Dog lying on their back showing stomach Dog lying on their back showing stomach

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach

Read time: 7 mins

09 Dec 2019

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from sensitive stomachs. Our four-legged friends will, from time to time, feel unwell and make it known by way of vomiting, diarrhoea, or uncharacteristic farting.

But if these things happen more and more, your pooch will probably start to feel quite sorry for themselves. They're house-trained, so making a mess indoors can affect their mood, too. If your furry family member’s tummy is frequently upset, the first thing to think about is what they're eating.

What are the Symptoms of a Sensitive Stomach in Dogs?

We only want the best for our pooches, so when they’re under the weather, it’s upsetting for everyone. Some of the key signs to look out for to indicate that your dog’s tummy is not quite right include:

• Vomiting

• Diarrhoea

• Excessive gas (excuse you!)

• Lack of appetite

• Lethargy

What Causes Sickness and Diarrhoea in Dogs?

There are lots of reasons why dogs can regularly experience the symptoms of a dicky tum.

If you have a scavenger on your hands, they could be picking up things that they find delicious but are, in fact, really bad for them. It's hard to prevent dogs from helping themselves when you're out on walks, but when you're indoors you can keep bins, cupboards and anything even remotely edible on lockdown to stop them snaffling human food (or tissues). 

A sudden change in diet can also cause havoc to a dog's gut. If you want to feed your pooch a new type of food, this should be introduced gradually over a seven day transition period. This allows a pups digestive system to take the time it needs to adjust to any new ingredients.

Unfortunately, some dogs are just prone to stomach issues for no particular reason, or your furry friend could be reacting badly to something that’s in their regular food. In either case, pet parents can make changes that will really help. By observing the pattern of your pooch’s illness and adjusting their main meals and treats, you can make a significant difference to their digestion.

Of course, if you’re worried about any other symptoms or your pet seems distressed, take them to the vet for a check-up.

3 Ways to Help a Dog with an Upset Stomach

Gut health is a term that is being used more often these days and it's not just for us humans. Maintaining healthy gut bacteria is vital for wellbeing, as imbalances can cause upsetting symptoms in humans and pooches alike.

In the longer-term, there are three main ways to take care of your pup's digestive system:

1. Choose a food with fresh, highly-digestible ingredients

If your dog has the runs or can't seem to keep anything substantial down, it is essential to feed them meals that aren't going to irritate their stomach further. Sounds easy enough, but what exactly should you be looking for in a dog food for sensitive stomachs?

This means choosing a food that does not contain any fillers, additives or preservatives. A complete, balanced diet should steer clear of allergens like wheat, corn and soy. Instead, it should contain highly digestible ingredients such as human-grade meat, fresh veggies and whole energy sources, like lentils or pearl barley.

Choosing tempting meals that your dog will gobble down can help them rebuild a healthy relationship with food, especially if they've been put off by sickness. You should also feed small portions regularly and avoid long gaps between meals to keep wobbly tummies to an even keel.

Alternatively, you can feed your dog something bland and simple whilst they're feeling unwell, such as poached chicken breast or cooked white fish.

2. Go for low fat options, they're easier on the tum

Foods that are higher in fat content can trigger sensitive stomach symptoms in dogs, as it is much harder to digest. These foods can also increase the amount of fat present in your dogs blood, which is often a trigger for pancreatic inflammation.

When choosing meals for your dog, it will be much more beneficial to opt for a lean protein option such as chicken or turkey, instead of higher fat options, such as lamb.

3. Try a probiotic supplement

Sometimes, you just need a little bit of extra help to get your dog's digestive health back on track. Supplements are a targeted solution for exactly this.

Luckily, here at Butternut Box, we have developed a complementary supplement to help ease digestion issues in dogs. When things aren’t quite right in their stomach - loose poos, excessive wind, or any kind of turbulent tum - reach for the Good for Guts. This blend of pre, pro, and post-biotics will work fast to support the beneficial bacteria in the gut and sort things out so they’re back to feeling their usual selves in no time (whatever ‘usual’ means for them).

It also works as a daily supplement to keep things ticking along nicely in their tum. Just check the serving size guide on the tub to see how much to add to their food each day. No tummy upsets on our watch.

Butternut Box is Perfect for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

At Butternut Box, we're used to feeding lots of sensitive stomachs. In fact, Butternut Box started when Dave — one of our co-founders — adopted Rudie the Staffie, a rescue dog who couldn't stop farting. He embarked on a mission to create a meal recipe which would alleviate all of her symptoms. The rest, as they say, is history.

In a survey of almost 700 Butternut Box customers, over 70% of owners saw an improvement in their dog’s digestive health after switching to us. This includes things like better-formed poop, better-smelling poop, and less eye-watering farts.

Perfect portioning is important because overdoing protein can result in stomach upset and constipation, while not feeding enough means your dog isn't getting properly nourished. Taking into account breed, weight, age, and lifestyle, we portion up pouches that you can trust are just what your dog needs.

Of course, a sudden change in diet can affect your dog’s digestion. That’s why we provide you with a transition guide to ensure a gentle 14-day introduction to your pup's new food. The result? Clean dishes, happy tummies, and just the occasional gust of healthy wind to keep you on your toes.

Butternut Box Sensitive Stomach Research

Whilst there is no veterinary or industry guide as to what percentage of the UK dog population experiences a sensitive stomach, 26% of Butternut Box customers report that their dog has a sensitive stomach. As we feed more than the population average, we are confident that this acts as a reliable reflection of a UK-wide issue, which could be affecting more than a quarter of the population.

Our expert Vet and Nutrition team have carried out two digestibility studies to understand how fresh food from Butternut Box compares to competitors who offer other categories of dog food, such as dry (kibble) and wet.

Results showed that Butternut Box’s crude protein digestibility results are extremely high at 91-96%. Typically, the crude protein digestibility of a traditional dry food would sit at 70-82%. In short, fresh food is proven to be more highly digestible than other categories of dog food, particularly kibble.

Digestibility describes the relative amount of nutrients that are bioavailable following digestion, it is largely determined by the quality of ingredients, food processing methods, and quantity of food fed. Poor digestibility diets are typically the direct cause of poor-quality poop (runny, smelly).

You can read the full research report here.

At Butternut Box, we are always striving for better. This means regularly carrying out critical research to further our understanding of dog health, so that we can produce the best possible nutrition products.