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Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? If they do, you probably are well aware—flatulence, loose stools, and vomiting are all signs that your dog has a sensitive stomach, per the American Kennel Foundation. “For dogs suffering from recurring gastrointestinal signs, your veterinarian is likely to recommend some testing to rule out some of the more serious/chronic diseases that can cause these clinical signs,” says Dr. Jamie Richardson, the medical chief of staff at Small Door Veterinary, a NYC-based practice. Once more serious concerns are ruled out, a shift in diet can often help. Bland food is likely the best bet for your dog, says Dr. Richardson. But, she notes, picking an option isn’t always easy.
That's why we've done all the digging necessary. Here, the best foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Dogs with sensitive stomachs can benefit from foods with fewer ingredients—that’s why this top pick contains just one animal protein (salmon). Easily digestible forms of carbohydrates and proteins are also beneficial, notes Dr. Richardson, which is why you'll find pumpkin, potatoes, and other easy-to-digest carbs in Blue Buffalo's limited-ingredient dog food. It’s free from poultry by-products, and does not contain corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs, which can be a source of food allergies.
Reviewers appreciate that this food does not cause any tummy reactions in their dogs, and, for some with allergies, eating this food has helped resolve skin conditions. One dog owner reports that switching to this food ended her dog’s upset stomach, diarrhea, and frequent gas. Reviewers also note that their dogs like this food and enjoy eating it.
Costs can quickly mount when your dog needs a specialized food, but this budget-friendly option from Purina provides all the benefits you’d expect from a dog food tailored to pups with sensitive stomachs. It’s rich in protein, contains prebiotic fiber, and has oatmeal and rice—easily digestible forms of carbohydrates which Dr. Richardson notes are key for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Many reviewers have found that this helped their dogs clear up issues such as soft stools. More than that, even picky dogs seem to really like the taste of this dry food—one reviewer uses it in place of treats.
Let’s start with a powerful plus to this Hill’s Science Diet dry food: It’s satisfaction guaranteed. That means that you can return it for a full refund if it doesn’t help with your dog’s sensitive stomach. Beyond that, the Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe includes natural ingredients like real chicken, vitamin E, omega-6 fatty acids, and prebiotics. Dr. Richardson notes that prebiotics are especially beneficial as they “help large intestinal health and support a healthy gut flora.” That is to say, eating them can help your dog’s digestion.
Several reviewers note that this food led to a turnaround in their dog’s digestive issues. Many also noted that the small pieces are easy for their dog to chew so it's a great option for smaller breeds and senior dogs.
Does your pooch love wet food? Dr. Richardson explains that “Some of the pet food brands, particularly the fresh ones, can be pretty high in fat. If your pet has a sensitive stomach—these are foods you may need to avoid.” Luckily, tummy distress doesn’t rule out every wet food, though. Since Royal Canin's wet food is low in fat, it's still a great option for sensitive pups.
Royal Canin's wet food requires veterinarian approval, but it's worth it since the formula includes prebiotics, dietary fibers, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants which work together to soothe and support your dog's GI tract and aid in healthy digestion. Royal Canin's food is also satisfaction guaranteed, which is always handy since not every dog responds to food the same way. While reviewers note that this is a pricey option, they’re very appreciative of its ability to end diarrhea and other tummy troubles.
Puppies have special needs when it comes to food. This Nulo dry food is suitable for your puppy—and, if they enjoy it, they can continue eating it into adulthood. “We generally recommend bland, easily digestible protein” for dogs with sensitive stomachs, notes Dr. Richardson. With turkey as the sole protein source, this dry food fits the bill. The manufacturer notes that it also contains probiotics, which are good for gut health, as well as omega fatty acids.
Reviewers appreciate the slimmed down ingredient list, as well as their dogs' improved GI symptoms—like an end to diarrhea. Plus, most owners report that their dogs really enjoy the taste of the food.
With age, dogs’ dietary needs change. This Blue Buffalo dry food is ideal for senior dogs who have sensitive stomachs thanks to the addition of taurine, chondroitin, and glucosamine which help support heart and joint health. As its name suggests, Blue Buffalo's Senior Turkey and Potato recipe also includes easily digestible carbs and proteins. Along with potato, the formula includes peas and fiber-rich pumpkin which help digestion.
Reviewers report that Blue Buffalo's special recipe has helped put an end to “room-clearing farts” and GI issues. Some also note that it's helped clear up skin issues in both large and small breeds like labrador retrievers and dachshunds.
This Wellness Complete food is specially formulated for large breeds. It’s full of protein from chicken and whitefish, and does not contain any grains. Grains are not necessarily a no-no, per Dr. Richardson, but some dog owners find that grains such as wheat can lead to stomach upset in their pups.
Since the kibble is large, reviewers point out that their dogs actually have to chew to eat this food, and can’t just scarf it down. Several note that switching to this food helped with digestive issues (think: loose stools and gas) and that their dogs seem to love the taste.
Giant pieces of kibble aren’t a good fit for tiny toy breeds. This grain-free dry food is rich in fiber (from pumpkin and chickpeas) and contains all-natural, easily digestible chicken. Plus, it comes in a petite size, which allows smaller dogs (with correspondingly small mouths) to chew and swallow with ease.
Reviewers report that it’s helped ease their pet’s sensitive stomachs—plus, several pet parents comment that even their picky pups will happily dig in.
Prebiotics can help with your dog’s digestion, and so too can probiotics, or “good” bacteria which help with gut health. While many dog foods include prebiotics, Dr. Richardson notes that not all of them are effective. “The manufacturing process often kills these good bacteria long before they ever reach their target destination (the small and large intestine),” she says. Instead, consider trying a supplement.
Purina's FortiFlora supplement is one she recommends. Just add the powder to your dog's food and it'll help with diarrhea, gas reduction, and overall digestive health. The manufacturer notes that the powder has “live microorganisms that help promote beneficial intestinal microflora.” Reviewers report that it’s highly effective, leading to solid poops and less upset stomachs.
The best food for your pup’s sensitive stomach will depend on a number of factors including their age and size as well as your budget. Our top choice is Blue Buffalo Basics Salmon and Potato Recipe (view on Chewy). The limited-ingredient formula is free of poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs. Instead, it has just one protein and a few easy-to-digest carbohydrates. If budget is a concern, take a look at Purina’s Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon and Rice Formula (view on Amazon). The protein-rich formula contains prebiotic fiber, oatmeal, and rice which can help clear up many digestive issues.