Do you have a dog with a sensitive stomach?
My little C does too. He has had a sensitive stomach right from puppyhood. The many sleepless nights I have had walking circles around our blog or searching for grass patches to eat. The tons of different foods we have gone through before finding something that works. The cuddles when he needs a belly rub when his tummy hurts. Having to tell people not to feed him with this and that during the holidays, not to mention the many vet visits we have had to try and figure out what was wrong.
Having a dog with a sensitive stomach is definitely not easy. We are now on a tight feeding schedule 4 times a day and finally seem to have found a brand that agrees with his stomach. So today I thought I would share some tips on how to best deal with a dog that has a sensitive stomach.
Having an illness or any kind of physical ailment can affect you mentally, the same goes for dogs. This is why it is so important that you always visit a vet when you have a behavioral problem to always rule out any physical illness first. When that is done you can start working with the problematic behavior along with an Ethologist. I definitely see changes in Chester’s behavior if he has a day with stomach issues, and it is important to be aware of that with your dog in order to always be able to set him/her up for success. If your dog has an off day, fx. having a stomach ache, then take a shorter walk, cuddle them a little more and let them be without having too high expectations training wise that day.
If you do have a dog with stomach issues you already know how important it is to provide the right food for them. However, I think it is important to mention here, that if you are still in the search for the right food then make a slow transfer between the different types of food. Mix the old and the new food slowly increasing the quantity of the new food over several days. A sudden shift to a new food can cause stomach issues on its own. The vet often has different foods, depending on their sponsors. Sometimes these work and sometimes they don’t. Chester was given a specific sensitive stomach food from the vet. It worked fine but not as good as the food he is given now.
For me I think it is also important to think about how the food is produced. Just like us, having too many E-numbers of different kinds in our bodies is not the best and most likely it would be the same for dogs, so try to go ecological or as natural as possible. That being said, if you are thinking of switching to RAW food then talk to your vet first and do proper research as RAW food can also cause stomach troubles due to containing different not so friendly bacteria, specially to an already sensitive stomach.
Treats is a whole other thing that can also cause a lot of havoc, especially when your entire family wants to give your dog a piece of their xmas roast. Your dog will definitely not say no to that, so you have to be his/her voice and tell people that yes they can give the dogs treats, but they have to be your treats and not a piece of their roast.
Finally I want to talk about listening to your dog, and learning how to read their body language. Chester has remarkably always been very good to tell me when he needs to go out, running from door to door panting and winning and then I know we have to hurry outside. What does your dog do to tell you he/she needs to go out? Each dog shows discomfort and pain differently, so learn how to read when your dog is not feeling well. Is he/she pacing restlessly back and forth? Winning? Sleeping more than usual or being lazier than usual? Does he/she turn to their side with their snout, or licking their paws? All that can be a sign that they are in pain or have discomfort. Always be aware of rewarding these behaviors so your dog can feel safe telling you he/she is not well and you skip “the scrubbing stains of the floor” part. This will also ensure that your dog will start showing you when he/she needs to go out or not feeling well, which in general is a very smart trick.
Hope this will help you and let you know that we are many who has a dog with a sensitive stomach so you are definitely not alone.
See you next week!