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If your pooch has a sensitive stomach, you might find that many foods cause loose stools, flatulence, or vomiting. There are many dog foods on the market, so you will need to focus on options specially formulated for digestion and gut health. We searched high and low to bring you the best foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
"Highly digestible proteins, carbs, and fat along with prebiotics and probiotics help dogs get back to normal quickly," says Dr. Lewis Singleton, a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital in Princeton, New Jersey.
Here are the top-tier nutritional options for canines with tummy troubles.
Best Overall: Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food
Contains real chicken and prebiotic fiber
Fatty acids and vitamin E promote a shiny coat
Crafted with beet pulp which may not appeal to all dogs
Dr. Singleton recommends Hill's Science Diet. We can see why this tasty kibble recipe made the grade. The Sensitive Stomach & Skin Formula is ideal for pups with tummy troubles. Real chicken meat is the first ingredient blended with prebiotic fiber for digestion support and a balanced microbiome.
Dogs get the extra benefit of omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E for healthy skin and a shiny coat. All ingredients are highly digestible to encourage nutrient absorption and ease your pup's upset stomach.
Best Budget: Purina ONE SmartBlend Sensitive Systems Formula Natural Adult Dog Food
Made with highly digestible ingredients
Contains real salmon
Promotes a strong immune system
Contains grains which may not suit all dogs' diets
If you're on a budget, Purina One SmartBlend Sensitive Systems is a great choice. This natural dog food is made with salmon, rice, barley, oat, and animal fat—all are highly digestible. Dogs also get a blend of vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids to promote a healthy coat and skin. Although this formula is for a sensitive stomach, keep in mind it's not grain-free which is another sensitivity some dogs may have.
Best Dry: Solid Gold Leaping Waters Sensitive Stomach Grain-Free Gluten Free Dry Dog Food
Nutrient-rich with probiotic support
Contains a special blend of 20 superfoods
More expensive than other brands
The best dry food for dogs with sensitive stomachs is Solid Gold Leaping Waters. The nutrient-rich, grain-free formula is packed with simple ingredients: cold-water salmon, chickpeas, lentils, peas, and chicken fat.
Leaping Waters contains a special blend of 20 superfoods that are easy to digest and selected to protect your fur baby's gut health. The recipe also includes omega-3s and omega-6s for healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Best Wet: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food
Great for dogs with gastrointestinal issues
Has digestible proteins to balance gut bacteria
Requires a prescription from a veterinarian
Dr. Singleton also recommends Royal Canin Gastrointestinal for dogs with tummy woes. This gut-friendly wet food provides tasty nutrition for dogs struggling with diarrhea, vomiting, appetite loss, and other gastrointestinal issues.
This food requires a prescription from a veterinarian. However, you can buy it from pet-supply sites like Chewy and Petco by entering your prescription info at checkout.
It contains omega-3 fatty acids to soothe the gastrointestinal tract, using a low-fat formula that is ideal for canines that have a tough time digesting fats. It has digestible proteins and prebiotics to balance bacteria in the gut, plus antioxidants and hearty fibers to promote digestion.
Best for Seniors: Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food Adult 7+
High-quality protein great for older canines
Helps build and maintain muscle mass
Food is extra dry which may be hard on certain dogs
Hill's Science Diet Wet Food 7+ is the best option when it comes to a senior dog with a sensitive gut. This chicken and barley recipe is chock full of high-quality protein to help older canines build and maintain muscle.
This canned dog food has a special antioxidant blend, omega-6 fatty acids, vegetable fibers, and essential vitamins and minerals. All ingredients are carefully selected for easy digestion and immunity support. Some reviews do report that it's extra dry which is something to keep in mind if your canine has a tough time with certain foods.
Best for Puppies: Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Combines salmon, rice, and live probiotics
Supports a healthy coat and skin
Omega-6s support growing pups' vision and brain development
More expensive than other brands
Purina Pro Plan is another brand Dr. Singleton often recommends. The Sensitive Skin & Stomach puppy kibble combines easy-to-digest salmon and rice with live probiotics. With omega-3s in the form of fish oil, this dry food supports a healthy coat and skin. It also has omega-6s from sunflower oil to nourish your growing pup's vision and brain development.
Best for Large Dogs: Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Large Breed Formula Dog Food
Stomach-friendly barley, rice, and oat
Contains highly digestible fibers and probiotics
Wheat, soy ,and artificial flavor-free
More expensive than other brands
For canines over 50 pounds, Purina Pro Plan's Adult Sensitive Large Breed Formula is the way to go. With balanced nutrition and easy digestion in mind, this dry dog food's main ingredient is salmon. After that, you'll find tummy-friendly barley, rice, oat, animal fat, and fish oil, along with highly digestible fibers, probiotics, and prebiotics.
The recipe is free of wheat, soy, and artificial flavors, which can cause upset stomachs and allergies in some larger breeds. Your furry friend will love the appetizing salmon flavor and appreciate not having a belly ache.
Best for Small Dogs: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed Natural Food for Dogs
Includes real turkey, oatmeal, and pumpkin
Contains a medley of vitamins and minerals
Easy for small breeds to chew
Only comes in four and 11-pound bags
For pups weighing 11 pounds and lighter, consider Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed food. The pooch-approved recipe begins with real turkey and includes brown rice, oatmeal, peas, potatoes, and pumpkin. These ingredients all support the unique energy needs of smaller fur babies. It also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and a medley of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, the small-bite kibble is easy for small breeds to chew, swallow, and digest.
Best Supplement: NaturVet Advanced Probiotics & Enzymes Plus Vet Strength PB6 Probiotic
Specially formulated to balance and support the gastrointestinal tract
Contains six different probiotic strains
Texture can be too crumbly sometimes
The right dog food can be a game-changer, and some cases call for a special supplement. We recommend NaturVet Advanced Probiotics & Enzymes, specially formulated to balance and support your dog's gastrointestinal tract.
PB6 Probiotic means it has six different probiotic strains. This helps the gut maintain a healthy level of good bacteria for a settled stomach and balanced intestines. Your pet will gobble up this supplement since these soft chews taste just like a treat.
Overall, Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin (view at Amazon) is the best dog food for sensitive stomachs. This vet-recommended brand uses chicken as the first ingredient, along with an easily digestible blend of prebiotic fiber, omega-6 fatty acids, and other gentle ingredients for a balanced microbiome. If you're looking for a wet food option, talk to your vet and see if you can get a prescription for Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat (view at Chewy). This tasty canned food nourishes dogs with appetite loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.
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This roundup was researched and written by Theresa Holland, a professional writer and animal lover with substantial experience covering pet products and breed guides. She also contributes regularly to MyDomaine and Byrdie.