What Are the Most Common Reasons Why Pets End Up at the Vet with GI Distress?


One of the most common reasons you’ll read in Freshpet® reviews about why pet parents ultimately decided to switch to Freshpet® is GI issues. Just like humans, our furry four-legged family members can experience distressing stomach problems, including vomiting, flatulence, and diarrhea.

And the best thing a pet parent can do for their pet when those symptoms are present is to make a vet appointment. The vet can then do any testing and examinations necessary to determine the underlying cause and best possible solution to alleviate your pet’s tummy issues. In a blog post, Freshpet® outlines some of the most common causes for GI distress.

Dietary Indiscretion

GI issues could occur due to your pet eating something they weren’t supposed to eat. They may have eaten grass, trash, or part of their toy. The best way to avoid incidents of indiscretion is to limit access to these things when you’re not around. You may also want to speak with your vet about a strategy on preventing them from eating things other than their food.

Food Allergies

If your pet is experiencing GI and/or skin issues, the culprit could be a food allergy. Many vets will recommend starting an elimination diet if a food allergy is suspected to identify which ingredient may be causing the troubles. Your vet can also conduct blood tests and skins tests as well. If an ingredient is identified, you will need to put your pet on a limited ingredient diet that avoids that food.

Freshpet® Select refrigerated foods for dogs and cats are often a good option because they don’t contain any preservatives, fillers, or meat meals that often cause GI issues. Freshpet® reviews its recipes to ensure they only contain healthy whole-food ingredients that are good for your pet’s GI flora.

Maldigestion and Malabsorption

Over time, out-of-balance gut flora or underlying health issues could cause maldigestion and malabsorption, which could eventually lead to nutritional deficiencies. If your vet suspects maldigestion and/or malabsorption, they may order a fecal test, bloodwork, or other diagnostic tests depending on the symptoms and your pet’s health history.


Fleas, ticks, and heartworms are no friends to your pet’s digestive system. They can cause gastroenteritis symptoms that will affect your pet’s health. Luckily, there are topical and oral medications that can prevent them from ever causing harm to your pet. Also, your vet can treat your pet with antibiotics in the event parasites are the cause of your pet’s GI issues.

Viruses and Bacteria

A virus that causes acute GI symptoms can be treated with supportive care. Vets recommend keeping your pet up-to-date on all vaccines to strengthen their immune system and help them fight viruses. If a bacterial infection is suspected and confirmed after testing, antibiotics and probiotics will likely be prescribed.

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