Having a dog with a sensitive stomach means that finding the right food is a priority. After all, you want your best friend to be happy, healthy and waggy-tailed. Here are a few basic tips that will help you to narrow down your choices and find the perfect food for your pal.
#1. Be Willing to Pay More and Feed More Often
Pay a little more for a better quality dog food. The best dog food for a sensitive stomach will have limited ingredients, preferably one or two proteins and one or two starches. Dogs with sensitive stomachs tend not to like dog foods with very complicated recipes, and with too many ingredients.
The fat content should not be too high as this will upset a dog’s stomach. There are specific formulas on the market geared to dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Some dogs eat too fast and so give themselves an upset stomach or excessive gas. Try giving more meals with less quantity each meal or try a slow-feeder bowl.
#2. Cut Out “Human Food” and Keep Fido Out the Trash
Avoid giving dogs table scraps and don’t feed them things that are bad for dogs like chocolate and onions. Generally, human food with its variety of ingredients, rich herbs, and spices, not to mention butter, milk and eggs, are not good for a dog’s digestive system and will in all likelihood upset their stomachs.
Try and stop your dog from scratching in trash cans, eating spoilt food, or rooting around in places where there might be questionable sources of harmful substances.
#3. Choose a High-Quality Protein Source
The protein used in the formula should be specified (lamb, turkey, bison, salmon, etc.); should be first on the ingredient list; and should not be some generic by-product labelled “meal.” Studies have found that the contents of cheaper dog foods, in particular, to be very questionable. They could include such things as slaughterhouse waste and diseased farm animals. All the more reason to choose a better quality dog food, even if this might be a bit pricier.
#4. Quality Carbs
The carbohydrate content of the dog food should not come from grains like corn, wheat, and soya. These grains are difficult for dogs to digest and should be avoided. Rather, the carbohydrate content should come from high-quality sources such as sweet potatoes and peas. More often than not, excessive grain in the recipe is a means to boost calorie content and to use the cheaper grain to boost the weight.
#5. Avoid Questionable Sources
Dog food that is sourced from outside of the US and Canada is very questionable. There is no control over what is put in those dog foods, and there have been numerous recalls of outsourced dog food that contain all kinds of questionable ingredients, as well as toxic chemicals. These dog foods are generally cheaper; otherwise, why would they have been produced in China and not the USA?
#6. The Right Fat Balance and Source
The fat content of the dog food should not be too high, and ideally, should be the rendered fat from a reliable, named source such as pork. Certain vegetable oils are quite good sources of fatty acids, but some sources believe that GM canola can cause digestive problems.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for a dog’s nutrition, so the chosen dog food would have added vitamins and minerals necessary for the dog’s wellbeing. Ideally, the minerals should be chelated, which means the minerals have been chemically fused to protein, which make them more readily absorbable by the dog’s digestive system.
#7. The Pros in Probiotics
The chosen dog food should have some kind of fermentation product such as dried lactobacillus casei. These fermentation products create bacteria, or stomach flora, that are essential in the digestive tract, and assist in the dog’s digestion.
#8. Full Nutritional Balance
The best dog food for sensitive stomachs will be “complete and balanced.” Essentially that generally means that the dog food has all the necessary nutrients in the correct proportions.
Read the list of ingredients carefully and look for the legend “AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) confirms…” That means that the dog food has been tested with accepted protocols to determine that the ingredients listed, and the proportional quantities, are correct.
#9. Fatty Acids for Health
The dog food chosen should have the correct quantity of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are not only essential for a shiny coat and a healthy skin but are also essential nutrients necessary for optimum health. Ideally, these essential fatty acids should be derived from an animal-based source and not a plant-based source. Dogs find it easier to digest animal sourced fatty acids rather than plant sourced.
#10. Make a slow transition
As a final thought, you should remember that a sudden change in diet will be a shock to your dog’s system. You need to introduce the new food slowly, mixing it in with his old food. Take at least a week to transition to the new food, and give your dog time to adjust to it afterwards. Even if the new food didn’t seem to be working out in the beginning, it might well turn out just fine if you give your dog’s tummy time to get used to it.