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How to Care for Your Dog's Sensitive Stomach

Table of Contents

A dog's sensitive stomach can be the source of much discomfort and stress, both for the pet and the owner. With the plethora of canine food options and the labyrinth of advice available, finding the right care for your pup's tummy problems can often feel overwhelming.

Recognizing and managing a sensitive stomach early on can prevent more serious health issues and enhance your dog's quality of life. We'll explore how to tailor your dog's diet, adjust their lifestyle, and when to involve the veterinary community in caring for this delicate aspect of their health.

Understanding a Sensitive Stomach in Dogs

A sensitive stomach in dogs isn't a single diagnosis but a collection of symptoms indicative of an underlying issue. Dogs with sensitive stomachs often experience symptoms like vomiting, and diarrhea, and in some cases, may lose their appetite. These symptoms can appear intermittently or regularly, depending on your dog's condition.

Common Symptoms and Signs

Frequent Gassiness

Gas is a normal byproduct of digestion, but excessive flatulence in dogs can signal underlying tummy troubles. If your dog experiences bloating or seems to be passing gas more frequently than usual, it's essential to seek veterinary advice.


Vomiting is often the first sign that something may be wrong with your pet's stomach. While occasional vomiting isn't unusual, frequent or chronic vomiting can indicate a sensitive stomach.


Like vomiting, occasional diarrhea may not be a cause for concern, but if it happens frequently or becomes chronic, it's essential to determine the root cause and address it accordingly.

loss of appetite as a sign of digestive issues

Loss of Appetite

Dogs with sensitive stomachs may lose their appetite due to discomfort or pain. If your dog starts skipping meals or shows a lack of interest in food, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian.

Loud Stomach Noises

Gurgling or rumbling sounds coming from your dog's stomach can indicate gas moving through their digestive system. While occasional noises are normal, persistent loud stomach sounds could be a sign of an underlying issue.

Factors That Contribute to a Sensitive Stomach

Sensitivity often results from sensitivity to certain ingredients in dog food. Other possible causes can include:

Bacterial Imbalance in the Gut

The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in healthy digestion and maintaining overall health. When the balance of good and bad bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to digestive upset.

Food Allergies or Intolerances

Just like humans, dogs can also develop allergies or intolerances to certain foods, resulting in stomach problems.

Stress or Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also contribute to digestive issues in dogs. Changes in routine, separation anxiety, or new environments can all cause stomach problems.

Intestinal Parasites

Parasites can cause inflammation in the digestive tract and lead to a sensitive and upset stomach. Regular deworming is essential in preventing and addressing this issue.

Ingesting Garbage or Spoiled Food

Identifying the root cause of your dog's stomach sensitivity is crucial for effective care. A key first step is keeping a meticulous diary of your dog's symptoms and incidents.

Caring for Your Dog's Sensitive Stomach

Dietary Guidelines: What to Feed and What to Avoid

The diet is a foundational element of managing a sensitive stomach. Start by feeding your dog bland foods such as brown rice, bone broth, and a source of lean protein like chicken meal or ground turkey until symptoms subside. Then, gradually introduce a specialized, high-quality, easily digestible food.

Here are some other things you'll want to incorporate into your dog's diet to ensure the utmost health:

Sensitive Stomach Dog Food

When looking for specialized sensitive stomach dog foods, opt for options that are free from common allergens like wheat, corn, and soy. Additionally, look for high-quality proteins and sources of healthy fats.

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes

Probiotics help to restore the balance of good bacteria and gut flora in your dog's gut, while digestive enzymes aid in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. Talk to your veterinarian about incorporating these supplements into your dog's diet.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into your dog's diet can provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support digestive health.

Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or fatty foods as they can exacerbate stomach sensitivity. Also, be cautious with introducing new foods and stick to a consistent diet to prevent flare-ups.

supplements that help your dogs sensitive stomach

Supplements That Support Overall Health

Some supplements, like fish oil and glucosamine, can support your dog's overall health and potentially reduce symptoms of stomach sensitivity.

What to Avoid:

  • Table scraps
  • High-fat foods
  • Dairy products
  • Spicy seasonings
  • Foods with high grain content if gluten intolerant

Adjusting your dog's diet can have a dramatic impact on their comfort and overall health. Make changes slowly and monitor how your dog's body reacts to new foods.

Importance of Regular Exercise

Regular exercise isn't just important for keeping your pup physically fit; it can also assist with digestion. Active adult dogs generally have faster digestive systems, which can reduce the chances of stomach issues if they're not sitting in the gut too long.

To incorporate an exercise regimen, consult with your vet about your dog's breed, age, and physical capabilities for the most suitable activities. 

Struggling to fit in an exercise regime indoors? Check out our blog article here!

Tips on Managing Stress in Dogs

Just like humans, stress can play a significant role in the digestive health of dogs. Manage your dog's stress with consistent daily routines and plenty of activities they enjoy.

Creating a Calming Environment

  • Provide a secure, quiet space for your dog to relax
  • Gradually desensitize them to triggers of their anxiety
  • If separation anxiety is an issue, acclimate them to your leaving bit by bit each day
  • Consider incorporating calming supplements

Consistent Daily Routines

  • Regular feeding and walking times
  • Consistent sleeping environments and times
  • Predictable structure in daily activities

By mitigating stress, you can often reduce the frequency and severity of your dog's stomach issues.

The Role of the Veterinary Community

When to Seek Professional Help

It's essential to know when your dog's stomach issues require professional intervention. Persistent symptoms, blood in the stool, severe lethargy, or noticeable weight loss are serious signs that should prompt a visit to the vet.

Common Diagnostic Tests for Sensitive Stomachs

Vets have numerous diagnostic tools at their disposal to determine the cause of your dog's sensitive stomach, such as:

  • Blood tests to check for infection
  • Fecal tests for parasites and other pathogens
  • X-rays or ultrasounds for obstructions
  • Endoscopy to examine the stomach and intestines

Diagnostic tests help to pinpoint specific issues and guide appropriate treatment plans.

Treatment Options and Medication

Upon diagnosis, your vet might recommend various treatment options, which could include:

  • Switching to a hypoallergenic diet
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Anti-inflammatory medications for persistent gastroduodenal disease
  • Natural supplements such as herbs or acupuncture for holistic management

Always consult with your vet before administering any medications or treatments, especially if your dog has pre-existing health conditions or is on other medications.

faqs about your dogs digestion


How long does it take for a dog's stomach to settle after changing their diet?

It can take up to two weeks for a dog's digestive system to adjust to new wet or dry dog food. Gradual introductions of new foods and consistency are essential in preventing flare-ups.

What if my dog has food allergies or intolerances?

If you suspect the sensitive digestion is coming from your dog's food, consult with your vet to determine the best approach for managing their diet. It may require a specialized hypoallergenic diet or an elimination diet to identify the food your dog eats that may be triggering them.

Can sensitive stomachs be cured?

In some cases, underlying conditions may contribute to a dog's sensitive stomach, making it challenging to cure entirely. However, with proper management and dietary adjustments, symptoms can be significantly reduced or eliminated.

Are certain breeds more prone to sensitive stomachs?

Some breeds are more likely to experience stomach sensitivity than others due to genetics or breed-specific health conditions. Talk to your vet about the best approach for managing your dog's sensitive stomach based on their breed.

Can I give my dog over-the-counter medication for stomach issues?

No, it is not recommended to give your dog any over-the-counter medication without consulting with a veterinarian first. Some medications can be harmful or have adverse interactions with other medications your dog may be taking. It's best to seek professional advice before administering any medication.

How often should I feed my dog sensitive stomach dog food?

It's recommended to stick to a consistent feeding schedule for dogs with sensitive stomachs. This usually means two meals per day or dog or puppy food, but consult with your vet for specific meal recommendations based on your dog's individual needs.

Is wet or dry food better for a dog with a sensitive stomach?

There is no one answer that applies to all dogs with sensitive stomachs, as every dog is different. Some may benefit from wet food's moisture and fat content, while others may find more relief in a specific dry food formula. Consult with your vet to determine the best option for your dog.

Can I give my dog probiotics for their sensitive stomach?

Probiotics can be beneficial for dogs with digestive issues as they help balance gut bacteria. However, it's essential to consult with your vet before starting any supplements to ensure they are suitable for your dog's specific needs.

Is homemade food better for dogs with sensitive tummies?

Homemade pet food can be beneficial in some cases, but it's crucial to ensure it contains all the necessary nutrients and is properly balanced. It's best to consult with a veterinary nutritionist before switching to homemade food for your dog's sensitive stomach.


A dog with a sensitive stomach doesn't have to live in discomfort. By taking proactive steps to understand what triggers their upsets and making appropriate adjustments, you can significantly enhance your dog's digestive health. Remember that patience is key when making any changes, and open communication with your vet is crucial.

For more information on dog health, digestive care, and other pet-related topics, visit our comprehensive blog section here!