Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy


or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.


petMD Blogs

Written by leading veterinarians to provide you with the information you need to care for your pets.

Subscribe to
Nutrition Nuggets
 
 
Your dog's nutrition is important for a healthy & happy life. petMD experts help you to know what to feed your dog, how much food to feed, and the differences in dog foods, so your dog gets optimum nutrition.
Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.

What is a Sensitive Stomach, and What Can Be Done About It?

January 13, 2012 / (2) comments

Some dogs have guts of steel and can eat almost anything they find in the yard or on a walk with no ill effects. However, not every dog is so lucky. Many tend to be more sensitive than this.

Do you have a dog that has one or more of the following symptoms?

  • Intermittent loose stools
  • Occasional vomiting
  • Excessive flatulence

If so, your dog may have a sensitive stomach.

Some dogs cannot handle a lot of variety in their diet or withstand ingredients that make their digestive systems work a little harder than normal. I’m sure you know people who can wolf down a chili cheese dog with extra onions without any problems and some who can’t. The same variability is found in pet populations (although no dog should be eating a chili cheese dog — with or without extra onions).

If you suspect that your dog might have a sensitive stomach, the first thing to do is to simplify his diet. Cut out all the extras — no table scraps, limit yourself to giving just one type of highly digestible treat (or even better, use his regular food as a treat), and make sure he’s not getting into anything that he shouldn’t be (e.g., the garbage).

Next, take a look at your dog’s food. Foods made from high-quality ingredients tend to be much more digestible than lower quality products. Does your dog’s food contain too much fat? Fat is more difficult to digest than carbohydrates and proteins, so a diet that contains a moderate level of fat (approximately 15 percent) is ideal. Certain types of fiber can also promote digestive health. Look for a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, like beet pulp. Vitamins and minerals, especially those with antioxidant qualities, can also improve digestive function, so make sure your dog’s food contains appropriate levels of vitamins A, C, and E, beta carotene, and selenium.

If you think that your dog’s current diet could be playing a role in his tummy troubles, switch to a different food that meets the criteria listed above. Of course, you still need to make sure that your dog is getting the balanced nutrition he or she needs. Use the MyBowl tool to evaluate any new diet that you are considering. When you make a switch, do so gradually. Take about a week to mix increasing amounts of the new food in with decreasing amounts of the old.

If your dog’s symptoms are more than just mild and intermittent, or switching to a highly-digestible food doesn’t improve the situation, talk to your veterinarian. More serious conditions, like a food allergy or inflammatory bowel disease, can have symptoms that are similar to those seen in dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: Joop Snijder jr. / via Shutterstock

Subscribe to Nutrition Nuggets

Comments  2

Leave Comment
  • Excessive Flatulence
    01/13/2012 06:15am

    As in humans, can excessive flatulence in dogs be caused by excessive carbs?

  • sensitive stomach
    01/14/2012 02:44pm

    I had to take my dog off the commercial garbage foods and put her on a higher protein lower carb dry food. However, she will still have the occasional throwing up. But a more expensive food has been helpful and it stopped the flatulence also.

 



ABOUT NUTRITION NUGGETS

JENNIFER COATES, DVM

Photo of Jennifer

... graduated with honors from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. In the years since, she has practiced veterinary medicine in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado. She is the author of several books about veterinary medicine and animal care, including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms, Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian .

Jennifer also writes short stories that focus on the strength and importance of the human-animal bond and freelance articles relating to a variety of animal care and veterinary topics. Dr. Coates lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, daughter, and pets.

  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»

Poll

How often do you read the label on your dog’s food?


 
MORE FROM PETMD.COM