Dog Sensitive Digestion: What To Do?

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Dog Sensitive Digestion: What To Do?

Appropriate nutrition is the groundwork to treat pets with food sensitivities, intolerance and digestive tract disorders.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal/digestive disorders have an effect on a dog’s stomach and intestines, resulting in pain and other clinical signs.

A digestive disorder is characterized by:

  • Reducing the digestion or/and absorption of food
  • Altering  course of food through the digestive tract
Gastrointestinal disorders can lead to:

  • Dehydration
  • Acid-base and electrolyte imbalances
  • Malnutrition
Some breeds, such as Great Danes, German shepherds, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers and Collies, are predispose to particular digestive problems.

If your dog belongs to these breeds you should paid particular attention to his digestive health.

German Shepherd

Examples of Digestive Disorders in Dogs

There are many types of digestive disorders.

Etiology can range from eating something other than dog food (e.g. table scraps, chocolates) to food allergies or infections.

You can read and learn more about chocolate poising in our article named “Top 5 Questions About Chocolate Poising”.

Control diets are recommended as part of the therapy of dogs presenting the following conditions:

  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pancreatitis
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Small intestinal malabsorption
  • Dietary sensitivity or allergy
  • Dietary intolerance
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Digestive Disorder Clinical Signs

The most frequent sign of digestive disorders is diarrhea.

If your dog has digestive issues, you may also observe the following signs.


My Advice:

If your dog presents diarrhea or is vomiting, he may become dehydrated. Consult your veterinarian assistant if you become aware of any of the signs above.

The Role of Nutrition

During my veterinary practice I have learned that there are a number of valid nutritional approaches recommended depending on the specific diagnosis.

The main goal of digestive disorders treatment is to lessen dog’s symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea.

I advise feeding dogs with this type of conditions a food with the following attributes:

  • High digestibility to help put off irritation to his sensitive stomach and intestines
  • High-soluble and insoluble fiber content
  • Moderate fat levels
It is essential to keep an eye on your dog’s hydration state during the recovery phase to help correct any fluid deficiencies.

Because numerous of the gastrointestinal disorders may be continuing, long-term nutritional management of the disorder may be required.

For correct diagnosis and treatment selection, always discuss with your veterinarian for a recommendation of the best food for your dog’s digestive health.

Changing Your Pet’s Diet

In all cases, and especially if your dog have a sensitive stomach, when you need to switch your pet’s diet you should generally do the alteration over several days.

On day 1, begin by adding up a small quantity of the new diet to your pet’s existing food.

As each day passes, add extra of the new diet to fewer of the original food, until finally you are only feeding the new diet.

This change should take around 7 days.

What Can You Do?

If your dog has a sensitive digestion, there are some proceedings you can adopt to help keep your dog’s stomach and intestines quite:

  • Ensure your dog doesn’t eat garbage or spoiled food
  • Don´t offer your dog table scraps or human food
  • Split big meals into smaller portions, fed your dog throughout the day
  • Be consistent, you should not change your pet’s food every week.If you change your dog’s food, do it gradually
  • Your dog should always have clean, fresh drinking water accessible
Healthy digestion is vital for your dog to be capable to use the nutrients from his food.

If you believe that your dog might have a sensitive digestion, the first thing to do is to simplify his diet.

Cut out all the extras (e.g. table scraps, snacks, treats).

Limit yourself to giving just one type of highly quality and digestible treat or you can use his regular food as a treat.


About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.

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