Does Your Dog Have a Sensitive Stomach?

Published: 01/28/2021

No one likes to see their precious pup in pain or discomfort. And if your dog is suffering from an upset tummy, the signs can be unpleasant and distressing. 

We’re talking everything from excess gas to diarrhea and even vomiting, all of which can be enough to turn your stomach and leave your dog feeling a whole lot worse for wear.

But what causes a sensitive stomach in dogs, and what can you do to help stop it affecting your dog’s day-to-day life? Keep reading to find out.

What causes tummy troubles?

Okay, so your dog has lots of stinky gas or loose stools and you think they have a sensitive stomach. That may well be the case, but it’s important not to jump to the conclusion that your pup’s food is to blame.

Why? Well, unfortunately, there’s a whole lot that can cause your pooch’s tummy to act up. Here are a few of the common causes:

There are also many different and far more serious health problems that can include digestive upset among their list of symptoms. So if your dog’s sensitive stomach symptoms aren’t going away, take them in for a check-up with your veterinarian. The vet will be able to examine your dog and rule out any underlying medical problems.

And if your dog gets a clean bill of health, it’s time to consider whether their diet may be the cause of their tummy troubles.

Dog food ingredients that can irritate sensitive stomachs

Proteins are the most common cause of food allergies in dogs. Beef, lamb, and chicken are regular culprits, while eggs, wheat, corn, soy, and dairy products can also cause problems. 

However, pretty much any ingredient in dog food can potentially result in an allergic reaction, and the resulting symptoms won’t necessarily be limited to the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, food insensitivity commonly leads to itchy skin, which is once again why it’s important to seek your vet’s expert diagnosis.

Unfortunately, determining the cause of the problem often isn’t easy. 

The most effective approach is to feed your dog an elimination trial diet for 8 weeks or more. This essentially involves feeding your dog a diet with a protein or carbohydrate source they’ve never had before to allow you to identify whether they’re allergic to a specific ingredient.

Signs and symptoms of a sensitive stomach

You typically don’t need a degree in veterinary medicine to recognize the tell-tale signs of a dog with a sensitive stomach. Common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea or loose stools

  • Flatulence

  • Burping

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Hypersalivation

  • Nausea

  • Decreased mobility

Unfortunately, these symptoms can affect dogs of all breeds and all ages, so get your poor pooch to the vet to find out what you can do to help their delicate digestive system.

Treating and preventing sensitive stomach problems

There are lots of simple things you can do to tackle a sensitive stomach. Speak to your vet or chat with a vet now about the best approach for your dog — they’ll be able to offer advice suited to your pet’s health needs, breed, and life stage. 

Some of the remedies they might consider include:

  • Cutting out those table scraps. We know it can be pretty tempting to slip your dog a tasty morsel or two under the dinner table when no one is looking — after all, how could you say no to those gorgeous eyes? But fatty and unusual foods can throw your dog’s digestive balance out of whack, so it’s time to cut the table scraps out of their diet.

  • Switching to a better-quality food. As a general rule, dog food with a higher price tag is made using better-quality ingredients. While it may cost more, it could end up saving you money if it helps you avoid expensive trips to the vet. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that expensive dog food is the best, so ask your vet what products they recommend.

  • Considering a limited-ingredient dog food. Another option is to switch to a limited-ingredient dog food or a product specially designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs. These foods feature minimal ingredients, including novel protein and carbohydrate sources, to minimize the chance of an allergic reaction.

  • Adjusting the amount of fat and fiber in their diet. A diet that’s high in fiber helps promote proper digestive function, while your dog may also find that a diet that’s lower in fat is easier to digest. 

  • Transitioning to new foods gradually. If you’re switching your pup to a different diet, don’t just stop feeding one food and immediately transition to another. This is a very common cause of upset stomachs, so it’s important to make the switch slowly. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food in with your dog’s current food each day, then adjust the ratios each day until they’re eating a 100% new diet.

  • Making them slow down. If your dog wolfs down their dinner in seconds, your vet may recommend encouraging them to eat at a slower pace. This may mean feeding them with a special bowl, or putting their kibble into an interactive puzzle toy so they can’t eat it all at once.

  • Adding a probiotic to your dog’s diet. Your vet may also recommend adding a probiotic supplement to your pet’s dinner to help maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria in their gut.

So while a sensitive stomach can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant problem for your pooch, it’s something that can be managed. Speak to your vet about the best approach for your dog can how you can make their tummy troubles a thing of the past.