Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant and author of Brain Training for Dogs.
Why Does My Dog Have a Sensitive Stomach?
If your canine companion is suffering from a sensitive stomach and indigestion, things can easily get frustrating. While your dog does not have a history of visiting the popular Mexican restaurant around the corner or going on a garlic eating binge, at times, it seems like his food has quite an adverse effect on his sensitive digestive system. So what gives?
Truth is, “Sensitive stomachs in dogs can result from food intolerance,” says Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, of Advanced AnimalCare Center in Huntington, NY. Hopefully, as a dog owner you already know that dogs do not do well with people foods, so keep your dog away from those leftovers and toss them in the trash instead. It's very important to make sure you do not give in to those pleading eyes looking straight at you and imploring just a piece of that juicy hamburger and fries. Greasy, high-fat foods indeed can have a detrimental effect on the dog's digestive system and can cause inflammation of the pancreas, further adds Dr. Selmer.
So if by exclusion, your dog is not eating tacos and jalapenos all day and you are not giving in to any begging frenzies, why is your dog still suffering from digestive problems? The mystery may be unlocked by looking into the dog food you are feeding. ''Food intolerances can result from dyes, preservatives, contaminants or even natural proteins in the food, further adds Dr. Selmer. The ultimate solution for such intolerances is therefore ideally feeding a home-cooked diet made with carbohydrates and proteins that are novel or new to the patient.'' Sound advice that makes perfect sense in today's human-made world where not much thought is given to making things from scratch.
Recipes for Homemade Sensitive Dog Food
There are actually several prescription commercial diets for dogs suffering from delicate tummies, but one main problem is that often dogs simply do not like them. The diets may be too bland tasting, and the dog may blatantly feel no incentive to eat what you are serving. This can make the sensitive tummy ordeal even more frustrating for dog owners. Not only will they have to deal with the digestive issues, but also with the dog's capricious whims. So what to do?
Most dogs crave homemade foods not simply because they are made with fresh ingredients, but because watching their owners prepare it for them seems to stimulates their appetite. Not to mention the pleasant smells lingering in the kitchen as the homemade food is being prepared. By the time the food is ready, you will have a dog licking his lips in anticipation.
Following is a bland diet for dogs that is easy on the dog's stomach and readily digestible. It may also work for dogs that simply do not want to eat. When dealing with digestive issues, it is fundamental that the homemade diet is low in fat and has good fiber content to make it easier on the stomach.
Veterinarian Keith A. Kremer, a board-certified specialist in small animal internal medicine practicing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, suggests the following homemade recipes:
- A boiled diced or shredded chicken breast (boneless and skinless) with white rice. The rice must be the bulky part of the meal, therefore calculate one part meat to three to four parts rice.
- Lean boiled hamburger (draining the fat off as it cooks is helpful) with white rice. Again, one part meat to three to four parts rice.
Other bland foods suggested by Keith A. Kremer that may help entice a finicky dog to eat are the following:
- Mashed potatoes
- Cooked noodles
- Scrambled eggs
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Turkey hot dogs
A spoonful of yogurt can also help replace some of the good bacteria present in the intestinal tract, whereas a spoonful of canned plain pumpkin (not the pie version with spices added) may help soothe the stomach, according to Vetinfo.
You can really make your own sensitive stomach dog food from the comfort of your home and help your canine companion feel better. As a general rule of thumb, however, your dog should see your vet if the indigestion continues. If your dog refuses food, appears lethargic, and is not its usual happy self, a vet visit is also recommended.
There are many digestive problems dogs may be prone to, and some can be quite serious such as canine ulcers, bloat, and poisoning. If your dog is exhibiting digestive problems, play it safe and seek the advice of your veterinarian. He or she may run some tests to come to a diagnosis, and therefore suggest the most appropriate treatment. Also, consult with a vet if you are planning to permanently feed homemade meals to your dog: you may need to add some supplements to make them complete.
For Further Reading
- How to Stop a Dog From Eating Fast
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- Home remedies for vomiting dogs
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I stop Coprophagia?
Answer: Management is the best way. Although there are products meant to discourage dogs to eat their own feces, these generally tend to have poor reviews. Simply picking up dog poop everytime the dog goes outside is ultimately the best way.
© 2011 Adrienne Farricelli
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 29, 2017:
Becky, the chicken and rice diet is not meant to be fed long-term as it's not nutritionally complete.
Becky on April 22, 2017:
How much of the chicken and rice or burger and rice do I feed my 55# female pit bull. She's not handling stores bought food at all and now not even the prescription dog food either.
Joe Colon from New York City on November 12, 2011:
Nice hub, really enjoyed it.
May I refer some of my clients to this hub?
NYC's #1 Dog destination.
Cresentmoon2007 from Caledonia, MI on November 06, 2011:
Wonderful hub. My dog has a sensitive stomach the poor thing.