Stress Can Lead to Digestive Upset in Athletic Dogs

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Owners of hardworking dogs know that stress is a natural part of competition. The duration and intensity of the activity, travel and exposure to other dogs in a different environment are all contributing factors. 
 
Exercise is a natural stress that challenges the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In addition, a dog's GI tract is associated with a large portion of the immune system. Here, specialized cells help protect the body against invading organisms, such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses, while recognizing beneficial bacteria.  
 
Some athletic dogs may be prone to develop digestive upset due to the stress of exercise during both training and field events.
 
When the digestive tract is inflamed, digestibility and absorption of nutrients are reduced, potentially compromising your dog’s performance.
 
“Since 70 percent of the dog’s immune system is associated with the gut, an upset digestive tract can result in reduced immunity,” says Purina Research Scientist Melinda Fleming, D.V.M. “When digestive tract inflammation and reduced immunity occur, an imbalance of the intestinal microflora can occur, resulting in digestive upset.”
 
Owners of dogs with digestive upset may notice a decrease in stool quality and a reduction in both energy levels and performance.
 

OTHER SIGNS OF DIGESTIVE UPSET INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  • Loss of appetite      
  • Excess gas              
  • Vomiting    
  • Constipation
  • Loose stools
  • Lethargy
More serious conditions can result from long-term digestive upset including dehydration and weight loss.
 
Skin problems may also be associated with digestive upset due to malabsorption of nutrients vital to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat.
 
“Owners may notice a dry, dull coat or irritated, flaky skin on their dog,” Fleming says.
 
Dietary changes may improve digestion and enhance coat quality. Owners should consult their veterinarian if they have concerns about their dog’s diet. Veterinarians can help determine the next step, which may include switching to a different food. Probiotics, such as Purina Veterinary Diets FortiFlora, may also help maintain a normal intestinal balance by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria. FortiFlora also helps support a healthy immune system.  
 
The role of the GI tract as a body’s natural defense system often is overlooked. Supporting digestive health in your dog is a key to helping ensure he performs in peak condition. 
 

SALMON IS THE NO. 1 INGREDIENT IN NEW PURINA PRO PLAN SPORT PERFORMANCE 30/20 FORMULA

Designed for athletic dogs that experience digestive upset as a result of exercise stress, Purina Pro Plan SPORT All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula features an alternative protein source.  
 
Due to its digestibility, as well as the nutrients it provides, salmon is an ideal protein source for athletic dogs that may be more susceptible to the stress of exercise and digestive upset, says Purina Research Scientist Melinda Fleming, D.V.M.
 
“Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can be instrumental in helping calm an irritated gastrointestinal (GI) tract,” she says.
 
Omega-6 fatty acids also play an important role in skin health and coat quality.
 
Purina Pro Plan SPORT All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula, with its ratio of 30-percent protein and 20-percent fat, helps fuel the metabolic needs of athletic dogs and maintain lean muscle.
 
Formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for the high-energy needs of canine athletes, its concentrated nutrition helps optimize oxygen metabolism for increased endurance.
 
Purina Pro Plan SPORT All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula also offers these health benefits:
 
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids to support joint health and mobility
  • Antioxidants to help nourish the immune system
  • Amino acids to help sustain muscles, including after exercise