Everyone knows gastrointestinal issues are nasty, and when your dog suffers from them regularly it can be distressing for both you and your poor pooch. Gastroenteritis can be a short-term or persistent issue, depending on your dog’s health condition and whether they have a particularly sensitive stomach. If you’ve already established that your dog has repeated issues with vomiting, diarrhoea and a sore belly, you might be wondering, what do I feed a dog with gastrointestinal problems?
Read on for our rundown on the best food for dogs with gastrointestinal issues, because as always - a dog’s health, happiness and wellbeing begins with what they eat every day.
A dog tummy that’s easily triggered needs careful consideration when it comes to diet and nutrition. If your dog has gastrointestinal problems, they should have a strict feeding routine that’s nearly always the same, to have the most reduced chance of stomach stress.
Overall, you should avoid feeding them sugary treats or human scraps. Quite often, stomach issues in dogs can come from too little exposure to a certain food group, or too much of something else, such as sugar or fats.
The general consensus among experts is that high levels of fat can cause havoc with a dog’s gut, so if your dog suffers from gastrointestinal problems on the regular, you should be choosing a dog food with low fat levels to curb any nasty intestinal triggers. This is a particular problem with dogs who have pancreatitis, as an excess of fat is often what causes the illness and it can severely exacerbate its symptoms.
Pancreatitis is a potentially serious condition affecting the pancreas and how a dog produces certain vital enzymes for digestion. If gone untreated it can be life-threatening, so if your dog has suffered from it in the past, be extremely vigilant over what they’re fed. This generally means no human food, no fatty foods, and choosing a prescription or specialist dog food that contains no more than 10% fat as part of their daily treatment.
Aside from this, be sure to let family, friends and well-meaning house guests know that sneaking your pooch some chicken skin or sausage roll under the table isn’t doing them any favours, it could actually do them serious harm.
We’ve established that dogs with gastrointestinal problems or pancreatitis need special care, especially when it comes to what they eat. As well as avoiding human scraps, fatty treats or junk food, they should be fed dog food that is formulated specifically for turbulent tummies.
If your dog has gastrointestinal problems or pancreatitis, their specific needs can vary from dog to dog. Overall, the most vital thing is that the food is of a high quality, has a low fat content and contains natural, nutritious ingredients that are targeted towards digestive health.
A lot of vets recommend any premium quality gastrointestinal food that has a fat level of 18% and below - but for some dogs with severe pancreatitis, this threshold can go as low as 10%.
Pooch & Mutt’s Vet Range for Gastroenteritis has been designed with the above criteria in mind. It contains only 15% fat, and prebiotics and probiotics to restore balance in the gut microbiome. It’s also grain-free, so that dogs with an allergy or intolerance to grain, or who just prefer the effects of a grain-free diet, get even more digestive benefits.
Note that as our dog food for gastroenteritis contains 15% fat, it’s suitable for any dogs who have received veterinary guidance to eat food of that fat level - not those who have been advised to eat food of 10% fat or below.
Basically, if your pooch has gastrointestinal issues, a gastrointestinal dog food should provide their safest source of complete nutrition to keep them healthy, energised and without stomach upsets.
Dogs that would benefit from gastrointestinal food include the following:
Specialist food for dogs with gastrointestinal problems will contain specific ingredients, chosen for their effectiveness in easing a dodgy tum. These include:
Pooch & Mutt Gastrointestinal Veterinary Food is also enriched with electrolytes to help replace those lost during episodes of vomiting or diarrhoea. On top of this, there is lots of fibre to help solidify stools and prevent anal gland disease.
The pet food brand Royal Canin has a popular low fat dog food for dogs with gastrointestinal issues. For dogs who eat grain or are prone to acute pancreatitis, Royal Canin could be a sensible option, as it only contains 7% fat.
If your dog is on a grain-free diet, however - perhaps because they have a grain allergy or you’ve discovered grain to be tougher on your dog’s digestion - and your dog has been recommended to eat a gastrointestinal dog food of 15% fat or less, Pooch & Mutt’s Vet dog food for Gastroenteritis is a tasty and effective alternative.
Phew! We’ve almost covered everything, but to finish off, here are some commonly asked questions about putting a dog on a gastrointestinal diet:
If your pooch has been diagnosed with ongoing gastrointestinal problems or pancreatitis, they’ll likely have to be on a prescribed diet of specialist food indefinitely. In these cases it’s fine to continually feed this food to your dog - just be sure to have regular check-ups with your vet.
If you’re feeding your dog a gastroenteritis food based on a short-term bout of illness however, it should be ok to wean them back to their regular food within a couple of weeks, or when they appear to have recovered. Chat to your vet if you’re not 100% sure.
As above, it depends on the severity of your dog’s condition. Dogs with diagnosed stomach conditions should probably stay on prescribed gastrointestinal food indefinitely, however if your dog is usually strong-stomached and has just had a tummy bug, it’s not recommended to continually feed your dog gastrointestinal food as it’s not suitable for them. You should move back onto their regular food shortly after recovery.
All dogs deserve treats! Even those with stomachs that can’t handle sugary, fatty foods - and luckily there are treats made especially for intestinally sensitive pooches. If you’re wondering what treats to feed a dog with pancreatitis, be sure they’re low fat, have no added sugar and are free of junk and preservatives. Our Health & Digestion Mini Bones are a great option as they also include chicory - a natural prebiotic that promotes ‘friendly’ gut bacteria.
Having a dog with tummy issues can be scary, as it’s a lot of pressure to feed your dog exactly the right thing. Armed with the right information, however, it needn’t be this way. Once you’ve picked a healthy and reliable dog food that’s formulated specifically for your dog’s needs, you can put your mind at ease that you’re doing the best you can for their ongoing gut rumbles.
If your dog has been recommended a special diet for their gastrointestinal problems and requires a food containing no more than 15% fat, our new Pooch & Mutt Gastrointestinal Veterinary Food is just the ticket. You can even use it short-term if your usually strong-stomached dog has suffered a bout of sickness. Our specialist grain-free vet range has a specialist recipe for all kinds of health conditions - browse the full collection here.
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