Is Your Dog Sick? She might be and you have no idea! By Kathrine Breeden 

I recently read an article on the subject of dogs who lick excessively and it made reference to the fact that one of the causes can be digestive troubles.

This is just one of many symptoms of which owners are often unaware and can indicate gastrointestinal problems. Such problems, if not treated, can ultimately lead to a dog becoming finicky with eating (food avoidance), have chronic reflux, chronic gas and soft stools and potentially pancreatitis which could result in diabetes as well as other conditions.

Here is a list of symptoms you should be on the lookout for, take note of and consult your veterinarian:

Licking – if your dog is licking herself, the couch, the carpet, people or other items more than your think is normal, talk to your vet. It’s not “normal” to lick carpets & couches!
Randomly vomiting, licking lips, or burping – if your dog is vomiting randomly, occasionally, or for no apparent reason, talk to your vet.
Bad breath –- this can be an early sign of digestive upset. Check your dog’s mouth. If your dog has sparkling teeth or recently had a dental cleaning but still has bad breath, talk to your vet.
Picky eating –
if your dog has a history of not eating, usually breakfast, and showing no interest in food in the morning, talk to your vet.

Sometimes dogs might become picky because they are getting their food elsewhere!

Is there any chance your dog is eating something other than her dog food or maybe a family member slipping her scraps from the table? Is your dog munching on plants or possible items in your yard or on her walks? Is your dog getting into trash cans indoors or outdoors or the kitty litter?

Therefore, your dog avoids eating in hopes of getting more exciting food than what’s in her food bowl. The best approach is to stop feeding your dog from the table and limit the number of treats. Remember that dogs have different nutritional needs than we do, so what we eat isn't necessarily balanced for them.  

Picky eating – if your dog eats enthusiastically for a few weeks and then “goes off” her food. You try another brand and she gobbles it down, then a few weeks later, “goes off” that one. There is a repeating pattern of her turning her nose up at her food, talk to your vet
Depression – if your dog seems rather “down” and out of character, talk to your vet. Be particularly careful with this if you rescue a new dog – you don’t know what is the “norm” for that dog so you might think they’re just a very placid, sad, stressed or quiet dog. I’ve seen dogs like that and once they’re treated for their GI problems they are a totally different dog, they become playful and outgoing.
Guarding food – if your dog doesn’t feel well and doesn’t want to eat her food she might sit and guard it against other dogs or people in the house, giving the impression that she’s a chronic Resource Guarder when in reality if she were feeling well she would be quite happy to just eat her food like any other dog!
Excessive gas and soft stool - If your dog is clearing the room with bad gas and has soft stool or chronic intermittent soft stool, discuss this with your vet. Even if your dog is on a good quality diet, it may not agree with her GI tract. 
If your dog frequently gets into the “play bow” position and stays like that for longer than a few seconds it could be a sign of tummy ache. Stretching out in the play bow position relieves the discomfort. It’s just yet another sign that something might be wrong so talk to your vet.
Poop eating – sudden onset of eating her own poop can indicate a malfunction in the GI tract so your dog isn’t getting all the nutrition she needs. Time to talk to your vet!
Aggressive behavior – if your dog growls, snarls, nips or bites when you pick her up or have to touch her abdomen, this could be an indication of upset stomach/GI problem causing pain. Talk to your vet.


Kathrine Breeden is Arizona's first & only Accredited Professional Canine Trainer. She is the owner and operator of Be Kind to Dogs force free dog training business. She is a truly dog friendly member. Kathrine specializes in force free dog obedience training, in home dog training, dog training tips, dog training tools and is a professional dog trainer. She can help you to learn how to train your puppy, how to train your dog and prepare for a new puppy.

Some of the services she offers include, but aren’t limited to, In-Home Dog Training, Off-Site Dog Training, Pre-Puppy Preparation, Behavior Training, Phone and SKYPE behavior and training consultations, training freebies through her Facebook group, Open House lectures, “Ask the Trainer” lectures, foce free training with pet first aid and CPR and much, much more. If you aren’t in need of a professional dog trainer but know someone who is, you can also purchase a gift certificate from Kathrine to give to your friends, family or co-workers that are in need of puppy or dog training.

Kathrine is a force free trainer and behavior consultant that is a member of the No Shock Collar coalition.Her philosophy is that Force Free & Positive training results in a dog that follows an owner because it wants to, rather than following out of fear. She has memberships with the Pet Professional Guild, Truly Dog Friendly, Arizona Pet Professionals, is a recommended dog trainer by Best Friends Animal Society and is proactive in animal rights campaigns.

Remember, if you want to learn how to train your dog or how to train your puppy in a gentle, positive reinforcement force-free way, please contact a professional dog trainer, Kathrine Breeden, today at 480-272-8816