Our dog, Boots, is a part of our family and we try to treat him as such. We care a lot about what goes on and into our own bodies, and we have been trying to keep that top of mind for him as well. We want our first baby to live a long and healthy life, keeping his diet and “beauty” products as clean as possible will hopefully help in that goal.
He has a very sensitive stomach so we give him Blue Buffalo Basics dog food which isn’t the cleanest, but we haven’t found anything else that doesn’t make him sick to his stomach. We try to add leftover eggs, fish skin, apples, and carrots to his meals every day in addition to a tablespoon of olive oil for a shiny coat. If anyone has a natural dog food for sensitive stomachs that you recommend, let me know! We are open to any ideas.
Here are some of our favorite natural dog products: Boots tested, dog mom-approved!
Brandless Dog Shampoo & Conditioner: It’s sulphate and paraben-free, contains no synthetic colors or fragrances, and no animal testing. We wash him with it and give it to our dog groomer when she comes too. It suds up nicely and makes him nice and clean without smelling like soap which I know he hates. They also have a tear-free puppy shampoo for $5 that I haven’t tried.
Bocce’s Bakery Daily Support Dog Treats: We buy the “breath” treats for Boots because his breath can get a little gnarly if we’re not on top of it. They are made of only oat flour, apple, and mint. Compare this to Greenies where the ingredient list consists of wheat flour, wheat gluten, glycerin, gelatin, oat fiber, water, lecithin, natural poultry flavor, minerals (dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, magnesium amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, selenium, potassium iodide), dried apple pomace, choline chloride, fruit juice color, vitamins (dl-alpha tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin E], vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate [vitamin B5], niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement [vitamin B2], vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], folic acid), turmeric color.
Nature’s Miracle Odor & Stain Remover: At 3 years old, Boots doesn’t have many accidents but because of his sensitive stomach, it happens from time to time. And usually happens on carpets. Nature’s Miracle is actually a miracle worker and can clean out any kind of odor or stain without using harsh chemicals like the ones found in Resolve.
Skout’s Honor Daily-Use Deoderizer Spray: We go for hikes most mornings and when it’s warm out, Boots always jumps into the river which can make him smell like a, well, wet dog! I dry him off when we get home and spray him with this all-natural probiotic spray that doesn’t have too strong of a scent but makes him so fresh and so clean.
Nantucket Spider Natural Bug Repellant: I spray the human version on me and the dog version on Boots every time we go into the woods. It’s made from essential oils only, but it actually works. If I forget it, I’m covered in bug bites, but when I wear it, I have none. Plus I oddly like the smell…
Brandless Freeze Dried Chicken Breast Treats: Bootsie loves these treats and will literally leap from the other room if he hears us say chicken treat. I love that the ingredient list consists only of chicken. They also make chicken liver and salmon treats but the chicken breast has the least offensive smell and he’s into it so that’s our family favorite. Because it’s Brandless, they’re only $3/bag which is a lot more affordable than any other natural dog treats that I’ve seen.
Photo by Julia Dags.
What a handsome fella! How have you dealt with giving him as much attention as before kids? I always feel so guilty because I feel like our dog was so much more active pre kids but getting her out before work to the park is almost impossible now!
Thank you! I’m convinced he should be a dog model with his poses 🙂
He definitely doesn’t get as much attention as before we had Amalia, but it’s become our new normal. We’ve made sure that he’s a big part of her life so she plays with him a lot and involves him in things which helps. She likes to cuddle him when she watches TV and she likes to throw him sticks and balls. I take him for hikes/walks after I drop A at daycare and start my day a little later (9:30). I have a flexible schedule which allows for this and I feel so lucky for that!
As a fellow dog mom, I thought you would be interested to know that Blue Buffalo was included on the FDA’s list of dog food brands that *may* be linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a potentially fatal condition > https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/dog-food-heart-disease-fda.amp.html
Blue Buffalo issued a statement and said they are working with the FDA > https://bluebuffalo.com/about-us/whats-new-at-blue/blue-buffalo-dcm-statement/
The best resource I’ve found is Tufts, which has a really good round-up of all the news and research this summer > https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2019/07/dcmupdate/
Unfortunately what we perceive of as “clean” food for humans may not translate across species.
There’s still a LOT of research to be done, but one theory I read is that some limited ingredient diets rely on ingredients that inhibit or prevent taurine (an amino acid) uptake. Another is that there’s not enough testing around “exotic” proteins and how to combine dog food ingredients so that dogs get enough taurine. A third is that some dogs may have a genetic predisposition to DCM. I believe that was the initial explanation behind a DCM spike, but now it’s being found in breeds less likely to get it. A fourth is that maybe it’s not taurine (ahh), and it’s something else entirely? So hard to know what to do!
(And please do your own research, anyone reading this. I’m not an expert, and this is how I interpreted stuff!)
I ended up switching my dog from a limited ingredient “fancy” brand (hah) to Purina Pro Plan for sensitive stomachs. I don’t know why I had an aversion to Purina, but they’re 1) not on the FDA list and 2) they do a LOT of nutrition research since this is a newer area.
There’s no perfect answer, but after reading more about DCM, I have tried to err more on the side of science than fear-based marketing about chemicals. 🙂 But dang if my dog’s treats aren’t the single ingredient fanciness of my dreams!
Yes! A friend of mine is a vet and really careful about what her dogs eat. She gives hers Purina Pro Plan, too.
YES! I’m here for dog content.
When our “boys” (read: two dogs, not actual children as most strangers believe when I use the term) have upset/sensitive tummies, the only thing that works is canned pumpkin.
As far as food goes, whatever works for him individually IS GREAT, and don’t feel bad about it. Remember 20 years ago when it was normal to feed dogs Alpo (YIKES!). We’ve come a long way in fur child health.
Finally, I’ve been curious about trying Brandless, so I may give it a go! Thanks for the recs!
Canned pumpkin and boiled rice/chicken is what works for Boots when he’s sick. And thank you for this perspective, it’s so helpful to read!
Definitely looking into the Brandless treats for our boys! They currently eat Canidae brand food because it’s limited ingredient. Our senior dog has some allergies that caused so many skin issues we have to be really aware of what we give him. The younger pup (18 months old so our vet gave the OK) eats it as well just for our convenience.
Hopefully Boots’ tummy stays okay!
PS: LOVE Nature’s Miracle Odor & Stain! It was a lifesaver when we first adopted the puppy.
I’ll have to check out Canidae, thank you!
Boots is such a handsome boy! Thank you for sharing your natural finds with us– I’m definitely going to give the bug repellant a try!
Our dog, who is also part Pit Bull (Thank you for being such a proud pitty mom and for using your platform to help dispel the stigmas associated with the breed!), also has an incredibly sensitive stomach and we feed her a raw diet. We use Primal brand food that comes frozen and has an amazing human-grade ingredient list. Raw diets can be controversial among vets but our holistic vet who has been in the business a long time and has taken quite a few additional pet nutrition classes recommends it to all of her clients. We also give Penny raw goat milk twice a day (also by Primal) that is full of probiotics to help her tummy issues and also has a good amount of Taurine, which is the amino acid that is supposedly lacking in some grain free dog foods. It’s certainly not cheap and I know it seems ridiculous and excessive, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will save us money in vet bills in the long run, and, more importantly, keep our girl healthy and with us longer. I also have friends who make amazing food with fresh ingredients in the crock pot and then supplement it with kibble for their dogs with sensitive tummies! But of course, you know your dog best and he’ll certainly continue to thrive with whatever you decide is best for him! 🙂
I also second Primal!
We give Odee, who has a sensitive tummy, Primal frozen chicken. I pop it in the microwave for 13 secs, which makes her more excited to eat it.
And we make her plain chicken and mix it in with the primal.
If her tummy gets upset, we add a little pumpkin.
p.s. Boots is SUCH a model!
Can you tell me which of the bug sprays you use for you/the humans? I see they have a variety of products. Thanks!
I use “the original” for me and keep the 8oz spray bottle in my car.
Yayy for posts about Boots!! I recently watched a documentary (I think on Amazon Prime) called PetFooled and it made me rethink my dog’s food immediately. Warning: don’t watch it unless you’ll be ready to buy new food the next morning! I have switched my pup to a raw food diet – which you have to do super slowly to be sensitive to their tummys! But she was never an “eater” before, and now she goes NUTS at mealtime.
I also use those same Brandless treats! The Brandless pet wipes are awesome for wiping paws if they get muddy before coming back inside – we use them all the time!
Oh no. I’m going to watch it with Anel because we just have such a bad feeling about the food we give him. Maybe after our move so we’re less anxious but I’m for sure going to watch it.
Have you ever thought about feeding the pup raw? We buy a pre made raw food and add cottage cheese or yogurt, fresh fruits and veggies, sardines and fish oil. My pup can’t cat any kibble or he gets super itchy. I know raw sounds disgusting, (I don’t even eat meat) but it’s the best thing for him!! Good luck, and great post! ❤️
My best friend, Kristen, owns The Better Beagle Co. in Oxford (she also has a super active instagram and facebook and loves answering questions online as well). She’s certified in pet nutrition and is a great resource if you have any questions about food sensitivities!
Boots is so adorable! He should definitely be a doggie model.
Ideally I would do raw food, but it’s just not something I can fit into our life…so kibble it is. We feed our boy Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Pollock Formula. It took a lot of trial and error to find something that agreed with him.
I know that brand is on the list of possible links to DCM, but until more research comes out, we’re sticking with it.
Our vet also recommended putting him on a probiotic supplement every day for the long term to help with his sensitive belly, so he takes Proviable-Forte probiotic for dogs & cats by prescription from vet, although it looks like Chewy & other online retailers sell it too. That has made a difference for him, along with limiting treats.
Hi! Late to the game on this one and didn’t read the other comments, but my dog also has a very sensitive stomach. Orijen is a wonderful, clean, and healthy product. He would scratch all time to the point where he had no hair in his ears. It all grew back and he never itches anymore. Also you can get it on Amazon and with Prime I will have it in a day!
I’ll look into that one thank you!
I just bought every single product recommended. I have been waiting for a post like this, so thank you!
Yay! This makes me so happy. I hope you love it all xx