Trophy Pet Foods Blog

Healthy Digestion

A dog with a healthy gut is a much happier & healthy dog.

Here are our top tips for dogs with sensitive stomachs and/or poor digestion. Recognising these signs and understanding some of the causes, will help you in choosing the right kind of food to support your dog.

POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS

There are a number of signs that can indicate your dog may have a sensitive tummy. They may have a poor or changeable appetite, weight loss, loose stools or wind.

Signs to look out for are:

  • Failure to Thrive – lack of energy or lethargic
  • Variable Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Loose or Variable Stools
  • Bloated Stomach
  • Constipation
  • Poor Coat

POSSIBLE CAUSES

  • Diet - Poor digestion may be due to a food hypersensitivity or intolerance. Sensitivity to certain ingredients in your dog’s food (such as a certain protein (meat) or wheat gluten, for example) which can cause mild inflammation in the digestive system.
  • Food allergy – An adverse reaction to a food ingredient with an immunological response. Poor digestion can be caused by an actual dietary allergy – where the body mounts an immune response to certain parts of the diet. The problem with the allergy-prone dog is that they can develop intolerances to any ingredient (or indeed more than one ingredient). Thus the preferred approach for initial management is to use an exclusion food trial. This will hopefully pinpoint the problem ingredient and thus allow you to select a food that avoids it. Ask your local Trophy Nutritional Adviser about the best way to go about this.
  • Sensitive digestion - Just like us, some dogs can be predisposed to having a sensitive digestion. This may be linked to their medical history, their genes, the foods that they have eaten in the past, or, it could be a combination of all these factors.
  • Anxiety - Poor digestion could be linked to issues such as fear or anxiety in some dogs.
  • Young animals treated with antibiotics could potentially be predisposed to problems later in life because antibiotics change the environment inside the gut, which is the largest immune organ in the body.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

The first thing to do if you think your dog may be struggling with poor digestion or a sensitivity is to take them to the vets for a check, as it’s important to rule out anything medical.

Look at your dog’s diet. It’s important for dogs with sensitive digestion to be on a food that is highly digestible, full of high quality whole ingredients, balanced and hypo-allergenic.

Take the guess work out of it and get a diagnosis, either through a blood test via your vet or through an exclusion trial, if your dog suffers from a true food allergy – then you know exactly which ingredients you need to avoid, both in your dog’s main food as well as in any treats!

Some dogs are believed to be sensitive to wheat so you may want to avoid foods that contain wheat. You may want to see how your dog gets on with a wheat free food, or a grain free food.

If you think your dog has a sensitivity to a certain meat then you may need to choose a diet that doesn’t contain this meat. Try this for at least 4 weeks to see how your dog gets on with it.

If your dog is eating any of the ingredients most commonly associated with allergies or food intolerances, eliminate these first. It’s a good place to start – wheat, dairy, soya, beef. Remember it can take up to 6-8 weeks for digestion and symptoms to recover, so it’s important to give the new food chance to work. Unless, of course, the symptoms get far worse on the new food!

It’s important when introducing any new diet that you do it gradually over a week or so. This allows your pet’s digestive system to become accustomed to the new food – essential if they already have a sensitive tummy.

The way you feed your dog can also affect how they digest their food. It will help the digestion to offer two smaller meals (one in the morning and one in the early evening) rather than one large meal per day.

Trophy Premium Lite, Trophy Premium Hypo-allergenic, Trophy Premium Holistic and Trophy Premium Duck & Vegetables are all very suitable foods to try.

Click here for more details: Trophy Premium Foods for dogs with sensitive digestion