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Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomachs: Puppy, Adult, Senior Diets & More

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Last Updated: May 1, 2024 | 10 min read | Leave a Comment

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If your pup suffers from ongoing gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort, including vomiting, loose stools, or flatulence, his dog food could be to blame. Sometimes, a simple change of diet will clear up the symptoms. So, we’ve found some of the best dog food for sensitive stomachs you may want to consider. We also explore what you can do to identify the specific food items that are causing your pup’s symptoms.

At A Glance: A Few Of Our Top Picks

DryFreshWetFor PuppiesFor Seniors
Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & StomachThe Farmer's Dog packagesHill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin StewPurina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food
Purina Pro PlanThe Farmer’s DogHills Science DietPurina Pro PlanNulo Senior
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What’s Causing My Dog’s Tummy Troubles?

Sad dog laying next to bowl of dog food with sensitive tummy
While ongoing GI problems are usually due to diet, sometimes a sensitive stomach can be a sign of something more serious.

It’s a good idea to have your veterinarian rule out such problems as ulcers, intestinal parasites, and stomach cancer, all of which can cause chronic symptoms.

Ingredients

Like humans, dogs can be particularly sensitive or even allergic to certain ingredients in their diet. And unfortunately, our furry friends can develop intolerances to food ingredients at any point in their lifetime. The most common culprits include beef, chicken, dairy products, and wheat.

Many dogs also don’t tolerate soy, corn, eggs, and various preservatives well. But every dog is different, so there’s a long list of ingredients that could be causing problems. Don’t forget to take into account any treats or table scraps your pup may be eating regularly, as these could be the source of tummy woes. Overfeeding can also result in chronic stomach issues.

Fat Content

High-fat content in dog food can also be hard on the digestive tract, causing chronic digestion issues in some dogs. That’s why many animal nutritionists recommend a moderate fat content for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Look for a minimum crude fat content of less than 18% on a dry matter basis.

Fiber Content

Fiber is a crucial factor in a dog’s digestive health, and an insufficient amount could be causing tummy troubles, particularly loose stools or diarrhea. Look for dog food with a minimum fiber content between 2% to 4% on a dry matter basis.

You could also talk to your vet about adding fiber sources to your pup’s diet to help alleviate digestive problems. Excellent natural fiber sources for dogs include pumpkin, apples, flaxseed, and kale. Fiber also helps dogs feel more full, which may help curb the overeating that can lead to an upset stomach.

If you’re unsure what’s causing your dog’s GI problems, you can give your pup an at-home dog allergy test. These kits test for sensitivity or intolerance to many foods (and environmental allergens) that develop over time. You send a saliva or hair sample to the company’s lab and get results within a few weeks. You can then share these results with your vet to help further narrow down possible causes.

8 Best Dog Foods For Sensitive Stomachs

Our team has researched hundreds of different dog foods for all kinds of diet types and health concerns. We’ve chosen our top picks below based on the overall quality of ingredients, special ingredients for tummy troubles, customer feedback, pricing, and other factors.

Expert Tip: Over time, some dogs develop sensitivities to a specific animal protein, with beef and chicken being the most common. So, trying out a new dog food containing a novel protein (one that your pup has never eaten before) may do the trick. Some alternative animal proteins you may want to consider include salmon, duck, venison, turkey, or lamb.

Best Dry: Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Review

Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach

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This best-selling, easy-to-digest dog food comes highly recommended by many veterinarians (and satisfied pet owners) for pups suffering from food sensitivities and allergies. It contains real animal protein (salmon, turkey, or lamb) as the first ingredient and has no corn, wheat, soy, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.

This sensitive stomach dog food is fortified with probiotics for gut health, omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health, and plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. The formulas also contain stomach-friendly grains such as oatmeal, barley, and rice. Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach also comes in small and large breed formulas, as well as canned wet food if that’s what your pup prefers.

ProsCons
Salmon, lamb, or turkey is the first ingredientDoesn’t contain vegetables or fruits
Contains easily digestible grains: rice, oatmeal, and barleySome recent customer reports that it made their dogs sick
Moderate crude fat content of 16% (min)
4% min crude fiber content
No corn, wheat, or soy
Fortified with prebiotics and probiotics
Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Made in the USA

Price

  • Starting at: $18.98 (4-lb bag)

Best Fresh: The Farmer’s Dog Turkey Review

Dog with a box of The Farmer's Dog

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The Farmer’s Dog offers fresh, human-grade meals using all-natural limited ingredients. All four recipes are grain-free and formulated with USDA turkey, pork, chicken, or beef as the first ingredient. They contain fresh vegetables, salmon oil, vitamins, and minerals with no soy, corn, or wheat. Their recipes are developed by board-certified American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) nutritionists and flash-frozen to preserve nutrients and freshness. For sensitive stomachs, we recommend the turkey recipe because the other formulas have high fat content.

The Farmer’s Dog personalizes and pre-portions the food to meet your furry friend’s specific dietary needs. You fill out a brief survey, which includes your dog’s age, breed, current and ideal weight, and health concerns. All recipes meet Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for all life stages. The Farmer’s Dog requires a subscription, but you can change recipes or cancel at any time.

ProsCons
Fresh, human-grade dog food can be excellent for sensitive stomachsNo grain-inclusive recipes
First ingredient is USDA animal protein and contains organ meatsFat content may be too high for some dogs
Natural fiber sources from whole veggies (e.g., carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, etc.) Expensive
Higher fiber content of 6.25% (dry matter basis)
Fortified with salmon oil
No corn, wheat, or soy
Personalized and pre-portioned
Made in the USA

Price

Our readers have access to 50% off your first box. No code is needed; just use this link, and the discount will be applied!

In-Depth The Farmer’s Dog Review

Be sure to read our full review of The Farmer’s Dog for details on formulas, ingredients, and much more.

Best Wet: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Stew Review

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Stew

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Hill’s Science Diet has designed these wet formulas to support your dog’s sensitive stomach with easily digestible ingredients. They contain chicken broth and real protein as the first two ingredients and are full of nutritional vegetables, vitamins, and minerals with no fillers or preservatives.

These stews are made in the USA and come in three recipes: grain-inclusive turkey and rice, grain-free chicken and vegetables, and grain-free salmon and vegetables. Hill’s Science is a #1 vet-recommended brand, and many customers find that this wet food is easy on their dogs’ stomachs.

ProsCons
Frequently recommended by vets for sensitive stomachsLower protein content (18%) may not be adequate for very active dogs
Chicken broth and animal meats are the first 2 ingredientsSome owners said their dogs didn’t like the taste
Moderate crude fat content of 14% (dry matter basis)
4.55% min crude fiber content from real veggies and dried beet pulp
No corn, wheat, or soy
Made in the USA

Price

Best For Puppies: Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Review

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach

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We’ve also chosen the Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach dog food line as the best puppy food for sensitive stomachs. It comes in two high-protein formulas for growing puppies, salmon & rice and lamb & oatmeal. These USA-made formulas are wheat, corn, and soy-free with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. They also contain live probiotics and natural prebiotic fiber for intestinal health.

Other special ingredients for puppies include DHA from omega-rich fish oil to support brain and vision development, omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and antioxidants to support your puppy’s developing immune system. Everything your little guy needs to thrive.

ProsCons
Salmon or lamb is the first ingredientDoesn’t contain vegetables or fruits
Contains easily digestible grains: rice, oatmeal, and barleySome customer reports that it gave their puppies diarrhea
3% min crude fiber content
No corn, wheat, or soy
Fortified with prebiotics and probiotics
Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Made in the USA

Price

  • Starting at: $18.98 (4-lb bag)

Best For Seniors: Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food Review

nulo senior dog food

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Have a senior sidekick with stomach woes? We’ve chosen this Nulo formula as the best senior dog food for sensitive stomachs. Made with all-natural ingredients, this formula combines optimal ingredients for older dogs who need gut and joint support as well as weight control. This recipe includes easy-to-digest trout, lentils, sweet potato, and dried fruits and veggies.

It’s fortified with probiotics for healthy digestion, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, and L-carnitine. L-carnitine is important for senior dogs who are less active because it helps the body metabolize fats to keep your pup from gaining weight. The only downside to this food is its hefty price.

ProsCons
Real trout is the first ingredientNo grain-inclusive senior formula
Moderate fat content at 12% (min)A few reports of gas and runny stools
Contains natural fiber from tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, and apples (5% fiber content)
No corn, wheat, or soy
Fortified with prebiotics and probiotics
Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Made in the USA

Price

In-Depth Nulo Review

Check out our full review of Nulo for details on all of this premium brand’s formulas, ingredients, and more.

Best For Novel Proteins: Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dog Food Review

Canidae Pure Salmon & Sweet Potato

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If you’ve tried the usual protein suspects (chicken, beef, turkey) without success, you may want to consider one of Canidae’s Pure Limited Ingredient line of recipes. You can choose from duck, bison, wild boar, lamb, goat & venison, and more. Each formula is grain-free with no corn, wheat, soy, or fillers and contains only seven to 10 whole-food ingredients.

They also include an excellent blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and taurine for heart health. Canidae Pure also comes in grain-inclusive kibble and wet dog food. It’s also more affordable than many other premium dog chow.

ProsCons
Excellent for dogs with an intolerance to chicken or beefHigh-protein content (32%) may be too much for some dogs
Premium animal protein is the first ingredientSome reports of gas
Moderate fat content at 14% (min)
Contains natural fiber from sweet potatoes and flaxseed (4.5% fiber content)
No corn, wheat, or soy
Fortified with prebiotics and probiotics
Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Made in the USA

Price

Best Limited Ingredient: Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Diet Review

Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Diet

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Developed by pet nutritionists specifically for sensitive stomachs, Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient dog food may be the solution for your pup’s troubles. Each grain-free recipe features only one premium-quality animal ingredient (salmon, duck, venison, lamb, or turkey) with no by-product meals, wheat, corn, or soy.

All formulas, which are made in Canada, also include prebiotic fiber from chickory root and less than 10 whole-food ingredients for healthy digestion. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. If your pup prefers wet food, you can find similar sensitive-stomach Go! recipes in shredded meat or paté form.

ProsCons
Entirely beef and chicken-free with limited ingredientsOmega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content isn’t as high as many other foods we review here
Real animal protein is the first ingredientSome reports that dogs didn’t like the taste (particularly the salmon recipe)
Moderate fat content at 12% (min)
4.5% fiber content
No corn, wheat, or soy
Fortified with a natural prebiotic
Made in Canada

Price

Best Shelf-Stable Fresh: Spot & Tango Cod & Salmon Unkibble Review

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If you want a step up in quality but don’t have a fridge and freezer room for fresh meals, Spot & Tango’s Unkibble could be just the ticket. This shelf-stable dog food is made from human-grade meats and fresh starches, veggies, and fruits that are dehydrated under low temperatures to preserve nutrients. Ingredients are sourced from local farms and human food suppliers.

For sensitive stomachs, we recommend the grain-free Cod and Salmon recipe, which contains sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, strawberries, and other whole-food ingredients. All recipes (they offer two other Unkibble formulas and fresh meals) were developed by a certified vet nutritionist. And like the Farmer’s Dog, Spot & Tango personalizes your pup’s food based on his age, weight, health concerns, and more.

ProsCons
Human-grade dehydrated dog food can be excellent for sensitive stomachsOn the pricey side for dry food
First ingredient is codRequires a subscription (but you can cancel anytime)
Moderate fat content of 17%
Natural fiber sources from whole pumpkin, carrots, spinach, and strawberries (3% fiber content)
Fortified with flaxseed for healthy digestion
No corn, wheat, or soy
Personalized and pre-portioned
Made in the USA

Price

  • Unkibble plans start at $1/day
  • Fresh plans start at $2/day
  • Free shipping
  • View all options

In-Depth Spot & Tango Review

Learn more about what this premium brand offers in our full review of Spot & Tango.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pup owners have a lot of questions about feeding their dogs who have sensitive stomachs. Here are some Q&As that may help you. Don’t see your question here? Hit us up in our comments.

What Are The Signs That My Dog Has A Sensitive Stomach?

Every dog responds differently, but the common signs of a sensitive stomach include vomiting, loose stools or diarrhea, flatulence, or a decrease in appetite. If your dog has these recurring symptoms, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.

Is Wet Or Dry Food Better For Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs?

Whether your dog’s food is wet or dry usually doesn’t make a difference. The ingredients and fat and fiber content are more important considerations.

Is Grain-Free Dog Food Better For Sensitive Stomachs?

Not necessarily – it usually comes down to the types of grain. Some dogs have trouble with wheat-based grains, but many can handle highly digestible grains such as oatmeal and barley well. These tummy-friendly grains are also an important part of a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Does How I Feed My Dog Make A Difference?

It can make a difference in some dogs. You may want to try feeding your pup several smaller meals per day instead of just one or two feedings to help improve digestive problems. Also, if your pup inhales his food, you may want to consider getting a slow-feeder bowl. Eating too fast can be bad for digestive health.

How Do I Transition My Pup To A Sensitive Stomach Dog Food?

Switching to new dog food isn’t always simple, particularly if your canine companion already has stomach issues. Our guide on how to change your dog’s food safely gives you a handy schedule to make the transition gradually. This helps your pup’s GI system adjust to the new food while minimizing an upset stomach.

What Is A Food Elimination Diet?

If you’ve tried to pinpoint the offending ingredients without success, your vet may suggest putting your pup on a food elimination trial. These special diets are geared toward dogs with ongoing skin and stomach problems and require direction from your vet. But this video gives you a good idea of what they entail.

Consider A Dog Probiotic

In addition to a diet change, giving your dog a daily probiotic, either short or long-term, can get your furry friend’s stomach back in shape. The best dog probiotics can help relieve GI discomfort and reduce the incidences of vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence. However, the benefits of probiotics go beyond GI relief. A daily dose can also help boost your dog’s immune system, improve bad breath, ease skin itchiness, and more.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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