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What are the symptoms of garbage gut in dogs?

Dietary indiscretion

Domesticated dogs are among the animals that most often display dietary indiscretion, due to their close contact with humans.

Dietary indiscretion is the tendency for certain animals to feed on unusual items, or undergo drastic changes in feeding behaviour. The unusual items can include non-foodstuffs, such as garbage or foreign objects, or foodstuffs that are not normally consumed by the animal. The changes in feeding behaviour can include the ingestion of spoiled or raw food, or consuming abnormally large quantities of food. Dietary indiscretion is relatively uncommon in humans, but is especially prevalent in domesticated animals, such as dogs, as a result of their close contact with their human owners.

In humans [ edit ]

Dietary indiscretion is relatively uncommon in humans, except for people with certain psychological disorders.

Eating disorders [ edit ]

In individuals with diabetes, dietary indiscretion refers to eating foods that are not doctor-recommended.

Certain eating disorders, such as binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa, involve compulsions to engage in episodes of binge eating. [1] According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a binge involves an episode of dietary indiscretion, where an abnormally large amount of food is consumed in a short period, and the individual feels that they do not have control over the amount they are eating. [1] Dietary indiscretion is also characteristic of another eating disorder known as pica, which is characterized by an appetite for non-nutritive substances, such as paper, cloth, and soil. [1]

Diabetes [ edit ]

The phrase «dietary indiscretion» is sometimes used by endocrinologists when discussing patients with diabetes mellitus. In particular, individuals with type 2 diabetes should avoid certain dietary items, including sugar-sweetened beverages, saturated and trans fats, and starches, such as white rice. [2] [3] [4] When doctors are treating patients with diabetes, dietary indiscretion refers to the patient not following the dietary recommendations, and consuming foods that can potentially exacerbate the effects of their diabetes. For example, in a case study by J.S. Baird of Columbia University, when a patient presents to the hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis, the first step for physicians is to determine whether or not the patient had performed dietary indiscretion, which could be a potential cause of the ketoacidosis. [5]

Other animals [ edit ]

Dietary indiscretion frequently occurs in domesticated animals, especially in dogs. Dietary indiscretion involving the consumption of human food by domesticated dogs can be harmful and can result in conditions including acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and acute gastritis. [6] In addition to these conditions, dietary indiscretion can be harmful to animals if non-digestible items, such as bones, are consumed. These items cannot be digested, and as such they often become lodged in the intestinal tract, causing severe, often life-threatening, digestive distress. [6]

If the animal consumes a substance that is contaminated with bacteria or other toxic substances, garbage toxicosis, or «garbage gut», can result. Garbage toxicosis involves the bacteria (or other toxic substances) entering the digestive system, resulting in the production of toxins by the bloodstream. In dogs, garbage toxicosis results in symptoms similar to those in humans with gastroenteritis. [6] These can include:

  • bloody or watery diarrhea
  • projectile vomiting
  • abdominal pain and swelling
  • fever
  • lack of energy
  • dehydration

Garbage toxicosis can generally be diagnosed by veterinarians based on symptoms and physical examination. Occasionally, further tests, such as blood and stool samples, X-rays, and other diagnostic assays are used to confirm the diagnosis. [6]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ abc «Feeding and Eating Disorders», Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , DSM Library, American Psychiatric Association, 2013-05-22, doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm10, ISBN9780890425558
  2. ^
  3. Malik, Vasanti S.; Popkin, Barry M.; Bray, George A.; Després, Jean-Pierre; Hu, Frank B. (2010-03-23). «Sugar Sweetened Beverages, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease risk». Circulation. 121 (11): 1356–1364. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.876185. ISSN0009-7322. PMC2862465 . PMID20308626.
  4. ^
  5. Risérus, Ulf; Willett, Walter C.; Hu, Frank B. (2010-01-01). «Dietary fats and prevention of type 2 diabetes». Progress in Lipid Research. 48 (1): 44–51. doi:10.1016/j.plipres.2008.10.002. ISSN0163-7827. PMC2654180 . PMID19032965.
  6. ^
  7. Hu, Emily A; Pan, An; Malik, Vasanti; Sun, Qi (2012-03-15). «White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review». The BMJ. 344: e1454. doi:10.1136/bmj.e1454. ISSN0959-8138. PMC3307808 . PMID22422870.
  8. ^
  9. Baird, John Scott (2009-08-05). «Relapse of diabetic ketoacidosis secondary to insulin pump malfunction diagnosed by capillary blood 3-hydroxybutyrate: a case report». Cases Journal. 2 (1): 8012. doi:10.4076/1757-1626-2-8012. ISSN1757-1626. PMC2769395 . PMID19918445.
  10. ^ abcd
  11. Thompson, Mark (2018). Small Animal Medical Differential Diagnosis: A Book of Lists. Milton, ON: Elsevier Canada. pp. 143–187. ISBN978-0-323-49830-2 .

What Is Stomach Rot in a Dog?

Stomach rot, also known as acute gastritis, garbage gut and dietary indiscretion, is a common cause of gastrointestinal disturbances in dogs. Stomach rot isn’t usually fatal, and most dogs experience more than one episode of this illness in their lifetime. However, always consult with a veterinarian if symptoms last more than 24 hours, are severe or are accompanied by vomiting.


Gastritis, inflammation of the lining of the dog’s stomach, produces symptoms similar to food poisoning in humans. The dog’s stomach isn’t actually rotting as the name implies — the stomach is irritated, which causes common symptoms. The quick onset of diarrhea occurs, as well as anorexia, lethargic behavior and signs of pain, such as whining. Your dog may vomit, and some dog owners also hear loud intestinal sounds from their dog’s abdominal region.


Because dogs are natural scavengers, eating from the garbage is the most common cause of stomach rot. Spoiled foods, bones, corncobs and materials such as aluminum foil can be found in garbage cans. Any of these potentially digested items are likely to cause gastrointestinal upset. If your dog eats trash from an outside trash can, he might even ingest a dead animal. It’s usually impossible to determine the exact item that caused the episode of stomach rot — although with a dog who conducts frequent rampages through a trash can, the source of new stomach problems is generally no mystery.


Stomach rot usually resolves on its own within 72 hours. If your dog eats while he has stomach rot, the symptoms can worsen because the digestive system is working to break down newly ingested foods while the stomach is inflamed from gastritis and trying to recover. The stomach needs to rest, so provide plenty of water, but don’t feed your dog for 24 to 48 hours, according to Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. After the diarrhea subsides, introduce bland foods such as boiled skinless chicken and rice into your dog’s diet for three to four days. If he refuses bland foods, mix rice with a small amount of non-seasoned chicken broth. Several dog food companies have foods specific to upset stomachs, so check with your dog’s veterinary for dietary suggestions. Provide frequent small meals; large amounts of foods in the stomach can trigger nausea. If diarrhea is persistent, some veterinarians suggest a half-and-half solution of water and Pedialyte to avoid dehydration, according to Dog Health Doc.


The best way to prevent stomach rot is to protect your dog from garbage contents. Keep a sturdy lid on the garbage can in your home and the can outside. As an added precaution, keep the garbage on your porch, under the sink or in another area that is out of your dog’s reach. When he’s outside, keep him on a leash or in a fenced-in area of your yard to prevent him from roaming the neighborhood. Frequently observe your yard to ensure that no garbage on your property or dead animals is within your dog’s reach.

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