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For an animal with a reputation for having an iron constitution, capable of (and hell-bent on) eating anything in sight, dogs are surprisingly prone to upset stomachs and other digestive issues. There are countless causes of stomach upset, and diet is one huge factor in your dog’s digestive health. Therefore, finding a complete and balanced pet food that’s highly digestible, agrees with your dog’s stomach, and fuels their long-term overall health is key.

Here’s what to do if your dog is showing signs of tummy troubles, as well as advice for what to feed your dog with a sensitive stomach.

Signs of Digestive Problems

Stomach troubles show up in many forms, including the following:
• Excessive gas.
• Diarrhea/soft stool.
Blood in stool.
• Straining to poop.
• Vomiting or regurgitation.
• Pain and/or decreased mobility.
• Bloating.
• Excessive salivation.
• Loss of appetite.

Reddish-brown dog looking at two humans opening a box of dog food packages
The Farmer's Dog

What Is a “Sensitive Stomach”?

Some dogs struggle with sporadic diarrhea for years, and some can’t seem to handle any foods outside of their daily diets. Others don’t seem to tolerate their food at all.

But in general, a sensitive stomach typically describes ongoing digestive issues of varying types and intensities. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you’ll likely see (or smell, as the case may be) one or more of the following:

• Intolerance for many foods/sensitivity to small dietary changes.
• Periodic loose stools or diarrhea (“unpredictable poops”).
• Bouts of vomiting or regurgitation.
• Lots of gas.

For dogs with sensitive stomachs, these issues tend to go on for long periods of time. They may resist various forms of treatment or intervention.

What Causes Stomach Problems?

There are many different underlying issues that may cause a sensitive stomach and ongoing digestive issues, including:

• Dietary indiscretion or overeating.
• Parasites.
• Infection.
• Allergies or food intolerances.
• An imbalance or other disruption of the gut biome.
• Ulcers.
• Pancreatitis.
• Inflammatory bowel disease.
• Intestinal blockage.
• Liver or kidney disease.
• Tumors.

While certain breeds can be more prone to gas and stomach upset, stomach issues can be a problem for any age or breed of dog. “Sensitive stomach” itself is not a diagnosis—there is ultimately something responsible for the issue, and it’s just a matter of finding out what it is.

What to Do for a Dog With a Sensitive Stomach

First, take steps with your veterinarian to determine what might be causing your dog’s digestive woes. It’s important to understand if your dog’s stomach issue is a temporary consequence of eating the wrong thing or some other obvious trigger, or if it’s a more serious or ongoing problem.

If your dog has a bout or two of diarrhea, or if they vomit or regurgitate once or twice, and they otherwise seem okay, it’s probably nothing to worry about. If your dog is in pain or is vomiting blood, has vomited more than once or twice, or has more than a day or two of diarrhea, see your vet.

Your vet will help identify the causes of your pup’s stomach problems. They’ll work to determine whether the issue is a primary gastrointestinal (GI) disease or an extra-GI disease. Primary GI disorders are issues that directly affect the GI tract, like parasites or infections, food sensitivities, and IBD. Extra-GI diseases are illnesses that affect some other system (e.g. the metabolic or endocrine systems) but have a negative, indirect effect on your dog’s digestion (like kidney or liver dysfunction, and pancreatitis).

Depending on their assessment, a vet may recommend a range of different tests, treatments, or protocols like an elimination diet. If you’ve ruled out an acute, serious issue like a blockage, and have taken steps to address other problems like allergies, and your dog still has a sensitive stomach, talk to your vet about possibly trying a different diet.

What to Feed a Dog With a Sensitive Stomach

No food is a miracle cure for every digestive ailment. But a switch to a fresh diet may help. The Farmer’s Dog food is made from human-grade ingredients and to human-food safety and quality standards, according to FDA and USDA regulations. That human-grade designation means that the ingredients used to make the food, and the place and the way the food is made, meet the same safety and quality standards that govern the food humans eat.

Reddish-brown dog being fed a bowl of food
The Farmer's Dog

The Importance of Digestibility

The Farmer’s Dog recipes are made from lightly cooked and fresh meats and vegetables. Our own feeding trials, and industry research, show that this kind of fresh food is highly digestible. That means your dog is absorbing and using the powerful nutrients in the food.

A more digestible diet can also affect the quality and quantity of what comes out of your pup—studies show that dogs eating fresh, lightly cooked food produce less poop! Many dog owners who switch from dried pellets to fresh food marvel at the changes in their pups’ poop, and the resolution of sensitive stomach issues, including the intermittent diarrhea or vomiting that they thought was “just the way it was.”

The Farmer’s Dog Story: One Dog With a Sensitive Stomach

We’ll be frank: this is an issue close to our hearts. A dog with a sensitive stomach and ongoing digestive issues is the reason The Farmer’s Dog exists. The company’s founder, Brett, has a Rottweiler named Jada who, from the time she was a puppy, had constant digestive issues. After he tried every treatment, and every brand of kibble, a vet recommended that he feed her fresh, simple, home-made food. She got better almost overnight, and Brett and his partner started making fresh food for more dogs.

Whether your dog has a sensitive stomach and you’ve tried everything like Brett, or you’ve just started to search for a diet that will contribute to your pup’s digestive health, head to The Farmer’s Dog to get 50% off your first box of fresh dog food and learn more about a pre-portioned plan that’s just right for your dog.

About The Farmer’s Dog

Founded on the radical idea that heavily processed pellets aren’t the best way to feed and sustain the health of our pets, The Farmer’s Dog has been making fresh, human-grade dog food since 2014. Made for the love and health of dogs, The Farmer’s Dog food is shipped direct to customers’ doors in precisely portioned packs. To date, the company has delivered over 300 million meals nationwide, and continues to apply technology, empathy, and common sense to reimagining how we care for our pets. #LongLiveDogs

Related article: Dog Diarrhea: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments
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