Why is my dog always getting a stomach infection?

(Q) My Dachshund, Elsa, is always getting a stomach infection. I've taken her to the vet's but we don't know why she keeps getting it. She eats wet food in pouches.

(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: In healthy dogs, tummy upsets generally crop up only rarely if, for instance, a dog eats something he shouldn't and gets a little diarrhoea and/or vomiting as a consequence.

However, frequent bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting may relate to a dog's food not suiting him. It may be worth gradually changing your dog on to a blander food such as one based on chicken and rice or lamb and rice. Dry food is sometimes easier to digest than wet.

Other causes of recurrent tummy upsets include worms, low-grade infections, and inflammatory diseases such as irritable bowel disease and internal abnormalities.

First, I'd advise that you make sure your dog's worming is up to date - you should use an effective product every three months. Failing that, it may be worth trying a plainer food and cutting out all titbits.

If that doesn't work then I'd recommend that you drop a faecal sample into your vet's (first ask them for a sterile pot to put it in) so that they can send it off to a lab for analysis. Some blood tests and other investigations might also be needed to enable your vet to get to the bottom of this and hopefully stop Elsa getting an upset tummy.