Dogs evolved from wolves, they have stomachs of steel and can eat anything – in theory.
Any pet lover who has endured the consequences of a fur-child with an upset tummy can vouch for the fact, not only can dogs not eat “anything,” there are often unpleasant penalties for trying.
Eating offensive foods (and other objects) can lead to a miserable, painful tummy ache. Primary symptoms of a dog's stomach distress include; diarrhea, vomiting, and flatulence.
Many factors can contribute to a sensitive stomach in dogs, and identifying the exact cause is sometimes difficult. The frequency, severity, and duration of stomach ailments can provide clues for diagnosis.
Understanding possible origins of the symptoms is important to relieve discomfort and prevent recurrences.
Common Causes of a Dog’s Sensitive Stomach Include:
- Breed Specific Tendency – Certain breeds like Scotties, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pomeranians are prone to stomach issues.
- Change of Diet – Changing foods or adding treats to the diet can trigger stomach ailments.
- Medication – Vaccinations, parasite preventatives, antibiotics, even vitamin supplements can affect a dog’s digestion.
- Stress – Dogs moved to unfamiliar surroundings, adding a new pet to the family, or changes in the home environment can lead to stomach ailments.
- Food Allergies – Dogs with a low tolerance for gluten, grains, dairy, and even some meat products will suffer digestive distress.
- Parasites – Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms often cause stomach sensitivities in an otherwise healthy dog.
- Digestive Disease – Viruses and gastrointestinal diseases like giardia and pancreatitis will produce sensitive stomach problems.
- Senior Dogs – As dogs age their ability to properly digest food changes creating a need for a change in diet.
- Overeating – A few lucky dogs can get away with eating large meals without the accompanying digestive breakdowns. However, most dogs will exhibit sensitive stomach distress if they are prone to overeat.
- Toxic Plants – Dogs occasionally eat grass and other interesting plants. Some plants are toxic and resulting in a sensitive stomach reaction.
Regardless of the cause, helping a dog with a sensitive stomach requires a multi-step approach.
When Symptoms of a Stomach Disorder Develop, Here Are a Few Tips to Help:
Provide a comfortable, safe, contained area for your dog when he is sick. Do not crate if he is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. Cover the floor with puppy pads or papers to make clean up easier.
Remove food. Remove all food sources, treats, and access to garbage for up to 24 hours. Processing food adds a burden to the stressed digestive system causing more pain.
Keep water available. Prevent dehydration by providing a fresh source of water and encourage the dog to drink. Add Gatorade or Pedialyte to the water to replenish electrolytes and rehydrate.
Feed bland food. Reintroduce food with bland offerings. A clear chicken or bone broth is easily digested. As the dog’s tolerance for food improves, add plain yogurt to the diet. Yogurt contains acidophilus which replaces good bacteria that is lost during illness or from medication. A few tablespoons of pumpkin delivers healthy fiber and helps firm stools.
Less is more. A long-term sensitive stomach disorder may require feeding smaller meals at closer intervals to support better digestion.
Sensitive stomach recipe. If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach syndrome work with your veterinarian to determine the best high quality, breed specific, balanced food for her condition.
Switch food gradually. Any changes in the diet can trigger a sensitive stomach. Introduce new foods gradually and discourage feeding table scraps and other desirable “people food.”
Leash and watch. To avoid the potential of ingesting toxic plants or picking up other irresistible munchies, leash your dog when he is outdoors. Do not permit drinking from puddles, standing water, community bowls, or other outside sources.
Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. There are dozens of products designed to relieve a human’s stomach ache. A few people products may even work for your dog. Consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any medications, including over-the-counter remedies.
Seek medical assistance. If your dog is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea for 48 hours, passes blood, or becomes unresponsive, call your veterinarian for medical care.
Give them probiotics. Probiotics supply your dog with the "good" bacteria that supports a healthy digestive system and helps boost the immune system. Probiotics with added prebiotics and digestive enzymes, are also great for their overall wellness.
Lastly, a holistic approach and doing what you can to promote a healthy gut for your dog will yield the best long-term results!
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