What is Sensitive Stomach?
Some dogs are born with a sensitive stomach while others develop the condition later in life. Either way, it is something that needs to be addressed in order for your dog to thrive. Symptoms a dog with a sensitive stomach may develop include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with or without blood in the stool. Treatment will include supplemental therapy in response to the symptoms he has developed.
If you change your pet’s diet to something easy for him to digest, his symptoms should cease. However, it is not uncommon for a dog with a sensitive stomach to need lifetime intermittent treatment if he has flare ups.
If your dog is experiencing chronic vomiting or diarrhea, this is not normal. You should take him for an evaluation with his veterinarian as soon as possible.
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Symptoms of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
A dog with a sensitive stomach may develop symptoms of:
- Lack of appetite
- Swallowing (result of nausea)
- Excessive gas
- Soft stool
- Blood in stool
- Decreased mobility after eating substance of question
Sensitive stomach in a dog can affect any breed and any age of dog. Old dogs and small dog breeds tend to be more commonly affected, however it can affect them all. A sensitive stomach can be the primary issue or it may be the secondary result of another ailment. Additionally, a sensitive stomach can lead to other secondary issues as a result. For example, if your dog has a sensitive stomach and his diet is irritating his gastrointestinal tract, it can lead to chronic vomiting and/or ulceration of the GI tract.
Causes of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
Your dog’s sensitive stomach may be congenital; that is, he is born with it. You may notice as a puppy your dog does not digest his food well and may have abnormal stools. He may also have chronic vomiting no matter what food you feed him. Another reason your dog has a sensitive stomach may be as a result of a previous health condition.
Diagnosis of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
If your dog is producing abnormal stool chronically and/or vomiting chronically, it is best to take him to his veterinarian for an evaluation as soon as possible. At your appointment, your veterinarian will collect a verbal history in regards to your dog’s condition. She will want to know when your dog’s symptoms started, if and how they have been progressing, and any other detail in regards to his health. She will continue by performing a full physical exam on your dog. While you may have brought him in for one specific complaint, she will want to check him over entirely for other symptoms of illness or indications of a sensitive stomach. She will evaluate him visually for an overall assessment. She will evaluate his body condition to assess how he is absorbing the nutrients from his diet.
She will proceed with diagnostic lab work to assist in her diagnosis. She will begin with a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry profile. This will give basic information on how your dog’s internal organs are functioning and the overall bodily function as a whole. This can indicate the glucose level, cholesterol, and more information regarding your pet’s blood levels. If there are any abnormal levels, your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic lab work that is more specific to the suspected ailment. A fecal sample should be collected for diagnostic testing to rule out intestinal parasites or a bacterial overgrowth, both of which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Your veterinarian may want to do radiographic imaging of your dog’s GI tract. She will want to ensure there is no intestinal blockage or a mass that can be causing his symptoms. She may also want to do an endoscopy to properly view his GI tract. This can allow proper viewing of a mass or blockage and to check for ulceration.
Treatment of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
Your dog’s symptoms and lab work results will determine his treatment plan. The blood work will indicate if his inability to digest his food properly is affecting any internal organ health. If he is experiencing specific symptoms related to his health, your veterinarian will determine if it is due to his sensitivity or not.
If your dog is experiencing any ulceration in his GI tract, medications will be administered to soothe and apply a protective coating to the ulcer. This will allow for faster healing and added comfort for your dog. Anti-vomiting medication will be administered to calm your dog’s digestive tract. Withholding food for 12 to 24 hours will also calm your dog’s digestive tract. Adding more fiber to your dog’s diet should help firm up the loose stool. Probiotics will also be prescribed in order to restore your dog’s intestinal health back to normal. Additional medications will be prescribed as deemed necessary by your dog’s veterinarian.
Your dog may need to be transitioned to a sensitive stomach diet food for a time period or for the remainder of his life. There are prescription diets available or you can do process of elimination in order to discover exactly what ingredient your dog is sensitive to. If you do this, you can simply feed him a diet that excludes this ingredient.
Supplements can be added to your dog’s diet in order to keep his digestive tract healthy. Additional nutritional needs your dog has will be address by your veterinarian. Your dog’s diet will be unique to him as his sensitivity will be specific.
Recovery of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
If you are able to find one or several foods your dog is able to digest without an issue and feed him exclusively that, his stomach sensitivity should no longer be a detriment. If you do not alter his diet or if you feed him foods that irritate his stomach, you will have to continue to treat his upset stomach. Once his GI tract health is returned to normal, he should no longer have chronic diarrhea or vomiting nor any other related issues.
Sensitive Stomach Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog has a sensitive stomach. He looks good, his stools are normal, he has plenty of energy, his eyeys, teeth, and gums look great, he is around a year and a half old we rescued him so we dont know his hystory and we have had him for 5 months now. But his stomach growls, he is not a big eatter, he constantly eats grass but has only thrown up a couple of times, he beggs for people food even though we dont give him any. He eats Pedigree dry dog food, we have tried weening him onto Blue but he ended up with bad diarreha that would not go away.
Thank you very much for the advice. I will have his stool tested. He was treated for worms when we first brought him home. He has been a blessing to our family, a wonderful dog! We really love him and want to make sure he is ok. Again thank you!
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Hi, the dog I am dog sitting has a sensitive stomach. He was given a few treats today, and I am wondering how long it might take before I know if he will be okay with it or not. If he were going to be sick, how long after the treats were given would it take?
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