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The 14 Best Dog Food for Pups with Sensitive Stomachs

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Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
Chewy/Amazon

Because dogs are so easy-going, it’s easy to assume that they can eat any and everything, but this is simply not the case. Just as humans have food aversions that make our stomachs hurt, so do our four-legged friends. Even though there are a slew of vegetables, fruits and nuts that are safe to feed our pups, sometimes they just have sensitive stomachs. Below, find the 13 best dog foods for pups with sensitive stomachs—from those with food-related issues to underlying medical conditions.

The Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs of 2023 At-A-Glance

1

Best Deal

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin

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2

Best Single-Source Protein

Diamond Care Sensitive Stomach Formula

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3

Best for Puppies

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach

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4

Best for Large Breeds

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach

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5

Best Low Fat Option

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dog Food

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Meet the Experts:

  • Erin Askeland, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Certified Behavior Consultant Canine, and animal health and behavior expert at CampBowWow
  • Don LeHoullier, DVM, CareCredit Partner and owner of Countryside Veterinary Clinic

How Do I Know If My Dog Has a Sensitive Stomach?

It can be difficult to figure out what’s going on with your dog. Careful observation is the key to determining if your pup has a sensitive stomach. Typical signs and symptoms that your dog has a sensitive stomach include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Groaning or whining after eating
  • Loud stomach noises
  • Lethargy

A dog’s sensitive stomach is often the result of allergies, intolerance to certain food ingredients or an underlying medical condition you need your vet to diagnose. “If your dog is having digestive issues, a good start is consulting with your veterinarian,” Dr. LeHoullier, DVM, said. Vets can run blood and fecal tests to see if a parasite, ulcer, tumor or infection is causing discomfort. They may also recommend a new diet.

Erin Askeland, a certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, notes sensitive stomachs could be the result of stress or anxiety, which can’t be solved by changing diet alone. This is why checking in with your vet is crucial. Your dog may just need calming supplements, more outdoor time or coping skills to deal with separation anxiety.

What Type of Dog Food Should I Give a Dog with a Sensitive Stomach?

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to feeding dogs with a sensitive stomach, as specific needs vary from patient to patient,” Dr. LeHoullier said. He also told us that sensitive stomach diets tend to be low in fat and high in fiber.

Some sensitive stomach dog food can be bought over-the-counter, while others require a prescription from your vet.

“It’s also worth noting that there are many, many brands that claim to be good for a sensitive stomach,” Askeland said. “These usually [have] minimal ingredients or ingredients that are represented to be easy to digest, such as plain chicken or salmon, rice, pumpkin, or other simple foods.”

According to Dog Food Advisor, there are three types of dog food that work best for dogs who have sensitive stomachs:

1. Limited ingredient dog food: Best for when you’re trying to determine what exactly is causing your furry friend to have digestive issues, limited ingredient food—true to its name—contains fewer ingredients than regular food. Usually, it has one source of novel protein (from meat) and low to moderate levels of fat as well as probiotics to aid digestion. Just be sure to stay away from limited ingredients food that has artificial colorings and additives.

2. Hypoallergenic dog food: This type of food is made from proteins that have been broken down into amino acids, making them less detectable in your doggo’s immune system and minimizing the chance of a bad reaction.

3. Prescription gastrointestinal (GI) dog food: Prescription GI foods are dog foods made specifically for dogs with digestive issues and need a veterinarian’s recommendation in order to purchase.

Askeland says Wellness Core Digestive Health, Instinct Raw Boost Gut Health and Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomachs have good reputations. Prescription diets that she likes include Hill’s Science Diet Gastrointestinal Biome, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Diet and Purina Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Dry Dog Food.

Dr. LeHoullier’s go-to prescription diets are Purina EN and Hill's Veterinary Diets I/D line. “When the case is mild or if a prescription diet is not an option, I recommend the Purina Pro Plan and Hill's Science Diet for a sensitive stomach,” he added. “These diets are high-quality, easily digestible and I have had a lot of success with my patients eating them.”

If you want to try human-grade dog food, definitely talk to your vet first.

How Do I Safely Introduce New Food When My Dog Has a Sensitive Stomach?

When your pup has a sensitive tummy, the last thing you want to do is completely upend their current diet with an entirely new one overnight. Dr. LeHoullier recommends introducing new food slowly, over a week to 10 days, so your dog’s digestive tract can adjust. “Changing the diet suddenly can lead to further digestive upset and lengthening the time it takes to recover,” Dr. LeHoullier said. “Finding the right diet can take weeks to months of trial and error which can be frustrating. But, be patient, stick with it, and your dog, and you, will be feeling better before you know it.”

The American Kennel Club recommends you start the first meal with approximately 80 to 90 percent old food and 10 to 20 percent new food, then gradually up the proportions over the course of 10 days.

product shot of dog food with collie on front.
Chewy
  • First Five Ingredients: Chicken, brewers rice, chicken meal, yellow peas, cracked pearled barley
  • Food Type: Dry food

Not only does this recipe contain real chicken and prebiotic fiber that supports healthy digestion, but it also contains vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and a radiant coat. Your pup will feel good and look good too.

Product shot of dog food in bag on yellow
Chewy

Best Single-Source Protein

2. Diamond Care Sensitive Stomach Formula

Diamond Care

  • First Five Ingredients: Potatoes, egg product, potato protein, tomato pomace, chicken Fat
  • Food Type: Dry food

Formulated specifically for dogs with food-related tummy issues, this kibble is made with easily-digestible egg protein and potatoes as a carbohydrate source. This formula contains good bacteria that is native to the canine GI tract, to help promote easy digestion.

Bag of puppy food on white background.
Chewy
  • First Five Ingredients: Salmon, rice, barley, fish meal, canola meal
  • Food Type: Dry food

Puppies are delicate as it is, so you want to make sure you’re feeding them the right things, and this offering from the Purina Pro Plan line does just that. It contains salmon and rice which are easy to digest, live probiotics to promote gut health and it’s loaded with omega-6 fatty acids (from sunflower oil) and vitamin A which are great for your puppy’s healthy skin and coat.

Bag of dog food on white background
Amazon

Best for Large Breeds

4. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Purina Pro

  • First Five Ingredients: Salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, canola meal, fish meal
  • Food Type: Dry food

Your German shepherd may remind you of an unbeatable jungle wolf when you see him running and chasing after birds at the park, but even the biggest of dogs are susceptible to stomach issues. This dog food is made for our gentle beasts who large in size but remain sensitive. Not only does it have prebiotics and probiotics for a healthy gut, but it also has glucosamine and EPA omega-3 fatty acid for joint support.

Product shot of bag of dog food on white background.
Chewy
  • First Five Ingredients: Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, wheat, barley, natural flavors
  • Food Type: Dry food

For dogs that have a hard time digesting or tolerating fat, this kibble is the ideal pick. Thought it has a low-fat content, it still has enough nutrients and calories to meet your dog’s daily requirements. Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food has highly digestible proteins and prebiotics as well as soluble and insoluble fibers for healthy GI transit. Note: This formula is by prescription only, so you’ll need vet authorization in order to purchase.

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs blue buffalo
Chewy

Best for Small Breeds

6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet

Blue Buffalo

  • First five ingredients: Deboned turkey, oatmeal, turkey meal, brown rice, peas
  • Food type: Dry food

For the pet parents who own toy dogs that have big energy but small and sensitive stomachs, Blue Buffalo’s Basic Limited Ingredient Diet may be the way to go. Keep your small pups energized with this turkey and potato recipe that also has some yummy brown rice, pumpkin and oatmeal on its ingredient list. It’s also made with Blue Buffalo’s proprietary LifeSource Bits—a combination of selected antioxidants, minerals and vitamins picked by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support your pup’s overall health and wellness.

Can of wet dog food on white background
Chewy

Best for Easy Protein Digestion

7. Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D Digestive Care Low Fat

Hill's

  • First five ingredients: Water, rice, pork liver, turkey liver, pork by-products
  • Food type: Wet food

Another formula that requires a doctor’s prescription, this food is a great choice for dogs who have a hard time processing protein. It has antioxidants that support a healthy immune system, prebiotics for great gut health as well as omega-3 fatty acids to support GI recovery, skin and coat health. As a bonus, this formula also includes ginger to help calm and soothe finicky digestive tracts and keep Fido happy.

product shot of dog food with collie on front.
Chewy
  • First five ingredients: Water, beef, pork liver, brown rice, carrots
  • Food type: Wet food

Just like puppies need extra attention as they grow their organs, mature dogs also need extra love to keep them nice and fit. This formula from Hill’s Science ensures your four-legged family member gets the gourmet treatment with real meat, brown rice and a medley of delectable vegetables including peas and carrots, all smothered in a delicious gravy. Yum!

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs natural balance
Chewy
  • First five ingredients: Salmon, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, cassava flour, potatoes
  • Food type: Dry food

This premium dog food comes courtesy of a team of board-certified clinical veterinarians, animal nutritionists and research scientists that worked to make sure your pet gets the best of the best despite being limited. This dry food for dogs features delicious (real) salmon and delectable sweet potato as a source for carbs. There are no added peas, pea protein, lentils, legumes, corn, wheat or soy, reducing the chances of a bad reaction.

Orange and blue dog food bag on white background
Chewy

Best Protein Mix

10. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Dry Dog Food

Canidae

  • First five ingredients: Bison, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, lentils
  • Food type: Dry food

Just because your dog has a delicate tum doesn’t mean they can’t chomp on meat anymore. Give them some protein they can really sink their teeth into with this limited formula from Canidae which boasts bison as a top ingredient. Though it’s comprised of just nine additional ingredients, this grain-free product still gives your pup all the probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients they need for a happy gut and healthy skin and coat.

best dog food for sensitive stomach go sensitivities
Chewy

Best for Multi-Dog Households

11. Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Diet

Petcurean

  • First five ingredients: Deboned duck, duck meal, peas, tapioca, lentils
  • Food type: Dry food

For families with pups who are different breeds and therefore, different sizes, stay on budget with this limited ingredient kibble that’s good for all breeds of all sizes. It’s grain-, gluten- and potato-free so there’s a smaller chance of upset stomachs. (Its primary protein is deboned duck, so expect a lot of drooling.)

Red bag of dog food on white background
Chewy

Best for Large Breed Puppies

12. Purina One SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Formula

Purina One

  • First five ingredients: Chicken, rice flour, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal
  • Food type: Dry food

We love them all the same, but not all puppies are created equal. This kibble is ideal for large breed puppies whose stomachs get rattled easily. This Purina One offering is packed with protein to support those budding muscles, as well as antioxidants—vitamins A and E, zinc and selenium—that help keep their immune system nice and strong as they grow.

Wellness Core Natural Original Turkey & Chicken product shot.
Chewy

Top Rating on Chewy

13. Wellness CORE Natural Original Turkey & Chicken

Wellness

  • First five ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas, dried ground potatoes
  • Food type: Dry food

Ensure that your four-legged pal retains their lean and strong muscle structure with this formula that boasts a whopping 34 percent of protein. It’s developed without any meat by-products, fillers, corn, soy, wheat-gluten or artificial preservatives so you know your pup is getting top-tier nourishment.

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs instinct
Chewy

Best Raw Option

14. Instinct Raw Boost Gut Health

Instinct

  • First Five Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, peas, tapioca, canola oil
  • Food Type: Dry food

A combination of high-protein kibble and freeze-dried protein make up this gut healthy dry food. Plus, prebiotics and probiotics work to keep your pup’s gut microbiome in tip top shape. Dogs who may be sensitive to soy or grains will be happy to know this food doesn’t have either (it’s also free of preservatives, which we like).


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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her cats, Foxy and Jacques, make appearances in her work, as do her own struggles with mental health and infertility. Sarah has a Certificate in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Chicago and is working towards her Masters in Journalism at NYU.


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