Zeroing in on the right dog food for a sensitive stomach is always tricky.
You have to make sure your puppy is getting all the essential nutrients every day.
But that’s not the tricky bit.
The tricky bit is getting the right ingredients – ones that don’t pass right through your puppy’s system.
Putting together dog food for dogs with sensitive stomachs needs a bit of research, trial, and error.
And, of course, through all this, you have to see to it that your puppy is happy with the food itself, and the range of her diet.
Let’s face it…
There’s only so many times you can force-feed a puppy without making it really unpleasant for her.
As the owner, there’s a whole lot for you to consider.
So, no pressure there!
But with a little insight, and ideally, some good professional advice from your vet, managing puppy food for a sensitive stomach can become second nature for you.
And we have the insight covered. But first…
Make Sure You Aren’t Mistaking an Illness for a Dog Sensitive Stomach
Before you begin mixing up dog food for a sensitive stomach, it’s probably best you’re absolutely sure your puppy’s digestive woes are indeed being caused due to dietary issues.
First, put your finger on the real problem…
A puppy with a sensitive stomach will exhibit one or more of the usual signs of stomach distress:
- Loose Stools
- Excessive Flatulence
- Stomach Cramps
However, you should be wary of even the most generic of signs lest it turns out to be a symptom of a more serious condition.
Gastrointestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and even cancer may well share some common symptoms. Outwardly, anyway.
So better than risking too long a wait to see if your puppy is really very ill or has a more manageable condition, it’s best to have her vet weigh in as soon as possible.
I mean, consider it…
Even if your puppy has a relatively sensitive tummy – nothing more – that can be managed with a few tweaks to her diet, the vet’s opinion should be pretty useful.
And it never hurts to be sure, does it?
Feeding Tips and the Best Dog Food for a Sensitive Stomach
Now jumping straight into it, here are some useful tips and suggestions to make mealtimes easier for both you and your puppy’s delicate stomach:
1. Getting Rid of Anything Hard to Digest in the Diet
The trouble with most branded dog food is they’re usually chock full of ingredients that may be popular, tasty and cheap, but turn out to be a little hard to digest for some dogs.
Grains such as wheat and corn often make for excellent fillers within those mixes.
If your puppy has a hard time breaking down gluten, finding a suitable brand of dog food for a sensitive stomach may be a challenge.
Also, a lot of times, the heavier meats like beef are a bit hard on the stomach for some dogs.
And in case your puppy is sensitive to chicken, well, your options suddenly become quite limited.
Substituting those ingredients for more stomach-friendly ones, such as oats, venison, turkey, brown rice and non-dairy products can significantly reduce the stress on your puppy’s gut.
2. Balancing the Diet
We often tend to forget that like us, dogs also really need a good balance in their diet.
Like you, your puppy is also quite affected by stuff like too much or too little fat or fiber in her food, a lack of important vitamins and minerals in her daily diet, and so on.
Think about it.
Unlike us, dogs don’t even have such a wide variety of foods to pick and choose from.
We can make up for imbalances in our diet through the sheer variety of the things we eat.
But if you’re feeding your puppy the same meal day after day, and which might happen to be short-changing her nutritionally, she’s going to be in trouble.
So what can you do here?
The best way to go about things is to consult your vet and see that your puppy isn’t missing out on any key element of her daily nutritional requirement.
3. Simple is Best
One might think a large variety of foods that complement each other towards a full, healthy diet is the ideal way to eat.
However, when it comes to sensitive stomachs, keeping things simple – to just a couple or so easy-to-digest ingredients – is the best way to manage the condition.
If you had an upset stomach, you wouldn’t really be into shoveling down a three – probably even a two-course meal.
Simple meals like a little chicken and rice, or maybe some sweet potatoes and other such combinations go down easy.
And you guessed it…
Dog food formulae tend to be far from simple nowadays.
Add to that your puppy’s daily fix of treats and other snacks – no wonder her tummy is in turmoil.
Switching to simpler brands or better yet, basic home-cooked meals should bring about a good improvement in your puppy.
4. Paying More Attention to the Labels
Have you ever ended up buying the adult variety of dog food for your puppy, for whatever reasons?
Do you tend to do that often?
That could also turn out to be a reason behind her trouble with keeping the food down.
While for most dogs such differences in the formula may be too subtle to have any real effect, puppies with sensitive stomachs may well react badly to food meant for adult dogs.
And it could well be the other way round too when it comes to such conditions.
Make sure the ingredients used are of excellent quality. Better yet, go for vet-recommended products that you trust are of a good standard.
Other things to watch out for are additives such as artificial flavors and colors, as well as dog food made special for certain sizes or breeds.
These things may not affect most dogs, but could really be shaking up your puppy’s system.
We have this best dog food for bulldogs article if you want to learn more about what kind of dog food brand you can trust.
5. Fixing Feeding Habits
Lastly, fixing your puppy’s diet may not be the complete solution.
If your puppy’s feeding schedule or habits are unhealthy, just getting the right dog food for a sensitive stomach may not do the trick at all.
Sometimes these problems come about due to keeping irregular schedules over a period of time, being inconsistent with the diet, or even poor manners.
For example, if your dog tends to gulp down his meal with barely a pause – as if others are out to steal his meal – his gulping of so much air along with the food could well lead to some flatulence troubles.
Another common mistake many new owners make is switching dog food brands or even whole diets abruptly, which messes up your dog’s digestive system.
Also, things, like not eating at regular, consistent meal-times, and eating human food or scraps off the table, tend to have a pretty bad effect if a dog has a sensitive stomach.
Do your utmost to avoid such situations.
And better yet:
If you do tend to slip up, monitoring yourself by maintaining a diary of the schedule, diet, mealtimes, etc. can really help you take control.
We hope these tips and suggestions really help you find a healthy diet that suits your puppy. If you have other tips of your own or ideas of good dog food for a sensitive stomach, do share them with us and other readers in the comments section below.
You should also check out the Dogology Blueprint, our comprehensive training guide on raising and training a puppy, which includes tips on diet and feeding schedules.