The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog originally bred for herding sheep. This breed was named the Australian shepherd because it was believed that Australia is where it originated but, in fact, its history dates back to the Basque region of Spain, Shepherds from this area traveled to Australia to herd sheep, bringing their herding dogs with them and eventually migrated to the western United States in California, where they continued to herd sheep.
Other names they have gone by in the past are the California shepherd, New Mexican Shepherd, pastor dog, bobtail, and Spanish shepherd.
The Australian shepherd is a relatively healthy breed but, as in any breed, they can suffer from stomach problems.
In the following post, I will clue you into a few Australian shepherd stomach problems with some advice on how to help with diarrhea and vomiting along with the best food for sensitive stomachs.
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Symptoms of Sensitive Stomach Problems in the Australian Shepherd
Australian shepherds can suffer from stomach problems just like other dogs. They can be running around just fine one minute and vomiting the next.
Knowing your own pup’s personality, It’s up to you to determine if they seem ill because of something they ate or have a potentially life-threatening illness.
There’s no need to panic about stomach issues. Unfortunately, dogs can’t talk and tell us what’s wrong but if they are not themselves and acting out of the ordinary, you will know if something is wrong.
Even if you have that feeling that something is just not right, don’t hesitate to contact your Australian shepherd pup’s veterinarian. It’s better to check it out and put your mind at ease than be sorry later that you didn’t call.
Below are the symptoms of stomach problems.
- No interest in pet food or treats and all-around loss of appetite
- Gas ( overabundance of gas with burping, passing gas, and a rumbling tummy)
- Weight Loss
These symptoms can come from many things, some serious, some not. Your shepherd may have gotten into something and eaten it like trash or something undesirable outside.
Australian shepherds need good healthy nutrition with protein, vitamins, and minerals to keep them in tip-top shape with a well-running immune system.
Feeding your pup table scraps or snacks that you are eating can be all it takes to upset the apple cart, making them sick and contributing to a sensitive stomach.
Along with the above symptoms, the ones listed below can indicate a medical emergency requiring a trip to the veterinarian or a veterinary hospital.
- Dry Heaves
- Panting is excessive
- Vomiting Blood
- Diarrhea with Blood
Most times vomiting and diarrhea are nothing to worry about and may be a random incident.
Your Aussie may vomit and continue to run around and play outside with vomiting caused by eating grass or dirt. Some dogs will eat anything and the worse it smells the better they like it!
To check your shepherds’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet website for all the help you may need.
Common Stomach Problems
Below are listed some common stomach problems that your Australian shepherd may suffer from.
Worms are quite a common digestive problem in dogs. Puppies are “wormed” to eliminate these parasites, but even as an adult your dogs can still pick up worms.
Dogs eat all sorts of disgusting things in their travels and this is how they may get worms as well as other parasites.
Although it sounds gross, they may eat another dog’s or cat’s feces and this opens up a whole “can of worms,” so to speak!
There are many types of worms, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. At every wellness visit, your veterinarian will always have you bring a stool sample of your shepherd’s.
This is a way of checking for worms and parasites. I know having worms sounds like something from a Sci-Fi movie but they are easily treated with medication specifically for the type.
Food ingestion of unacceptable foods or toxins
Again, eating processed people’s foods or even new things can cause stomach upset in your Aussie. Just be aware, that although feeding your shepherd some fruits and vegetables are healthy for them, not all are safe for them to eat and some are highly toxic.
Do some research or consult your vet beforehand to find out which are safe choices. Onions, garlic, raisins, and grapes are just a few that aren’t safe and can be poisonous to canines.
Any chocolate, and especially dark chocolate, is a definite no, no, containing theobromine and caffeine which are toxic for dogs.
Depending on how much your pup eats, this can be lethal. Never leave chocolate around. Sugar-free gum is also toxic as it contains xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs.
If your shepherd is having stomach issues they could be allergic to their dog food or an ingredient contained in it.
This can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Also, if you decide to change your pup’s food to a different brand or type, this should be accomplished gradually or stomach upset can occur.
Less Common Stomach Problems
The following is a list of stomach problems that can affect your Australian shepherd. Australian shepherds rarely have stomach issues, so those listed can be diagnosed but are rarer.
This is a highly treatable illness but must be caught early on. Characterized by weakness, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and total lethargy.
You would definitely know that your shepherd is sick. In the pancreas, the digestive enzymes released by the pancreas and needed to digest food, activate immediately when released and begin to destroy the pancreas. Medication and often changes in diet are needed.
IBD – inflammatory bowel disease
IBD is an autoimmune disease and genetic in nature. If your shepherd has IBD, they have inherited it from a family member and it should not be bred.
Symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. Often it may be misdiagnosed as IBS or irritable bowel syndrome which is another gastrointestinal issue but is induced by stress.
This and other stomach issues can be ruled out with tests and a biopsy will confirm IBD. This can be helped with the right treatment or a combination of diet changes, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and sometimes immunosuppressive therapy.
Australian shepherds are sometimes prone to umbilical hernias as puppies. These are a protrusion of tissue coming through the umbilical opening. This may simply go away in young pups but by five to six months if it’s still apparent, surgery is needed. These are hereditary and shepherds suffering from an umbilical hernia should not be bred.
Best Foods For Sensitive Stomachs
If your Australian shepherd is having stomach issues, first set up a veterinary visit to rule out anything serious. If it happens to be a sensitive stomach then the diet can help.
Feeding your pup ordinary commercial dog foods will most likely not fill the bill for their special needs.
You may consider making special meals for your shepherd, but with being costly and time-consuming. the prepared food can leave your pup deficient in precious vitamins and minerals.
When you begin looking for new food for your Aussie, check out the ingredients in their present food to see what it contains and what is lacking.
Typically Australian shepherds need plenty of protein and good fats to sustain them and support their active lifestyle.
The problem, however, may be that they are getting too much protein or it may be the source of protein that is irritating their stomach.
They may not digest beef well but do better with chicken or lamb. This may involve trial and error and the process of elimination.
for more information about Australian shepherd food with sensitive stomachs visit Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs.
If their present food contains artificial additives, preservatives, and growth hormones, any of these may be the trigger for their sensitive stomach.
The fewer additives that are in your pup’s food and the more natural the ingredients are, the better your shepherd will feel. Keep in mind, that you may change their food but any treats or snacks may have some of those same irritating ingredients.
When your shepherd is having a bad day with stomach issues, a bland diet of cooked chicken and rice helps. Also, pureed plain pumpkin helps to settle an upset tummy.
Consult your veterinarian for any questions you have on types or brands of food. Change to their new food gradually to avoid even more stomach upset.
Your Australian shepherd will probably get an upset tummy a few times in their life, but most times serious issues will not be the cause.
Never hesitate to contact your shepherd’s veterinarian if you are unsure or worried about your pup. Their veterinarian is always available for guidance.