Some dogs have very sensitive stomachs and need food designed for their particular needs. Finding the best dog food for sensitive stomachs is a challenge, as there are many choices on the market. Not all dogs are the same, nor are all foods created equally. For paw parents trying to help their pups with sensitive stomachs finding the best food can be a very trying time. Owners can find themselves spending lots of money and trying many different products that claim to be suitable for dogs with sensitive digestive issues and end up getting nowhere.
There are a variety of things that can cause canines to have sensitive stomachs. Sometimes these issues will affect them throughout their life. Other times they can develop with age or come on suddenly. Some breeds, like the German Shepherd, and Great Dane, have very sensitive stomachs and are at high risk of developing life-threatening conditions like bloat. It is essential if you have a dog that has a sensitive stomach that you find the right food to meet their needs.
Owners should always look for foods made with the best quality ingredients, especially named proteins, on the labels. With all the available products, we know that picking the right one can be a daunting process. In this guide, we go over some of the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs. Our product reviews and information will help you decide what to feed your sweet but sensitive pup.
At A Glance: Our Favorite Dog Foods For Sensitive Stomachs
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What Causes A Dog To Have A Sensitive Stomach?
Of course, one of the top causes of digestive sensitivity is our pet’s food. Those fed poor-quality food or who eat a lot of human snacks may experience more digestive problems. Sometimes it is not even the quality of food but the amount of consumption that is the problem. For this reason, it is crucial to have portion control and meal regularity for your pup.
Sometimes certain ingredients in dog foods can cause digestive issues. In some cases, foods high in fiber and fat may be the culprit. Other times it is the quality of ingredients or the specific protein source. Some pups have more difficulty digesting red meat, while others may have a hard time with chicken. Corn, other carbohydrates, and plant fibers can also be more problematic for some canines to digest. It can be hard to tell which ones because every pooch is different. Food allergies and intolerance can be tough to identify, and you may need to have your vet run some tests and use trial and error to see what ingredients trigger your dog’s discomfort.
High-fat foods and fat-heavy diets are more difficult for dogs to digest. Therefore, reading your food labels and ensuring the ingredients start with a named animal protein is essential. If added fats and oils are at the top of the ingredient list, that food may be more challenging for certain dogs to break down.
Low-quality ingredients are also a big digestive problem. Owners can look at brand websites, recalls, lawsuits, and any nutritional studies the company may have done on their products. Additionally, looking at other customer reviews is an excellent way to understand how these foods affect different animals.
Sometimes canines can suffer from digestive issues that impact their gastrointestinal function. This can include infections like the canine parvovirus. Some breeds are much more susceptible to parvo than others. These include German Shepherds, American Pitbull Terriers, Rottweilers, and English Springer Spaniels. Other conditions like colitis, and inflammation of the large intestine, bowel, or colon, can cause digestive issues like painful diarrhea. Diet, an underlying disease, parasites, allergy, or kidney issues can sometimes cause this.
Other conditions like constipation, gastritis, ulcers, malabsorption, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) all cause significant discomfort and digestive concerns. Many of these can be managed by diet.
In some cases, more severe diseases like cancer can cause digestion problems. Always discuss your dog’s sensitive stomach and digestive concerns with your veterinarian. It is better to do so sooner rather than later. Even causes that are not very serious can be quite painful. It is vital to eliminate any serious medical issues or diseases and find the right nutrition for your pup. Your veterinarian can help examine your pup, discuss what they are currently eating, and suggest what they should eat. They will rule out any serious underlying medical issues. Additionally, if something more serious happens, you and your veterinarian must work together to meet your dog’s dietary needs.
Dog chow comes in several different varieties. Some may be easier to digest than others. There are many different sensitive stomach formulas available in various forms. Dry, wet, freeze-dried, fresh, and even raw diets are all options for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
If your pup has a sensitive stomach, you will want to make an educated decision about what food to choose. Of course, this is a trial-and-error system, but you do want to be careful. Rapid changes in your dog’s diet can trigger digestive issues and sometimes worsen the problem. Owners will want to be very aware of the ingredients used, the process they are cooked with, and the company’s background information. Look at a company’s background, see what they stand for, how long they have been around, and what animal-related causes they contribute to. You can also look for any kind of studies they have performed. These are generally available through a brand’s website. Also, research any lawsuits or recalls issued and the outcome.
Ingredients To Look For
Along with looking into a company, owners must look at the ingredients that go into dog food. Owners can start by consulting the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines about what should go in dog food. If dog food contains an ingredient you do not know, look it up before buying it. Remember that in pet food, ingredients are listed by weight. Healthy dog chows should contain the following ingredients:
Protein is a critical ingredient in all dog food, regardless of form. It is an essential component in a canine’s development. Protein fuels a pup with energy for growth and activity. Additionally, canines cannot store any extra protein in their bodies and must restock this essential element through their diet. They also get amino acids from protein. Protein plays a vital role in a dog’s overall health, including growth and muscle development, immune system function, energy, brain development, and skin and nail health. Look for foods with whole meat or meals listed in their first ingredients.
Canines adore the taste of meat, so look for foods that use high-quality animal proteins. Some proteins in dog foods will be much easier to digest than others. Eggs are high in protein and very easy to digest, as well as beef, chicken, and lamb. Organ meat is also easy to digest, so things like the heart, liver, and kidneys are good ingredients to look for.
Carbohydrates should be a part of a canine diet. Carbs from healthy grains, vegetables, and fruit provide energy and fiber—these help with digestion and energy in the form of glucose.
Omega Fatty Acids
Fatty acids in canine diets give them important components like energy and stimulate growth. Fatty acids are pivotal in bone and joint health. These assist with fat-soluble vitamin absorption, control inflammation and serve a vital role in the composition of cell membranes. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are highly important. These come from proteins like fish, poultry, and red meat.
Fruits & Vegetables
These provide fiber, which helps in the digestive process. Fruits and veggies also offer antioxidants, vitamins, and other good nutrients that bolster the immune system and aid in keeping them healthy. Berries like cranberry and blueberry, pineapple, apple, banana, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes are just a few.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin
These are two compounds that support joint health and work to relieve pain and inflammation. Glucosamine is also an essential element in cartilage. It can be harvested from shellfish shells like shrimp, crab, and lobster. Glucosamine is necessary for canines, particularly mature pups, more giant breeds, and especially energetic puppies.
Vitamins & Minerals
Canines need several different vitamins and minerals in their diets to stay healthy.
- Vitamin A works to boost the immune system.
- Vitamin B12 supports the nervous system.
- Vitamin D controls calcium and phosphorus.
- Vitamins C & E are antioxidants that work to support whole health.
- Vitamin K works to metabolize calcium and helps prevent the formation of blood clots.
- Iron transports calcium around the body.
- Calcium and phosphorus are part of bone structure.
- Zinc works to improve healing.
Hydration is critical to canines. Though they drink plenty of it, they also need moisture in their diet. If your dog eats a lot of dry kibbles, offer extra water, and mix in wet or fresh food occasionally to get that extra moisture boost.
Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach
Below we have reviewed some of the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs. Remember that not every food will work for every dog, but these are some of the best choices on the market, especially for canines with tummy trouble. Keep in mind that puppies and adult dogs have different nutritional needs. Puppies need more fat and calories to support rapid growth. Make sure your pick is formulated for all ages or your pet’s specific age.
The Farmer's Dog
- Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
- Personalized meal plans.
- 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
- Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
- Manufactured in the United States.
- Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
The Farmer’s Dog is a top choice, especially for those pups with sensitive stomachs. This company was started in 2014 by a dog owner who could not solve their pup’s tummy troubles. These dedicated paw parents produced Farmer’s Dog, which offers fresh meals for dogs. Delivered to your door and ready to serve. Recipes have four protein choices, beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. Recipes are packed with high-quality animal protein.
The Farmer’s Dog develops breed-specific nutrient guidelines. This helps them create a custom plan for each dog. These grain-free recipes are suitable for some dogs with sensitive stomachs. Those pups who need grains can add some cooked rice from home. These recipes are not specially formulated for seniors or puppies. Owners give detailed information about their dogs, and then the company creates a plan and suggests specific recipes and serving sizes based on each dog’s needs.
We love that this company uses all human-grade ingredients in its recipes. This means pups are getting the best possible nutrition they can. Additionally, these ingredients are fresh and not processed. They are cooked at low temperatures, making them easier on those stomachs. Everything is cooked in USDA-approved kitchens, and a team of board-certified veterinary specialists designs the recipes.
Best Dry Food Or Kibble
Dry food, also called kibble, is one of the most common choices. It is affordable, easy to store, and lasts for a long time. Kibble also helps keep canine teeth clean and should be a part of all dog’s diets.
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Sensitive Stomach
- Single protein.
- Limited ingredient recipe.
- Includes LifeSource Bits.
- Avoids triggers like corn, soy, wheat, and artificial additives.
- For adult dogs, small and large breed formulas are available.
This is a limited-ingredient recipe that is chicken free (a common allergy in dogs). This one is very easy to digest and comes in two flavors: turkey & potato and salmon & turkey. It is made with limited ingredients and avoids corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and other things that many canines are sensitive to. The recipe supports healthy muscle development, immune system, heart, bones, skin, and coat health.
This food is easy to digest and supports coat health. Features Blue Buffalo Life Source Bits, a proprietary blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This one is good for adult dogs. Small and large breed formulas are available, as well as grain-free.
We love that this option is a single protein but not grain-free. This means it is much easier for canines to digest. Includes pumpkin, kelp, blueberries, and cranberries to aid digestion.
- Easy to digest fiber and protein.
- Fresh Pacific salmon.
- Ancient grains like millet, quinoa, sorghum, and chia seeds.
- Delivery food option.
Open Farm is another viable choice for pups with digestive issues. This is a delivery food service. They have a few flavor options, including wild-caught salmon & ancient grains recipes and grass-fed beef. The salmon recipe uses wild-caught salmon, with herring and whitefish meals for meat proteins. This recipe includes oats for easy-to-digest fiber and protein.
This kibble has no corn, wheat, soy, poultry, or meat by-products. Recipes use ancient grains like millet, quinoa, sorghum, and chia seeds. It uses no artificial flavors or preservatives.
We love that Open Farm shares with each recipe where each ingredient is sourced from. The company advises transitioning your pup to this kibble in ten days. You can make a one-time purchase or set up a subscription.
- Home delivered.
- Breed-specific nutrition.
- Easy to digest.
- Life-long price lock.
- Grain-free and allergy-sensitive formulas are available.
Bark Foods offers delivery dog meals from the company behind BarkBox. Their kibble is easy to digest, making it a good choice for fussy pups or those with stomach issues. You can purchase individually, or owners can set up a customized subscription.
Protein sources include Alaskan pollock and chicken. Recipes are simple; owners can add treats and toppers like bone powder to their orders. Dogs really go wild for the taste of this one. Animal nutritionists formulate recipes. Grain-free and allergy formulas are also available.
We love that Bark Foods offers breed-specific nutritional plans. Their list of breeds is constantly growing. This is a very affordable mail-order option. Another notable feature is the lifelong price lock customers get once they sign up.
Taste of The Wild Pacific Stream Smoke Flavored Salmon
- Single protein recipe.
- Sustainably sourced salmon is the first ingredient.
- Complete nutrition for adult dogs.
- Made in the USA by a family-owned company.
Taste of The Wild Pacific Stream-Smoke Flavored Salmon is a dry kibble for pups with delicate tummies. Real fish is the first ingredient. Sustainably sourced salmon provides a great taste as well as quality protein. They are designed to offer adult dogs complete nutrition. All foods are made in the USA by a family-owned company.
Other ingredients include ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, lentils, salmon meal, and smoked salmon. It has a smooth taste that pups really enjoy.
We love that this is an affordable, easy-to-find option. Owners and pups alike seem to rely on this one. A great option for those tender bellies.
Wet food often comes in a can or pouch. It can be an excellent option for canines with digestive concerns. There are several options. We have listed a few of our favorites.
Nutro Hearty Stews
- All natural ingredients.
- Responsibly sourced, non-GMO ingredients.
- Big meaty chunks in tasty gravy.
- Can be a complete meal or a topper.
Nutro Hearty Stews is an excellent choice of wet food for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Nutro works with farmers directly to get the best quality and fresh ingredients. All natural, non-GMO ingredients.
Farm-raised chicken and soft, easy-to-eat bites make this one hard for pups to turn away. This can be a complete meal or mixed with kibble as a meal topper.
We love that this is a hearty stew with big chunks of meat and tasty gravy. There are plenty of flavors here.
Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Canned
- Veterinary exclusive formula.
- Prescription food for gastrointestinal needs.
- Single animal protein.
- Multiple flavor choices.
- Nutrient-dense ingredients.
Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Canned is a top choice for sensitive stomachs. This veterinary-exclusive canned nutrition line is made especially for dogs with tricky tummies. There are several flavor choices, so dogs have plenty of variety. Perfect for those with allergies and digestion concerns.
The recipe uses a single animal protein source, perfect for pets sensitive to ingredients. Limited ingredient formula uses high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients. Works to support skin, coat, immune and whole-body health.
We love that this line has so many flavor choices and is made specifically for doggies with gastrointestinal issues. This one needs a prescription from your vet, but it is of excellent quality. Dogs with complicated digestion issues may need this on a short- or long-term basis.
Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
- Slow-cooked turkey stew.
- Grain-free formulated for sensitive digestive systems.
- Easy to pick up stools.
- Best for adults.
- Dry kibble is also available.
Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin is another solid choice for sensitive digestion. This is a slow-cooked turkey stew. It is best for adult dogs. Made with all-natural ingredients and is formulated to be easy to digest. Hill’s works to provide science-led nutrition to support lifelong health.
This is a grain-free recipe. Stew is formulated for optimal skin and coat health and to be quite easy on the stomach. It is also composed to form easier-to-pick-up stools.
We love that this is a trusted brand recommended by veterinarians. This tasty stew does not lack flavor and is free of many hard-to-digest ingredients that can be troublesome for some pups. Hill’s does make a dry kibble for sensitive stomachs, as well as several other varieties. You can ask your vet about the prescription options if your pup has significant digestive issues.
Best Fresh Dog Food
Most fresh dog food is made from human-grade ingredients and many are available through subscription delivery. These offer some of the top nutritional value and can be a terrific choice for those with stomach concerns. Even if you cannot afford these all the time, they benefit your dog’s diet.
- Grain-free and grain-inclusive options, four recipes.
- Owners pick a delivery date.
- 100% human-grade ingredients.
- For all ages and life stages.
- Donates to pets in need.
Ollie offers fresh meals developed to meet your pup’s needs. All human-grade fresh ingredients. Grain-free and grain-inclusive options are available. All recipes include ground chia seed, a gluten-free grain—four flavors to pick from: lamb, turkey, chicken, and beef.
Five-star-reviewed from several sources, including the American Kennel Club and Dog Food Advisor. The company has had no recalls and donates meals to animals in need. Suitable for all life stages and all sizes.
We love that this company helps animals in need and provides top-quality nutrition. Another great option for fresh meals that tame troubled tummies.
Spot & Tango
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- Fresh food and kibble options.
- Grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes.
- Personalized subscription service.
- High-protein formulas.
Spot & Tango offers fresh human-grade meals and a “non-kibble” line. Both use all human-grade ingredients. Owners can develop personalized plans to meet their pet’s nutritional needs. Fresh meals are flash-frozen and delivered to your door, all packed in eco-friendly packaging.
Eggs are included for added protein, along with a combination of non-GMO fruits and vegetables, including apples, cranberries, blueberries, and things like sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Recipes are created to benefit smooth digestion and boost the immune system.
We love that this is a tasty alternative to dry kibble or canned food. It is convenient and affordable while offering great taste and top nutrition.
I And Love And You Irresist-A-Bowls
- High protein formula that’s ready to serve.
- Cage-free meat and all-natural ingredients.
- Recipes are formulated in partnership with a holistic veterinarian.
- Small company.
- Dedicated to sustainability, packaging is 100% recyclable.
I And Love And You Irresist-A-Bowls offer fresh meals without a subscription. This is helpful for owners who want to avoid making a purchase every month. Natural cage-free chicken high protein formula that is easy to digest. Grain-free and all-natural ingredients.
Meals are made in partnership with a holistic veterinarian. Packaging is also 100% recyclable—part of the company’s dedication to sustainability. Food is easy to serve and digest, and dogs love the flavors. Foods are ready to serve right from the bowl.
We love that each ingredient for this bowl is handpicked. We also appreciate the dedication to sustainability. It is affordable and terrific for dogs with tummy trouble.
Freeze-dried foods offer dogs the best in both flavor and nutrition. Almost the same as feeding them fresh meals. Some are freeze-dried raw, others lightly cooked. All taste delicious, and dogs cannot get enough.
Stella & Chewy's
- Grass-fed, cage-free, and wild-caught proteins.
- All ages & life stages.
- Supports whole body health.
- Gluten and grain-free.
- Fresh taste, top nutritional quality.
Stella & Chewy’s offers freeze-dried kibble for both cats and dogs. They use grass-fed, cage-free, and wild-caught proteins. Fruits and vegetables are 100% organically certified. Several flavors are available.
Owners use this alone or as a topper. Ingredients are not processed, so they offer top nutritional value. No artificial colors or flavors. Allergy-free ingredients so that dogs can digest more easily. This one is also formulated to support whole-body health.
We love that this food is developed to support healthy digestion. Patties and options just for puppies are also available. Make sure to read the instructions on rehydration and serving.
360 Pet Nutrition
- Cage-free, wild-caught, and grass-fed proteins.
- Whole meat products.
- Organic vegetables and fruits.
- Developed for all life stages and breeds.
- Formulated to support whole body health and aid in digestion.
360 Pet Nutrition freeze-dried raw is a high-protein, tasty choice. This one is suitable for all breeds and sizes. Simple, delicious recipes encourage whole health and easy digestion. Freeze-dried raw chow supports heart, bone, and joint health.
Uses no artificial preservatives or additives. Proteins include beef, chicken, salmon, whitefish, beef liver, chicken liver, and chicken heart. It provides complete nutrition for adult dogs.
We love that this high-protein option is suitable for all dogs. A tasty choice that is perfect for pups who have trouble with other foods.
Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets
- Chicken meat and organs are free of antibiotics, hormones, and steroids.
- Certified organic produce.
- Organic minerals and unrefined vitamins.
- Suitable for all ages.
- Formulated for proper weight maintenance.
Primal Nuggets are another freeze-dried alternative. Certified organic produce, organic minerals, and unrefined vitamins fortify the recipes. Recipes are planned after raw ancestral diets. These tasty nuggets come in several flavor options.
These are suitable for canines of all ages, even puppies and expectant moms. It can be used as a meal, a treat, or mixed in with dry kibble. Easy to store and serve. Stays fresh much longer than freshly cooked meals.
We love that these nuggets are packed with protein and work to maintain proper weight. They are developed to help with digestion and boost overall health. You must add some liquid like water or both to serve.
Best For Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Small batch preparation.
- Natural, whole ingredients for top nutrition.
- 100% human-grade ingredients.
- Hand-prepared in open kitchens.
- Supports immune health.
JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh is another fresh meal choice. This one is very good for doggies with severe digestive issues like IBD. No subscription is needed for this one, which is a big draw for many. A team of veterinarians creates recipes with canine digestion and health as the top priorities.
The company presents fifteen whole-food formulas. These include grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes with protein selections, including chicken, beef, turkey, cod, lamb, venison, and fish. Sweet potato, squash, green beans, and broccoli are some fresh veggies used.
We love that these meals are cooked in small batches. They are hand prepared in kitchens that are always open to the public.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has A Sensitive Stomach?
You may start to notice some signs that your pup is having a challenging time digesting meals. This can show up in the form of stomach upset or pain, discomfort, lack of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Your pup may also have difficulty with bowel movements, blood in the stool, constipation, hard stools, and loose stools. Some poor pups will have itchy skin, excessive scratching, sores, and hair loss.
How To Support A Dog With A Sensitive Stomach
There are many ways to support a dog with a sensitive stomach. OF course, the most important thing is finding the best food for their sensitive issues. Try the following tips to help keep your dog’s digestion situation a happy and healthy one:
- Easy to digest food, with low fat and natural animal proteins.
- Limited-ingredient recipes are best.
- Try single-protein foods.
- Consider grain-free or limited grains.
- Look for high-quality, fresh ingredients.
- Stay away from highly processed products.
- Consult your vet and pet nutritionist at the first sign of trouble.
- Be patient, and do not give up on your pup.
Unfortunately, some pups have extremely sensitive stomachs. Finding the best dog food for sensitive stomachs can be challenging. There are plenty of options to choose from. Owners should look for foods with natural proteins, limited ingredients, and no artificial flavors or colors. Look out for hard-to-digest grains and low-quality meat meals.
Always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog’s digestion, nutrition, health, or bowel habits. We hope you and your sweet pup find the best choice that does not irritate or upset those sensitive tummies.