For some of our furry friends, mealtime sadly isn’t as exciting as it should be. Immediately after scarfing down a meal, stomach upsets, vomiting, and diarrhea occur. This leaves many pet parents wondering if their sensitive dogs can still have their favorite treats, or if they can have treats at all. Luckily, the short answer is – yes, they can! So, what are the best treats for dogs with sensitive stomachs?
Dog treats for sensitive stomachs should be easy to digest, made with few ingredients, and avoid common allergens. The best treats will also support your dog’s digestive health with plenty of vitamins, prebiotics, and probiotics. All of these qualities come together to offer your pup a tasty treat that won’t cause uncomfortable flare-ups of their symptoms. Ready to find out more about dog treats for sensitive stomachs? Read on with us!
How Will I Know If My Dog Has Digestive Issues
Just like in humans, dogs too can get what we call a “sensitive stomach” when certain foods don’t agree with them. You know your pooch best, so you’ve probably already know which foods go down a treat and which do not. The term “sensitive stomach” is a non-medical way to describe a tummy that is easily upset. So, a dog with a sensitive stomach might repeatedly experience gassiness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
These issues may indicate irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, which are sometimes informally called having a “sensitive stomach.” You might connect your pup’s sensitivity to certain foods, but other times, there is no obvious cause.
Causes Of Digestive Problems In Dogs
Several things can cause sensitive stomachs in dogs. Some involve underlying health conditions, while others are psychological. These are just a few common causes of sensitive stomachs in dogs:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Stress and anxiety
- Dietary intolerances
- Food allergies
The two conditions that are most commonly responsible for sensitive stomachs in dogs are irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. For dogs with these conditions, intermittent bouts of diarrhea are common. Your dog might also pass small amounts of poop with mucus in it. Along with this, bloating, abdominal pain, a lack of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy are other symptoms that might accompany diarrhea. In dogs with IBD, frequent vomiting is common. A dog with a sensitive tummy will often be gassy, too.
Currently, professionals do not know what causes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in dogs. However, stress, fiber deficiency, abnormal colon activity, and dietary intolerances can cause it. Similarly, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD) is also poorly understood. It may come from parasitic or bacterial infections or a reaction to a protein in the diet. But, whatever the cause, the result is that the intestinal lining suffers from inflammation. This causes your dog to struggle to absorb nutrition from their food. Some dogs who struggle with anxiety will have an easily upset stomach. In both people and dogs, stress and anxiety can easily cause digestive upsets.
If your dog is particularly anxious, especially around feeding time, this might resonate for you.
10 Best Treats For Dogs With Digestive Problems
The best treats for dogs with sensitive stomachs have one or more of these qualities:
- Limited ingredients
- They are highly digestible
- They boost digestive health
- No common allergens
In addition, these treats should be tasty to entice your pup to give them a try.
1. Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Chewy
Cloud Star’s Tricky Trainers treats leave out artificial colors and flavors for a limited-ingredient recipe. These soft, chewy, high-value treats are great for pups with sensitive stomachs who need more treats to be motivated to work – at 3kcals per treat, they’re ideal for your hungry hound. Also, these treats are made with chicken liver, chickpea flour, maple syrup, natural smoke flavor, rosemary extract, and a few more tasty ingredients. Organ meats like liver are easy to digest, at about 90%, In comparison, muscle meats are typically about 92% digestible. To conclude, these are delicious, low-fat treats that any dog would be delighted to receive.
2. Zesty Paws Probiotic for Dogs
Support your pup’s sensitive stomach with Zesty Paws Probiotic treats for dogs. Firstly, these functional soft chews are made with a base source of pumpkin and papaya. Also, they contain plenty of probiotics to keep your pup’s stomach happy. Zesty Paws states that these chews help to support the gut microflora for occasional gastric distress – and many happy pet parents agree that these tasty treats help their dogs. Lastly, Zesty Paws is a well-known brand that many pet parents trust.
3. ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
Offer your pup an easy-to-eat treat with ORIJEN’s Freeze-Dried Dog recipe. Firstly, these wholesome treats are made with free-run chicken and turkey as well as wild-caught monkfish. And, the inclusion of organ meats in these treats makes them highly digestible for your sensitive pup. The limited ingredient recipe also makes it easier for your dog to process the treats, leading to fewer issues with diarrhea. With all-natural ingredients and an enticing flavor, these snacks go down a treat with just about any picky pup.
4. Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy treats are tender treats made with real chicken. With their soft texture and bone shape, these savory snacks are easy for your pup to eat. These treats are also made with 12 vitamins and minerals to deliver the best support to your pup’s body. This recipe is also rawhide and pea-free, making it a safe snack for dogs with intolerances to these ingredients. In conclusion, these are tasty gourmet treats that you can feel good about giving to your pup!
5. PetMio Bites Human Grade Dog Treats
These treats by Petmio are made with just nine ingredients, all of which are natural and fit for people to eat. Each tasty treat contains almond butter, honey, pumpkin, dried banana, egg, coconut, cinnamon, and vitamin E. These ingredients come together to support your pup’s overall health, while the pumpkin and coconut improve digestive health. Lastly, these treats are grain-free and gluten-free.
6. Purina Pro Plan Snackers Dog Treats For Sensitive Stomachs
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Gentle Snackers are a great option for pups on a special diet that limits what treats they can have. These treats contain soy protein, vegetable oil, corn oil, oat fiber, and cellulose. Also, these treats offer a highly digestible solution that is especially useful for dogs with allergies, IBD, or on a weight loss plan. Lastly, these crunchy treats also contain plenty of vitamins to support your pup’s health. In addition, Purina is a well-known brand that many pet parents trust.
7. Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost
With Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost, you can add plenty of probiotic support to your dog’s dinner. This food topper provides fiber and natural probiotics to maintain good digestive health. It also features whole-food ingredients like pumpkin and sweet potatoes. This recipe is also made without grains, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial ingredients. And, best of all, several pet parents report that this recipe helps their dogs with vomiting issues.
8. Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed
BLUE Basics Dog Food is a delicious diet made with limited ingredients. This recipe starts with a single animal protein, turkey, which is highly digestible. It also contains pumpkin and highly digestible carbohydrates. Several pet parents note that this diet has worked wonders for their dogs with sensitive stomachs! This diet also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have good anti-inflammatory effects. This is handy for dogs with allergies or inflammatory conditions.
9. Benefit Biscuit Treats
Treat your dog to a delicious snack that’s packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fibers by Benefits. These treats contain rye flour, oat flour, pumpkin, canola oil, pumpkin pie spice, and ground cinnamon. This means that these treats do not contain common protein allergens like chicken! These treats are not made with wheat, corn, soy, or artificial flavors. In addition, the combination of these healthy ingredients and omega-3s supports your dog’s digestive health. Lastly, many pet parents love how gentle these treats are on their dog’s digestive system, especially for senior dogs.
10. Get Naked Grain Free Treats
Get Naked Digestive Health chew sticks are made with a grain-free blend of prebiotics, probiotics, and dietary fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. These chew sticks help to boost the number of beneficial microflora in your dog’s gut. All of these benefits are wrapped up in a tasty chicken flavor and a peppermint scent. If your dog is allergic to chicken, give this treat a miss.
Treats For Dogs With Digestive Problems: FAQ
Still wondering about the best treats for dogs with sensitive stomachs? Feel free to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more details. If in doubt about your pup’s sensitive stomach, always ask your vet for advice.
Whether or not your dog will outgrow their sensitive stomach depends on the cause of it. In the case of IBD, the condition cannot be outgrown, and there is no cure. IBS, too, is a chronic condition, but you may notice that your dog’s symptoms come and go. Where your dog’s sensitivity is caused by an allergy, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs outgrow food allergies as humans do. Plus, some vets even state that allergies in dogs often worsen as they age. It is also not clear if dogs outgrow food intolerances, but anecdotal evidence from owners suggests that some dogs do outgrow some specific sensitivities, but not others. Overall, a dog with a sensitive stomach is likely to struggle with their digestive problems for the rest of their life.
The term “upset stomach” commonly refers to acute gastroenteritis, which may resolve quickly, or need further treatment depending on the cause. Acute gastroenteritis is a nonspecific term to describe inflammation of the digestive tract. It often comes with sudden onset diarrhea and vomiting. Several things can cause gastroenteritis in dogs, including eating spoiled food, toxins, viruses, and bacteria, or underlying health issues. While one episode of vomiting or diarrhea is not a cause for concern, repetitive bouts (more than 2-3 times per day) warrant a trip to the vet.
Dogs often develop sensitive stomachs with IBS, IBD, food intolerances, food allergies, or stress. The causes of IBS and IBD are poorly understood. However, these conditions may be caused by stress or reactions to specific things in the diet. Food allergies may have a genetic component as well as an environmental component.
After a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, the best way to settle your dog’s stomach is to introduce a bland diet. A blind diet contains foods that are easy to digest and soothing to the digestive system. For dogs, the best bland diets include one protein source and one starch source. Your dog will appreciate boiled lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or hamburger. Pair this with a starch like cooked white rice or sweet potato, and you’ve got yourself a highly digestible meal for your pup. Start introducing the diet in small amounts – if there is no vomiting after a few hours, you can offer some more.
Because your dog’s diet should be 18% to 25% protein, finding a highly digestible protein source is paramount. For dogs, muscle meats are the most digestible types of meat. Each muscle meat is about 92% digestible, and chicken, beef, and lamb are the best types. Similarly, organ meats like kidneys, liver, and heart are about 90% digestible. Fish is less digestible at about 75%. Egg, too, is super digestible for dogs.
Before reaching for a new tasty treat, be sure to find out the cause of your dog’s sensitive stomach. Do they struggle with anxiety? Is there a food intolerance or allergy? Or do they show signs of IBS or IBD? Be sure to go to your vet with your findings. Your vet can recommend the best food for your dog.