Dog Tummy Upsets Change Over Time

We learned something new this week. Raw celery doesn’t agree with Tango. He still loves eating it, but it’s not a good idea. We paid for it with three days of dog tummy upsets.

Picture of a Brussels Griffon dog to illustrate Dog Tummy Upsets

He used to be able to eat celery without issues. In fact, all of our dogs have loved celery. Hope’s first Frenchie even thought limp celery stalks were the best tug toys. Especially when they fell apart and she got to eat them!

It turns out that dogs’ food sensitivities can change over time. Just like people. Something your dog could eat regularly as a youngster may not sit well with him/her as an adult or older dog. Like Tango and celery.

Just a treat

The hardest part is actually figuring out what caused the tummy upset in the first place. In this instance, it was easy. The celery was the only thing that was different in his diet the day the stomach trouble started. Other times, with other dogs, it’s been a detective story. We tend to use a variety of options for training treats (although we get their undivided attention with Chicken Heart Treats) so the process of elimination can take some time.

The oddest food intolerance situation happened with Teddy. After months of trying to figure out his episodic urpiness, we discovered he couldn’t tolerate orange food. Most dogs, Teddy included, love carrots. Since we do make our dogs’ food and control the ingredients, we found out he also couldn’t tolerate sweet potatoes or butternut squash. It was weird, but once we eliminated anything orange from his diet, he was much more comfortable. 

Different dogs exhibit food intolerance in different ways. With Teddy, he salivated non-stop. Tango tends to get diarrhea. Booker vomits. You know your dog’s system better than anyone. If they seem off to you, think about what they’ve been eating and whether there’s a pattern.

Yes or no on veggies

Not everyone thinks that fruits and vegetables are necessary in a dog’s diet. We don’t know whether they’re needed, but we do know our dogs like them. And vegetables are good for increasing the amount of food dogs get without major calorie additions. Some dogs are “easy keepers” and put on weight quickly. Replacing higher-calorie foods with some green beans have always been a good solution.

If you’re thinking of adding different foods to your dog’s diet, the best advice is to go slow. Introduce one thing at a time, at intervals of a few days. That way you’ll know if your dog tolerates the addition or it causes tummy upset. 

Sensitivities vs. allergies

Most dogs aren’t allergic to foods. Many people use “allergy” and “sensitivity” interchangeably. Most stomach issues are caused by sensitivities, or intolerances, rather than allergies. Allergic reactions in dogs tend to be itchiness and breathing issues rather than gastrointestinal symptoms.

If your dog has tummy troubles, one of the most useful things you can do is to give them some pureed pumpkin. This time of year it’s easy to get. Just be sure it’s pure pumpkin and not pumpkin-pie filling. Since a can is lots more than you probably need to ease your dog’s stomach, fill an ice-cube tray with the remaining puree and freeze it. We have a bag of pumpkin cubes waiting in the freezer – just in case. 

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