There are quite a few reasons why your dog might be experiencing stomach-related health issues, but without a doubt one of the main causes is an improper diet. Whether your dog is allergic and/or sensitive to certain ingredients, or there’s an underlying health issue, stomach-related problems can be difficult to solve (unless you know their exact cause).
In regards to diet-related health issues, it’s important to identify exactly what is causing your dog’s symptoms. Is it a lack of fat? Too much fat? Not enough fiber? What about something not as easy to diagnose, like worms?
Determining the cause of your dog’s internal duress is the first step. If you’ve eliminated underlying causes, and your dog’s problems are indeed related to its diet, you’re going to need to determine which type of dog food to switch your dog over to.
Dog Food for Stomach-Related Problems
The dog food industry has luckily come far from the early days of highly-processed dry dog food (most of which contained countless preservatives, artificial flavors, additives, etc.). There are many dog food products that are specially-formulated for canines that suffer from sensitive gastrointestinal systems.
Using a product such as Royal Canin Glycobalance wet dog food for pets with sensitive tummies can oftentimes completely solve whatever specific issues your dog is experiencing (related to their diet). That’s because these types of products typically contain special ingredients that are less harsh on your dog’s GI system.
Dogs who aren’t getting enough fiber in their diets will often display GI-related symptoms, so many stomach-specific dog brands/products contain lots of healthy fiber sources. Additionally, these recipes also usually have low amounts of fat (because fat is considered to be more difficult for dogs to properly digest – which can lead to GI-related issues).
The Benefits of Elimination-Based Diets for Dogs
Elimination diets aren’t exactly a new invention; they’ve been around for several decades (for both dogs and humans). The way an elimination diet works is by excluding specific ingredients from a diet until the symptoms that the person/dog is experiencing stop occurring.
The majority of elimination diet trials last for around two months, because of the time needed for the body to adjust and then readjust to the changes being made from the diet.
If you’re interested in trying an elimination diet with your dog, the first step would be to contact your vet. Without knowing your dog’s medical history, age, breed, etc., it’s very difficult to make any sort of general recommendation (especially when it comes to dietary changes that can have a direct impact on your dog’s health).
Hybrid Elimination Diets for Quick Results
When dogs are sick, or otherwise don’t feel well, owners sometimes like to feed them less exciting types of food (e.g. rice, ground beef, etc.). This type of diet can almost be thought of like a homemade elimination diet (because actual elimination diets typically use prescription-based formulas).
Common ingredients used in these types of diets include boiled protein (e.g. chicken and/or beef), plain white/brown rice, as well as pumpkin. If you let your vet know that you’re altering your dog’s diet (and changing it to one with bland ingredients), they might want to prescribe a probiotic for your dog (which is perfectly normal and can be very beneficial for your pup’s GI health).
Should My Pet’s Dog Food be AAFCO-Approved?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials is a regulatory body tasked with overseeing the sale and production of animal food products (i.e. your dog’s food). You should always look for an AAFCO approval on the brand/product that you purchase.
Dog food recipes that have been approved by the AAFCO have achieved a certain level of nutritional balance that’s been deemed optimal by the various agencies and regulatory bodies that make up the AAFCO.
Before making any changes to your dog’s dietary habits, it’s important to remember that there might be underlying causes (which aren’t related to your dog’s diet). This is why it’s important to schedule a consultation with your dog’s vet before making any sweeping changes to their diet.
Many GI problems are signals of something deeper (and more serious) going on. Whether that’s a parasite infection, heart problems, kidney issues, or any other serious problem depends on your dog’s medical history, age, breed, and lifestyle. If your dog’s health issues are related to its diet, the information posted above should help get you started on the path to recovery.