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Guide to Feeding A Dog's Sensitive Tummy

It's easy to think our furry friends have iron-clad bellies, especially when they're seen devouring questionable leftovers from the park or munching on a bone they've dug up from their personal backyard treasure trove. But don't be fooled. Dogs, despite their steel-stomached reputation, can suffer from upset and sensitive stomachs, often landing them at the vet's office.


A sensitive stomach is basically a digestive system that easily throws a tantrum. Symptoms could range from the obvious ones like vomiting and diarrhoea to the more subtle signs like fatigue and restlessness, triggered by discomfort from gas build-up or nausea.


If your pup shows these signs for the first time, keep an eye on them and seek veterinary help as needed. Vomiting could be just a one-time thing due to a disagreeable snack, but if it persists, it could hint at something more serious. Also, be extra vigilant with puppies as they dehydrate quicker than adults. And remember, blood in their vomit or stool is an immediate red flag that warrants an urgent vet visit.



If your dog's discomfort is nothing serious, they'll likely be prescribed some medication and a bland diet for a few days. The classic chicken and rice combo might spring to mind, but we can do better. Pet nutritionists suggest a low-fat meat like turkey or chicken with mashed pumpkin or sweet potato. These veggies offer more nutrition without causing a sudden spike in blood sugar, like white rice.


Adding a probiotic supplement to their recovery diet is also a great idea. These friendly bacteria speed up the healing from digestive upset, boost the immune system, and enhance nutrient absorption from food.


Add slippery elm bark powder to your dog's pantry essentials as this can really help with upset tummies. A simple rule of thumb for dosage is half a teaspoon for every 5 kilos of your dog's weight.



Whip it into a paste using just a bit of water, then blend it into their meal. My recommendation? Twice a day. Or, for a taste explosion, stir it into some bone broth--your dog will lap it up! Keep it up until your dog's poop has been normal for a full week.


But here's a heads up. If your dog's condition doesn’t improve by day 3 or 4, it's vet time. If possible, take a poop sample with you. Also, if you spot any blood in their stool, or if your dog seems off in any way, don't hesitate. Take them to the vet straight away.


Remember, once their symptoms disappear, transition your dog back to a balanced diet. If the upset tummy keeps recurring, it's time to dig deeper. There could be an underlying health issue or something in their environment, including their food, that's not sitting well with them.


Infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and pancreatitis are among the more serious conditions that mimic a sensitive stomach. Your vet is your best ally here. They can conduct necessary tests and help understand the possible reasons behind your dog's symptoms. The treatment will depend on the cause.


Understanding what's causing these symptoms is crucial because a dog's gut is responsible for digesting food and absorbing nutrients. Any disruption in this process can lead to nutritional deficiencies and future health issues.


If your vet has ruled out serious causes and your dog's symptoms persist, their food might be the issue. This is the perfect time to consult a canine nutritionist to check for possible food sensitivities.


Food sensitivities are increasingly common in dogs and can stem from various factors, including a condition called leaky gut syndrome. They can also result from a diet that doesn't suit your dog or repeated feeding of an ingredient they're intolerant to.





So, what's on the menu for my sensitive dog?

It's no secret that our furry friends absolutely love their chow time. But for those with sensitive tummies, mealtime should bring delight, not distress. So how can we ensure their food is a treat, not a torment?


Let's break it down:

Ingredient Intelligence: Check the ingredients in everything you serve your pet (yes, treats too). Avoid known allergens and demand clear labelling. Vague terms like "Meats (Chicken, Lamb, Beef...)" won't cut it. You need to know exactly what's in there to prevent any adverse reactions.


Quality Matters: The quality of your dog's food is only as good as the ingredients it's made from. High-quality raw materials are vital, particularly for sensitive pups. Minimising their exposure to chemicals and toxins is key, so opt for food that's free from contaminants.


Source Check: The origin of ingredients matters too. Countries with stringent farming and processing standards, like New Zealand and Australia, are typically safer. Pet foods with ingredients sourced from human-consumption facilities are less risky than those sourced cheaply overseas.


Processing Insights: How the food is made can affect your dog. Some dogs aren't intolerant to a particular food or ingredient, but rather to how it's been processed. High-heat processing can alter ingredients and increase their allergenic potential.

 

Knowledge is power when choosing food for your sensitive pooch. If a pet food label leaves you questioning its transparency, ditch it for a more forthcoming option.


If your dog's symptoms persist despite these measures, an elimination diet might be the next step. You can undertake this yourself or enlist the help of a professional canine nutritionist. Don't hesitate to contact me for assistance -- I offer a step-by-step process to make this less daunting.


A gentle transition:

Introducing new foods requires care, especially for sensitive dogs. Transition gradually over at least two weeks. Begin by mixing a small amount of the new food with the current one. Gradually increase the new and decrease the old food until the new diet is fully adopted. Using a probiotic supplement can facilitate this process.



Is raw food a good fit?

In many cases, raw food can ease sensitivity symptoms. It's highly digestible, protein-rich, and contains moderate amounts of high-quality fats. Plus, it's free from unnecessary fillers, binders, and pro-inflammatory ingredients. However, remember that every dog is unique. What works for one may not work for another.


With some patience, knowledge, and professional guidance, you can discover the perfect diet for your sensitive pup.


And if frequent tummy upsets are an issue, consider adding Micromed probiotics for dogs to their regimen. It's specially designed to soothe sensitive stomachs.



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