It’s no secret that most dogs love food (hey, can we blame them?). But while some pups can chow down on nearly any dog food brand or the occasional table scrap, others can’t seem to tolerate the change. What’s worse is if you have a dog whose stomach doesn’t seem settled on any type of food. This can really pose a problem if you’re trying to switch your dog’s diet for some reason, or if his belly just never seems settled.
We at iHeartDogs asked Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, CTCVMP, for some ideas on how to help dogs with sensitive stomachs. Also known as “The Caring Vet,” Dr. Selmer is a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT) who uses principles from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) to treat his patients.
In the words of Dr. Selmer:
You might think dogs have stomachs made of steel, like they can eat anything and just keep going about their day. I sometimes think that too, until I have spicy food….. So, like me, every dog isn’t so lucky.
If your dog has soft or loose stools, vomiting, excessive gas, burping and/or a finicky appetite, your dog may have a sensitive stomach. A dog with a healthy digestive system should be able to tolerate a varied diet. If your dog cannot tolerate changes in diet or even just switching from a kibble diet to a canned (wet) diet, your dog may have a sensitive stomach.
What do you do now?
The first thing you do is call your veterinarian. Your dog can be blood tested for food allergies. Simple, if your dog has a food sensitivity, just remove the offensive food.
Until you get your beloved fur baby to the doctor, do not feed your dog any foods that she has had in the last 6 months. Pick a lean protein and a complex carbohydrate to feed. If your dog cannot tolerate this, more reason to hurry to your veterinarian.
Traditional Chinese Medicine can help here. If your dog’s burps are stinky, flatulence is excessively stinky, or he has loose/soft stool that’s stinky or has blood or mucus, it’s a sign of Heat (or possibly inflammation in Western terms).
Feeding cooling foods can help. Some good cooling proteins are fish and rabbit, some good cooling complex carbohydrates are barley, millet or brown rice. If your dog is just finicky or the loose/soft bowel movement has no offensive odor, your dog may need warming foods. A warming protein choice might be lamb or chicken, and a warming complex carbohydrate might be oats or white rice.
If you like what your reading, you may want to reach out to a veterinarian that is a Certified Food Therapist like me (wink wink). You can also read the “Food as Medicine” chapter in my book. If these tips don’t help, it may be something more serious like pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease….. call your veterinarian
If you want to learn more about taking a holistic approach to your pet’s healthcare, check out Dr. Selmer’s book, The Best of Both Worlds: An Advanced Guide to Integrative Veterinary Care for Happier, Healthier Pups. You can also follow him on Facebook.