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How To Determine if Your Dog Has Tummy Troubles #WeBelieveinNB

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Dogs will sometimes hide their stomach pain due to their instinctive survival nature. There are many ways dogs react or don’t when it comes to tummy troubles, but Fidose of Reality is here to get inside a dog’s mind and turn the spotlight on this topic. Here are some ways to determine if your dog has tummy troubles and a crash course in being a dog parent detective to help them feel better.

How to Help a Dog with Tummy Troubles

Know What is Normal

The best way to determine if and when something is wrong with your dog’s tummy is to know what is normal. This is called a “baseline” and includes getting a grasp on your dog’s sleeping patterns, socialization, eating habits, amount of water consumed in a day, and what his or her general level of activity is. Is the dog generally a barker? If a dog who barks sometimes to frequently suddenly gets quiet and stays that way, something could be bothering him, and that something can be gastric related.

Natural Balance dog food selection

Dog Food Storage: Prevent Uh Oh

The most basic and first thing to question if you suspect your dog has tummy troubles is the dog’s food storage. How are you storing the food? Canned foods must be generally refrigerated and covered after opening. Kibble should be stored in an air-tight container where it is cool and out of the sun’s rays.

Natural Balance dinner for dogs
Zola (and Dex) checking out the Natural Balance dinner.

Dog Food Ingredients

Of all the questions we receive on a regular basis, knowing what to feed a dog and which dog food is healthy is among our top questions.

When we started working with the folks at Natural Balance®, we wanted to know what they do to ensure that every can and bag of dog food coming out of their kitchens is safe to eat. They mark every product with an expiration date, so be sure you feed your dog a food that is within safe dates to consume.

Our dog’s best friend, Zola, is a Natural Balance dog. Zola has some diagnosed tummy troubles, so it is very important to Zola’s mom that she does not upset the delicate balance of Zola’s intestinal tract. Healthy digestion is important to keeping a dog’s stomach up to par.

Cute dog in a dress
Zola is 12 years young!

For the past several years, Zola has been thriving on the Natural Balance LID Duck and Potato formula and most recently, her mom added the Dental Chews to her plan.

“I like that Natural Balance tests the food and treats for dogs in their lab,” Zola’s mom, Ellen Morrissey, tells us. “They do not one, but nine tests, and I feel good about that.”

Whenever Zola’s mom has a question about the food, she just logs on to the Natural Balance website and chats live directly with an expert veterinary technician about Zola’s feeding. She also can take heart in knowing there is a Buy With Confidence® guarantee in place.

Natural Balance dental chews
Inspector Dexter and his Natural Balance treats.

Mystery Causes

Sometimes a dog will become ill and the cause of that tummy trouble is unknown. Perhaps he or she ingested something on a walk, got into the trash, or a well-intended friend or family member gave the dog table scraps or a food that caused gastric issues.

Dog on shelf Natural Balance
Dogs may sometimes hide or want to be alone when tummies ache.

Stomach Ache and Digestive Upset Signs in Dogs

Always put a call in to your dog’s veterinarian or seek emergency care if you have concerns about your dog’s health.

Some of the ways dogs will behave when their gastric tract is upset or they have tummy troubles are:

General Discomfort: My last dog was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease. We knew she had a flare up whenever she would pace or her stool would change consistency/frequency. Stomach troubles can manifest as pacing or inability to get comfortable in a dog.

Vocalization: A dog who whines, cries, or otherwise is unusually vocal may be experiencing some sort of pain. Alternatively, dogs who are generally vocal may become quiet or withdrawn.

Change in Stool: Sometimes, when well-meaning dog parents change a dog’s food, stomach upset can occur. Any change in stool such as that of consistency, color, odor, and/or the presence of blood should be examined by a veterinarian.

If you are changing your dog to Natural Balance food, be sure to transition slowly. Here’s how to transition to any new Natural Balance dog food formula.

Change in Sleeping Pattern:  A dog who suddenly becomes fatigued or lethargic may have some internal issues happening, and that can mean gastric upset. On the flip side, dogs who are restless and have a sudden poor overall sleeping pattern might be super uncomfortable and not able to sleep.

You can snag more tips about stomach ache and tummy troubles in dogs from the folks at petMD.

Natural Balance food at PetSmart

Love Your Dog From the Inside Out

The way to a dog’s heart, some say, is through their tummy, which means it starts at the mouth. Use caution in what how you store your dog’s food, what dog food you feed, and the type and quantity of treats they are eating.

Natural Balance dog food selection

As part of our regular game play, our dog, Dexter, snacks on Natural Balance Duck and Potato treats in his various board games. He even gave a few bags to his girlfriend, Coco, recently. Here is the happy couple, well fed, healthy, and surrounded by an oh-so-heart-shaped Natural Balance of love.

Cute dogs in a heart shap

Your Turn to Bark Back

If your pet could talk and tell you he or she has a stomach ache, which family member would they come to first? Tell us in the comments below!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Natural Balance. The opinions and text are all mine.

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  1. My dog just passed away last week. However it was always a sure sign she had tummy problems when she would start nibbling on the grass in the backyard.

  2. You hit the nail on the head with your first point. Know what is normal. It is how we all at pet lovers know something is amiss. The moment one of the cats behaves in a less than ‘normal’ way it’s Hello Mr Hughes and off they go.

    With your touchstone of ‘normal’ you can trace any changes much more easily.

    Natural Balance are good people, I am not surprised they are such a high profile and trusted brand.

    1. That is so true. I would think it is even more difficult with a cat to know when they feel ill. Having that baseline normal is so impurrrr-tent 😉

  3. One of our cats has tummy troubles and she eats Natural Balance. We give our dog the Natural Balance meat roll, although he doesn’t have tummy issues, although now we know what to watch out for!

  4. Tummy troubles are no fun especially when you don’t know the cause. These are some great signs to look for, I never thought to look at their sleep patterns. If one of the Goldens had tummy problems they would come to me, they know they will get extra cuddles, lol. We are big fans of NB, Maggie and Bruin love all the different varieties. Right now they are on the “fat dogs” formula to keep their weight in check during the winter when they aren’t as active and it works out great!

    1. I saw that overweight dog formula at PetSmart last week, and it is a great option especially in these more sedentary months.

  5. Zola and Dexter are too cute and precious! I’m so glad they have yummy food that won’t hurt their little tummies. My little nephew dog suffers with stomach issues. I’m going to tell my sister about Natural Balance.

  6. Ahh great post! My pup has tummy troubles sometimes but I have to keep an eye out on what causes it. It just started happening. Nothing too major! Thank you for sharing this! 🙂


  7. We don’t have a dog (yet) so I am going to have to bookmark this.
    We always had cats and if they had tummy issues they would eat grass and then throw up whatever was bothering them. So much to learn about dogs!

  8. In my dogs’ cases it’s usually a lack of gusto when eating, and for Jack it also means some grass eating. I’m very careful about how I store my food, and of course like you say, knowing what’s normal behaviour for our pets and what isn’t.

  9. One of the many reasons why we love Natural Balance is their support and education. It’s not as common as one would hope in the pet food industry. For a dog who has always had stomach sensitivities and allergies, we’ve been able to trust the food and treats Natural Balance provides, partially because they have limited ingredient options with alternative protein sources.

    Thanks for providing some “clues” for determining if a dog is uncomfortable. Bean gets very clingy (even more so than normal) and whines. Yoda just takes a large poo on any of the nice things we own. Different tactics for different dogs, but both get the point across!

    1. It is amazing how many different ways dogs can show us that they are not feeling good. I am astonished at the complete turnaround in Zola’s IBD and stability of it since her mom switched to Natural Balance.

  10. First of all three cheers for Dexter, such a sweet dog. It seems obvious, but so many people miss it, thank you for pointing out that changes in behavior or habits could indicate that something is wrong with your pet. I know my guys have routines and when they change, I am more observant, just in case.

  11. What our pets eat really does impact their tummies – and their overall health. When my cat had kidney problems, the vet traced it back to his food. They are like people – when you feed them quality food, they feel better.

  12. This is so helpful! I have two dogs, one that east anything and it perfectly fine and one that is picky with what he eats. Also he gets an upset tummy a lot, not fun for anyone!

  13. Boy, this post hits close to home! With one Siberian Husky who has IBS and bouts of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and another whose anxiety creates GI upset, I sure do know the signs! Great post, Carol! And very important as they do sometimes go to great lengths to hide their upset tummies. I love the bottom photo of with cans in a heart shape!

  14. You’re right on when you say know your pet. If our one cat doesn’t eat, it’s off to the vet because she never misses a meal. Even if something feels slightly off, we get our dog checked by the vet. Knowing our pets are okay is so important!

  15. A few years back Montecristo ate goose poop in the park. Little known fact – Canada geese nearly all carry salmonella. So….

    One poop in a medium dog gets them sick – a big dog might just throw up. A tiny thing…? Well we nearly lost him.

    The only sign. Lethargy.

    Now we know.

    Oddly he has never ever tried to eat a goose poop again. Almost like he knows that got him sick. No complaints here!

  16. Getting to the cause is so important – and knowing your pup is so key! We’ve had good fortunate with the NB duck and potato as well!! Nice piece that relays all of the things to watch for and the benefits of Natural Balance – and super awesome Sex photos (he always makes me smile)!

  17. My dog, a 12-year-old terrier cross, always has had a sensitive stomach (his stools change frequently and he farts a lot). I have him on a senior dry (but looking for another one) and canned food from the Vet to reduce urinary track infections, which seems to work. However, he has energy to burn and people watching him run (I mean run) often can’t believe he’s 12.
    Also, I’m looking into Natural Balance duck and pea for cats. I have a cat with serious food allergies and the vet prec isn’t working. Someone who had the same issue with her cat suggested NB. (I’m soon going to try it if this latest effort by the vet doesn’t work)

  18. I’m the one my dogs go to when they aren’t feeling well or just want a snack. I’m glad that Natural Balance has worked so well for Zola. Theo loves Natural Balance too.

  19. My Husky, Icy, has a sensitive tummy. She does really well on Natural Balance LID food, it really keeps her on track. I love the high quality of their food & all the safety testing they do. If she has a tummy ache she definitely comes to me vs. Daddy. I can usually tell quickly because she gets gassy – UGH! This usually happens from too many treats or if someone (who shall remain nameless) succumbed to her begging eyes and gave her table scraps!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv them

  20. My mom’s dog has problems with reflux. He’s on one of those prescription diets, but it’s not really helping. Mom asked me tonight is anyone could give her some good ideas on food that would help Bandit. Maybe this is the answer.

  21. Thank you for sharing these great points; signs to look out for and how food should be stored! These are great signs to keep in mind for other illnesses too.

  22. I’m all too familiar with tummy troubles in cats especially, but we’ve got Charlie’s IBD under control now with diet and it’s rare he has a flare. PS. Love that heart shaped photo, just too cute for words.

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