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Cocker Spaniel Sensitive Stomachs: 7 Ways to Help

Cocker spaniels, like many breeds, can suffer from sensitive stomachs.

If your spaniel has frequent diarrhea, vomits, refuses food, or seems in discomfort after eating then this could indicate she does in fact have a sensitive stomach and digestive system.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes of these digestive issues in Cocker Spaniels and provide seven proven solutions to help your furry friend feel better as soon as possible.

cocker spaniel sensitive stomach

5 Causes of Diarrhea, Gas, Vomiting, and Sensitive Stomachs in Cocker Spaniels

Sensitive stomachs, diarrhea, vomiting and gas can be caused by several factors in Cocker Spaniels, including dietary changes, food intolerance, bacterial infections, and stress.

➡️ Congenital sensitive stomachs. It’s entirely possible that your cocker is born with a sensitive stomach, and you might see them having digestion issues right from when you bring them home.

➡️ Dietary transitions, like changing to a different brand of dog food or incorporating new ingredients, can disrupt the gut bacteria balance in Cocker Spaniels, leading to digestive problems.

➡️ Food allergies can also cause digestive trouble, especially if your dog has a sensitivity to a specific food component. This is particularly common with cocker spaniels.

➡️ Bacterial infections, such as salmonella or E. coli, can also affect a Cocker Spaniel’s digestive health. These infections can occur from consuming contaminated food or water, or coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

➡️ Stressful events, like moving to a new home, meeting a new pet or person or living in a busy and loud environment, can also cause digestive discomfort in Cocker Spaniels by disrupting the gut bacteria balance.

Thankfully, there is a range of ways to manage, and possibly even resolve your spaniel’s sensitive stomach. Let’s run through them below.

7 Proven Solutions to Sensitive Stomachs

spaniel sensitive stomach

Below are the seven best ways to help your cocker spaniel with their sensitive stomach.

If appropriate we definitely suggest a quick fast to give your spaniel a rest and reset.

A quick note: Ruling out health issues should always be a priority, so if you have any suspicion that your spaniel is truly sick with a more serious issue, then waste no time and contact your vet.

Fasting ✅

If your spaniel is suffering from an upset stomach, sometimes the best thing to do is give them a digestive rest and recovery period. Which means fasting.

Fasting for 24 hours is generally very safe and will give the stomach and digestive system a break allowing it to regain strength. This is usually the first protocol for dogs with diarrhea.

This is only advised if your cocker is not a puppy (under 1), not a senior (over 8), and has no existing health issues or is on medication.

Adjust diet ✅

Feeding your spaniel a well-balanced diet specifically formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs can greatly reduce digestive issues. 5 Best foods for cocker spaniels <<

Look for a high-quality, easily digestible protein source (ideally from whole, unprocessed sources), and avoid fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy. Fillers are a big culprit when it comes to sensitive stomachs!

In addition to a change in diet, veterinarians often recommend temporarily switching to a bland food diet (plain boiled chicken and white rice). This provides them with essential nutrients, yet is incredibly easy to digest. This is often paired nicely with fasting.

When transitioning diets, it’s important to phase it in slowly over the course of 5-7 days. Gradually decrease the old food, while increasing the new food.

Try digestive enzymes ✅

Digestive enzyme supplements are there to help the digestive system properly break down food and absorb nutrients. When your spaniel has a deficiency in these enzymes, it can lead to diarrhea and upset stomachs.

You can find digestive enzyme supplements in your local pet store or on Amazon. A good product will have ALL the necessary enzymes: Protease, Amylase, Lipase, and Cellulase. Which all serve different purposes in terms of what they help digest.

Small frequent meals ✅

Instead of feeding your dog two large meals a day, try dividing their food into smaller, more frequent meals to help them digest their food more easily.

If you want to try this, reduce the portion size in the morning and evening, and add in an extra lunchtime meal. This will only work if your spaniel digests a smaller portion better.

Probiotics ✅

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help regulate the digestive system. They help the digestive system remain strong and healthy, and better capable of processing food.

You can find probiotics in supplement form or as a key ingredient in some dog foods. But remember, it’s always advised to consult with your vet before trying supplements.

Avoid table scraps ✅

A huge mistake is feeding your spaniel human food! I used to be a sucker for this, but I now know better.

Table scraps are terrible for all dogs, let alone those with sensitive stomachs. Our food is way too rich, contains many allergens and toxic ingredients for dogs, and is just a big no-no. Please avoid.

Stress management ✅

It’s not immediately obvious to link stress with digestive issues, but it’s a big factor. If your cocker spaniel is dealing with extra stress or anxiety then this can definitely give them stomach problems.

Anything from a change in their environment to an insufficient daily routine, many things can trigger your spaniel to be stressed, so this is important to consider. Check out this article here going into detail about stress and anxiety in cocker spaniels.

When To See a Vet 👨‍⚕️

If you have a suspicion that your cocker spaniel could have a more serious issue, or that you’ve witnessed symptoms for a while already, it’s best to consult your veterinarian first.

The thing is, sensitive stomachs produce symptoms that many other more serious health problems also produce. So, you never want to delay proper diagnosis of what could be something more serious.

In some situations, a sensitive stomach will be more obvious (like shortly after switching kibbles or giving table scraps) but in other times, it’s hard to diagnose.

As always, we never want to mess around with our dog’s health. So if you’re unsure or have some doubt, play it safe and speak to your veterinarian.

FAQs About Sensitive Stomachs

Below are some of the related questions we receive about cocker spaniels with their sensitive stomachs.

Can I give my spaniel a probiotic?

Yes, probiotics are typically very safe, just be sure to opt for a well-known and trusted brand. Probiotics can be given at the same time as Antibiotics too.

Will my spaniel have a sensitive stomach forever?

It depends. Some sensitive stomachs are congenital and it’s pretty much in their DNA to have one. On the other hand, if the sensitive stomach has been recently brought on by something, then it can be managed and even cured so long as you find the appropriate solution.

What’s the best way to help a cocker spaniel with a sensitive stomach?

If fasting is appropriate for your spaniel then a 24 hour fast can allow the digestive system to rest and recover before needing to digest more food. Then, it’s a good idea to introduce a bland food diet for a few days while you find an appropriate dog food tailored for sensitive stomachs.

How do I know if my spaniel has a sensitive stomach?

Diarrhea, vomiting, food refusal, and visual discomfort after eating are all signs that your cocker spaniel has a sensitive stomach. Be careful though, as many other health issues can also produce these symptoms. It’s always best to consult with your vet.

Cocker Spaniel Health & Behavior


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.