How to feed a dog with a sensitive stomach
Alongside skin problems such as itching, excessive licking and hair loss, digestive issues are one of the leading symptoms of food allergies in dogs.
Whilst we can't make your own farts rosier, we can certainly help to identify and treat tummy problems for your dog. We share our top tips on the dog food to devour or avoid if your dog is suffering from a sensitive stomach.
What are the symptoms of a sensitive stomach in dogs?
If you're wondering whether your pooch is struggling with tummy troubles after eating their meal, check out these key symptoms:
- Excessive wind (the type of toots that can clear a room)
- Soft poop or diarrhoea (and the occasional accident on that new, deep pile carpet)
- Licking lips (a common sign of nausea in dogs)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in their poop (best to get this one checked out at the vets)
Quite the unenjoyable and messy experience for both you and your dog eh?
Most of these symptoms will happen around an hour or two after eating and some of the symptoms can last for days. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms at least once a week then it's highly likely they're suffering from a sensitive tummy.
But the symptoms don't just stop there. Sensitive tummies can also lead to sensitive skin - another indicator that your dog may just be allergic to their food.
So let's check out the causes...
What can cause a sensitive stomach for dogs?
One of the most common causes of tummy troubles in dogs is allergies and intolerances to their food. Sometimes it's clear that your dog is allergic to an ingredient as a pup, whilst other dogs may develop these symptoms later on in life.
Common food allergens for dogs
Some of the most common allergens found in dog food include beef, dairy, wheat, eggs, chicken, lamb and soy.
Just like us humans, every dog is unique and in very few cases, there may be dogs allergic to certain ingredients found outside of this list, for example a small percentage of dogs may be allergic to sweet potato or pea protein.
The best way to figure out the main offender is through an elimination diet (more on this later).
A change in diet
There are many reasons you might want to change your dog's diet - especially now there are more sustainable dog food options on the market. Because big carbon footprints are soooo 2018.
Switching dog food isn't something you can do overnight. A sudden change to your dog's diet can cause them to have a poorly tummy. This handy guide shows how easy it is to make the switch without tummy troubles:
Type of dog breed
As we mentioned earlier, some dogs are born with sensitive stomachs, whilst others may develop symptoms later on life - it's a bit of a lottery and can happen to any dog at any time.
However, there are some breeds that are more likely to suffer than others. These include:
- Flat-faced breeds such as French bulldogs, English bulldogs and pugs
- Deep chested, larger breeds such as Labradors, Retrievers, Great Danes etc. (prone to bloat)
- Some smaller breeds with short digestive tracks such as Scottish Terriers
- Yorkshire Terriers (commonly get pancreatitis)
How to treat your dog's sensitive tummy
The best way to identify your dog's food allergy is through a food elimination diet. Before you start, write down a complete diet history (a list of every single food item that regularly passes your dog's lips).
Next, you'll need to introduce your dog to a brand new diet that doesn't contain any of the food items on the diet history list. We highly recommend seeking advice from your dog's vet on what food they should eat on their new diet but a hypoallergenic dog food such as All-Day Buffet is definitely a great place to start. This will ensure that your dog gets all of the nutrients they need to be healthy whilst cutting out some of those top food allergens we mentioned earlier.
Once you've decided on the new diet, your dog must avoid all of the previous food items for at least eight weeks in order for the food items to fully leave your dog's system.
After eight weeks, you can either continue to feed your dog their new diet indefinitely or start reintroducing the food items from the old diet one by one. If the allergy symptoms start up again, you'll know it was that food item that was causing the allergy.
Feed your dog a complete diet
When you're searching for a new dog food, look out for the term 'nutritionally complete'. This means the food provides balanced nutrition for everyday feeding. Aka... You don't need to feed your dog anything else (such as supplements) to provide them with the nutrients they need to survive and thrive.
We’re working with the big dogs – leading global nutritionists and vets to ensure tip top quality in our nutritionally complete dog food, All-Day Buffet.
If a dog doesn't get the nutrients they need, it can cause sensitive stomach problems - and nobody's got time for that.
Stick to one protein source
When trying to identify that pesky food allergen that's causing your dog's runny poop and stinky farts, check out the protein source first. It will often come from meat such as beef, lamb and chicken and is the most likely cause of your doggo's tummy troubles.
When switching to a new diet, look for dog food with just one novel protein source as this will help to eliminate allergies. With Grub Club's All-Day Buffet, our novel protein source comes from insects which are naturally hypoallergenic for dogs. Great news for sensitive tummies...
One of the leading causes of tummy problems alongside protein allergies, is an allergy to grains. Commonly used grains in dog food include barley, wheat, corn, oats, rice and rye.
Whilst grains can have crucial nutritional benefits for most dogs (energy, protein, vitamin E and linoleic acid to name a few), for the pooches that are intolerant, grains can often be the source of digestive issues.
Choose food that contains prebiotics - a form of dietary fibre that support the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. Science aside, we like to see prebiotics as little digestive wizards and the magic list of tummy trouble benefits is a biggie. Prebiotics can...
- Create regular bowel habits for your dog, because who doesn't want a clockwork digestive system?
- Help to manage and heal digestive disorders (told you it was magic)
- Allows more nutrients to be absorbed
- Ensure a more complete breakdown of food in the intestines (the solution to those stinky farts)...
Yep, you guessed it. Grub Club's All-Day Buffet contain prebiotic MOS and FOS, as well as Yucca extract which can help solve tummy problems for your dog.
Slow down their eating
Do you have a greedy guzzler too? You're not alone. Dogs have a reputation for being bottomless pits that can down their food in no time at all. Why? Well tastiness first and foremost but also the fear that their tasty food might be taken away by you or another dog.
Eating too quickly can cause tummy troubles but fear not, there are some ways to slow the little blighters down at mealtime.
Purchase a slow feeder
Slow feeders are dog bowls with specially designed ridges that prevent your dog from gulping down kibble in just a few mouthfuls. They're a cheap and effective way to make sure your dog takes the time to digest their food properly; because a quality kibble should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace of course.
If your dog usually has two meals a day, try splitting the same quantity into four meals instead. Not only will this stop your dog from gobbling up large quantities of food quickly, but it will also ensure they're not as ravenous at mealtimes.
Be careful with those treats
When they're giving it the old puppy eyes, it can be hard to refuse the odd slip of some human food under the table, but you could be doing more harm to your dog than good.
Keep the human food for humans and the dog treats for doggos. And just like human food, some treats are far healthier than others.
At Grub Club we have Poop Perfector treats. These little nuggets of joy are hypoallergenic, grain free and designed to reward sensitive tummies (because they deserve the good stuff too).
Ready to change your dog's life?
With rosier farts, no more accidents and solid stools, switching your dog to a hypoallergenic dog food like All-Day Buffet might even make picking up poop enjoyable. Well, almost...