Having a pooch with a sensitive stomach can be a proper hassle. You always have to clean thousands of messes, some bigger than others.
Perhaps you’ve been led to this guide by a desperate Google search, trying to figure out what to do?
Fear not! Our guide for the best dog food for sensitive stomach is now here.
When dealing with an upset stomach, your pooch will seem to be in depressingly low spirits.
Upset stomachs are just as bad for dogs as they are for us and as dog owners, the last thing we want is to see our beloved pets suffer and feel any discomfort.
So read on for a detailed outline and explanation of the best dog food you can get for your dog’s sensitive stomach.
Make a bookmark of these instructions and soon you’ll see that your pup will be running and playing about happy and full of life again!
Top Picks for Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach*
Note: Above ratings are based on our experience with the product and/or expert opinions. Click the link above to read sensitive stomach dog food reviews and see the current prices on Amazon.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sensitive Stomach
As vigilant as you might be, the signs and symptoms of a sensitive stomach might be a bit tricky to catch.
Picking the right kind of dog food for sensitive stomachs can make most, if not all, of these symptoms instantly better. Here’s a handy list to refer to when looking for signs of a stomach upset;
While there are many non-sensitive-stomach-related reasons why a dog might throw up, the sight of gooey food bits in your pooch’s vomit should sound the alarm bells for you immediately.
It’s a very important symptom for a stomach upset, even if it’s less frequent than other sensitive stomach symptoms, like diarrhea.
As a general rule of thumb, observe roughly what percentage of food stays in your pooch’s belly.
If your dog seems to only be keeping down half of their meals, then you might have to consider the possibility of a sensitive stomach.
Another thing with the upset stomach vomit is that it’s intermittent, therefore it will be coming at some crazy patterns during the day.
Finally, don’t forget – if you see any sights of blood in your dog’s vomit, contact a vet, as the problem may be more serious than a sensitive stomach.
As with vomiting, there’s a lot of reasons why your dog might have loose stool and a sensitive stomach is only one of them.
Stomach upsets normally cause relatively heavy digestion issues; that’s because the bacteria in the gut is unevenly spread. Because of how much of a common digestion problem diarrhea is it’s advised to not panic at the first sight of it.
Observe your pooch carefully when you spot it and if it persists for a few days, you might have to think about doing something about it.
If they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t, then it should clear out for a day or two, but if it persists, then you need to consider switching to dog foods for a sensitive stomach.
Sometimes, diarrhea poo will also contain blood. This isn’t that abnormal.
Monitor it closely and if there’s large quantities of it or it happens all the time, consult with a vet.
This is probably the hardest sensitive stomach symptom to judge because some puppies are just generally gassier than others.
That’s why you shouldn’t compare your dog with other dogs! Always remember to compare with your dog’s normal flatulence levels.
If you don’t know what these are, you should probably make a not to learn them.
Spend an afternoon with your pooch and make some notes on their flatulence patterns – for example, how many times has Fido burped or farted in an hour.
It might not be the best thing to do on a Saturday afternoon, but it will definitely help with noticing when something is out of the ordinary.
If your dog’s gas levels go up suddenly – and that includes both farting and belching – look for some of the other symptoms that we’ve mentioned so far.
Observe your furry friend to see if it’s just a temporary thing or if it persists.
Food allergies most often manifest themselves in itchiness with dogs.
That’s definitely one of the easier symptoms to spot, as your dog’s scratching will increase dramatically in the more sensitive places of their body.
If your dog’s body doesn’t agree with any food they’re consuming, you’ll see a notable increase in itchiness in their feet, muzzle, genitalia, and armpits.
Sometimes an inflammation of those spots might also be a telltale sign of a sensitive stomach. This is very similar to how skin reacts with food allergies in humans.
Also, this itching is non-seasonal, so if it occurs outside of the normal itchy times for your pup, it’s very easy to spot.
Observe your dog and make sure to consult your vet to get the best ointment to relieve the itch.
Some dogs can hurt themselves while trying to scratch all the time, so it’s always good to take precautions.
Common Causes of Stomach Upset in Dogs
So why might dogs suffer from a sensitive stomach?
There are a number of things that might trigger the condition in your pooch.
It might be both internal factors (such as allergies) and external factors (like parasites).
We’ve compiled a list with some of the possible reasons for a stomach upset below;
- Food allergies. That might be the intolerance to a specific ingredient in food, or to other chemical ingredients (like additives) in dog food. The most common dog allergens are dairy, wheat, lamb, corn, fish and chicken. Allergies often manifest themselves through itchy skin, like we discussed above.
- Diet. A sensitive stomach might also be caused by the way dogs eat their food. A sudden diet change or overeating can also lead to a stomach upset. Finally, if your dog eats something they shouldn’t – say, one of your favorite socks – they will most likely have an upset stomach until the object is in their digestion.
- Parasites. The main culprits in sensitive stomachs with dogs are worms. Worms’ eggs grow everywhere in the environment, dogs are at a very high risk of coming in contact with them. Fortunately, the solution is simple! Take your dog to the vet and they will prescribe a flea medicine for dogs that should clear the problem quickly.
- Harmful pathogens. Some harmful bacteria or viruses are known to cause different stomach diseases, most commonly gastritis. These get diagnosed by a vet fairly easily, and some of them might have no cure. Don’t worry though – even with gastritis, a dog can lead a perfectly healthy, fulfilling life!
- Toxicity and poisons. Many things might be poisonous to dogs – namely certain pesticides, certain small animals and household plants. If a dog has been poisoned, they need to be taken to the vet immediately and, ideally, you would have an idea of what the toxic substance was. This might save your pooch’s life!
- Travel sickness. It’s very common for young dogs and puppy to be affected by motion sickness that could cause a stomach upset. The dog might pant and salivate a lot if it’s feeling sick in a car – that’s a sign to make a stop before you get vomit all over you.
Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
After all that info about puppy food for sensitive stomach, it’s time for our recommendations! These are all trusted products that we believe will achieve the best results for your pooch’s fussy tummy.
Read on to find out the best foods that make your dog’s diet easier on their digestion.
We really like the Purina Pro Plan Focus because it doesn’t have any of those pesky ingredients that ruin your dog’s digestion.
It’s completely free of corn, wheat, soy and any artificial ingredients and, in return, it’s very rich in nutritious and easy to digest ingredients like salmon, rice and oat meal.
Like all the best dog food for sensitive stomach and skin, the Purina Pro Plan Focus contains real salmon meat, which is what makes it so healthy.
Customers have praised the Purina Pro Plan Focus for getting their dogs’ digestion back on track in a matter of weeks.
Some have also noted that this choice is cheaper than other dog food brands on the market so it can be a good choice for all dog owners on a budget.
This brand’s Omega-6 fatty acids and zinc also help with any skin or coat problems as a result of older food allergies.
The Wellness Simple Natural lives up to its name and keeps dog nutrition for a sensitive stomach as simple as it gets.
This dog food has a single source of protein in the form of real, high-quality salmon.
The carbs in it are potatoes that are complex carbs – by far the best choice as far as carbohydrates go.
Customers can choose between four formulas in this line, and they’re all completely gluten-free.
They also don’t contain any meat by-products, corn, eggs, dairy, preservatives, colors and any artificial ingredients that make dogs’ stomachs suffer.
Wellness’ Simple Natural diets include a lot of different flavors to suit any pooch’s taste.
Wellness Simple is an excellent starting point when you want to transition your dog to dog food for a sensitive stomach.
It’s also very budget-friendly, so it’s easy to switch over to another one if that one doesn’t work.
It’s almost impossible to have a dog and not have heard of Blue Buffalo. The highly reputable brand of dog food has now released their Blue Basics range for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
What we really like about this one is the turkey and potato mix that you don’t get to see that often when it comes to commercial dog food.
Blue Buffalo Basics also contains peas that are very nutritious carbohydrates for your pooch.
As with all other types of dog food for a sensitive stomach, the Blue Basics is completely free of dairy, wheat, soy and any other possible allergens.
It’s also rich in flaxseed and fish oil – both great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids for a smooth, shiny coat on your pooch.
The Blue Basics is also completely free of gluten and grains, which is great because a dog’s natural diet shouldn’t include these anyway.
Hill’s Science Diet is a dry food that’s packed with all the necessary nutrients for a healthy, happy dog.
It also features a lot of ingredients that are easy on your pooch’s stomach like rice and barley.
This dog food also has the added benefit of Vitamin E and other useful vitamins and minerals.
Customers have praised this formula for helping with their dogs’ skin problems, as well as with their sensitive stomachs.
There’s a solid research team of 200 veterinarians and food scientists behind Hill’s Science Sensitive Stomach Diet so you definitely know it can be trusted as a safe and enjoyable product for your furry friends!
The proteins available with this dog food are lamb, salmon, and protein. They are all made from real meat rather than byproducts, which makes them even healthier!
Hill’s Science Diet doesn’t contain any preservatives or coloring, making it ideal to fix that fussy digestion.
Ingredients to Avoid
As we mentioned above, a lot of ingredients in dog food might lead to a sensitive stomach.
Some commercial dog foods on the market have a lot of artificial additives. While that might serve to make the packet of food cost less, it’s actually very hard for your pooch to digest these ingredients.
Sensitive stomach dog food needs to always be free of those ingredients.
There are other ingredients in dog food that your pet might find very difficult to digest. These are some of the common allergens that we mentioned earlier – like corn and wheat.
Other products to be mindful of are salt, beef, corn syrup and peanut hulls.
There’s also the curious case of chicken. Chicken meat is actually good for a dog with an upset stomach, however, the problem is that a lot of commercial dog foods use unhealthy chicken byproducts instead – again, presumably, to crunch the price.
Always make sure to read the ingredients list of the dog food you buy! It will save both you and your pooch a lot of discomforts.
What You Should Do
Is your pooch is struggling with a sensitive stomach? There are several simple things you can do to make life better both for them and for yourself.
Read on for a list of helpful tips on how to help your furry friend with their fussy digestion.
1. Make it simple
If you’re suspecting a potential stomach bother, the first thing you have to do is cut off everything that’s not dog food out of their diet. And I do mean everything.
Yes, that does include table scraps and dog treats.
What you want to do is isolate meals to include just the dog food so you can tell if that’s what’s causing the problems or if it’s something else.
If you’re worried that the absence of treats might make training difficult, fear not! Just give your pooch their normal food as a treat.
In the dog’s mind, as long as he/she is receiving some sort of food for being a good boy/girl, then it’s all good.
Reducing the amount of treats will be able to show with accuracy where the problem lies. If you find that it’s the treats or the table scraps, you’ll have to only keep to the dog food from now on.
2. What’s wrong with my dog’s food?
We’re going to reiterate the importance of reading ingredients labels of dog food.
When buying your dog’s food, always look for high-quality ingredients. Those are normally protein and carbohydrates.
Quality puppy food for sensitive stomachs normally has a lot of these because they really help your dog!
Check back with our list above for ingredients to avoid. Make sure that any carbs in your dog’s food are complex carbs, like potatoes.
A good rule of thumb is if you can’t even pronounce the first 15 ingredients in your dog’s food, then look for something else.
The next thing that’s good practice is to check the fat content. A healthy amount of fat in dog food is 15%. Higher fat content means harder to digest means a surefire recipe for a fussy stomach.
Finally, always look for a high fiber content – just like with humans, fiber is great for digestion.
3. Make some changes
It’s official – whether through observation, or consulting with a vet, you’ve found out that your pooch has a sensitive stomach and the reason for that is the dog food.
That will mean some changes in their dietary habits are required. It’s time to change the dog food.
Change needs to happen gradually. You can’t just expect for your pup to get used to the new dog food just like that. Mix it with the old food in the beginning and increase the new food every day.
That will make for a smooth transition, and it will ensure that your dog’s stomach doesn’t get too much of a shock.
Changing to dog food for a sensitive stomach will have a gradual positive impact on your pooch. The symptoms of the fussy stomach will grow less and less over time until they eventually stop.
However, there is also the possibility that your dog’s problems persist. If that happens…
4. If nothing helps, call your vet
If changing the food and the dietary habits of your pooch hasn’t helped, it’s time for a visit to your friendly neighborhood vet.
Even if you’re seeing an improvement, we’d suggest seeing your vet anyway.
It can never hurt and, when it comes to your dog’s health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Switching Dog Food Brands
Changing your furry friend’s food always needs to be gradual and careful.
This especially applies for dogs with sensitive stomachs – you don’t want to stress their bellies out and make their digestion even worse!
There’s a very simple structure to follow when changing your dog’s food.
On the first day, gradually introduce a bit of the new dog food. Fill your pooch’s bowl with 80% of the old food and add 20% of the new one.
After a day of observation, on day two, increase the dosage – make the ratio 40% new to 60% old.
By this point, you would have noticed if your dog’s reacting badly to the new food.
If they’re not – great! On the third day make the mix 60% of the new food and 40% of the old.
Your dog will be getting more and more used to the new food, but that doesn’t mean you need to rush it. On day four mix 80% new food with only 20% of the old.
From day five onwards you can start feeding your dog 100% of the new food.
This is an incredibly safe method of introducing a new dietary plan for your dog.
Remember, if at any time your dog starts experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, gas or itchy skin, stop the new food and consult a vet.
You should now feel confident that caring about a dog with a sensitive stomach is not that difficult after all.
Of course, it requires some lifestyle changes. But with reading this guide on the best dog food for sensitive stomach, you’re already taking a step in the right direction.
No two dogs are ever different. Different things cause a fussy stomach for different pooches and as dog owners, we need to be prepared to face any situation confidently.
We don’t like seeing our dogs ill. But sometimes, that’s part of life with a dog and no pooch deserves less love because of a difficult digestion.
Remember, even if you panic and you don’t know what to do, vets are always there give you the best advice on caring for your pet.
Follow this dog food guide so that your furry friend can lead a happy, fulfilling, tasty life!
*Disclaimer: Our dog food for sensitive stomachs reviews are based mostly on our expertise and the experts/veterinarians we consulted with and the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many products, but it’s not possible to test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and before using any treatment, please consult with a local veterinarian.