Having a dog struggle with digestion makes you wonder how to find the best dog food for dogs with a sensitive stomach. Does your dog throw up bile or undigested food? Does your dog have diarrhea?
PetMio Chief Food Scientist Kasra Farsad and PetMio Veterinary Advisory Panel member Dr. Nobuki Stobaeus provide some guidance below. Read on to learn more about finding the best dog food for dogs with a sensitive stomach.
Look for the Symptoms…and Rule Everything Else Out
Unfortunately for us, our pets can’t tell us when something hurts or why. “There are numerous diseases that can mimic the signs of a sensitive stomach,” Dr. Stobaeus states, “ranging from intestinal parasites, to foreign bodies, to endocrine diseases and more.”
Symptoms of an upset or sensitive stomach may include your dog throwing up, having trouble passing waste, or having diarrhea. All of these symptoms can, however, indicate something much worse.
“The best way to make sure your pet does have a sensitive stomach and not something else is to rule out these other causes by visiting your veterinarian,” Dr. Stobaeus advises. He recommends letting your veterinarian know what your pet has eaten for the past 3 months, how much, and how often. Also let them know what monthly heartworm and flea prevention your pup is using.
With this information and a few tests, your vet will be able to screen out other possibilities.
Different Causes of Sensitive Stomach
Once you and your vet have ruled out other possibilities and concluded your pet has a sensitive stomach, your job is not over. Now you both have to figure out why your pet has a sensitive stomach. Your pet could need a more frequent food schedule, have an immune disease, or be allergic to certain food ingredients.
One reason your pet might not be agreeing with their food is because you are feeding your pet once per day. Talk to your vet about how often you are feeding your pet. You may find that multiple, smaller meals are easier on your pet’s digestive system and help some of the problem.
Alternatively, your pet may have an inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis. In this case you and your vet may decide on a hypoallergenic diet. Dr. Stobaeus recommends pets with pancreatitis to stay on a low fat diet and away from human food to prevent the pancreas from flaring up. “Bland diets such as ones with minimal flavoring or sometimes boiled chicken and rice will cause less issues with the gastrointestinal tract since there is less for the body to react to.”
In addition, your pet might have an allergy to a certain food. Farsad recommends narrowing down ingredients in your pet’s diet to figure out if this is the case:
“A great start for limiting your pets diet is to change proteins, like from chicken to salmon, and wait to see if there is an improvement. Once proteins have been ruled out, grains are the next ingredients to toggle by going to a grain-free diet. It is also important to gradually transition new foods and diets to ensure there stomach has a chance to agree with the new ingredients. Once proteins and grains have been exhausted, it is important to consult your veterinarian for recommendations on higher level limited ingredient diets.”
The Best Dog Food for Dogs with a Sensitive Stomach: What to Look For and Avoid
We’ve already noted that most food for sensitive stomachs will be limited in ingredients. Quality, flavorings, and limiting human food are all important factors to consider as well.
Farsad explains, “A lot of digestive issues can be caused not by the ingredient itself, but the quality and digestibility of the ingredient. When experimenting with foods to address stomach sensitivity, make sure to entertain premium ingredient foods as well.” These premium foods will not have the cheap filler that make lower grade kibbles hard to digest.
Dr. Stobaeus also warns against foods that are too rich for your dog to easily digest them. This means that dogs with sensitive stomachs should absolutely avoid flavorings in their food and human foods. Dr. Stobaeus explains that especially human foods have too many oils and seasonings for dogs to easily digest.
The Best Dog Food for Dogs with a Sensitive Stomach: Talking to Your Vet
The bottom line is if your dog is exhibiting symptoms of a sensitive stomach, visit your vet immediately. Ruling out other, more dangerous possibilities is very important. Dr. Stobaeus mentions that if another cause is found, sometimes your dog can be treated and the stomach issues will go away. If your pet has a sensitive stomach, however, getting them on the correct diet right away will prevent unnecessary suffering.
The PetMio team hopes to help you figure out how to find the best dog food for dogs with a sensitive stomach. Definitely stay tuned for what we are creating! Learn more at our home page here. Have more questions? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.