Dogs explore the world through their mouths. When curiosity strikes, they aren’t afraid to chew on unfamiliar objects. While some dogs have a gut of steel and can eat anything without becoming ill, others aren’t so lucky.
As with humans, some dogs are sensitive to certain types of dog food. In some cases, canine stomachs can’t digest certain proteins or too much fat. There are dogs, too, that develop stomach problems because their diet doesn’t contain enough fiber. Nutrient deficiency can also trigger a sensitive stomach.
Whatever the trigger, sensitive stomachs cause complications like vomiting and diarrhea. They could put your dog’s health in danger. As a pet parent, you need to provide him or her with nutritious food that doesn’t contain anything that could set off a sensitive stomach.
What Caused Your Dog’s Sensitive Stomach?
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, chances are he or she was born with it. Most of the causes of this condition are congenital, such as breed and age. Breeds like the Scottish Terrier and the Yorkie, for instance, are more likely to have a sensitive stomach. Senior dogs and puppies are also more prone to it.
Your dog could also develop it if he or she faced a major transition in life or acquired a disorder that affected the digestive tract.
Signs that Your Dog Has a Sensitive Stomach
Despite myriad causes for the condition, the symptoms are strikingly similar across all breeds and ages:
- Vomiting – When your dog vomits, its body is expelling something that shouldn’t be in his or her system. Occasional vomiting is not a cause for concern. Frequent bouts, however, require veterinary care because it can be a sign your dog’s stomach is sensitive to a certain food.
- Diarrhea – Frequent bowel movement and loose, watery stool are ways the body clears the digestive tract of substances that shouldn’t be there. Diarrhea can be a sign your dog’s stomach can’t tolerate certain food.
- Passing Gas – It’s normal for dogs to pass gas because they swallow air when they chew. The bacteria in their guts also produce gas. An excess of gas means the dog can’t digest food properly, causing excessive fermentation in the colon.
- Eating Grass – Dogs tend to eat grass when their stomachs are upset. In some cases, grass blades trigger the stomach lining and cause your dog to vomit.
- Skipping Meals – A sensitive stomach could make your dog lose his or her appetite.
Diagnosing a Sensitive Stomach
It’s tricky for pet parents to assess their dogs’ condition by themselves. Vomiting, diarrhea, and frequent flatulence could also be signs of other digestive system disorders like food allergies. Unlike sensitive stomachs that can’t process dog food, allergies involve the immune system’s over-response to a benign object.
The symptoms could also signal something more serious, like parasites, bacterial or fungal infections, a bowel disease, stomach ulcers, or pancreatitis.
A check-up at the vet clinic can rule out these conditions. Vets perform a health history, physical, and fecal examination to confirm that the symptoms stem from a sensitive stomach.
Don’t worry; sensitive stomachs are usually not serious. In most cases, changing your pet dog’s diet easily solves the problem.
Helping Your Dog Cope with a Sensitive Stomach
Once the vet confirms that your dog has a sensitive stomach, you have to be cautious about what you feed your dog, including snacks and treats. Here’s how you can help your dog cope with his or her sensitive stomach:
- Feed Your Dog the Right Type of Food
A simple and bland diet doesn’t trigger a sensitive stomach. So, feed your dog with a meal of boiled rice and chicken — forego the seasoning. Ask your vet if you could feed your dog canned pumpkin, too. Your dog’s body absorbs pumpkin slowly, so it eases troubled digestion. Yogurt is also recommended because it replenishes the beneficial gut bacteria lost through diarrhea. Additionally, ask your vet if you can give your dog oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and bananas. If your dog is still vomiting, opt for wet dog food for sensitive stomachs to prevent dehydration.
Choose high-quality canned food because high-grade ingredients are easier to digest. Dave’s Pet Food offers a selection that could work for your dog. Our dog food has ingredients that are on the bland side to cater to your dog’s sensitive stomach. It:
- Contains no wheat or gluten
- Is made of chicken and rice, ingredients that ease your dog’s upset stomach
Don’t switch out all your dog’s food at once, though. A gradual transition to the new diet would prevent stomach further problems. The first meal should comprise 80% of the old food and 20% of the new one. Gradually increase the portions of the new food while decreasing the old one. After ten days, your dog should be able to handle eating 100% new food.
- Limit Treats and Snacks
Each meal already provides your dog with the essential nutrients to fuel daily activities. So, you have to restrict your dog’s diet to the healthy meals you serve every feeding time. Remove extra food items from your dog’s diet, such as table scraps and treats. These aren’t the healthiest food options for your dog, especially if he or she has a sensitive stomach.
If you think your dog really deserves a treat, give him or her just one kind of snack — and make sure it’s easily digestible and doesn’t contain any food triggers. Better yet, use canned dog food for sensitive stomachs as treats.
Lastly, monitor your dog so he or she won’t go sneaking into the trash or litter box. Remember that dogs love to put things into their mouths. Because of a sensitive stomach, the substances in these areas can easily get your dog sick.
- Keep Your Dog Hydrated
A dog that has diarrhea quickly loses water and can become dehydrated in a matter of hours. Here are two ways to check if your dog needs hydration:
- Check the gums. If they’re not coated with a shiny, wet film, then your dog is dehydrated.
- Pinch the skin behind the neck, then release it. If the skin stays in a pinched position, your dog is likely dehydrated.
Don’t just give your dog water, though. Your dog needs to replenish all the electrolytes and vitamins he or she has lost through the watery stool. Ask your vet for a prescription that would give your dog the electrolytes he or she needs.
Dogs with a sensitive stomach require high-quality dog food, as well as time and patience from their pet parents. Like their human counterparts, there’s no blanket cure for all dogs with this condition. You have to find the diet that wouldn’t trigger symptoms and, at the same time, give your dog all the essential nutrients. Once you’ve found what works for your dog, he or she can enjoy happy days again, free of that uncomfortable feeling at the pit of the stomach.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, try our premium dog food today.