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Learn : Research and Development

Gastrointestinal Health Report

In November of 2018, we launched our health assessment, an in-depth survey that 15,000+ pet parents like yourself have completed to date, creating one of the largest and most extensive repositories of dog and cat data anywhere. The information shared with us has helped contribute to peer-reviewed pet science, develop new products and better understand your unique needs. Now, it’s time for us to give back to everyone who’s generously taken the time to tell us about their pets.

Healing the gut

Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases in pets include many different conditions such as gastritis, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and bacterial infections or overgrowth. These conditions are distinct and don't necessarily share the same risk factors or causes, nor are they treated using the same approaches. However, they do share many of the same general symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. 

Keeping an eye on the presence and characteristics of symptoms may help you determine whether your pet is suffering from a GI condition — where the issues may be originating — and whether your pet may benefit from a visit to your veterinarian. While our GI health report is not intended as a formal diagnostic tool, it can point you in the right direction and let you know what to expect.

Chronic diarrhea may be one of the most obvious signs that your pet is suffering from a GI condition. Up to 44% of pets with liquid-like stool have a reported GI condition, compared to 6% in the general pet population. Observing the consistency, frequency and other features of your pet's stool can help you stay abreast of their health. Our report uses these reported diarrhea characteristics to identify whether the symptoms are most likely originating from issues in the small intestine, large intestine or both, and also offers personalized treatment recommendations based on the likely causes. 

While occasional vomiting could be caused by many factors including medication and diet changes, chronic vomiting could be a clue that your pet has a GI condition. Noting the color of the vomit, as well as its contents, can help you determine the best course of action. While minor cases may resolve on their own, you should visit your veterinarian if your pet vomits repeatedly, if they seem uninterested in food or water, or if the vomit contains foreign material. 

Through analyzing our survey data, we also identified signs that, on their own, are less strongly correlated with the presence of GI conditions, but which may be indicators when combined with other signs like diarrhea or vomiting. These include bad breath, recent decreases in appetite, and being underweight. Similarly, there are some unchangeable factors that are correlated with GI conditions such as increased age, male sex, and the presence of severe GI issues at a younger age. Parents of pets that meet these conditions should take special care to educate themselves about the signs and symptoms of GI issues so that they can stay informed and prepared if they arise. 

In many cases, GI conditions have been linked to imbalances of the organisms in your pet's microbiome, and probiotics may help. We recommend our specially-formulated GI-targeted probiotics for dogs currently exhibiting signs and symptoms, and our full-spectrum probiotics for dogs and cats to maintain healthy GI function.

The Nom Nom R&D team is on the lookout for dogs that experience regular diarrhea to participate in their new GI microbiome study. Sound like someone in your house? See if your dog qualifies for this paid research study here.