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02nd Oct 2023

What is causing your dog's sensitive stomach?

by Burns Team Writer

As a dog owner, the last thing you want is for your four legged friend to feel unwell. If you notice your dog seems lethargic, feels uncomfortable or starts vomiting, it could be that they have a sensitive stomach. This is a common problem in dogs all of ages, sizes and breeds. Fortunately, there are a number of signs you can look out for, putting your furry friend on the path to recovery.

Find out what could be causing your dog’s sensitive stomach.

Signs of a sensitive stomach

Sensitive stomachs come with a wide range of symptoms. If you choose to take your dog to the veterinarian, knowing these symptoms can help them to quickly diagnose your canine companion.

  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Loose stools
  • Discomfort
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy

Causes of a sensitive stomach

Once you have recognised your dog’s symptoms, you will need to identify the underlying cause for their condition. This is vital for the veterinarian to provide effective treatment, and will help you manage their symptoms going forward.


Just like you and me, your dog can develop food allergies. A food allergy is when your dog’s immune system responds to a particular food component. In dogs, these allergies are most often caused by proteins, such as beef and chicken. This often results in uncomfortable symptoms, such as itchy skin, redness and swelling. The most effective way of alleviating your dog’s symptoms is identifying the food allergy and removing it from their diet.


Allergies and intolerances are often confused. However, there are distinct differences in how your dog’s body reacts. An intolerance is when your dog’s digestive system struggles to process certain ingredients, such as dairy or grains. This often leads to digestive problems, such as vomiting or diarrhoea. By identifying the intolerance, you can remove the ingredient from your dog’s diet.

Dietary changes

Sudden dietary changes can trigger a sensitive stomach. That’s why it is important you slowly transition your dog to a new food. This will provide your dog’s digestive system with time to adapt, decreasing the likelihood of discomfort.

Bacterial infections

Bacterial infections in dogs are often caused by ingesting contaminated food, such as undercooked chicken. This can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Your dog can quickly become dehydrated when suffering from a bacterial infection, so it is important to seek veterinary care as quickly as possible.

Worms and parasites

There are a number of internal parasites that can cause stomach upset. From roundworms and heartworms to tapeworms and hookworms, each of these can contribute to gastrointestinal problems in dogs. That’s why it is vital you stay up to date with your dog’s deworming treatments.

What to do if your dog has a sensitive stomach?

If your dog is showing signs of a sensitive stomach, there are a number of steps you can take. These will help to narrow down the cause of your dog’s stomach issues, so that you can work towards improving their overall wellbeing.

Monitor their condition

By monitoring your canine companion, you can easily spot changes in their health. This can include worsening symptoms, which could be a sign that you need to visit the vet immediately. When you visit the vet, you can then provide them with a detailed account of your dog’s condition, helping them to provide an accurate diagnosis.

Check their surroundings

Dogs are notorious for getting into things they shouldn’t. That’s why it is important you check your home, making sure all potential hazards are removed or secured. This can reduce the risk of your dog consuming something harmful, such as table scraps, which could cause them to have an upset stomach.

Analyse their diet

Just because your dog will eat anything, doesn’t mean they should! By analysing your dog’s food, you can identify potential allergens or intolerances. Some of the most common intolerances in dog food are grains and proteins, such as wheat, beef and chicken.

Change their food

Changing your dog’s food can be an effective way of managing their condition. Many brands now offer a range of dog food for sensitive stomachs, which include high quality ingredients and exclude common allergens. These foods are designed to promote healthy digestion in canines. However, remember that you will need to gradually introduce new food to allow your dog’s system to adapt.

At Burns, we have developed our own range of sensitive stomach dog food. We only use natural ingredients, reducing the likelihood of your dog having a reaction. If you are looking for nutritious and delicious food for your dog, take a look at our complete range of dry food. Choose from Duck and Brown Rice, Pork and Potato, and Chicken and Wholegrain Maize.

Book an appointment

If your dog continues to show signs of an upset stomach, it is recommended you book a veterinary appointment. They will be able to examine your dog, in an attempt to diagnose the cause of your dog’s gastrointestinal issues. Depending on the cause, they might recommend an illumination diet or prescribe medications for your canine companion. This is the most effective way to manage your dog’s sensitive stomach, ensuring their comfort and wellbeing.

Need more advice?

If you have any more questions about sensitive stomachs in dogs, get in touch. Our team of nutritional advisors are here to support the health of your furry friend.

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