Many things can cause tummy troubles for your dog, and while some might pass within a day or two, other issues can cause your pet to have food sensitivities or a delicate stomach on an ongoing basis. A dog’s digestive system is typically pretty sturdy, and they can eat many bacteria-laden items that we humans would never even touch, without getting sick, because of different bacteria strains living in their gut. However, sometimes a dog has a sensitive stomach like some humans. This is when pet owners start going for homemade dog food for sensitive stomachs and gastrointestinal problems.
Your vet can either prescribe or advise on the best dog food for sensitive stomachs, but this is not a guaranteed treatment. Unfortunately, these foods can also become quite expensive. Even though they’re formulated to help sick dogs improve gastrointestinal symptoms, the labels on these foods can reveal types of processed foods that you don’t feel comfortable feeding your pet.
Sure, it’s easy to find hypoallergenic dry dog food off-the-shelf. However, this type of commercial food for sensitive stomach tends to be quite bland and unappetizing.
However, dog owners can help a pet’s condition improve with homemade dog food, although there’s a slight learning curve to know which foods can help your pup feel better. Check with your vet before modifying your dog’s diet with these homemade meals. Another alternative to look into is fresh dog food, which can be personalized to your pet’s needs. You can most likely treat your dog’s gastrointestinal issues on your own, but it’s wise to rule out anything serious first so that you can get your pup the necessary vet-recommended treatment protocol.
Senior dogs with issues might need additional supplemental dog nutrition if you choose to make their food at home. You might even start to enjoy nurturing your fur baby with homemade food for his tummy problems. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy, and you’ll find several homemade dog food recipes below that you can use to give your pet comfort at home.
While it’s done with love, cooking for a dog with a sensitive stomach at home can be a lot of work. You can supplement your dog’s diet with commercial wet or dry dog food formulated specifically for sensitive stomachs or gastrointestinal issues. However, if your dog struggles to savor this food, you can take a meal off and order a meal from a dog food delivery service or fresh food brand. Just make sure to inform them of your dog’s special needs and they will tailor the meal appropriately!
Causes of Gastrointestinal Issues
A dog’s stomach can suffer from digestive disorders and other issues that create a sensitive stomach .
Some dogs develop a lack of tolerance to most commercial dog foods, even if you try switching them to the best grain-free dog foods, lamb meal, or some of the other specialty foods available.
You might even need to play detective for a bit to isolate any food allergies or conditions around your home that trigger stress or anxiety in your pet. Some dogs have perfectly fine tummies but vomit due to anxiety when they know their humans are leaving the house for a vacation.
Although many dogs can eat some pretty icky stuff and live to tell about it, bacterial infections still happen. Some dogs love to eat bird poop, which can carry bacteria that make them very ill. Dogs have also been known to eat mice or rats that have eaten poison. When rushed to the vet for treatment, the dog has a good survival chance but may have gastrointestinal issues for months afterward.
Canine illnesses, such as parvo or dog flu, can cause diarrhea and other stomach symptoms. If your dog has diarrhea and seems lethargic, please schedule a vet visit as soon as possible because certain diseases can become fatal very quickly, especially in puppies.
One other cause of doggy stomach issues is a side effect of medication. If your pup is undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy, certain drugs can wreak havoc on their stomachs and necessitate a more soothing or bland diet.
Best Foods to Treat Puppy Tummies
Most commercial dog foods contain fillers such as corn gluten meal or wheat gluten meal, which can cause reactions in dogs with sensitive stomachs. This situation is where homemade dog food can have an advantage over a commercial diet since you control exactly which ingredients go into your pet’s food bowl.
Generally, homemade dog food consists of a bland diet with a shortlist of ingredients. Typical meal components that digest well include:
- Pumpkin chunks or puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Sweet potato
- Cottage cheese
- Boiled, plain chicken in chunks or shredded
- Ground chicken, beef, or turkey
- White rice
- Olive oil (for dietary fat)
- Mild-flavored vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, green beans, peas, or spinach
- Chicken, turkey, or lamb baby food, as long as they don’t contain any garlic or onion in any form (these can be deadly for dogs)
You can also offer your pet bone broth, which works well for extra hydration if your dog isn’t drinking enough water. If you are learning how to make bone broth for dogs yourself, make sure to strain the broth to remove all bones as they can get stuck in your dog’s throat. Also, let the fat rise to the top and cool, then remove. Foods containing too much fat can potentially trigger pancreatitis, a painful stomach condition for your pup. For that reason, something like hamburger meat, while tasty, is not ideal.
To reduce the risk of triggering stomach upset, good homemade dog food recipes incorporate just a few bland, easily digested ingredients. Check with your vet to see how this will affect your pet’s overall health if you feed these foods for the long term. A nutritionally complete diet for your pet might need to include other ingredients, or your vet can advise on any supplements to make up for vitamins or minerals your furry friend isn’t getting from the bland meals.
Preparation and Feeding Tips
Even if you don’t like to cook, preparing homemade food for your canine is a pretty straightforward process. Instead of buying specially prepared food for your pet’s sensitive stomach, you can learn how to make your own dog food and provide the nutritious and tummy-soothing meals your pet needs.
Keep in mind a few things while working on homemade dog food meals:
- Depending on your dog’s situation, butter, oils, or any seasonings can make the problem worse
- Never include any onions, chives, or leeks as they can be deadly to dogs
- Prepare once a day for several feedings, or prepare once a week and refrigerate or freeze in individual portions
- Use one cup of food for every 25 pounds of weight as daily serving size total
- To aid digestion, feed your dog smaller meal portions several times per day
- Speak to your vet to gain a better understanding of dog nutrition so that you can either choose nutritionally balanced recipes and ingredient combos or get vet-approved supplements to add to your dog’s eating plan.
By the way, you also don’t have to use the foods just for meals. You can make them into baked dog treats to give your dog some variety. This also makes foods portable for park outings, traveling.
Chicken and White Rice Recipe
This simple recipe makes a soothing meal for your dog, and most people already have these items in their pantries.
- 3 cups chopped chicken
- 3 cups chopped, mixed vegetables
- 2 cups white rice
- 4 cups water (if cooking all ingredients together)
Heat a large skillet or pot and add chopped chicken, rice, chopped vegetables, and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. You can also cook the chicken and veggies separately and add the cooked rice when feeding your pup. Just make sure that both chicken and rice are cooked completely for this recipe.
Baked Sweet Potato Dog Treats
Most dogs really love sweet potatoes, and it doesn’t get any easier than this recipe! Baked sweet potato treats make a nutritious snack for your pup and contain healthy fiber to treat diarrhea or constipation.
- Whole sweet potatoes, as many as you want to cook
Wash the outer skin of the sweet potatoes, then slice them thinly but no thinner than 1/4 inch. Try using a mandolin slicer for consistent slices. If the slices are too thin, they’ll get crispy, and your dog will gobble them very quickly. Thicker slices stay chewy and keep your pup busy for a while.
Once sliced, spread the pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in the oven at 250F (130C) for 2.5 to 3 hours, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Cook until the slices are dried out and shrunken but still slightly bendable. After cooling, store the sweet potato treats in a closed container in your refrigerator. They’ll keep for up to three weeks.
Beefy Rice Slow-Cooker Recipe
This recipe saves time since it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and cooks on its own in the crockpot. It contains kidney beans and butternut squash, but you can omit these items if you don’t think your dog can tolerate them.
The following ingredients make about 12 cups of homemade dog food, so you can freeze or refrigerate and have your doggy meals done for the week.
- 2 ½ lbs. beef, ground
- 1 ½ cups brown or white rice, uncooked
- 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans (drain and rinse)
- 1 ½ cups butternut squash, chopped
- 1 ½ cups carrots, diced
- ½ cup green peas, frozen
- 4 cups water
Add all ingredients into a crockpot, along with 4 cups of water. Cover and cook 5 or 6 hours on low heat, or you can cook it for 2 to 3 hours on a medium heat setting. Stir periodically while cooking, and let the dog food cool to room temperature before feeding.
Chicken and Mashed Potatoes with Carrots
This simple recipe can give your dog a break from rice by using mashed white or sweet potatoes instead.
- 1/2 lb. ground chicken
- 1 cup white or sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 TBSP yogurt or cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup carrots
Boil water in a pan and cook potatoes until they come apart easily. Mince the chicken and cook in a saucepan until no longer pink. Slice or chop carrots very fine and sauté with chicken or boil with potatoes.
Mix chicken and rice together, and when serving, mix in yogurt or cottage cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What to feed dogs with gastrointestinal problems?
You can feed them basic, bland foods, including rice, boiled chicken, sweet potatoes, and some vegetables. If your dog’s tummy troubles are temporary, you can feed a few servings of rice and boiled chicken, small portions of pumpkin puree (especially good for bouts of constipation or diarrhea), or cottage cheese. For a longer-term diet, you can incorporate ground chicken, beef, or turkey and rice, along with veggies.
How do you treat gastrointestinal diseases in dogs?
Your first step should be a visit with your vet to assess your dog’s gastrointestinal symptoms. The cause could range from a bacterial infection or life-threatening virus to the flu or something milder, such as an allergy to an ingredient in its regular dog food. Your pup could’ve eaten some food off the kitchen floor that didn’t sit well, or it could be having a bout of severe anxiety because you’re leaving on vacation. It’s difficult to tell without having your vet perform a full examination of your pup.