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Best food to try for dog with VERY sensitive stomach

by Joanna P.
(Washington DC)



Since the beginning, we have had trouble finding food that agrees with our dog's stomach. If food does not agree with her, she has one of three symptoms (or a combination thereof):

(1) Her poop is runny/ she has diarrhea
(2) She has incontinence problems while in the house (she can be lying down and will pee; when she is feeling ok, she is house-trained);
(3) Especially with raw diets or a change in protein source (she can only seems to be able to digest chicken), she has an attack of "beagle colic syndrome" or something very similar - she licks everything is sight trying to make herself throw up, she eats every noxious green plant outside to make herself throw up, she cannot calm down, she seems almost crazed, you cannot get her attention until she has finally thrown up once or twice or three times, whatever it takes.

The one food we found that eliminated issues #1 and #3 was Honest Kitchen's Force, a grain free dehydrated raw dog food. However, she still had incontinence problems every so often.

Then in August, Nina got very very sick - we still don't know what it was but suspect that she ingested a foreign food or material. She vomited and had bloody diarrhea for a week, had no interest in food, and was very dehydrated.

We took her to the vet many times, she stayed overnight one night, she was pumped full of water and meds, and eventually she got better (but it took like 2 weeks). When she started eating again, our vet gave us Science Diet's W/D wet food to feed her in small quantities.

We always buy natural/organic dog food but by this point I was past caring about the quality of the food - I just wanted her to
get better (she really seemed at death's door). For whatever reason, this food really works for our dog - generally no peeing, absolutely no vomiting, and no diarrhea. However, I hate feeding her this brand of food because I know it is chock full of crap.

I tried introducing the Honest Kitchen food again but she had an incontinence episode again and her stool was runny. I also tried all these other more natural brands of chicken based wet food (By Nature brand, something else too but I do not remember the name that was more like a stew) but she had diarrhea again and vomited some of it up. What I have now settled on is feeding her less of the W/D and bulking it up with chicken from Whole Foods and cooked organic pumpkin (this has always helped her stomach).

Do you have any suggestion for a wet food like W/D, chicken based, but that is of better quality?

Please do not suggest raw diets - we've tried them and she gets very very sick (I love the idea in the abstract but my dog's stomach does not). Also, she seems to have a gluten sensitivity (she itches a lot), so grain free would be best but I honestly think that is low on our priority list right now - I'd be happy with a wet food made from real chicken that has some of the attributes of W/D but is made with good ingredients.

I've attached a photo of Nina so you can see the cuteness you are helping - she's a Beagle mix (we think mixed with Springer Spaniel but don't know). We adopted her when she was about 1 year old... she is now 2 1/2.

Thank you so much for any advice you could give us!


Joanna Perales

Comments for Best food to try for dog with VERY sensitive stomach

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Sep 27, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Best Food to try for dog with VERY sensitive stomach
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Johanna,
For Nina, your VERY cute Beagle mix, I am suspicious that you may need to do some home cooking for her.

You wrote, "I'd be happy with a wet food made from real chicken that has some of the attributes of W/D but is made with good ingredients."

I suggest a home made diet with cooked chicken and cooked vegetables, as you wean her off of the W/D. Dr. Pitcairn's Book, Natural Health for Dogs and Cats contains recipes you can reference. In the meantime, research the many canned grain free diets that are available, looking for those that do not contain artificial colors, by-products or preservatives. Pet Guard, Nature's Recipe and Nutro are a few.

You said that you adopted her at 1 year of age, and her problems started at the very beginning. Vaccinations can trigger this type of severe allergic/inflammatory reaction to make her GI tract so sensitive. I would advise avoiding future vaccinations, and seek the help of a holistic veterinarian to write an exemption form and work on a homeopathic remedy to treat her 'vaccinosis'.

Make sure she has been checked for parasites. Giardia and Whipworms can be notorious for causing chronic illness.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- 10 Best Dog Food Options,
- Homemade Dog Food Recipes,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Food Diet - Dog Food, Dog Treats & Homemade Dog Food Recipes Section

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