The question of what to feed dogs with sensitive stomachs is a surprisingly common one. While many pooches can happily tuck in to a hearty feed of whatever is the stinkiest thing lying around (cow poop – Bach) many of our number one doggos aren’t so lucky. For some hoo-mums and -dads, the most beautifully prepared gourmet meal is enjoyed with great enthusiasm only to re-emerge 15 minutes later (ewww!) – usually as a little pile of semi-digested goodness, almost always in the most inappropriate location (does that new cream-coloured carpet, sound familiar)? Intolerances to food mean that some treats are off the menu, while a selection of carefully chosen dog treats can provide both nutritional enrichment for dogs with sensitive tummies, as well as many hours of chewing pleasure. In this article we discuss a few of the most common conditions and intolerances in dogs, as well as our suggestions for the most suitable treatos for dogs with sensitive tummies to try.
Causes of sensitive stomachs in dogs
Ever heard of the saying ‘sick as a dog’? Well, it came about because dogs are notorious for bringing up their food. The majority of time it’s nothing to be overly concerned about, however, there are a range of different causes of sensitive stomachs in dogs and most often this results from your doggo eating something they shouldn’t have (or eating too fast). Other causes can either be directly related to the stomach itself or can stem from issues in the surrounding organs or other parts of the body (we list the potential suspects below).
Most dogs get upset stomachs because they either chewed up and consumed something that isn’t typically a food source (pieces of your new lounge suite, tennis ball remnants and the aforementioned cow poop are prime examples), or because your dog has some kind of intolerance or sensitivity to particular foods. In the first instance, symptoms are usually temporary provided all sources of artificial lounge-suite related chewing pleasure are removed. In the case of dietary intolerance, the situation may be a little more mysterious and the sensitivity or allergy may need to be discovered by isolating foods and testing your sensitive dog food one by one.
What to avoid feeding your dog with stomach sensitivity
Although each situation is different, digestive sensitivities and intolerances in dogs can often be connected to a list of possible environmental factors and as well as a possible dog food allergy.
Processed dog food containing preservatives and other artificial additives
While they might be very convenient for the hoomans, most supermarket dog foods are heavily processed and contain lots of artificial nasties. The natural, fresh and high-quality solution is always best – choose treatos such as those in Gully Road’s range, which are free from preservatives and additives. For raw meals, choose a balanced grass-fed meat option such as Gully Road Raw. The Prey Model Raw diet is an effective, simple and natural dog feeding regime to follow – see our previous article What is the Prey Model Raw Diet for Dogs? for more information. P.S. if you’re not up for feeding raw dog food, it’s recommended to avoid food with fillers such as corn and wheat as a bare minimum.
Dogs eating food too quickly
We all know a scoffer – dogs that must inhale all of their food before their sibling pinches it (even if they don’t actually have a doggo brother or sister…). It’s not uncommon for dogs that eat their food too quickly to bring it back up again and while you might be concerned that there is something else amiss, these symptoms will often disappear if the digestive process is simply slowed down a little. So how do you stop your dog eating too quickly? There are a range of special bowls and feeding systems that can assist to slow your doggo’s eating down or alternatively you can break their daily feed up into smaller meals. When choosing treats, opt for those that are a more challenging and time-consuming chew or freeze your doggo treatos in warmer weather for a refreshing snack.
Rich and difficult to digest dog food
Dog food intolerances can often be caused by excessively rich or difficult to digest foods. Large pieces swallowed whole or treats that are particularly hard can cause problems for the digestive system, while treats with a high fat content can upset some sensitive stomachs. When it comes to raw feeding, consider trying mince rather than meat chunks. For dehydrated dogs treats, see our recommendations for dog treats to try below.
What is the best dog food for sensitive stomach?
While uncovering exactly what the issue is for your dog can be a bit of a process, it’s worthwhile testing different foods one by one to determine which are most problematic – feeding your sensitive pooch will then become much simpler with careful management. There is an assortment of treats in the Gully Road range which we highly recommend for doggos with digestive sensitivities, listed in order of preference below.
Natural deer antler dog chews are not everyone’s first thought when it comes to a hearty snack for their doggo, but antlers are the up there with the best hypoallergenic dog treats for dogs. While you might wonder what kind of gory torture produced these creepy snacks, they’re actually 100% cruelty free, naturally shed deer antlers. Similarly, you might think that these would be difficult to digest being reasonably hard and bony in texture. However, antler dog chews are in fact consumed very slowly and in tiny particles – as your dog chews on the antler, fine bits of the antler are scraped off with a minimal amount actually ingested (and cleaning your doggo’s teeth & breath in the process).
Antlers are also low-allergen, however for very sensitive tummies we do recommend choosing antlers rather than the softer fallow straps. In addition, it’s best to discard the antler when it gets to a size small enough to be swallowed (usually after two to four weeks depending on your doggo’s chewing enthusiasm). Read more about our antlers for dogs and their source story at All About Antlers for Dogs – Source Story, Benefits & Doggo Dental Health.
Shark cartilage is a popular supplement for a range of ailments in dogs and is a real nutritional powerhouse, being jam-packed full of Omega 3s and nutrients that are great for joint, skin and gut health. When chewed, shark tails also become nice and soft making them easy to digest. Yummy Gummy Twists are also a great alternative as a slightly longer-lasting chew, being a little more challenging for your doggo (and are great for cleaning teeth in the process).
These are free-range, grass-fed and low temperature dehydrated beef ribs that are great for doggos that are sensitive to treats with a higher fat content. When it comes to fats, Gully Road beef dog treats (from grass-finished beef, rather than the grain-fed alternative) are typically a little leaner. They are also lower in saturated fats and higher in healthy fats and cancer-fighting CLAs, making them a great dog food for dogs with allergies. Alternatively, you can try the fresh alternative to ribbers with our Gully Road RAW bones. If you like your dehydrated beef treat with a little more flavour as well as chewy and nutritious connective tissues, try our large (giant) beef hock knuckle dog treats.
Other causes of digestive issues in dogs
While ongoing stomach sensitivities in dogs can often be related to allergies, food types or overeating, there are also a range of more sinister causes such as ulcers, tumours, parasites and intestinal blockages. In addition, liver or kidney problems, pancreatitis, hormonal issues, brain problems, inner ear problems, cancer, chronic pain, heatstroke and stress can all cause your doggo to bring up their food.
Important note: some causes of intolerance and upset stomachs in dogs can be serious, so we always recommend seeking veterinary advice if symptoms persist. Your vet will also be able to recommend an appropriate feeding regime for your dog depending on the exact cause of the problem. You may wish to discuss our selection of recommended treats with your vet also, to determine which of these are most appropriate for your dog’s individual situation.