Rescue Dogs and Digestion

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and as we get ready to wrap up this month, I thought it was an important time to talk about the digestive changes that a rescued dog goes through after he or she arrives at their forever home.

Rescue dogs and shelter dogs sometimes go from place to place in their journey from being rescued until they find their final forever home. There are volunteers who transport dogs across the country so that they can escape a high-kill shelter and go to a foster based rescue organization or to a no-kill shelter that has space and more potential homes in their area. Sometimes these dogs can go halfway across the country, and some even travel by plane, both commercially and in small planes flown by volunteer pilots who have a passion for saving canine lives.

Although all of this travel and handing off of a dog from one person to another is a good thing and necessary for their survival and what will ultimately be a happy ending, the dogs do no know what is happening. As a result, this can be extremely stressful to them. Just like with humans, stress can impact digestion and cause upset stomachs and loose stools.

Additionally, many shelters and rescues rely on donated food, which can range dramatically in quality and type. A dog might go from eating one food at a shelter, to another food at a foster home, and then yet another food in their forever home. If the food at their forever home is a better quality than what they ate at the shelter, the dog is very likely to go through somewhat of a detox process in which some unappealing things might be leaving their system as they start to get the benefits of the better quality food. Photo by Shelley Kim on Unsplash

If you have already read our blog, “Your Dog’s Gut, Probiotics and the 4th of July”, you will remember we wrote about the brain-gut axis, in which not only does stress affects your dog’s gut health, but having a healthy gut can help reduce your dog’s stress levels. Because of this, it can be extremely beneficial to put your dog on a probiotic supplement like Iconic Paws Canine Super Probiotic because the prebiotic and probiotic in our product can help rescued dogs with both the intestinal distress that is caused by rapid changes in food as well as with the emotional stress that comes from bouncing around from rescuer to rescuer.

Iconic Paws encourages potential dog owners to adopt dogs from local shelters instead of purchasing from pet stores who sell puppy mill puppies. Because our business exists first and foremost to help dogs live the best lives that they can, I have selected Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART), which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) no-kill rescue support group located in Fairfax, Virginia. If you live in the Fairfax area, please check out their link and consider one of their adoptable cats and dogs for your next family member. If you do not live nearby, PetFinder is a great resource for adoptable dogs as is your local county or city animal shelter. You can find HART at or go to if you live in another part of the country.