Fish can help counter sensitivity as it has lower fat levels and less dense muscle fiber, which makes it easy to digest and allows dogs to extract more nutrients, he said. A sensitive stomach is not a disease but a symptom of underlying cause – often triggered by poor diet or external factors.
Fish also benefits from having well-balanced amino acid profile, which are the building blocks for protein.
“There are tens of thousands of different proteins in our body, each one consisting of a combination of amino acids - some made from a few, whilst others consist of many thousands,” said Southey in a press release. “When you consume protein in your diet, this protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids and then pieced back together to create the range of proteins your body needs.
“A well-balanced protein such as fish, has amino acids in the proportion that your body will need. With poorly balanced proteins there are excess amino acids that the body doesn't need and so these will be excreted via the urine and the faeces however, this process of excretion has a negative effect on good bacteria in the gut. With well-balanced protein, such as fish, the makeup of amino acids closely matches the body's needs meaning there is less excess to excrete.”
Marine-sourced EPA and DHA omega-3 oils found in fish help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract improving digestive health.
“As well as bacterial disturbance, another cause of digestive upset is disruption to the natural rhythmic motion of the gut,” said Southey. “In a healthy dog there is a peristaltic motion that is a contraction and relaxation of muscles that gently pumps the food through the intestines with a rhythm that allows the body time to digest and absorb the nutrients.
“However, things such as stress, anxiety, infection, excitement or even just exercise can all disrupt this motion by causing erratic or spasmodic contractions. This generally results in poor digestion and faecal quality. Again, highly digestible food such as fish will allow the body the best chance to absorb the contents despite this disturbance.”
Advice for pets with sensitive stomachs
He advises dog owners to further reduce disturbance by feeding smaller portions more frequently.
“A small amount of insoluble fibre from ingredients such as beet pulp and pea can also help to promote the peristalsis by brushing the inside surface of the intestines and this physically stimulates and encourages the body to return to its normal rhythm,” David recommends.
Finally, he urges owners to be mindful of treats.
“Any treats or snacks offered to a dog with sensitive digestion should also be low in fat since a high dose of fat can cause disruption of the gut’s bacteria as well as reduced peristalsis by lubricating the internal surface,” he warns
The video can be seen on Fish4Dogs YouTube channel.