In this article we are going to discuss how to treat a dog with a sensitive stomach
- What’s the cause?
- Multiple causes
- Allergy/ Food Intolerance Tests
- Dewormer and Flea and Tick Medication
- Antibiotics and other medications
- Food for a dog with a sensitive stomach
- Feeding frequency
- Keys to success
With any health issue that involves your dog’s digestive system, adapting the food they digest will have the biggest impact on their health.
The most important part of the process when restoring digestive health, is finding the ingredients your dog digests the best and including them in an easily digestible meal that supports digestion.
If your dog has had a one off issue, don’t worry about it, however if they are having recurring problems, you need to identify the cause and make necessary changes to their diet.
What are the potential causes of your dog’s digestive problems?
Go through this list and have a think about what the potential causes could be. Addressing the causes will treat the symptoms and prevent recurrence.
- Protein intolerance, a reduced ability to digest a certain meat, often chicken or beef
- Fat sensitivity, a reduced ability to digest fats
- Allergies to food, or other environmental factors
- Unnatural diet; long term diet on dry or wet tinned food, too many carbohydrates, not enough meat, too many vegetables, incomplete diet
- Too much food, and too many meals
- Bacteria overgrowth, parasites and viral Infections
- Overly medicated, antibiotic usage can damage the gut
- Anxiety and stress, this is massively under addressed
All of these cause reduced digestive capabilities, inflammation and can cause the negative symptoms that your dog is experiencing.
A sensitive dog suffering from multiple issues
It’s often the case that by addressing an intolerance and reducing meal frequency, your dog’s gut issues will go away. Honestly, so many of the issues I see are due to there being an irritant in your dog’s food bowl (a protein they can’t digest) and too many meals.
However, for others it can be more tricky, as multiple issues are driving your dog’s gut problems. Some days your dog can digest protein, and a few days later they can’t. It’s easy to be demoralised in these situations, especially when you’re wiping poop off your kitchen floor first thing in the morning.
Remember that this can be a process and your dog is unique. The more you can learn about your dog, and implement this knowledge into their diet, the more you can support their digestive system, reduce inflammation and help it return to optimal functioning order.
In these sensitive cases, you must get a digestive enzyme and a probiotic.
Allergy or Food Intolerance Test
If you have done a food intolerance/ allergy test, you will need to use those results as a guide during this first step. I say a guide, because they are never accurate. They give a vaguely accurate snapshot into the functioning of the gut and the immune system at one point.
If you have not done a food intolerance/ allergy test, I would only recommend doing so if you have tried to identify what works in a controlled fashion (read and implemented this blog post) and been unsuccessful. However, I would recommend signing up to a consultation if you have had on-going trouble over purchasing an allergy test.
Allergy tests are never accurate as both the gut and the immune system (intertwined systems) are static. They can change, develop or strengthen over time.
However, if you have a test, use the results as a guide. Avoid any high scoring results, particularly IgE scoring results. Low scoring IgG results can still be used.
If you need further clarification on this, book in a consultation with Cam here.
Dewormer and Flea and Tick Medication
If you think your dog has worms then you can use them in the short run, but these medications are extremely strong pesticides, and negatively impact the health of the gut, preventing healing and recovery.
For more natural dewormers use ground pumpkin seeds, thyme and sage, which you can find in my multivitamin.
For flea and tick, mix 100 ml of water with 10 drops of lavender oil and rub it into your dog every few weeks. In the summer months check for ticks and remove them appropriately.
I do not give my dog either dewormers, nor anti flea and tick drugs or drops. Natural only!
Antibiotics and other medications
Often when your dog goes to the vet, you’ll end up with a course of some drug. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that Vets misprescribe drugs, particularly for digestive issues as they are totally untrained in this area.
Antibiotics are used for an infection, and often vets will see ongoing diarrhoea as a sign of infection rather than a sign that the diet is wrong. Antibiotic use has major effects on the gut, and prevents or prolongs the time it takes for the gut to heal.
Immunosuppressants like apoquel and cytopoint are used to control the immune system, two drugs I would deem to be dangerously overused and in many ways, counter to long term recovery.
To address immune related issues, you need to see how the immune system is reacting. Not ignore it and switch it off.
Any anti-nausea drug is pointless.
To address gut issues, you amend the diet, not use drugs to fake a state of wellbeing.
Food for a dog with a sensitive stomach
Please watch this
Learning what food your dog digests the best is vital for recovery. If there are ingredients that they are struggling with in their bowl on a daily basis, their gut won’t recover. When trying to stabilise a dodgy stomach, you should go back to a simple recipe that you know works for your dog, then begin to test ingredients.
Start of using the recipe in this video, choosing a protein source that you know works for your dog. I would suggest using a novel protein like venison, or baked white (boneless) fish.
If you think your dog does better without carbs, replace it with more meat.
Once you have stabilised your dog on a simple recipe, please begin testing ingredients. If you’d like a plan of how to find the ingredients that work for your dog, please get the digestion ebook.
24hr Fast and feeding frequency
Do not feed your dog for 24hrs. No treats, only water, nothing else. Do not do this if your dog has already lost extreme amounts of weight. The reason you would do this is because a dodgy stomach indicates inflammation along the gut, and to reduce inflammation, you need to let the gut rest. Rest and recovery is imperative to long term digestive health, which is why you need to move to a more natural frequency of feeding.
How often do you feed your dog?
We forget that food abundance is more unnatural for dogs than it is for us humans, giving a dog 3 meals a day is not healthy. It’s not natural and for sensitive dogs it can contribute to their digestive health issues.
Either feed your dog once a day (recommended) or you must implement a feeding window, this means feeding both the main meal or two small meals within a 6hr window.
Choose one of the following options:
Once a day feeding
Breakfast & Lunch
Lunch & Dinner
For sensitive dogs that need additional support, I would suggest getting a soil based probiotic supplement and using them regularly.
If you feel like your dog needs additional support with digestion, a digestive enzyme supplement is necessary.
For dogs with low b-12, introduce liver from an animal protein you know works for your dog asap (make in 10% of their daily food every other day).
The key to success
Remove irritants from your dog’s diet; proteins that your dog is not tolerant too, foods that are too fatty and processed foods.
Figure out a simple diet that stabilises your dog’s digestion and reduce meal frequency.
Test ingredients in small amounts to see what works for them, and then put that into a simple but specific long term diet. Use the digestion ebook on my website for help with this.
Be patient, learn and implement. If you need help please sign up for a consultation.