Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

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Some dogs can’t eat all the crap that they want to — like human food. And while that may seem unfortunate for Fido, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Many dog food formulas are great for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 

Our best dog food for sensitive stomach dogs is Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin dry dog food

Veterinarians formulated it to perfect the balance of proteins and fiber for healthier digestion. And, it’s a grain-free dog food for the pup parents who are trying to avoid certain ingredients. 

But, before your run to the store and grab it, stay a little while and read about the other nine options that are great for sensitive pups. We have many choices — including food with kangaroo meat as the primary protein!

Our Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

10 Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs Reviewed 

The following dog foods for sensitive stomachs follow AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog to a new formula, please consult with your veterinarian. 


Best for Adults

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach Skin Grain Free Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Yellow Peas, Potatoes, Potato Starch, Chicken Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20.5% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 405 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free dry adult dog food recommended with prebiotic fiber for sensitive stomachs

The first step to helping your dog with their sensitive stomach is to know what ingredients they struggle with.

Once you know that, it’s crucial to avoid those ingredients. And, you should choose a food that can provide beneficial properties to keep your dog nourished and without flare-ups. 

Vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach dog food as a great option. First, it’s important to note that it does include chicken as its primary protein. For some dogs, this can be inflammatory. But, not all dogs. If your dog can handle it, this formula is gentle and offers a lot of nutrients. 

Real deboned chicken offers glucosamine and chondroitin. These aid in mobility and joint support. With the chicken meat, they also include chicken fat. This provides taurine and omega fatty acids for cognitive support and a healthy heart.

Instead of grains, this formula adds yellow peas and potatoes. These easy-to-digest carbohydrates provide prebiotic fiber to support digestive health. It can also bulk up stools and prevent diarrhea — a common symptom of sensitive stomachs.

Green peas, apples, and cranberries are packed with antioxidants to aid in a robust immune system. And apples and cranberries also include vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin A for strong eyes and the growth of healthy body tissue. 

Pet parents love how this food helps their dog reduce gas and avoid burping. And, many noticed a significant difference in their dogs’ energy levels and skin health. 


Best for Puppies

CANIDAE PURE Puppy Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE PURE Wholesome Grains Real Salmon Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Oatmeal, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 526 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and pea-free dry puppy food made with probiotics for a healthy digestive tract

All puppies need a higher protein diet with plenty of calories and healthy fats for proper growth and development. But this can be harder to do when your pup is sensitive to specific proteins or ingredients. Enter in CANIDAE PURE Puppy formula. 

This dry dog food has nine simple ingredients. It’s chicken-free and pea-free for dogs with a sensitive tummy but still includes plenty of protein and fat for development. 

This formula starts with both deboned salmon and salmon meal. These ingredients offer a whopping 27% Crude Protein and glucosamine for stretching joints. But they also include DHA and ARA for brain function and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. 

It’s important to note that this food is not grain-free. But, grains including oatmeal and barley offer fiber to support digestive health. They also provide vitamins like selenium for thyroid support and a cognitive boost.

At the end of cooking, CANIDAE adds live probiotics as well. These flood the gut with “good” bacteria to fight off inflammation and boost immunity to reduce allergy symptoms. And, they can reduce GI sensitivity. 

This recipe doesn’t include any corn, peas, or soy. It’s also free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. 

Puppy parents love that this food is chicken-free for sensitive pups. And, many say that even their pickiest eater loves the taste. 


Best for Seniors

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Turkey Giblets
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 8% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 417 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and grain-free senior dog food with probiotics and pollock oil for better digestion 

Senior dogs can be more susceptible to having a sensitive tummy. This is because your dog’s immune system, metabolism, and digestive system start to slow. When these systems slow down, harmful bacteria are harder to fight off. And, health issues like GI tumors can play a part as well.

This is why your senior pup needs high-quality food with plenty of probiotics and prebiotics.  

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free dry dog food is a perfect choice. It includes both prebiotic fiber and live probiotics for healthier digestion.

But, it also consists of a few other ingredients that can boost your senior’s energy levels, cognitive function, and support immunity. 

Their Senior Grain-Free dry food starts with raw and free-range chicken, turkey, and flounder. And none of the animals go to waste. This is because ORIJEN uses a “whole prey” method. In other words, they grind up all the meat — including organs and bones. 

These proteins provide plenty of glucosamine for joint health and vitamins like B vitamins for energy.

After adding the raw meats, the kibble is gently cooked. Pollock oil and chicken fat are added for essential fatty acids during this process. They also include essential nutrients like DHA for brain function and a healthy heart. 

This formula is made without corn, wheat, or soy. Live probiotics and digestive enzymes are sprinkled in to support healthy digestion at the end of cooking. 

Senior dog owners agree that this is an excellent option for older dogs. They say it helps them keep their muscle mass, gives them an energy boost, and keeps their stool firm but regular. 


Best for Small Breeds

Zignature Kangaroo Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Zignature Kangaroo Formula Small Bites
  • First 5 Ingredients: Kangaroo, Kangaroo Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Pea Flour
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 396 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Sensitive stomach dog food with Kangaroo for small sensitive breeds

Want to be wowed? Try a dry dog food made with kangaroo — yes, you read that right. This novel protein is a top option for super-sensitive pups. And, it comes in a “small bites” formula for even the tiniest of breeds!

It features real kangaroo and kangaroo meal. These pack twice as much vitamin B12 as other meats, perfect for energy production and immune health. 

This exotic protein is perfect for puppies or adult dogs allergic to more traditional protein options. And it also offers taurine and l-carnitine for a healthy heart and faster metabolism. 

Chickpeas and flaxseeds provide magnesium, phosphorous, and calcium. These nutrients aid in bone health as well as metabolic support.  

Sunflower oil supplies omega-3 fatty acids for strong joints and brain health. And it also aids in coating the stomach and helping your dog absorb their food better. 

This limited ingredient dry dog food is free of potatoes, grains, corn, soy, eggs, and chicken. 

Pet parents love feeding their small dogs’ a more “exotic” food. And, many note that their pups no longer suffer from soft stool and gas. 


Best for Large Breeds

Nutro LID Grain-Free Large Breed Lamb & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

Nutro LID Grain-Free Adult Large Breed Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Potatoes, Dried Sweet Potato
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 475 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient dry dog food without chicken for large sensitive breeds

Of course, common allergens for many dogs are chicken and beef. If your large breed can’t have either, try feeding them a formula with lamb instead.

But remember, you also have to choose a “large-breed friendly” dog food too — to ensure that your big boy gets all the nutrients he needs for working and playing. 

With Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Large Breed dog food, he’ll get plenty of omega fatty acids from real deboned lamb and lamb meal. And they also offer iron and B vitamins for energy support and digestive health.

Besides lamb, there are only 8 other ingredients in this recipe. A few of these include chickpeas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. These offer plenty of soluble fiber and prebiotics to aid in healthier digestion and keep gas and discomfort at bay. 

Sunflower oil and vitamin E offer essential amino acids. Vitamin E aids in vision function and immune health, while sunflower oil gives your dog a shiny coat. 

This limited ingredient formula is free of corn, wheat, and soy. And it’s made with non-GMO ingredients. It doesn’t include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Large breed owners are happy to have a chicken-free option for their dogs over 60 pounds. And, many love that it’s grain-free for dogs who are sensitive to both specific proteins and grains. 


Best Wet Food

Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato & Fish Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Natural Balance LID Potato & Fish Formula Grain-Free Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Fish Broth, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Salmon, Potato Protein
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 7% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 410 kcal/13-oz can
  • Key Feature: Chicken-free and pea-free wet dog food for picky and sensitive dogs 

Okay, so your dog is picky. But what pup can resist a canned food reminiscent of fish and chips?

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets wet food is made with lean fish and only one carbohydrate source. But it’s perfect for picky pups

First, it’s canned food, so it has a bit more flavor than regular kibble. And, it’s higher in fat, which is sure to entice even the pickiest dog. It doesn’t include any proteins and grains known to be top allergens for sensitive tummies. 

This potassium-rich formula starts with fish broth, salmon, and ocean whitefish as its protein sources. These provide protein, omega fatty acids, and even essential nutrients like selenium. 

This protects your pup’s joints, gives their brain a boost, and protects their immune system. However, make sure this dog food is safe for your pup if they have kidney problems. 

Salmon oil is one of the other few ingredients (only nine in the whole can — minus vitamins). This offers extra essential fatty acids and B vitamins for energy production. 

This pea-free formula is made without grains. It doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. And it includes Yucca Schidigera Extract — which can aid in fighting against arthritis and harmful gut bacteria. 

Dog moms and dads admit that this food stinks. But, they love the texture and feed it to both adult and senior dogs. 


Best Budget Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Salmon & Whitefish
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon Meal, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Meal, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 381 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free dry food with novel proteins for dog owners on a budget

Finding high-value sensitive stomach dog food that doesn’t break the bank can seem complicated. But, there are new products on the market that focus on value while also keeping budget in mind. Whole Earth Farms is one of those options. 

Their Salmon & Whitefish  formula, crafted by veterinarians and nutritionists, is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs. And, they offer the same high-quality ingredients as the premium foods without breaking the bank.

This grain-free recipe starts with salmon meal, chicken meal, and real deboned salmon. While the chicken meal may be of concern if your dog is sensitive to it, it’s lower on the protein list and shouldn’t cause an issue for most dogs. 

These proteins provide l-lysine — which can help reduce blood pressure and boost immune support. And salmon is full of essential fatty acids for skin and coat health. 

Sweet potatoes and potatoes provide easy-to-digest carbs for smoother digestion. And they also offer nutrients like beta-carotene for eye health and calcium for strong bones. Bonus points, this food also includes live probiotics, aiding in healthy digestion too. 

Whole Earth Farms doesn’t include corn, wheat, soy, and animal by-product meals. This dry dog food is free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. 

Pet owners say this dog food didn’t trigger any allergic reactions or sensitivities in their dog. But, some say that the kibble may be a bit too small for giant breed dogs. 


Best Premium Food

Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Venison Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Go! SENSITIVITIES LID Venison Grain Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Venison, Venison Meal, Tapioca, Peas, Pea Flour
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 442 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient dog food with algae oil for omega fatty acids

Another great way to avoid certain ingredients is to choose a limited ingredient dry dog food with a mono-protein (i.e., single protein source).

This helps your dog’s digestive system. They won’t have to process different “glycoproteins” in many animal sources that can cause allergic reactions. 

Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient dry dog food is one of the best premium foods you can get that meets the needs of sensitive pups. 

For this recipe, their mono-protein is deboned venison. For dogs allergic to poultry, beef, and even options like lamb, venison is a great choice. It still offers essential amino acids for muscle retention — and it provides B vitamins for energy and zinc for digestive support. 

But, their secret and beneficial ingredient is ASC-certified marine microalgae oil. This plant oil is more sustainable than fish oil but still provides the exact amounts of DHA and EPA for proper brain development and heart health. And the oil can decrease inflammation in the gut, and also support coat health. 

If that’s not enough, this recipe also includes dried chicory root. This provides prebiotic fiber to firm up the stool and help your dog absorb all the nutrients they need

Pet owners exclaim that this food not only fixed their dogs gut health, but gave them a super shiny and soft coat too.

And many noted that while this food is a premium option, it would cost more to make homemade food with the same high-quality ingredients.  


Best Grain-Free Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics LID Grain Free Salmon
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Peas, Potatoes, Pea Starch, Salmon Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 349 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and limited ingredient dog food made with antioxidants for digestive health

A sensitive stomach can wreak havoc on your dog’s immunity, energy levels, cognitive function, and even poop schedule.

This is why it’s so important to feed them a food that doesn’t trigger reactions like vomiting, gas, or bloat (amongst other issues). One of the ways to do that is to avoid specific proteins, which we’ve talked about. But sometimes, avoiding certain grains is just as important for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 

Blue Buffalo’s Basics Limited Ingredient dry dog food is gently on the tummy with wholesome ingredients for dogs who can’t eat grains without having an adverse reaction.

And, it’s made with limited ingredients, so your dog is only eating what they should be — no fillers or additives that don’t help nutritionally. 

It starts with a single protein source — real deboned salmon and cold water salmon meal. This novel protein is perfect for providing both protein and healthy fats since it includes high percentages of both. And it includes ARA, which is beneficial to both brain and bone function. 

For fiber and prebiotics, this recipe includes pumpkin. Plus, it’s tasty while aiding in regular stools and can encourage nutrient absorption. 

And for additional support, Blue Buffalo includes probiotics and antioxidants from barley grass, blueberries, live cultures, and cranberries. Not only do these provide immune support, but antioxidants are also great for gut health.

Owners love this food for picky dogs that also have a hard time digesting their food. And some have noticed a massive difference in their dog’s energy levels as well. 


Best Fresh Food

Nom Nom Turkey Fare Recipe

Nom Nom Turkey Recipe
  • First 5 Ingredients: Ground Turkey, Brown Rice, Eggs, Carrots, Spinach
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 5% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 72% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 201 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Human-grade fresh dog food for limited ingredients that you’d fix at home
Get 50% OFF your first Nom Nom order!

You may be thinking, “Well, if I’ve got to do all of this work in finding a good formula for sensitive stomachs, I may as well start a homemade diet.” 

But before you do that — may I recommend Nom Nom? This human-grade dog food offers a complete and balanced diet and is packed fresh every two weeks to ship right to your door. And, they provide the freshest ingredients for dogs with stomach sensitivities. 

Here’s how it works. You’ll take the Nom Nom quiz and answer a few questions about your dog — including any food allergies or intolerances they have. From there, Nom Nom provides the perfect diet for them, including the number of calories, fats, and nutrients they need. 

Then you can pick between one of their four recipes — although I recommend the turkey or the pork if your dog has chicken or beef intolerances. Once you’ve made your choice, the food will be shipped to you, along with feeding instructions and a scoop to make portioning out the formula easy. 

And if that isn’t cool enough, each recipe is evaluated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists and veterinarians. So even the experts know that this is a great option. 

Pet moms and dads enjoy the convenience that Nom Nom offers them. And they also love that their dog is eating real food. Many have noticed a significant change in the health of their canine since switching to fresh food


dog eating

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Need to choose dog food for your sensitive pup? Here’s what you need to know. 

How Can I Tell if My Dog Has a Sensitive Stomach?

In dogs with sensitive stomachs, they’ll most likely have (at least) one of these symptoms: 

  • Loose stools 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea (especially after eating)
  • Not eating their food suddenly
  • Constant licking of lips 
  • Swallowing a lot 
  • Excessive or super stinky gas 
  • Blood in stool 
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue after eating

These classic signs could mean that your dog has a food intolerance or food allergies and that they’re not sitting well in their stomach. 

What’s the Best Food for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs?

There are a few different formulas that you can try if your dog has a sensitive stomach. Let’s talk about them. 

Limited Ingredient Diet

To avoid most of the irritation-causing ingredients (like specific proteins and grains) in dog foods, try a limited ingredient diet.

A limited ingredient diet will usually use novel proteins and be grain-free. Plus, they only include ingredients that your dog needs, avoiding fillers and additives. 

Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Hypoallergenic dog foods are created for dogs who have a food intolerance or food allergies. They provide novel proteins that your dog’s body won’t recognize the protein antibodies as antigens, thus minimizing allergic reactions.

Hypoallergenic dog food also adds specific nutrients to help alleviate symptoms. These include omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and E. Some limited ingredient diets can function as hypoallergenic dog food based on their ingredients. 

Prescription Gastrointestinal (GI) Dog Food

In cases where food allergies or intolerances are severe, or if your dog doesn’t do well with any of the diets you’ve tried, you may have to get different food. In that case, you may want to get GI dog food your vet prescribes. 

These formulas have higher concentrations of fiber, probiotics, and ingredients that you can’t get in regular commercial foods.

And, they have proteins that are easier to digest. If you believe your dog needs to switch to gastrointestinal dog food, talk to your vet about a prescription. 

Ingredients You Want In Your Dog’s Food

So what ingredients do you want in dog food? And which should you avoid? Let’s talk about it. 

High-Quality Protein

Your dog will need highly digestible proteins to function daily, stay full, and get many of the nutrients they need to live a healthy life. But, the types of protein matter too. 

As you may know, chicken and beef are two proteins that can cause problems for many dogs with sensitive stomachs. So you may want to avoid those altogether if you suspect your dog can’t process them well. 

Instead, focus on a dog food with novel proteins like fish, venison, lamb, or more eccentric options like crickets or buffalo. And, don’t be afraid of meat meals. Fish meal, salmon meal, and lamb meal are still high-quality options that are easy to digest. 

Probiotics

Why would your dog need probiotics? Well, they help with gut health! This additive is live bacteria and yeast that adds “good” and diverse bacteria to your dog’s digestive system. 

This aids in reducing inflammation, helping your pup digest their food correctly, and keeping them from having excessive gas. 

Just remember that the probiotics in the food your feed or supplement are “live.” These are stronger because they aren’t cooked and lose their potency. 

No Grains

Your dog may be sensitive to protein, but they may also need to steer clear of certain grains or grains altogether.

If you’ve switched to a new food with novel proteins, and your dog still hasn’t gotten better, you may want to look at a grain-free diet

Of course, you can also consult with your vet about offering food without grains and what else you can try. 

raw dog food ingredients

What to Avoid in a Sensitive Stomach Dog Food?

This will all depend on your dog. Not every dog is sensitive to the same ingredients. However, here are the most common components that you may want to avoid: 

  • Proteins like chicken, turkey, eggs, or beef 
  • Grains like wheat, rice, millet, and oats
  • Vegetables like peas, corn, or potatoes
  • Soy and soy proteins  

Again, your dog may or may not be allergic to any (or all) of these. However, these are usually the culprits in sensitive stomachs, so they’re a great place to start when it comes to eliminating ingredients. 

Our Verdict

As you can see, there are so many different choices that can benefit your dog — even if they do have digestive health issues. A sensitive stomach doesn’t have to mean a bland and boring diet for the rest of your dog’s life. 

Our favorite option is Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin dry dog food

It’s got everything your dog needs — from healthy protein to easy-to-digest carbohydrates. 

However, all of the other best dog foods on this list are great too. It all depends on your dog’s needs and what they can and can not eat. But with these choices, they certainly won’t go hungry. 

FAQ

Want to know more about dog food for sensitive stomachs? Here are a few commonly asked questions and our answers. 

How do I safely transition to a new food if my dog has a sensitive stomach?

The best thing to do is transition slowly. Over 3-5 days, add a little bit of the new food to your dog’s current food. Each day, increase the amount of new food that you include. By the end of the five days, you should have successfully transitioned your dog to the new formula. 

If you notice that your dog is showing symptoms of an allergic reaction or intolerance, consult with your vet about different food. They can show you how to make a quicker change of formulas. 

Is it necessary to change a dog’s diet if he has a sensitive stomach?

Only if their food is negatively affecting them. For example, if your dog gets gas, bloat, or loose stool every time they eat, this may be a sign of a sensitive stomach. And, that means that their current food isn’t agreeing with their needs. 

If your dog’s symptoms seem to be rare or if they don’t seem bothered by their food, there is no reason to switch. 

What protein is best for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Novel proteins that aren’t known to cause negative reactions in dogs are usually best.
These include water buffalo, lamb, duck, venison, fish, and even kangaroo! 

However, remember that proteins may not be the primary (or only) cause of your dog’s sensitive stomach. Sometimes, ingredients like grains, legumes, or even certain veggies (like peas) can cause issues. This is why it’s essential to try new foods to see what works best for your pup.

What is the best food to give my dog when they have a sensitive stomach?

The best food would be a limited ingredient diet or a bland diet and grain-free option without proteins like chicken or beef, or ingredients like wheat. 

From there, you can slowly add in new proteins or ingredients to test and see which your dog is sensitive to. Or, you can always stick to the limited ingredient diet as long as your dog enjoys it. 

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AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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