6 surprising signs your pet’s digestive system is out of whack

Korin Miller

You spend enough time with your pet to be able to read their emotions. Among other things, you get that your pet is happy when you play with them, and that they’re excited when it’s time to eat. But sometimes it can be hard to know why they’re feeling a certain way—especially when it seems out of character for them.

Having your pet act in a way that’s not normal can actually be a sign that something is off with their health, Brian Zanghi, PhD, senior researcher and nutritionist at Purina, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Inside your pet, there’s constant communication between the gut and brain through signals that travel along the nerves, Zanghi explains. If something is wrong with your pet’s digestive system, “the brain gets the message that something is off with our pet’s gut, and this can lead to changes in emotions,” he says.

Your pet’s healthy digestive system can be thrown off for several reasons, and all can impact your pet’s health, according to Brian Zanghi, PhD, senior researcher and nutritionist at Purina. (Photo: Getty Images)

What causes gut health in pets?

“Gut health is all about balance,” Zanghi says. Your pet’s gut is full of millions of bacteria that’s both good and bad. When the good bacteria outnumber the bad bacteria, your pet’s gut is healthy and functioning well. But when there are more bad bacteria than good, it can cause stomach issues.

What throws off gut health in pets?

Your pet’s healthy digestive system can be thrown off for several reasons, and all can impact your pet’s health, Zanghi says. Those include:

· Changes in environment

· Changes in their eating schedule

· Changes in their sleeping schedule

· Changes in their food

· Introducing a new pet or family member to the house

What are the signs that my pet is having problems with gut health?

Stomach issues usually show up as stress in your pet, Zanghi explains. It’s not always easy to know when your pet is stressed, but a frazzled pet will generally show one or more of these signs:

· Panting

· Barking

· Going to the bathroom inside the house

· Aggression

· Ignoring you or not wanting to give you attention

· Sleeping a lot or not sleeping enough

What can I do if my pet’s gut health seems off?

If you notice the signs that your pet’s gut health is out of balance, talk to your veterinarian about using a probiotic. “Just like us, pets can benefit from probiotics to balance out harmful bacteria,” Zanghi says. Probiotics work by increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut and, hopefully, restoring your pet’s gut health in the process.

There are a lot of options out there for probiotics and gut-boosting products, so talk to your vet about which one would be a good fit for your pet. The solution may even be as simple as changing up your pet’s food, Zanghi says.

“Bottom line: Listen to your gut,” Zanghi says. “If you feel something is off with your pet, you might be onto something.”

This article was paid for by Purina and created by Yahoo Lifestyle branded content team. The Yahoo Lifestyle editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.