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Many dogs have food intolerances. Others have food allergies or illness that lead them to have a myriad of digestion issues. Dogs with digestion issues have special dietary considerations and it is important that we compare dog food brands to find the best possible food for their particular issues. Here is a rundown of the best dog foods for dogs with poor digestion.
What Causes Poor Digestion?
Poor digestion is caused by a number of factors. You dog may have a food allergy or an intolerance or they may be suffering from a chronic illness. Other times, digestion problems occur because of the dog’s age. Senior dogs and puppies have sensitive digestive systems and the wrong food can exacerbate these issues. Other times dogs may have mental health problems like anxiety, stress, or nervousness. Finally, certain breeds and purebreds tend to have more sensitive digestion than other dogs.
Signs Of Poor Digestion
There are many signs and symptoms of poor digestion you can look for in your dog. If your dog has any of the following issues, they may have poor digestion:
- Bloating and gas
- Lack of appetite or disinterest in food
- Weight loss
- Extreme weight gain
- Stomach pain or tenderness
- Dull coat and dry skin
What To Do If Your Dog Has Poor Digestion
The most important thing to do if your dog shows any of these symptoms is to take them to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will run tests and diagnose the problem causing poor digestion. This is extremely important because many times poor digestion is a sign of a larger health problem. Once the problem is diagnosed, your veterinarian will make recommendations on dietary changes to help your dog overcome these issues.
How To Pick A Dog Food For A Dog With Poor Digestion
Your veterinarian may make special recommendations for your dog’s diet. In severe cases your veterinarian will recommend a prescription dog food or a raw foods diet on a very strict schedule. Your vet may also recommend a specific exercise routine to help move their digestion along. If that is the case, you will want to follow their recommendations.
However, in milder cases, your veterinarian may suggest you change their food to a digestion friendly alternative. If this is the case, you can then compare dog food brands and find the food right for your dog. Typically you will look for dog foods that are fiber rich, contain pre and probiotics, digestive enzymes like glucosamines and glutamines, digestion enhancing ingredients like beet pulp, grain sorghum, and barley, and phytonutrients. These ingredients will all aid in proper digestion.
The Best Dog Food Brands For Poor Digestion
One avenue to explore is limited ingredient dog foods. Limited ingredient dog foods have simple recipes using very few ingredients making them much easier to digest. Often times limited ingredient dog foods are also made with novelty proteins like vegetable protein or game meats, which may be easier for dogs with food intolerances to livestock meat to digest. Many dog owners have found success with limited ingredient foods, so it is a great place to start when looking for a new food. Here are the top ten best limited ingredient dog foods:
- Nature’s Valley Instinct Limited Ingredient Grain Free
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free
- Natural Balance L.I.D Limited Ingredient Diets
- Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Grain Free
- Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient Diet
- Instinct Limited Ingredient Kibble For Dogs
- Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula
- Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free
- Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet
Another avenue to explore is grain-free dog food. Many dogs have intolerances to cereal grains. Dogs lack the enzyme amylase in their saliva, which is essential to help break down starches. So if the grains in their dog food have not been properly processed, many dogs will have difficulty digesting them. Dogs may also have difficulty digesting fillers which are usually made from grains. So it is recommended if your dog has food intolerances, you try to introduce a grain-free food. Just make sure the grain-free food also has high fiber. Here are the top ten grain free foods:
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Dry Dog Food
- Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food
- Diamond Naturals Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Evolve Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Newman’s Own Organics Grain-Free Canned Food
- Wellness 95% Meat Canned Dog Food
- Canidae Grain-Free PURE Wet Dog Food
- Blue Wilderness Grain Free Canned Dog Food
Finally, there are several brands of dog food that have been specifically formulated to help aid in proper digestion. These foods are great for dogs with severe digestive issues but can help any dog with poor digestion. Here are the top ten digestive formula dog foods:
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP (Rx Formula)
- AvoDerm Natural
- Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
- Bil-Jac Sensitive Solutions
- Nature’s Recipe Easy To Digest
- Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
- Iams Sensitive Naturals
- Natural Choice Sensitive Stomach
- Dave’s Natural Canned Dog Foods Delicate Dinners Easy To Digest
- American Natural Premium Sensitive Care
Transitioning Dog Foods
Once you have picked the best food to help your dog’s digestion, it is important that you ease them through the transition. Dogs with poor digestion will really have problems if you switch their food too quickly. The best way to transition dogs to a new food is to introduce it slowly by mixing it into their old food. Start by making a quarter of their food the new food. Monitor their progress and see if there are any negative changes in their appetite, behavior, or health. If they are doing well on the new food, after a week mix in increase the amount to half. After another week, increase the amount to three-quarters, and then ultimately, after one more week, you will feed them 100% of their new food. During this process watch for any changes and make sure you report back to your veterinarian your progress.
If you make the right switch, your dog will no longer have issues with digestion. So talk to your veterinarian, compare some of these different options, and transition them carefully, and soon your dog and their stomach will be healthier and happier!