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, excessive gas, and diarrhea with or without blood in the stool. Treatment will include supplemental therapy in response to the symptoms they have developed.
If you change your pet’s diet to something easy for them to digest, the symptoms should cease. You can talk to your vet about transitioning to food for dogs with sensitive stomachs. However, it is not uncommon for a dog with a sensitive stomach to need lifetime intermittent treatment if they have flare-ups. There may be more reasons than the type of food.
If your dog is experiencing chronic vomiting or diarrhea, this is not normal. You should take them for an evaluation with the veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out conditions like allergies and gastrointestinal disturbances or disease.
Symptoms of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
Symptoms of digestive trouble may include:
- 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 pet. Old dogs and small dog breeds tend to be more commonly affected; however, this condition can affect all canines. Gassy dog breeds, whether young or getting along in age, include the Pug, Golden Retriever, and Boxer. The vet can recommend the best dog foods for dogs with gas which may include wet food for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Wet food can work its way through the digestive tract easily, helping the stomach and intestines to function without strain.
A condition causing soft stool, lack of appetite or gas can be the primary issue in any dog, or it may be the secondary result of another ailment. Additionally, chronic symptoms can lead to other secondary issues as a result. For example, if your dog has a delicate digestive system and their diet is irritating their gastrointestinal tract, it can lead to chronic vomiting and ulceration. If your dog is older, discuss the best food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs to help get their gastrointestinal system back in proper working order. Testing for underlying disorders may be recommended if your companion has concerning symptoms that are causing health-related issues.
Causes of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
Your dog’s sensitive stomach may be congenital; that is, they are born with it. You may notice as a puppy your dog does not digest their food well, has excessive gas, and has abnormal stools. Discussing home remedies for dog gas, such as adding a tablespoon of probiotic plain yogurt to their meal, may be a simple step you can take to aid in easing an upset tummy. Talk to your vet about switching to a food for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Your dog may also have chronic vomiting, nausea, and other GI-related symptoms no matter what food you feed them. A previous health condition or a newly developed one like pancreatitis, colitis, or a malabsorption disorder may be the culprit.
Diagnosis of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
If your dog is producing abnormal stool or vomiting chronically, it is best to take them to the 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. The veterinarian will want to know when your dog’s symptoms started, if and how they have been progressing, and any other detail in regards to their health. They will continue by performing a full physical exam on your dog. While you may have brought them in for one specific complaint, the vet will want to check them over entirely for other symptoms of illness or indications of a sensitive stomach. A visual assessment will be part of the evaluation, including body condition to assess how your dog is absorbing the nutrients from their diet.
Diagnostic lab work will assist in the diagnosis. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry profile 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 to ensure there is no intestinal blockage or a mass causing the symptoms. The vet may also want to do an endoscopy to properly view the GI tract. This can also allow proper viewing of a growth or blockage and check for ulceration.
Treatment of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs
Your dog’s symptoms and lab work results will determine the treatment plan. The blood work will indicate if an inability to digest food properly is affecting any internal organ health. If your dog is experiencing specific symptoms related to their health, your veterinarian will determine if it is due to a sensitivity or not.
If your dog is experiencing any ulceration in the 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 aid in the repair of 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 food for sensitive stomach in dogs for a time period or for the remainder of their life. There are prescription diets with high-quality ingredients available or, together with your vet, you can do a process of elimination in order to discover exactly what ingredient your dog is sensitive to. Your vet may recommend a highly digestible dog food such as one containing beet pulp as a fiber source, or a food that does not contain a high level of fat, which many dogs struggle to digest.
Supplements can be added to your dog’s diet in order to keep the digestive tract healthy. Additional nutritional needs your dog has will be addressed by your veterinarian. Your dog’s diet will be unique to them as their sensitivity will be specific.
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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 them exclusively that, the stomach sensitivity should no longer be a detriment to their health. If you do not alter the diet or if you feed them food that irritates the stomach, you will have to continue to treat the symptoms. Once the GI tract health is returned to normal, your dog should no longer have chronic diarrhea or vomiting, nor any other related issues.