One of the most common concerns that prompt Guardians to take their pets to the veterinarian are digestive issues. Veterinarians often hear from Guardians that their pet has a sensitive stomach.
Most would agree that the term “sensitive stomach” is most commonly used to describe digestive symptoms that tend to reoccur once a month or more.
Some of the more common signs Guardians consider as part of having a sensitive stomach:
- Intermittent vomiting.
- excess gas,
- stomach growling,
- depressed appetite
The signs can be so infrequent that many Guardians wonder if they aren’t normal for dogs or cats. The truth is that the domestic dog evolved as a hunter and scavenger with an armor-plated gut able to withstand both frequent and infrequent meals, of fresh and decaying flesh of varying sizes.
On the other hand, the domestic cat has a much more tender digestive system designed to handle more frequent, but smaller meals of fresh kills. Cats often spend time smelling their foods to determine if it is safe, which has caused many Guardians to consider their cats as picky eaters.
Causes of Sensitive Stomach Symptoms
There are many causes of digestive signs ranging from very minor to severe issues that could be life-threatening. To cover the range of potential sensitive stomach issues, we will provide several articles, so be sure to check them all if you suspect your pet may have signs of a sensitive stomach.
Determining the cause is the key to resolving the problem. Everything should be considered because, in many cases, the cause is simple, and the solution may be easy.
Less Serious Causes of Sensitive Stomach Signs
- Environmental Impacts: Dogs and cats are natural scavengers, so everything is fair game. An open trash can, food left on the counter, house plants (that could be toxic to animals), a poorly made toy – all can present factors that when chewed, swallowed, and consumed can affect a pet’s digestive system.
- Indiscretion is a term used to indicate the pet ingested something they should have avoided. That can be too much grass, too rich a treat, toxic items such as chocolate, overfeeding.
- An abrupt change in diet: A quick diet transition can disrupt the digestive tract and produce sensitive stomach signs. If you are transitioning your pet’s diet, we have transitional stickers and support to help both you and your pet with the change.
- Table scraps can cause issues if they are too rich, irritating to the digestive tract or in too large a quantity on top of the correct amount of the normal diet.
- Behavior: Most stomach upset can be contributed to a “Gobbler” personality, where pets eat too fast. Before being domesticated, dogs were likely never sure when the next meal was coming, and often there may have been days between meals. As a result of this uncertainty in their evolution, many pets inherently eat too quickly or gobble their food. Feeding bowls designed to slow eating, adding texture and rotational diets can help.
- Medications, especially antibiotics can kill the good bacteria essential to the health of the gut and reduce digestion, lower resistance, and cause significant sensitive stomach signs.
A sensitive stomach can be tricky to diagnose as there are many reasons or instances where a pet can see symptoms related to digestive upset. Discussing any issues your pet may be having with a fresh perspective may help identify your pet’s triggers. Our teams are always happy to help you find the right solutions for your pet’s tummy troubles.