats his food much more slowly in a playful way is to use special food bowls such as the Buster Dog Maze or Slo Bowl Feeder. In addition, they should avoid physical exertion after feeding. The dog's stomach can also be surgically (preventively) fixed so that it can no longer be turned.
In older dogs in particular, tumors tend to form on the stomach wall. This is relatively common in certain breeds (such as the Tervueren, a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog). Symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting (sometimes with blood), and weight loss are usually indicative of such a tumor. Unfortunately, these symptoms are only noticeable at a very advanced stage.
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