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A stomach that does not want to cooperate; one that constantly aches after meals, makes noise and causes nausea can be a real struggle, so just imagine if you are a dog with a sensitive stomach, and you can’t tell the owner what is wrong! Many dogs have a sensitive digestive tract; which will often need to be taken care of for the dog to be able to live a full-filling life. No one – dogs and humans included – want to feel bad every time they eat, so if you suspect that your pup has a sensitive stomach you owe it to him or her to act.
A diet change might be needed, depending on how often your pup experiences problems, and luckily there are plenty of products on today’s dog food market that is developed to aid dogs by improving their digestive health.
Sensitive Stomach Dog Food – What Is It?
With the dog food industry growing larger and larger, there are constantly new and innovating products hitting the market. For the owners of dogs with sensitive stomachs – those poor pups that have frequent stomach aches, loose stool and a lack of appetite – this can be hugely convenient, as there is now dog food made especially for the cause.
Sensitive stomach dog food is a good option for dogs that frequently display signs of having a delicate metabolism, and in cases where digestion does not always work as it should. It is dog food made to be highly digestible, and with mild ingredients that are unlikely to irritate, cause stomach cramps or discomfort. Some versions use a limited ingredient formula, with the purpose of controlling what goes into your dog’s daily food intake. A limited ingredient dog food for sensitive stomachs may, for example, have only one protein source; instead of various which is often the case with regular dog food.
These types of products will usually have carefully chosen ingredients; all added for a specific reason, and with the purpose of aiding healthy digestion. For sensitive dogs, eating can be associated with pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, which can result in a reluctance to eat. Is your dog a picky eater; one that leaves most of his or her food at mealtime, and who never seems too enthusiastic about being fed? Having a sensitive digestive tract might be the reason, and if so, special food might be the right way to go.
Most bigger dog food brands offer at least one sensitive stomach formula, but it does not automatically mean that every option is equally good. You need to do your homework and your research to find a quality dog food for sensitive pups, or you could end up making things worse. There should, for example, not be any unnecessary fillers (such as corn) or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in these products, and you want to look for a natural recipe made by a trustable dog food brand.
Key Ingredients in Food for Sensitive Dogs
The difference between regular dog food and dog food for sensitive doggy stomachs is the ingredients and the quantity of what is in it. Where many of the best dog food brands pride themselves with high protein content, many products for sensitive pups will have a somewhat reduced meat content. This is because while protein is essential for a dog – there are some individuals whose metabolism cannot handle high levels, and that is why there need to be alternatives with either less protein or protein from only one lean meat source.
Reduced protein does not mean you should go out and buy low-quality dog food (known to have less protein), as this could jeopardize your pup’s health due to a potential lack of nutrients. Instead, always look for quality dog food, but if possible, and one sensitive dog stomachs can handle and enjoy.
Fiber is another thing you want to find plenty of in dog food for sensitive dogs. Sources that are rich in fiber are (among many others) apples, bananas, pumpkin, black beans, barley, and rice, and they can aid in kickstarting your pup’s metabolism, boost healthy digestion and promote firmer stool and more controlled bowel movements. Many owners of dogs with sensitive stomachs add canned pumpkin to their pup’s food, which may work great, but it is recommended that you also start the search for dog food that has the characteristics you are looking for.
Probiotics and prebiotics are also proven to have a positive effect on a dog’s digestive tract but watch out for cheap commercial brands with a packaging that promotes a variety of benefits, since testing has shown that many of these brands don’t live up to their promises. Anyone with money can pay for good marketing, which is why you should never rely strictly on what the bag or packaging says, and always read through the list of ingredients.
Sensitivities Caused by Allergies
In some cases, a sensitive stomach can be the result of an undiagnosed food allergy, and if so, it suddenly becomes a question of finding a dog food free from whatever it is that is irritating your puppy’s belly. Properly diagnosing a food allergy can be difficult, but you might want to try a product without chicken and egg, as these two are known to cause problems for some sensitive dogs. Both are great protein sources, and you should only avoid them if you believe your dog might be allergic.
If you suspect a food allergy, the best thing you can do is to book an appointment at your local vet’s office, to discuss any thoughts and concerns you may have. Experimenting on your own is good to a certain point, but it should only be done once other more serious health issues have been ruled out by a skilled veterinarian. A vet can also provide you with more information regarding allergies and digestive issues and guide you in finding a solution or hypoallergenic food for your dog’s individual needs.
Why Special Dog Food May Help
Food sensitivities exist in both humans and animals, and stomach issues and digestive problems are usually related to what we eat. The same goes for dogs, and if your pup seems to have an upset stomach most of the time – it is important to know that we might be causing it with the food we are feeding our dogs. Low-quality commercial dog food is known to cause multiple health issues; not only due to a lack of nutrients but also in relation to the use of low-quality ingredients such as fillers and food coloring.
If you are not already feeding a good dog food with healthy and natural ingredients, then that is a good place to start, just to see if there is a positive change. Give it a couple of weeks for your pup’s stomach to adjust, and if you still don’t see an improvement in digestion and overall health – go speak to your veterinarian before taking further action.
If your dog is cleared, the next step will be to try a dog food for sensitive stomachs and to keep trying until you find something that works. Keep in mind that you should never switch from one dog food brand and to another overnight, as it upsets the stomach of most dogs, and it is recommended that you do the switch over the course of several days; mixing the old food with the new until your dog has adapted fully.