Digestive problems in dogs & cats

Many pet parents feel a little lost when it comes to treating digestive problems in dogs and cats.

If your pet suffers from a sensitive stomach, perhaps you tried the standard ‘hypoallergenic cat food’ or ‘gastrointestinal dog food’, seeing a short-term improvement – only for symptoms such as diarrhoea or flatulence to reappear after a while.

You may have attempted treating the issue with different medications or additives, and feel this is not sorting it…

Don’t lose hope. By simply switching to a whole food diet, digestive problems in dogs and cats can often be managed and improved. Better still, we’re here to offer guidance and advice.


What causes digestive problems in dogs & cats?

From Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) to diabetes, obesity, and less severe issues such as flatulence, digestive problems can be triggered by a poor microbiome, which has been linked to factors such as poor diet, medication, and stress.

When the microbiome is taxed, it can develop what’s termed an ‘inappropriate response’ to certain dietary allergens commonly found in processed foods. This inappropriate response can appear in the form of an allergic reaction – itchy skin – or a digestive problem.

Symptoms of digestive problems in dogs & cats

If you observe any of the symptoms below, please consult a vet. Although many digestive health issues can be managed through diet, these could be signs of more complex conditions such as IBD.

•  Constipation, loose stools or severe diarrhoea  •  Lethargy  •  Weight loss  •  Flatulence  •  Pain or difficulty passing faeces  •  Reduced appetite  •  The presence of fresh blood/mucus in faeces

Go with the gut – and the microbiome

From emerging research, we know that 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, which is why proper nutrition is crucial to the management of digestive problems in dogs and cats.

Our pets host colonies of bacteria on and inside their bodies, the majority of which can be found living in a healthy gut. This phenomenal network of bacteria is called the microbiome.

Remember that inappropriate response we mentioned? Well, a healthy microbiome plays a vital role in creating an ‘immune barrier’. The presence and activity of diverse species of bacteria guard against the absorption of inappropriate food particles into the blood, contributing to a robust, balanced immune system.

In comparison, a poor microbiome leads to a weakened barrier with less immune support, allowing these inappropriate food particles to make their way into the bloodstream.

Hug Food 3

Whole food diets for sensitive stomachs

Switching to a whole food diet, with our support, can have a powerful effect on your pet’s digestive problems, reducing symptoms and helping to contain flare-ups.

Fresh, high-quality protein and fibre deliver nutrients that support the growth of good bacteria in the gut – essential for a healthy microbiome and a soothed immune system.

Whole food diets are also biologically appropriate for the canine and feline species, so they’re easy to digest.

In comparison, standard processed and prescription diets tend to contain high levels of preservatives and cereals, such as maize and corn. Your pet’s digestive system is not built to handle these ingredients, which interfere with the absorption of critical nutrients and cause issues such as flatulence and bloating.

Hug’s soothing food

Digestive problems in dogs and cats require consistent care and planning – they won’t disappear overnight. However, many owners find they can avoid the need for prescribed diets and medication by simply improving the microbiome.

Hug’s recipes are designed to ensure every meal delivers optimal nutrition to your pet. We don’t do fads, only long-term solutions. Our food is packed full of the nutrients needed for a great microbiome, along with prebiotics, which encourage the growth of good bacteria. In other words, it’s perfect for sensitive stomachs.


Need help choosing?

Our tasty range help pets avoid common food allergens such as wheat, dairy, chicken, and beef, putting to work nourishing novel proteins such as venison and pork.

If Hug’s raw or cooked meals aren’t for you, we also offer a brilliant cold pressed range for dogs. We only include premium bioavailable ingredients that are both natural and eco-friendly, using nourishing pea and rice porridge in place of the usual suspects like maize.

Need guidance on the best recipes for specific health concerns? Please get in touch – that’s what we’re here for.

Explore our range


Valdes Ana M, Walter Jens, Segal Eran, Spector Tim D. Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health BMJ 2018; 361 :k2179

Herstad KMV, Gajardo K, Bakke AM, Moe L, Ludvigsen J, Rudi K, et al. A diet change from dry food to beef induces reversible changes on the faecal microbiota in healthy, adult client-owned dogs. BMC Vet Res. (2017) 13:147. doi: 10.1186/s12917-017-1073-9

Schmidt M, Unterer S, Suchodolski JS, Honneffer JB, Guard BC, Lidbury JA, et al. The fecal microbiome and metabolome differs between dogs fed Bones and Raw Food (BARF) diets and dogs fed commercial diets. PLoS ONE. (2018) 13:e0201279. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201279



Bermingham EN, Maclean P, Thomas DG, Cave NJ, Young W. Key bacterial families (Clostridiaceae, Erysipelotrichaceae and Bacteroidaceae) are related to the digestion of protein and energy in dogs. PeerJ. (2017) 5:e3019. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3019

Kim J, An JU, Kim W, Lee S, Cho S. Differences in the gut microbiota of dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) fed a natural diet or a commercial feed revealed by the Illumina MiSeq platform. Gut Pathog. (2017) 9:68. doi: 10.1186/s13099-017-0218-5

Caitriona M. Guinane, Paul D. Cotter. Role of the gut microbiota in health and chronic gastrointestinal disease: understanding a hidden metabolic organ. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jul; 6(4): 295–308