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Like humans, dogs can suffer from sensitive stomachs. Although it might seem that they’re pretty hardy, they’re not a “walking-barking” garbage disposal.
A proper diet has a big impact on a dog’s health. In this article, we will help you understand what causes a dog to have a sensitive stomach, the symptoms, and possible solutions.
Many dog owners find it challenging to find the right dog food for sensitive stomachs on the market.
Amongst hundreds of brands, we here at FeedFond have researched to identify the best brands to suit your furry best friend. Hopefully, these sensitive stomach dog food will help your dog eat properly and stop throwing up within minutes of eating.
It will also reduce the accidental incontinence problems that you and your dog face when struggling with a sensitive stomach.
Sensitive Stomach Dog Foods – Comparison
Last update on 2019-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Last update on 2019-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Contents & Quick Navigation
- The Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs in 2020
- What is Sensitive Stomach In Dogs?
- Signs of Diet-Related Problems In Dogs
- Causes of Sensitive Stomachs in Dogs
- Symptoms of Sensitive Stomachs in Dogs
- Diagnosing a Dog with a Sensitive Stomach
- Treatment of Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
- Homemade Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
- Switching Diets for Sensitive Dogs
- Ingredients that Might Upset Your Dog’s Stomach
- Sensitive Stomach Dog Food Buying Guide
- Grain Free Dog Food
- Gluten Free Dog Food
- The Absence of Soy Products
- Easily Digestible Proteins and Carbohydrates
- All-Natural Ingredients
- A Limited Ingredients List
- Look Out for Digestion Promoting Ingredients
- Go for Immune System Boosting Ingredients
- The “Complete and Balanced” Seal
- Only Quality Ingredients
- Additional Dog Foods for Sensitive Stomach
The Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs in 2020
Choosing dog food is a tricky affair, even more so when your dog has a sensitive stomach. To make your life easier, Feedfond has gathered a list of some of the very best dog foods that are soothing for dog tummies.
#1. CANIDAE All Life Stages
The first brand on our list is Canidae, and it has truly marked its position at the top. Canidae’s recipe for sensitive stomach dog food is Godsend.
The primary ingredient is lamb meal, which adds tons of flavor to your dog’s meals. This makes it a good option for dogs who are allergic to the more common sources of protein. It also contains rice, which is easily digestible and provides tons of energy for your active dog.
All the ingredients are wholesome and high quality, coming from the most trusted sources. You’ll also be happy to know that each batch of Canidae’s dog food is prepared with love and under the strictest safety standards.
What We Love About It
Canidae is one of the finest dog foods for sensitive stomachs. With every bite of kibble, your dog will get prebiotics. This will help your dog’s troubled tummy by restoring the gut flora and improving its digestion.
#2. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free
Third on the list is the very popular and trusted brand, Wellness. It has come up with a grain free formula made specifically for dogs with stomach issues. The ingredients are all premium quality and guaranteed to give your dog all the nutrients for a healthy life.
The first three ingredients of this formula are meat based. The primary protein source is deboned turkey, followed by chicken and turkey meal. This provides your dog with the amino acid profile it needs to develop lean muscles.
The recipe contains real vegetables and is fortified with all the essential vitamins and minerals that dogs need. It is also enriched with plenty of fiber and micro bacteria that does wonders for your dog’s digestion.
What We Love About It
Wellness Core truly cares about putting out the best quality food for dogs all over the world. That’s why it uses no chemicals in the form of colors, flavors or even preservatives.
#3. Hill’s Science Diet
Hill’s is well-known for providing dogs with the best meals. Luckily for us, it also came up with a special dog food for sensitive stomachs. The recipe has been developed by over 220 vets, food scientists, nutritionists and technicians who are well versed in canine health requirements.
The ingredients are all high quality and easily digestible. The formula is also packed with probiotics that support your dog’s digestive system. This ensures that your dog is able to take up all the nutrients it needs.
Hill’s recipe also prides itself in being designed for maintaining your dog’s coat and skin. It contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are known to give the canine coat the glossy and smooth look that every dog owner wants.
What We Love About It
What makes Hill’s recipe for sensitive stomachs special is the fact that it contains a clinically approved blend of antioxidants. It is enriched with plenty of Vitamin E and C which will strengthen your dog’s immune system, making your dog less susceptible to infections and illnesses.
#4. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero
Another strong contender in this list is Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry dog food. As you can tell by the name, it’s actually a perfect dog food for sensitive stomachs. It’s also a very allergy friendly recipe.
Rachel Ray’s formula is cooked with reliable safety measures in the US itself, with premium quality ingredients. It has a unique taste, with real salmon being the primary ingredient. This is an allergy-friendly protein that will help your dog develop lean muscles.
It also contains easily digestible sweet potatoes which will add a flavor your dog will definitely enjoy. Not to mention, this ingredient brings along with it some essential vitamins and antioxidants, as well as fiber.
This means the recipe is good for the immune system and brings about more efficient digestion.
What We Love About It
Rachel Ray has eliminated the most common canine allergens from its recipe. It has absolutely no grains or even gluten, making it a perfect fit for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
#5. Iams Sensitive Naturals
Iams has been developing dog food for a long time now. Its dog food for sensitive stomachs has been well received by pet owners. The strict regulations in preparing the food and the high-quality ingredients used make this a trusted and beloved brand.
All the ingredients in this recipe are wholesome and easily digestible, making it perfect for sensitive stomachs and dogs with allergies. But there are absolutely no compromises on the essential nutrients.
If you didn’t realize by the name already, Iams Sensitive Naturals is actually fish flavored. And not just any fish mind you- ocean fish! This is great for dogs who are allergic or sensitive to more common sources of protein.
The formula contains a blend of all the essential nutrients, vitamins. antioxidants and minerals.
What We Love About It
It also contains lots of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that are extremely beneficial for your dog. It’s certified as complete and balanced, so you know for sure your dog is getting a healthy meal.
#6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive
As its name suggests, this recipe is the perfect dog food for sensitive stomachs and skin. It’s one of the most affordable brands on our list, but it makes no compromises with the quality of ingredients.
That’s why Purina is a pretty popular option for dog owners.
The ingredients include oatmeal which is the ultimate source of energy for dogs. It may be a grain, but it’s very easily digestible. The recipe also contains fish oil and sunflower oil which provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
These are well known for keeping your dog’s coat healthy and shiny.
Purina’s recipe has been developed by professionals who truly care about dogs. It has a simple and short ingredients list that’s perfect for stomach issues. It even contains chicory root which is known to help with digestion.
What We Love About It
Purina’s special formal for sensitive skin and stomach has chosen salmon as its first ingredient. This is a delicious flavor that will appeal to your dog’s taste buds. It’s also a rare protein source which makes it less likely to cause stomach issues.
#7. Natural Balance Limited
Natural Balance has come up with the ideal dog food for sensitive stomachs. It has eliminated all the common canine allergens from its recipe and taken extra measures to make it sensitive stomach-friendly.
The ingredients are all chemical free and of the highest quality. With this recipe, your dog is guaranteed to get all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins in the right proportions. It’s even designed to take special care of your dog’s coat and skin.
And if that wasn’t enough, this particular recipe from Natural Balance has quite the unique flavor. Its primary ingredient is duck that’s not only delicious but also a great protein source for developing lean muscles.
It also contains potatoes, which adds a lot of fiber to your dog’s diet as well.
What We Love About It
The best part about Natural Balance’s dog food for sensitive stomachs is its short ingredients list. So, your dog gets everything it needs for a healthy and balanced diet, without any unnecessary fillers.
#8. Wellness Simple Natural Limited
Wellness Simple’s recipe is the perfect fit for dogs with tummy issues. This is because has a very short ingredients list that is usually recommended for dogs with allergies or stomach sensitivities.
The ingredients are all premium quality, and super easy to digest for dogs. The recipe is made in the USA, ensuring strict safety standards. This dog food targets all aspects of canine health, starting from stronger immune systems and healthier coats and skin to even the maintenance of the teeth and gums.
The main ingredients are salmon and ground rice, with the flavor of potato. Salmon is not a common protein so it’s less likely that your dog will be allergic to it. The ground rice provides plenty of energy for dogs and is also a good source of fiber in the diet.
What We Love About It
Wellness has formulated the perfect recipe for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The best part about it is that it has absolutely no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. So, you can rest assured that your dog is getting chemical free food.
#9. Whole Earth Farms
If you’ve got a dog with a sensitive stomach because of its diet, Whole Earth Farms has got your back. The food is cooked in the USA itself, with high-quality ingredients. So, you know for sure that you’re in good hands.
Whole Earth prides itself in providing a complete and balanced diet for dogs. It contains no poultry or grain in the formula, making it the perfect option for dogs with allergies.
The first ingredient is pork meal, followed by beef and lamb. These ingredients ensure that your dog gets the optimum amount of nutrients, as well as plenty of energy for its active lifestyle.
What We Love About It
This recipe contains blueberries, which are well-known superfoods. Not only do they add an amazing flavor, but they’re really good for your dog’s health too. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, omega fatty acids and Vitamin C which strengthens the immune system.
#10. AvoDerm Natural
AvoDerm’s Natural Dog Food is actually a very good option if you have a dog with a sensitive stomach. It contains all the vital nutrients from chicken meal and brown rice that your dog needs for an allergy-free, healthy lifestyle.
All the ingredients are completely natural and simple. But every bite is nutrient dense and packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals. It also contains avocadoes, which are a really good source of omega fatty acids.
AvoDerm’s recipe aims to strengthen your dog’s immune system. It also supports canine coat and skin health. What’s more, it has a great savory taste that will keep your dog wanting more.
What We Love About It
Do you know what’s cool about Avoderm’s special formula? Unlike other dog food, the kibble is actually pressure cooked! This ensures that your dog will get the optimum amounts of nutrient and energy from its meals.
What is Sensitive Stomach In Dogs?
Sensitive stomach in dogs can be defined as a condition where your dog has irritable and mostly negative reactions in the digestive system when subjected to a variety of diet because their body is not able to process it.
There is a common misconception that dogs can eat everything and anything. While it’s true that a dog’s stomach is stronger than that of a human, they can’t truly eat anything without any consequence; there are just some things that a dog absolutely cannot eat.
Some are just downright lethal for them.
Before a sensitive stomach dog food, you have to identify what’s causing their upset stomach. According to The American Kennel Club, there are three primary symptoms:
- Loose stool
- Flatulence (gas)
- Occasional vomiting
Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible if they have severe diarrhea or vomiting—it’s a sign that there’s something seriously wrong with your dog.
In general, when your dog has a sensitive stomach, you’ll see similar but moderate versions of the above symptoms. You will also spot various other warning signs related to your dog’s diet.
Important Read: Arthritis in Dogs- Natural & Other Treatments Guide
Signs of Diet-Related Problems In Dogs
Dr. Patric Mahaney explained “Pica” as being something that occurs when dogs explore the world around them with their mouths. This means they eat from unattended plates, trash or other non-food items. In some cases of Pica, dogs may even eat sticks and grass. Vets think that Pica is a sign of nutritional deficiency.
Studies show that 1 out of 4 dogs display this behavior and vomit afterward; and, some dogs chew on grass or non-food items only out of curiosity and boredom.
Research shows that specific breeds have more stomach problems than others, usually due to their size. Good examples of such breeds would be Yorkies and Scottish Terriers. As the dog ages, they become more sensitive to things they eat.
Some dogs get flatulence when they gulp a lot of air while drinking or eating dry food quickly. Dry food expands in the stomach causing distress in dogs.
It is highly recommended to use elevated or slow feeders and regular exercise half an hour after meals.
It’s natural that some dogs will be allergic and have an intolerance to certain kinds of food. Most common canine allergies are triggered by foods containing wheat, soy, and corn.
On the market, many manufacturers use these as their primary ingredients. It’s not always caused by those ingredients though; some dogs can get upset stomachs from animal protein sources.
The best way to know what is affecting your dog is to eliminate suspected foods one by one. Figuring out what ingredient is causing the food allergies will help you in selecting the right dog food for a sensitive stomach.
Concerned owners have also reported that a sensitive stomach causes itchy skin, rash, and even bleeding for their dogs. The signs of sensitive skin is a sure sign of food allergies.
It’s essential that you choose the right kind of food to relieve some of the sensitivities and alleviate some of the symptoms.
Causes of Sensitive Stomachs in Dogs
The first thing to understand about sensitive stomach is what causes it. Without knowing the culprit behind your dog’s distress, how can you expect to solve the problem?
Although this article will deal mainly with food-related causes, there are a lot of other reasons behind this issue as well. So, keep reading to find out all the reasons behind a sensitive stomach.
Food Related Causes
This can be due to sudden dietary changes, congenital stomach sensitivities or even allergies. Some dogs are unable to tolerate or digest certain types of food that other dogs may be totally okay with.
This may even be essential ingredients like proteins.
Your dog might also be suffering from a nutrient deficiency that’s causing its stomach problems. The most common deficiencies include a lack of fiber, vitamins or minerals in your canine companion’s diet.
In some cases, dogs might even be getting too much of a certain nutrient like fat, that causes havoc for their digestive system.
Poisoning and Medical Conditions
Dogs like to eat everything, so it’s a pretty common sight to find them scooping out the trash. This is definitely bad because dustbins contain all sorts of toxins.
Dogs can even get poisoned by things like cleaning liquids, antifreeze, medication, pesticides or even vitamin D supplements. And if you’re a fan of house plants, especially elephant ears and nettles, you need to be careful because they can be poisonous for your dog as well.
Other common poisonous ingredients for dogs, in general, include sweetening agents like xylitol and normal human favorites like garlic, grapes, onions, and chocolates. So, you’ve got to be well informed and make your house and pantry dog-friendly.
Of course, your dog might also have an existing medical condition that causes digestive problems. Addison’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrinoma, stomach ulcers, and pancreatitis usually lead to tummy troubles and require specialized diets.
Parasites, Bacteria, and Viruses
Your dog might be suffering from stomach sensitivity because of some pesky parasites. Common parasitic culprits include giardia, hookworm, whipworm, coccidia, etc. Unfortunately, symptoms of parasites are not very obvious, so it might be confusing to identify.
Even viruses or bacteria may be responsible for your dog’s sensitive stomach too. In fact, some viruses like parvo, distemper, and corona can actually cause severe health impacts.
If your dog has a weak immune system, it’s more susceptible to bacterial infections like E-coli and salmonella, which can cause quite a lot of trouble.
So, if you do see your dog suffering from a stomach upset, make sure to rule out parasites, bacteria, and viruses first.
Here’s some news for you – Human’s aren’t the only one who suffers from stress and anxiety! Your furry companion experiences those awful things too! When dogs are exposed to a stressful situation, they feel very anxious and panicky.
This may cause gas, diarrhea or upset stomachs.
This is often an overlooked cause behind canine tummy troubles. So be sure to examine your surroundings and your dog’s behavior. It’s best to eliminate whatever is stressing them out. You could even go to a vet for medication or training that will calm down.
More Read: Foods You Can and Can’t Share With Your Dog
Symptoms of Sensitive Stomachs in Dogs
So how can you tell if your dog has stomach issues? Well, dogs suffering from sensitive stomachs will show a few common symptoms. Now it’s important to note that all dogs might not have these exact textbook reactions.
Some might have more severe symptoms which definitely call for serious action. It’s important to always observe your dog’s behavior, habits and yes, even its poop. Here are a few telltale signs of sensitive stomachs that might give you an idea-
Vomiting isn’t something unusual for dogs. Sometimes they eat so fast, barfing is only normal. But if the vomiting more frequent, there is definitely something up with your dog’s tummy.
If you see your dog has recently been excreting more runny or loose stools, then it’s time to be concerned. This is usually a sign of gastrointestinal problems, especially if the diarrhea is intermittent.
Dogs are stinky and they do fart. However, if it’s happening a lot more often and the stink is unbearable, your dog is obviously disagreeing with its diet.
Sometimes, the symptoms of a sensitive stomach can come up in the form of hypersalivation. Drooling is normal, but more than usual excessive puddles of drool on the floor are definitely not.
You might notice that your dog isn’t moving much after eating a certain food. In that case, you should definitely take your dog to a vet. Lethargy can also be a sign of a sensitive stomach which often goes unnoticed.
Lack of Appetite
Your dog’s appetite should be consistent every day. If you see it eating less than usual, then something might be up with its diet or health. Dogs with sensitive stomachs often suffer from a lack of appetite.
Diagnosing a Dog with a Sensitive Stomach
If you see any of the symptoms above, it’s time to take your dog to the vet. This might seem like a hassle, but taking professional help will save you and your dog a lot of trouble and money in the long run.
What to Expect
You will be asked about your dog’s existing medical conditions, daily habits, and symptoms. A physical exam might also be conducted on your dog to figure out whether your dog is the right weight and developing properly.
The vet might also want to conduct some lab tests for your dog. This will provide a more in-depth and accurate analysis of what’s wrong. You might also need to submit a fecal sample, to test for parasites or bacterial infections.
Sometimes a radiograph or endoscopy of your dog’s GI tract might also be required. This will help your vet understand whether there is an intestinal block causing the symptoms.
If the problem is an allergy, blood tests should be enough, but you might also have to carry out elimination diets to identify the problem.
Treatment of Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
The treatment of your dog’s sensitive stomach depends on its symptoms and causes. This is why lab tests are important. Without knowing what’s wrong on an internal level, you can’t really start treating your dog.
There’s no one size solution for all dogs with sensitive stomachs. But here are some common courses of action that are usually suggested –
When your dog is suffering from the symptoms of a sensitive stomach, it’s best to not give it food for 12 to 24 hours. In fact, giving your dog food while it’s vomiting or having loose stools is just going to make it feel worse.
This is something you’ll feel incredibly guilty about, but it’s actually for the greater good! Your dog won’t die without a day of food in this condition, but it will definitely feel a lot better once its tummy is emptied.
There is of course medication to relieve your dog of its symptoms and help out with the sensitive stomach. However, make sure it is prescribed by a vet, based on the lab results.
For example, your dog might be given anti-vomiting medication or even something to harden up its stool. If your dog is suffering from an ulcer, your vet might prescribe medicine to soothe the ulcer and speed up healing.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach because of a food issue, you might have to change its diet. There are plenty of sensitive stomach dog foods available on the market which you might have to consider.
You could also shift to homemade, bland meals. Your vet will give you instructions for this, so don’t worry.
Usually, a sensitive stomach diet will contain more fiber and easily digestible ingredients. You might even have to avoid certain ingredients that your dog is allergic to. This dietary change could be for a few days, or even for the rest of your dog’s life.
Sometimes vets might recommend adding supplements along with your dog’s normal meals. This could be vitamins or minerals that your dog is lacking. It could also be probiotics like FortiFlora or yogurt, which keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.
You’ll have to be very careful once your dog is diagnosed with a sensitive stomach. Keep your dog under supervision and make sure it isn’t digging in the garbage or eating anything it’s not supposed to.
Stop giving your dog table scraps and excessive treats. It’s also wise to separate meals into smaller portions throughout the day.
Homemade Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
A lot of dog owners prefer to go for homemade food, once a sensitive stomach has been diagnosed. This is not surprising as a homemade diet will give you more control over the ingredients list.
This is perfect for avoiding certain allergens and adding specific nutrients your dog needs. It’s also a much cheaper option than commercial dog food since you’ll be buying ingredients in bulk.
Homemade is the way to go if your dog has a very particular diet. But if it has a sensitive stomach, there are certain food items that will help to tackle the problem. Here’s a list of some of those ingredients:
Boiled Chicken or Turkey Breast
Lean boiled chicken and turkey are perfect sources of protein if your dog is suffering from an upset stomach. It brings in great flavor to the food and is also easy to digest. It also lacks fat, fiber and seasoning, which is always a good thing for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Canned Tuna or Salmon
You’d be surprised to know that canned fish actually provides your dog with a lot of essential nutrients. But be careful about whether it contains oil or seasoning. Your fish should be canned in water in order to avoid tummy troubles.
Adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet is really good for their digestive system. It has a low glycemic index and allows slow absorption of nutrients. So, it’s ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs and even just for tackling diarrhea and vomiting.
White rice is pretty easy to find and the simplest food you can get for your dog. It is packed with nutrients and has a bland flavor that is good for sensitive stomachs. But you need to be careful about cooking the rice properly and letting it cool before feeding your dog.
Boiled potatoes are also a very simple carbohydrate that’s easy to digest. They have lots of nutrients that your dog needs as well. In fact, boiled sweet potato actually has high vitamin content that your dog needs.
However, you should always peel the potato to ensure keeping the fiber content to a minimum.
Bone broth is an absolute favorite for all kinds of dogs. It’s also really good for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Homemade broth is easily digestible and filled with nutrients. But you’ve got to make sure it cools for a while in the fridge before serving.
And of course, remember to remove the fat layer from the top.
Yogurt is not just good for humans, but for dogs as well. It contains probiotics which improve the functioning of your dog’s digestive system. But make sure the yogurt you get is plain and not sweet or flavored.
Advice for Cooking Homemade Meals for Your Dog
The first thing you’ll need to do is find the right recipe for your dog. This may be a trial and error experiment, but make sure you pick recipes from credible sources. It’s best to design a diet with professional advice, that caters specifically to your dog.
Your dog will need a balanced diet with proteins, fats, carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals. You might even have to add some supplements to the diet if you can’t provide all the necessary nutrients in your meal.
You’ll need to be well calculated with the portions of each ingredient and measure everything out properly.
Whatever food you make for your dog with a sensitive stomach, should be bland and free of seasoning, oil, and other additives. Make sure you cook everything thoroughly as well because undercooked food can be pretty harmful for your dog’s digestion.
Switching Diets for Sensitive Dogs
You may have many reasons for wanting to change your dog’s food. This is normal for every pet owner because we’re always on the hunt for better diets for dogs.
And as we all know, finding the perfect dog food involves a lot of trials. Sometimes a dog’s preference might even change, or it might become allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients.
Changing your dog’s diet is a difficult time because this is the peak time for your dog to get an upset stomach. But if you follow some rules and do it properly, both you and your dog will have a much better transition experience.
How to Change Your Dog’s Food
Here are a few useful tips on how to make the switch to a different dog food brand –
The Change Should Be Gradual
You shouldn’t spring up a new diet change on your dog all of a sudden. Such sudden switches can cause diarrhea, vomiting and gas issues. This is because your dog needs time to get used to the new food.
When you first introduce the new food, it should be mixed in with a greater amount of older food. This ratio should be kept consistent for a few days. The period of transition will vary with different dogs.
It is longer for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Reduce the Food Portions
Better quality food can sometimes be pretty dense in nutrients and have more calories in one cup. So, it’s wise to reduce your dog’s portions.
If you continue feeding the same amount as before, you’d just be overfeeding your dog. This usually causes loose stools, vomiting and weight gain. Of course, you should follow the instructions in the packaging or consult your vet first.
When giving your dog its food, measure accurately. Don’t wing it, actually, use a measuring cup or scale. This will ensure that your dog is getting the right amount of food and prevent overfeeding.
Give Your Dog Some Extra Help with Digestion
As mentioned before, certain ingredients are really good for your dog’s digestive system. When your dog is transitioning to a different dog food brand, it’s very likely to get an upset stomach. So it’s the perfect time to use those digestive aids.
Whenever you make a change in your dog’s diet, the balance of bacteria in the GI tract can change. So, make sure to add in some probiotics to restore that balance. You could also consider increasing fiber content in its diet with ingredients like pumpkin to help digestion.
We recommend you to look for dogs foods on the market that already contain probiotics or fibers so that you don’t have to buy them separately.
Faster Switches to Sensitive Stomach Dog Food
Sometimes, you have no option but to make an immediate change to your dog’s diet. For example, when your dog has been diagnosed with an allergy or a sensitive stomach. While it’s always good to follow the tips above, in these cases, you’ll just have to take the leap.
First of all, you’ll have to keep your dog away from food for a day. This will help empty out the contents of its stomach. Your vet will also probably provide some medication to tackle all the symptoms.
You should introduce the new food in smaller portions than usual and add some digestive aids to make the process easier. Try to pick brands or recipes similar to what you used to buy. Sometimes brands have different options for sensitive stomach dog food.
If the change isn’t too drastic, the transition will be a lot easier.
A General Guide to Switching Your Dog’s Diet
Here’s a general guide for switching your dog’s food. This may not be ideal for your dog, but it will give you an idea of how to go about with the process.
In the first 2 days of the transition, your dog’s old and new food should be mixed together in a ratio of 75% old to 25% new.
If your dog is having stomach troubles with the new change, then don’t increase the portions of the new food. Keep the same ratio until your dog gets used to it.
At this stage adding some pumpkin, probiotics or yogurt might help. Once your dog is well again, you can increase the new dog food portions. The ratio should now be 50% old and 50% new.
Day 5- 6
In this stage, you can lower the amount of old dog food. The ratio of food should be something like 25% old and 75% new. But if your dog is showing signs of an upset stomach, don’t increase the portions.
Continue slowing down the transition like before.
If all goes well, your dog can finally be shifted completely to the new dog food. But don’t expect the transition to be without obstacles. Your dog might get stomach upsets at any point. So you have to be patient and helpful.
Ingredients that Might Upset Your Dog’s Stomach
Of course, different dogs have different reactions to certain ingredients. But there a few common ingredients which you should avoid if your dog has a sensitive stomach –
Grains are basically the cereal crops that are often used in dog food. These aren’t bad for all dogs, but they are common allergens. A small amount of grains does no harm and is usually a good source of energy for your dog.
But sometimes grains are used in larger proportions than good quality proteins, which is when they become problematic. Corn and wheat are two of the most sensitive dog food ingredients.
So, if your dog has a sensitive stomach, it’s best to stay away from them.
This ingredient is found even in premium dog food. It’s not bad for dogs and can actually be digested by them. However, soy is one of the most common canine allergens on the list.
Not all soy products are the same, but the ones in commercial food are usually chemically processed. The presence of textured soy products like tofu in your dog’s meal can cause severe diarrhea.
So, it’s best to stick to no soy food products for your sensitive dog.
Protein-rich diets are ideal for dogs. But some dogs might find it difficult to digest certain proteins. Usually chicken and lamb are the safest options for sensitive dogs. But your dog might also be allergic to one of these.
In that case, try out other flavors and sources of protein like lamb, turkey, salmon and even beef.
Again, fat is good for dogs, but in the right amounts. Dog food that contains more than the recommended amount of fat may be difficult to digest. If you see fats and oils as one of the first four ingredients, then it’s definitely a bad idea for your dog’s sensitive stomach.
Dogs don’t have the enzyme lactase which digests lactose in milk. So, if your pooch has too many licks of your ice cream or drinks milk, it’s going to suffer from diarrhea.
Nuts are a big no when it comes to dogs. Macadamia nuts are particularly harmful and cause vomiting, weakness, tremors and even hypothermia in dogs. Other nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts are also bad. They have very high oil and fat content.
Onions, Garlic and Chives
If you’re cooking a homemade meal for your dog, make sure to stay away from onions, garlic, and chives. These are known to irritate their gastrointestinal tracts and may even damage their red blood cells.
Raw Meat, Eggs, and Bones
Raw diets are all the rage now, but they’re not exactly the best option, especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach.
Raw meat and even eggs may have bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli. And giving your dog raw bones is a bad idea as well. It might be good for wild canines, but a domestic dog might choke on them.
These bones might also get stuck in, or poke your dog’s digestive tract.
A very salty diet will make your dog thirstier and pee more. It might even cause sodium ion poisoning and symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and depression. In more severe cases it might cause seizures or even death.
Never feed your dog salty snacks like chips, popcorn or pretzels.
Sensitive Stomach Dog Food Buying Guide
To buy foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs, you need to know about the ingredients and labels in commercial packaging. If you’re not aware about this topic, you’re very likely to make the wrong choice.
Ingredients lists can be very confusing and brands aren’t bound to break everything down for you. So, it’s very easy to get fooled by fancy labels.
But don’t worry because Feedfond has made a buyer’s guide that will make you an expert!
Grain Free Dog Food
As mentioned above, some dogs may be allergic to grains. They may not be able to digest certain ingredients properly, which causes tummy troubles. In that case, you should opt for grain free food.
Most grain free dog food, especially the ones that are moist and freeze-dried, have less carbohydrate content than normal dog food. In fact, they contain a lot more protein and fat based ingredients for nutrition. This makes grain free food easier to digest for dogs.
Grain free food also has a number of other benefits for your dog, other than preventing allergic reactions. It gives dogs way more energy than other food and keeps them full for longer amounts of time.
Grain free food is well known for creating smaller stools and reducing your dog’s farting habits. What’s more, it also keeps your dog’s skin and coat healthy, and improves their breath
Gluten Free Dog Food
Contrary to popular belief, gluten free and grain free is not the same. Gluten is actually a kind of protein found only in certain grains like wheat, rye, and barley. Basically, gluten-free food may contain grain.
But grain-free food will never contain any sort of gluten.
Some dogs might be allergic to just this protein, which is when they are recommended to have gluten-free diets. Gluten allergies are not the most common sensitivities in dogs. But if your dog has a medical condition like celiac disease, gluten-free is the way to go.
The Absence of Soy Products
A lot of dogs may be allergic to soy. In that case, you should buy dog food that has no soy products. Check the ingredients list carefully for this ingredient. You’ll know for sure if soy is present if the ingredients list mentions any of the following–
- Soybean meal & germ meal
- Soy flour
- Soy grits
- Soy protein concentrate
- Soy isoflavones
Sometimes there may not even be any mention of the word “soy”. Soy is a part of many other ingredients too. So if you see any of the following, there’s a high chance of this ingredient being present –
- Vegetable Broth
- Textured vegetable protein/ vegetable protein
- TSF (textured soy flour)
- Natural flavoring
- Guar gum
Easily Digestible Proteins and Carbohydrates
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, it’s best to look for proteins, carbohydrates and even grains that are easy to digest. Such easily digestible ingredients include things like whole grains, brown rice, potatoes, oats, lamb and chicken.
These are just a general list of ingredients that usually dog-friendly. Also, go for packages that mention that their ingredients are cooked for longer amounts of time at lower temperatures.
This ensures that the food is cooked properly, making it easier to digest.
The best sensitive stomach dog food will have no chemicals like artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. These are toxic for your dog and can cause upset stomachs as well.
Dog food can also be preserved naturally with Vitamin C and E, so opt for those instead. Sometimes kibble is also moistened with chemicals like PG, which aren’t good for your dog’s digestive system either.
So always look for dog food that has all-natural ingredients and are preferable sourced organically and sustainably. The less processed the food, the better.
You should also buy food that has the “Non-GMO” label on the package if you can. This basically means that none of the ingredients in the food have been genetically modified.
A Limited Ingredients List
The sensitive stomachs dog foods will usually have a limited list of ingredients. When your dog’s food has more ingredients, there’s more probability of one of them being bad for your dog’s digestion.
Dog food doesn’t need a vast number of ingredients. The list should contain high-quality food, with all the right amounts of nutrients. Most of the time long ingredients lists contain a lot of unnecessary items that add no nutritional value.
Look Out for Digestion Promoting Ingredients
When looking for sensitive stomach dog food, it’s best to pick ones that cater specifically to helping digestion. So, if you see ingredients like probiotics, beet pulp, pumpkin, and yogurt, you can rest assured that the food will go easy on your dog’s stomach.
For the best digestion, your dog’s diet should ideally be low in fat and high in fiber. It should also have supplements like Vitamin A, C, and E to ensure maximum nutrient absorption and a well-functioning digestive system.
Go for Immune System Boosting Ingredients
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, it’s wise to look for food that will strengthen its immune system. So, your dog’s food should contain Vitamin E, fish oil and rosemary.
Fish oil contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which is great for the immune system and reduces inflammation. You should also look out for rosemary in the ingredients list because it’s a strong antioxidant.
The “Complete and Balanced” Seal
Any dog food containing the complete and balanced seal is a good purchase. This label means that your dog’s food contains all the essential nutrients in all the right proportions for giving your dog a healthy, balanced diet.
This ensures that your dog is getting the appropriate nutrients, as a result of which it is growing properly with well-functioning digestive and immune systems. This will reduce the chances of your dog suffering from stomach issues.
Only Quality Ingredients
Dog food is pretty difficult to read. Labels don’t really have much information about the ingredient quality. So, you’ll have determined whether the food you want is good quality by the information available. This is usually found out from the price, the ingredients list, and the brand’s processing standards.
If there are clinical studies being done, make sure to check the results. Some companies will also have a Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionist, and they will definitely mention it on the package.
These mean that they take actual expert advice when formulating their dog food recipes.
Usually higher priced dog food has the better-quality ingredients. They contain fewer fillers and real meat sources that are always a better option for any dog. Low-quality ingredients increase the chances of upsetting your dog’s stomach.
Additional Dog Foods for Sensitive Stomach
You never know what dog food will suit you and your dog. So you have to keep trying several options. If you weren’t happy with the first list, here are a few more products that caught our attention:
#11. NUTRO Limited Ingredient
If you’re looking for dog food with limited ingredients, this is the dog food to buy. It has 10 key ingredients that provide all the nutrients required for a balanced meal. The formula is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that ensures your dog’s mental and physical well-being.
The primary ingredients of his recipe are deboned lamb and lamb meal. This provides dogs with the amino acid profile they need for muscle development. It also contains sweet potato which is an ideal, easily digestible source of carbohydrate.
What We Love About It
Do you know how some dogs are lactose intolerant? Well, this recipe has a solution for that as well. The ingredients list contains absolutely no dairy protein, making it a savior for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
#12. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural
Purina’s special blend for sensitive stomachs is designed to soothe your dog’s gastrointestinal problems. With the primary ingredient being salmon, there’s a guarantee that your dog will be getting the premium quality protein rich diet it needs.
The recipe is fortified with a good blend of antioxidants that strengthens the canine immune system. It also contains natural sources of glucosamine which support the joints and the skeletal system.
What We Love About It
Purina’s recipe for sensitive stomachs truly has your dog’s best interests in mind. It has avoided the use of any fillers in its recipe, making it less likely for your dog to get sick.
#13. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited
Blue Buffalo is a trusted brand that has come up with a great recipe for sensitive stomachs. It contains the right amount of proteins and carbohydrates that provide the energy your dog needs. But it also does a good job of eliminating all the problematic ingredients from your dog’s meal.
The list of ingredients is limited, easily digestible and enriched with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It also contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are essential for keeping your dog’s hair and coat smooth and shiny.
What We Love About It
Blue Buffalo contains no corn, soy or even eggs. These are all common problematic ingredients for the digestive system, so it’s a good fit for dogs with allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities.
#14. Nutrisource Select Seafood
Tuffy’s sensitive stomach dog food makes a promise of providing a healthy balanced diet. It’s made with the best quality ingredients, with its primary source of protein being salmon. It also contains Menhaden fish meal protein which ensures that your dog’s muscles will develop properly.
All the ingredients are easy to digest, with the perfect blend of minerals and vitamins. The recipe is also enriched with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which supports coat and hair health.
What We Love About It
Tuffy has taken special care in catering to the needs of dogs with sensitive stomachs. It contains no potato in its ingredients list, which is not a very common characteristic in such sensitive stomach dog food.
So, if your dog is allergic to potatoes, this is the formula for you.
#15. Nutro Natural Limited Ingredients
Nutro provides a completely natural recipe for dogs with gastrointestinal issues. It has a very limited list of ingredients, so your dog is less exposed to problematic food items. The primary ingredient is real lamb from Australia and New Zealand.
This is a unique and allergy friendly protein source.
The ingredient list also contains brown rice, which is a good source of energy. It’s also easy to digest and soothing for your dog’s intestines. What’s more, it also contains antioxidants and Vitamins C and E which strengthen the immune system.
What We Love About It
Other than essential vitamins and nutrients, this dog food also contains a vital element- Zinc that work on its own with nutrients like- vitamin B and B complex to support the important functions of the body.
#16. Solid Gold Holistique Blendz
Solid Gold’s stomach sensitive dog food is made up of 20 core superfoods. This means that the recipe provides your dog with the perfect blend of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your dog needs to stay healthy.
The ingredients are all easily digestible and high quality. The recipe has been formulated with expert opinions and designed to appeal to your dog’s taste buds. In fact, the brand is so sure your dog will love their food, it promises a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
What We Love About It
What’s really great about this recipe is that it is really designed to go gentle on the canine digestive system. The ingredients list includes protected probiotics and fiber-rich prebiotics. These really do wonders for your gut’s flora and nutrient absorption.
#17. Royal Canin Canine Gastrointestinal
Royal Canin has come up with a very special recipe which is low fat. This also makes for a good diet for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Since pancreatitis can also lead to stomach troubles, this low-fat diet addresses the problem from the roots.
The ingredients list is made up of easily digestible proteins. It also has very low fiber content so that your dog’s intestines are not under any stress. What’s more, the high carbohydrate content in the formula makes sure that your dog gets the energy it needs.
What We Love About It
Along with all the nutrients, this dog food also contains essential minerals. Even better is the fact that these minerals are chelated. This allows the nutrients to be easily absorbed by the canine digestive system.
#18. Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus
This dog food by Nulo is a very allergy friendly recipe. All the ingredients are completely natural and fresh. It also contains prebiotics which supports efficient nutrient absorption and perfect digestive health for your dog.
Nulo has promised a well-balanced diet for dogs. The recipe is lower in carbohydrates and high in protein to promote lean muscle development. It also contains nourishing omega fatty acids that keep your dog’s coat shiny and smooth.
What We Love About It
There are plenty of dog foods for sensitive stomachs. But all of them do not eliminate every single problematic ingredient. That’s where Nulo is different. It has avoided the use of ingredients like eggs, tapioca and white potato in its recipe.
Congratulations! You’ve finally reached the end of this article. But you must admit that it was very educational.
Food sensitivities can be quite difficult to deal with, but it’s not something you absolutely cannot handle. With a little common sense, research, and of course lots of useful advice from your vet, you’ll be able to give your dog the diet it needs.
So, use your newfound knowledge and give your dog a healthy life it deserves!
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