Your dog is like you in many ways, including his digestive processes. Just as we may regret that spicy burrito, greasy burger or cheesy pizza, dogs can get bellyaches after eating any number of foods. Dogs with sensitive bellies can enjoy dog treats created just for them.
How Do I Know if My Dog Has a Sensitive Tummy?
A sensitive digestive tract presents such symptoms as diarrhea, constipation, gas, vomiting, heartburn and acid reflux, but your dog may have digestive issues even if symptoms are not obvious. If you suspect your pup has a problem, the first step is to visit your veterinary nutritionist to rule out health issues. Once they're ruled out, it's time to start tweaking your pup's diet -- both his main food and treats.
Ingredients to Avoid
When putting together a treat recipe, choose highly digestible quality ingredients. Avoid hard-to-digest foods, which include wheat bran and gluten, corn, beef, peanut hulls, meat meal, artificial colors and flavors, sweeteners and chemicals. Many commercial dog treats contain at least some of these, so homemade recipes allow you to control ingredients. Excess fat can cause tummy upset and acid reflux, so cook with healthy fats and oils, and limit fat content to about 15 percent of your dog's diet.
Ingredients to Include
Easily digestible ingredients you might include in your treats are rice, oatmeal, chicken without skin, and cooked vegetables such as potatoes, green beans, carrots, yellow squash or zucchini. Apples may assist with acid reflux issues. Some vitamins and minerals, particularly those with antioxidant powers, can help improve your dog's digestive function. So you may choose to include appropriate dosages of vitamins C, E and A, along with beta-carotene and selenium.
This recipe makes about two dozen large treats or four dozen smaller treats.
1 cup rice flour 1 cup quick cook oats 1/4 cup low- or no-salt chicken broth 4 tbsp. olive oil 3 oz. apple sauce 1/2 cup diced carrots, diced 1/2 cup green beans, diced 1 tsp baking powder Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheet with olive oil. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl; mix wet ingredients in another. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Shape cookies and place on sheet. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.