Hairballs are balls of fur or hair that your dog accidentally swallows when grooming. When enough hair is ingested and gathers in the dog’s digestive tract, it develops a “hairball.” Dogs that have long hair that shed too much fur or actively groom themselves are susceptible to forming hairballs.
Dogs with itchy skin or those suffering from canine anaplasma or other tick-borne disease are more likely to chew and lick their fur and are also more vulnerable to getting hairballs.
SymptomsTo Watch Out For
The most visible hairball symptom you would probably notice in your dog is the retching and gagging. In addition to retching/gagging, your dog may exhibit:
- Lack of appetite
- Litter box troubles such as diarrhea or constipation
Here’s How To Treat Hairballs
If you notice symptoms that suggest that your dog has a hairball that blocks its digestive tract, you should try adding a teaspoon of oil or melted butter to their food. This will help lubricate the walls of the stomach and facilitate the elimination of the hairball through the stool. Alternatively, you should feed the dog with fish that have naturally occurring oils that will work really well.Also available on the market are dog treats and products that have a special formula that is useful for eliminating hairballs, not to mention hairball laxatives. If the condition is severe and none of these treatments work, it might be necessary to resort to surgery.
Hairballs should be taken seriously, as they may be life-threatening, or may be a sign of an even greater problem. Preventing their development is one way you can ensure the health and well-being of your dog.
Ways you can help your cat at home
Groom: Invest in a quality cat hairbrush and support your furry friend in the grooming department. Brushing them also eliminates any loose hair that also means less for your dog to swallow. Brush them at least once a week, and if you have a long-haired dog, give them a solid brush every day.
Food: Specially formulated foods are available to help cure hairballs. They normally contain enzymes to help break down the hair and higher levels of fiber to help pass the hair through the cat’s digestive tract. You may also pursue fiber-rich therapies to support them with their digestive health. Just be sure to check with your doctor before you switch on your cat’s diet.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated: Your cat must drink water daily to keep the intestinal tract lubricated. Place your dogs’ water traysat more than one placeand keep track of their intake of water. It’s important to make sure that your dog drinks a lot of water, particularly in the humid environment.