Before you can begin your search for the best dog food for sensitive stomach, you first need to determine which ingredient in your pet’s kibble is causing digestive upset or an unwanted reaction, such as a skin rash. Just like people, some pets are sensitive to certain foods, such as grains or a type of protein. In some cases, sensitivity to certain foods can indicate an underlying health condition that has yet to be diagnosed. Once your vet has ruled out any serious medical conditions, they will recommend eliminating many foods from your dog’s diet and switching to the best dog food for sensitive stomach. These foods often feature a formula that contains limited ingredients. But if you’ve spent any time online, searching for the right kibble, and found that the many options available makes the process of choosing the best food for your dog a real challenge, then you’re not alone.
Because of this, I’ve decided to create a buyer’s guide that discusses what ingredients to avoid, how to choose the perfect kibble for your pet, and what signs to look for that indicate your dog is experiencing digestive upset with their old pet food.
As a dog lover with animals that have food sensitivities, I decided to search for the best dog food for sensitive stomach on the market, narrowing it down to just six products that every dog will love. These complete pet foods contain the type of nutrition that promotes a well-balanced diet and a healthy immune system. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each product, in addition to important information that can help you pinpoint which kibble will work the best for your pup.
Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach Comparison Chart
Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach-Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
If you’re looking for adult sensitive stomach kibble, this latest product from blue Buffalo is the total package and one of the best dog foods for canines suffering from ongoing digestive upset.
The first ingredient in this dry dog food is turkey. The formula also contains pumpkin, peas, and potato protein, to aid in digestion. This adult sensitive kibble is grain-free, which makes it a great choice for dog owners with pets that have skin and coat issues and a suspected grain allergy. The limited ingredient dog food is designed to eliminate harmful fillers, preservatives, and additives from your dog’s diet to ensure gentle digestion while promoting healthy weight, improved energy, and good coat and skin health.
- Healthy animal protein source listed as first ingredient
- Aids in digestion
- Limited ingredient diet
- Grain free
- Does not contain egg product
- May cause flatulence
This Blue Buffalo adult sensitive basics limited ingredient dog food can help boost immune health, promotes gentle digestion and does not contain eggs, dairy, soy, wheat, corn, beef, or chicken, all of which are known to cause digestive upset in dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s also formulated with essential carbs and proteins that are designed to meet your pet’s nutritional needs and energy requirements, while working to maintain a healthy weight.
Best Sensitive Stomach Skin Formula-ROYAL CANIN Gastrointestinal Fiber Response
The Royal Canin gastrointestinal fiber response sensitive stomach skin formula features a special formula that can help treat colitis in dogs, preventing diarrhea and loose stool. The ingredients are designed to nourish the healthy intestinal microflora and can prevent intestinal problems. The food includes omega 3 fatty acids, which nourish the sensitive GI tract tissue, while reducing intestinal swelling. The kibble is easily digestible and contains a blend of both insoluble and soluble fibers that will promote healthy bowel movements. The added prebiotics will fuel the healthy bacteria found in the gut and can keep bad bacteria from taking over, making it a great choice for dogs with sensitive skin stomach.
- Easily digestible
- Contains insoluble and soluble fibers
- Contains omega 3 fatty acids
- Includes prebiotics
- Prescription from vet required
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, then this formula may be exactly what they need to break the cycle of chronic diarrhea and digestive upset. This kibble formula includes a precise blend of antioxidants that are designed to boost the immune system and promote healthy microflora in the gut. It can also provide the right nutrition for healthy weight maintenance and high energy levels. The product’s main protein sources are a blend of veggies. While this may sound unappealing for your canine, the veggie protein is used in place of an animal protein for pets whose bodies have a tough time processing common proteins used commonly in kibble and those who have developed a protein allergy. The biggest drawback to this kibble is that a prescription from a vet is required in order to buy, however, if your vet agrees that your pup needs serious changes made to their diet, then this kibble by Royal Canin may be exactly what your dog needs to thrive.
Best Low Fat Sensitive Stomach Dog Food-Hill’s Science Diet Prescription Dry Dog Food, i/d Low Fat Digestive Care
This digestive care food for dogs by Hill’s Science Diet is specially formulated by vets and nutritionists to support digestive health. Clinical studies have proven that consistent use of this kibble can soothe and calm a digestive tract. The kibble itself is low fat and highly digestible. It also includes prebiotic fiber, which is designed to nourish healthy gut bacteria. The food also helps support kidney and heart health with the use of controlled minerals. It includes omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids, as well as ginger. These healthy fats will aid in improving skin and coat health.
- Contains all-natural animal protein
- Includes omega 6 fatty acids
- All-natural ingredient formula
- Does not contain chicken meal
This Hill’s Science diet dry dog food formula will give your pet’s stomach the relief it so desperately needs. If your canine is showing signs of allergies, intolerance, or they’re experiencing chronic episodes of diarrhea after a meal, make the switch to this Hill’s Science Diet dry dog food that’s designed to provide instant relief from intestinal inflammation, digestive upset, and more.
Best Wet Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs-Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Pate Wet Dog Food
This wet dog food from Purina Pro Plan is specially formulated for dogs with skin problems and ongoing stomach problems. It contains linoleic acid, which is a type of omega fatty acid that supports both coat and skin health. It’s also formulated for easy digestion and is free of artificial flavors, colors, soy, and wheat. The formula’s high omega fatty acid content and highly digestible carbs, including brewers rice is gentle on the digestive tract and designed to bolster a dog’s coat, skin, digestive, and immune health.
- Contains brewers rice
- Natural ingredient formula
- Does not contain chicken meal or fish meal
- Promotes a healthy digestive system
- Low price
- Contains sweet potato protein
- Food contains bone fragments
This salmon wet dog food by Purina Pro Plan features a formula that aids in digestion and provides specialized nutritional care for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Dog owners will appreciate the well-balanced nutrition and the low price, while dogs will love the real salmon flavor and tasty morsels that will entice even the stubbornest dogs.
Best Grain Free Dry Dog Food-Diamond Care Adult Dry Dog Food to Sensitive Stomachs
This grain free dog food is highly digestible and nutrient rich. It also has added probiotics, which can help to restore healthy gut flora. This grain-free formula includes potatoes as an important carb source and egg protein for essential amino acids that promote natural energy and a healthy digestive system.
- Low price
- Potato and egg protein sources
- Whole ingredient kibble
- Perfect for dogs in need of limited ingredient diet
- No corn gluten meal
- Can cause flatulence
This Diamond Care grain free food for dogs includes all-natural ingredients that will prevent digestive upset, while promoting healthy gut flora, easy digestion and can meet the energy needs of adult canines. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, making the switch to this sensitive stomach dog food can be a real game changer and can provide relief from chronic diarrhea and upset stomach.
Best Senior Food for Sensitive Stomachs-Best Solid Gold – Holistique Blendz – Natural Senior Dog Food for Sensitive Skin Stomach
This food for sensitive stomachs is designed specifically for seniors and contains a blend of twenty superfoods that are designed to provide a well-balanced, nutrient rich diet. This formula contains fish meal as its main protein source, in addition to added fiber and probiotics for digestive health. The food also contains prebiotics, which is essentially fuel for healthy bacteria in the gut. Adding a dose of prebiotics daily can prevent episodes of diarrhea and general upset stomach in the future. In addition to fish meal, this kibble contains oat meal, brown rice, and pearled barley. This all-natural protein formula consists of easy to digest carbs, fiber and protein sources, which can promote healthy digestive, preventing future episodes of digestive upset in seniors.
- Contains oat meal
- Contains a healthy fat source
- Loaded with antioxidants
- Includes ground rice
- Promotes a dog’s digestive health
- Includes a healthy fat source
- Not recommended for dogs with a grain sensitivity
This healthy, grain and fish-based kibble is perfect for seniors who are struggling with digestive upset and are in need of limited ingredient diets that won’t cause further issues. This brown rice, oatmeal, and fish meal kibble is a great choice for any senior experiencing chronic diarrhea, constipation, skin and coat issues, and other types of digestion related health problems.
Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach Buyer’s Guide
If you have a dog with a sensitive stomach, the odds are you’ve already tried out several of the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs, only to find that your canine can’t handle certain ingredients, such as chicken meal, soy, or even certain types of veggies. Before you try making the switch to other types of foods for sensitive stomachs, ruling out an underlying health condition will be important.
Once your vet has ruled out serious medical conditions that can cause food intolerance, you’ll need to make the switch to a dog food with limited ingredients. This type of kibble is easier on a dog’s digestive system. There are several different types of limited ingredient dog foods to choose from. The goal will be to choose a product that’s not loaded with additives, fillers, and common ingredients that are known to cause stomach problems in pets over time, such as grains or certain proteins. Depending on the underlying cause of your pet’s chronic digestive upset, most vets will recommend a protein that’s easily digestible and bland.
Signs of Food Sensitivity
Food sensitivity is fairly common. This condition does not happen overnight. Dogs are not born with a food sensitivity. Instead, you’ll find that dogs develop a sensitivity to certain foods over time.
A dog who is intolerant of certain foods will have frequent episodes of diarrhea, vomiting, may experience weight loss, or increased flatulence after a meal.
Below, I’ll go over some of the common signs and symptoms that indicate your pet is dealing with a sensitive stomach.
To a certain extent, flatulence is totally normal. However, if a dog is always very gassy, or there’s a sudden increase in flatulence, this can indicate your dog is dealing with an upset stomach.
Another common sign of stomach sensitivity that’s caused by food is vomiting. Vomiting often occurs shortly after a dog has eaten. Some pet owners may mistakenly believe that their canine has vomited because they have eaten too quickly or eaten something they shouldn’t have.
While diarrhea may not seem like a major issue at first, if your canine is dealing with chronic diarrhea, it can lead to a number of health issues, such as dehydration, severe weight loss, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
You may not have put two and two together, but your canine may have and knows that their kibble is causing their discomfort. In this case, a dog may stop eating their food. If this is an ongoing problem, it can lead to weight loss and other health issues.
Common Ingredients that Cause Digestive Upset in Dogs
When you’re shopping for a new kibble for your dog, you need to be careful when it comes to choosing the correct nutrition for your pet. Look for ingredients that are known to trigger digestive upset in dogs, such as:
Not all dogs can digest dairy, even though most are very fond of dairy products. Some dogs will experience excessive flatulence, diarrhea, or vomiting. If your canine is lactose intolerant, avoid foods that include dairy.
Too much fruit can cause diarrhea, especially fruit that’s high in sugar. Some types of kibble include fruit, such as cranberries and blueberries. While many dogs can tolerate these fruits, which are low in sugar, others will struggle with ongoing episodes of diarrhea, after every meal.
Most types of dog food formulas that are designed for pets with sensitive stomachs will not include grains, which can be a major contributor to digestive problems in dogs. A grain-free food can help prevent any inflammatory health issues.
Over time, a dog can develop an intolerance for certain types of proteins. This food intolerance develops over a period of years. You may have fed your dog the same food for several years, only to learn they can no longer have it because their body is unable to tolerate certain proteins that are commonly found in dog foods. Many pet owners are surprised to learn that their dog has developed an allergy or intolerance to chicken or beef, but in fact, dogs are more likely to be intolerant of the protein in their foods than they are of grains or other ingredients.
So, what’s the solution? Choosing a pet food that contains a novel protein. These are protein sources that your dog may have never had before, such as venison, duck, or lamb.
What to Look for in Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
Food sensitivity can restrict a pet owner from feeding many of the most common options available, but before you run out and buy a new kibble for your dog, there are some things you need to look for if you want to make the switch to a food that will eliminate symptoms associated with food sensitivity or allergies, and instead, one that promotes gut health.
The Fewer Ingredients the Better
The more ingredients a kibble has, the higher the chances that one of the ingredients will upset your pet’s stomach. While a dog still needs to consume a variety of ingredients in order to obtain all the vitamins and nutrients they need to thrive, limiting the overall number of ingredients is important. Many products on the market that are labeled as balanced or complete contain a wide variety of additives and fillers. Dog foods with limited ingredients can help you to easily pinpoint which food is causing digestive upset. These limited ingredient formulas are complete and balanced, so you shouldn’t have to worry about using supplements.
Ingredients that are Easy to Digest
Make sure the food you choose contains ingredients that are easy to digest, such as white potatoes, canola meal, chicken, rice, lamb, and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes also add more flavor to kibble, which can entice stubborn dogs to give their new kibble a try. A healthy fat content will also be important since it can promote skin and coat health.
Many types of dog foods for sensitive skin and stomachs are grain-free. Corn and wheat are two ingredients that are known to trigger food intolerance in canines. These carbs are indigestible and can cause your pet further problems, such as skin issues and a dull coat.
Probiotics are essential for gut health. This important ingredient is a form of healthy bacteria that will aid in digestion, while stimulating digestive health. The food you choose should include probiotics for maximum benefits.
When it comes to fat, there’s unhealthy and healthy fat. Healthy fat in appropriate amounts will not make your dog gain weight. The types of healthy fat you’ll want to keep an eye out for include omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 comes in a few forms, however, there’s a total of eleven types of omega 3s.
ALA is a type of plant-based healthy fat found in chia seeds. DHA and EPA are both types of healthy fat that you will find in algae and fatty fish. Offering a dog food that contains a good healthy fat source is important since healthy fat improves neurological development and improves cognition. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids also promote skin, coat, and immune health, which is why you’ll commonly find both types of healthy fat sources in dog food for sensitive skin and stomachs.
Foods and Ingredients to Avoid
The digestive process in dogs is much different, compared to a human’s. There are certain flavorings, preservatives, and foods that humans can consume that dogs should steer clear of, especially if they have a sensitive stomach or sensitive skin.
Foods and ingredients to avoid include:
Rendered fats consist of animal tissue that’s boiled down to a goop that’s loaded with food waste and grease.
Corn syrup possesses zero nutritional value. It’s also known to cause a wide range of health issues, when it’s consumed in excess.
Animal byproducts consist of the leftover parts of an animal. These parts of the animal have a low nutritional value. Additionally, when a dog eats food that contains high levels of animal byproducts it results in digestive upset, diarrhea or loose stools, vomiting and nausea.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Chemicals and preservatives to avoid include:
These preservatives are illegal for use in human-grade foods, so why would you want your dog to consume them? These chemical preservatives are considered toxic when consumed in large amounts.
Artificial Flavors and Colors
Both additives are unnecessary and commonly found in both dog food and treats. These additives have absolutely no nutritional value.
If a dog has stomach issues, switching them to a diet that consists of a formula specifically designed for sensitive stomachs can help get their stomach problems back under control. In many cases, dogs with sensitive stomachs will benefit from foods that are formulated for easy digestion.
Keep in mind, if your pet has severe GI problems, then a vet-prescribed dog food may be required.
There’s an important distinction between dogs that have true food allergies and dogs that have sensitivities to certain foods. Dogs with allergies often require a prescribed diet, one that’s hypoallergenic or a diet that contains a novel protein source, such as lamb or venison. Many manufacturers will label pet food as hypoallergenic, but most often don’t possess the same level of quality as diets that are prescription only. These foods are manufactured in a way that eliminates the possibility of cross contamination.
Transitioning to a New Dog Food
Switching to a different dog food can be challenging for many reasons. Your pup may not like how the new, healthier foods for sensitive stomachs taste, or they may be fearful of eating if they have experienced chronic digestive upset. Another major reason why this type of transition can be so difficult is because making the switch too quickly can cause further digestive issues, such as upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because of this, you need to switch to the new food gradually. Veterinarians recommend slowly adding the new food to your canine’s old food, while gradually decreasing the amount of old food they receive per meal. Begin by reducing your pet’s old food by 10% and adding just 10% of the new food. Increase the new food by 10% and decrease the old food by 10% every few days until your pet’s diet consists only of the new dog food. Making the transition to the new dog food gradually will ensure your canine doesn’t experience further issues with digestive upset, while also helping them to adapt to their new food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Helps a Dog with a Sensitive Stomach?
Some dogs may benefit from homemade meals, such as chicken and white rice. However, this type of meal doesn’t offer balanced nutrition, and instead is a better choice if you want to give your dog’s stomach a break when it’s inflamed. Making the switch to a kibble with fewer ingredients is often the best solution for dogs with sensitive stomach.
What Meat is Easiest for Dogs to Digest?
The easiest meats to digest for dogs include chicken and lamb. Both protein options are lower in fat compared to other protein sources. Keep in mind that some dogs may develop an intolerance or allergy to chicken.
Do Probiotics Help Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs?
Yes. If your dog is experiencing digestive upset several times a week, adding a probiotic can help promote gut health.
The best dog food for sensitive stomach will contain fewer ingredients compared to other brands of food. These foods will still offer a balanced and complete diet, without harmful fillers and additives. Additionally, the right food for your pooch will not contain ingredients such as grains, fillers, or animal byproducts. By using the information found here and choosing one of the top six dog foods that I’ve included in my top list, you can find the right food for your dog, one that tastes great, offers balanced nutrition, and will have a positive impact on your canine’s digestive health.