One of the most common and annoying health conditions in dogs is stomach issues. Loose stool, excessive gas, and occasional vomiting are all indicators of tummy upset. Gastrointestinal issues can be caused by the wrong food. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs. Other times, a dog can have bowel issues and show signs of an upset stomach for a diet that is not best suited for them. Your canine companion should be eating the right diet for his breed and life-stage. A high-fat diet can not only make your dog obese, but it can also cause your dog to have excessive flatulence. Table scraps can interfere with digestion and lead to additional gas and diarrhea in our canine companions. Even if you have grown up with dogs and have always had a favorite brand, that brand may not be the one that meets your dog’s nutritional needs best. There is no perfect dog food for all dogs. A dog with digestive issues needs special consideration.
Sensitive Stomach and The Doggie Diet
Stomach symptoms can also indicate a health problem that needs treatment. Parasites can cause loose bowel movements, especially if accompanied by “scooting” behaviors. Dogs can get a viral or bacterial infection that will cause nausea, vomiting, loose bowels and flatulence. Pancreatitis or kidney disease also have symptoms that cause the signs of an upset doggie tummy. Once you have taken your dog to a vet and they’re cleared of an underlying health condition that could be causing the digestive problems, a diet change can be both treatment and cure so you have a happier healthier dog who is properly nourished.
Dog food formulations vary greatly, and some formulations can cause indigestion for your dog. Dog foods lacking fiber and even protein food allergies can cause random vomiting, diarrhea, and a bloating dog who has noxious emissions. All dogs have occasional flatulence. Noticing if it gets worse is important.
Dogs can also have food allergies just like their human owners. Skin problems and recurrent ear infections often have a food allergy involved. Chicken, egg, and beef protein are the most common allergens. A canine companion can also have food intolerances. Food intolerance is not an allergy. Intolerance causes problems with digestion. It is much like human lactose intolerance. If a dog eats a food which they have a food intolerance to, there will be stomach and intestinal symptoms. Dog food formulations can have fats and oils that are hard for some dogs to digest properly.
Most dogs also will occasionally have a loose bowel movement or vomit. But it should not be a normal occurrence. If your dog has common stomach problems, a full physical exam by a vet is called for. A vet visit can make sure your dog is healthy and find the cause of the upset stomach. A gastrointestinal checkup may require X-rays, lab tests and a fecal stool sample. The vet can treat any health conditions that could be contributing to their delicate stomach condition recommend dietary changes to make your dog comfortable and reduce the symptoms.
Treatment of Sudden Onset Stomach Issues
A bland diet is safe, but only short-term dietary change, that can be made if a dog suddenly shows changes indigestion. A bland diet allows the dog only easy-to-digest foods and lets their gastrointestinal system not have to work as hard. Boiled shredded chicken and rice are the only food. Never add seasoning to the chicken and rice on a bland diet. Canned pumpkin in small amounts adds fiber to bulk up stools and can firm up loose bowels. For owners that make their own dogfood, seasonings are often to blame for a dog having a sensitive stomach. A healthy dog has the right types of gut bacteria which help with digestion. Sometimes the gut bacteria can become imbalanced, especially if a dog is on or recently took antibiotics for a health condition. A probiotic may be prescribed by the vet to correct any gut imbalances. Probiotics can help your dog food digest their food easier and absorb nutrients properly. Probiotics are available in powder and liquid forms and are easily added directly into their food. Your vet is your partner is helping decide what changes should be made to your dog’s food and can answer any questions or concerns you have.
Sudden changes in dog food brands can cause mayhem to a dog’s digestions. All food changes should be done gradually and incrementally. Switching dog food formulations should take at least a week to ten days and be done by substituting an increasing portion of the regular diet with the new food each day so the dog can adjust slowly.
Dog Food Selection
Always feed your dog a dog food recipe that meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional standards. AAFCO is the only certification that indicates quality. The AAFCO certification proves a food provides the listed nutrition, is made following safety protocols, and does not make false health claims. It also verifies that the ingredients listed are what is provided in each bowl. AAFCO animal foods are tested and proven by research and testing by veterinarians and experts in animal nutrition. AAFCO formula foods will be the safest, highest quality and most nutritious foods for your pet and are at all price points for every budget. While you may choose to feed your dog a GMO-Free or Organic certified food diet, organic and GMO-sourced dog foods are not regulated so finding an AAFCO organic dog food recipe will ensure you are actually feeding your dog a chosen diet if that is your preference.
Age Appropriate Dog Food
Puppies and dogs should not eat the same diet. Dogs need formulations that provide them with the complete nutrition needed for their stage of life. Additional protein and fat needed by puppies or active breeds can make an older dog miserably ill. Mature dog food cannot provide the extra calories and nutrients a young dog needs to grow and thrive into an adult dog. People food and cat food are not appropriate either as while we think of our dogs as members of the family, they are canines. They may also like eating out of the cat bowl, but they can make themselves ill on cat chow.
If your dog shows no improvement after a gradual diet change, sometimes a vet overseen elimination diet may be a called for. Elimination diets are low-allergen diets and can be used to prove a food allergy. Elimination diets are a treatment and testing procedure for unresolved food allergies only and continued digestive problems. It takes as long as eight weeks for the body to heal from digestive infections and inflammation. Elimination diets take two months to do in order to allow the dog’s stomach symptoms and issues to be recovered from. Once a dog has recovered, they can resume their non-prescription diet. If the bowel issues, gas, and vomiting reoccur, another gradual dog food without the main protein sources/main ingredients in the diet that caused symptoms to reoccur is introduced. It can be time-consuming but it is in your dog’s best interests to not be miserable from a diet they cannot digest and easier on you to care for a dog when not stepping in dog vomit or wanting to wear a gas mask due to a stinky dog issue. Elimination diets are strict. No table scraps or any other food or treats other than the low-allergen special food is allowed. If can be hard on a dog to feel loved when not getting treats after good behavior so extra dog park adventures and extra cuddles and praise to reward him can let him know he or she is still a good dog on an elimination diet.
There is no super simple cure-all for canine stomach problems. Sometimes all it takes is switching to another brand of dog food, but other times it can be harder to address the digestive issues. Pet owners need to be patient and remember their dog is unique. Once you find the right food and notice your dog not vomiting, passing gas and bloating, or having messy clean-ups on walks, both you and your canine best friend will both be happier. Dog vomit, poop, and gas is a small part of being a dog owner. If excessive, a responsible pet owner can improve their dog’s welfare and happiness by vet care to ensure there’s no serious health condition causing the problem and then making any required diet changes.