Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach and Diarrhea (7 Best)

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One ailment that dogs can suffer is stomach sensitivity due to food allergies, or food intolerance due to a more serious underlying health problem.

It is important to initially consult your vet to find the exact cause of your dog’s stomach sensitivity, and determine the food ingredients to avoid.

This will help you find the best food to switch to, and how to introduce the new food correctly.

When choosing the best dog food for a sensitive stomach, consider an all-natural, limited-ingredient diet with one or two animal-based protein sources, and few carbs. Also, look out for beneficial ingredients such as antioxidants and probiotics.

Below, we’ll briefly discuss what can cause stomach sensitivities, which dog foods to avoid, and what ingredients to look for in a good dog food choice.

We have also reviewed 7 of the best dog food options available to give you a good head start on what to look for.

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Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Grain-Free

Editor’s Choice

Natural Balance LID Grain-Free

Most Popular

Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Budget-Friendly

​Reasons ​Dogs Suffer From Stomach Sensitivity

Every dog is individual and what triggers stomach sensitivity in one, may not in another.

There are many causes of stomach sensitivity and upset among dogs ranging from food allergies, digestion and absorption issues, and diseases, etc.

Establishing the underlying cause of your canine’s stomach sensitivity can be quite difficult; it might take a trial and error process.

Let’s have a look at some of the common causes of stomach sensitivity:

1. Allergic To Particular Food Components

Some dogs can be allergic to dairy products such as milk or cheese, leading to poor digestion and/or absorption.

The end result is stomach upsets, diarrhea, and excretion of these dairy products as a whole in faces.

Also, your dog could be allergic to certain types of fruits or fruit-related products.

Such dogs are likely to suffer from diarrhea and stomach upsets due to poor digestion and/or absorption of the particular type of fruit.

2. Food Intolerance

This is the most common cause of stomach sensitivity in some dogs, and commonly occurs due to poor digestion and/or absorption of certain food products – mainly protein sources as well as fat.

The insensitivity arises due to the nutrient composition of the diet that makes it difficult to digest, especially the proteins.

Some of the most common dog food that could trigger stomach upset include:

  • Fish
  • Beef 
  • Eggs 
  • Soya 
  • Lamb 
  • Wheat

Determining the underlying nutrient component that triggers stomach upsets in your furry friend is vital in finding a lasting solution to their stomach sensitivity.

Also, look out for easily digestible protein sources such as chicken.  

3. Changes In Immune System Function

Intestinal infections can interfere with good bacteria that produce enzymes that aid food digestion.

This can lead to minimum production of digestion-friendly substances thus affecting the normal food digestion and absorption.

The end result is likely to be stomach upsets and diarrhea.

4. Poor Digestion Of Dog Treats

Certain dog food treats may contain ingredients that are not easily digestible.

If you have fed your dog more treats than their digestive system can handle, this can cause poor digestion and absorption of the treat, leading to stomach upsets and diarrhea.

Sometimes it can just be the type of treat you have fed them, and depends on its ingredients.

Other causes include:

  • Giving your pooch human food.
  • Household habits. For instance, taking leftover food.
  • Diseases such as cancer.

Symptoms Of A Sensitive Stomach 

Most dogs with sensitive stomachs exhibit particular symptoms, however note that some dogs will display more of these symptoms than others.

While the most common symptom is stomach upset, other symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea / loose, watery stool.
  • Vomiting.
  • Flatulence.
  • Weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Abdominal pain / Discomfort.
  • Skin rashes.

Note that some of these symptoms could manifest a bigger underlying health concern, so it is advisable to visit your veterinarian for a full physical examination and treatment.

Ingredients of Dog Food that can Trigger Stomach Sensitivity

1. Dairy Products

Dog food that contains dairy products tends to cause stomach sensitivity, most especially due to the presence of lactase – an enzyme that aids the complete digestion of whole milk.

The lactose intolerance is especially common in elderly dogs.

2. Gluten

Gluten is commonly found in cereals such as wheat, corn, and soy.

Digestion and/or absorption of gluten can prove difficult in some dogs leading to intolerance.

3. Fruits And Fruit-Related Products

Fruits are broken down into fructose molecules during digestion.

Due to the absence of some carrier molecules in the dog’s intestines, the absorption of fructose can become quite difficult.

Consequently, leaving high amounts of fructose in the small intestines that often cause diarrhea and stomach upsets.

Characteristics of Good Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

1. A Limited Number Of Ingredients

While your furry friend needs a well–balanced diet for optimal growth, having too many ingredients may be detrimental to the digestive system leading to stomach upsets and diarrhea.

Therefore, choose for her high quality dog food that contains limited ingredients preferably hypoallergenic dog food.

Remember, the more the ingredients the higher the chances that one of the ingredients might affect their sensitive stomach.

2. Grain-Free / Easily Digestible Grains

Since glutens found in some cereals like wheat, corn, and soya may cause stomach upsets in some dogs, having a grain-free diet would be ideal.

Some reports have linked grain-free dog foods to the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), however the evidence is currently inconclusive.

Therefore, instead of choosing a grain-free diet for your canine, you may opt for easily digestible grains for your dog’s food.

3. Food With Ingredients That Aid Digestion

Choose a dog food that contains substances such as probiotics that enhance the digestion and absorption process.

In particular, the lactobacillus species is a good bacteria that enhance the production of the lactase enzyme to aid in the digestion of lactose.

Therefore, probiotics substances reduce the incidence of stomach upsets.

Also, high-fiber ingredients in the dog’s food aid digestion, absorption, and bowel movement.

3. Lowest Protein Diet

Generally, proteins not only take longer to digest and absorb into the body but it also takes great work.

With limited protein intake, the digestive system will be able to work more efficiently reducing the incidence of stomach upsets and diarrhea.

Hence, look-out for a dog food comprising of limited protein content

4. Easily Digestible Food

Dog food containing easily digestible components, that is, both carbohydrates and proteins reduces the chances of your canine suffering from stomach upsets. 

Some of the dog food ingredients that are easily digestible by dogs include brown rice, potatoes, chicken, and lamb.

5. Bland Composition

Unlike the average dog food formula that might comprise of proteins, fruits, and vegetables, the best dog food for sensitive stomach should contain fewer ingredients.

Preferably one or two easily digestible protein and rice is an ideal composition to minimize stomach upsets.

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach – Reviews 

1. Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus dog food is a specially formulated food for dogs with sensitive stomachs and food allergies.

The grain-free diet is crafted with fresh all-natural ingredients that make a simple yet well-balanced food for your pooch.

It comprises of high-quality protein and low carbohydrates.

This dog food features limited ingredients, reducing the possibility of food allergies or sensitivities, containing a single animal-based protein source that is either turkey or salmon.

The Nulo dog food also features GanedenBC30, a patented probiotic that not only improves the digestive health but also the immune system of your furry friend for improved food absorption.

Other beneficial ingredients include non-GMO canola oil, Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for nourished healthy skin and coat, antioxidants such as vitamin C and E for enhanced cellular health.

This dog food avoids traditional food ingredients that may cause possible food allergies – such as wheat, soy, eggs, chicken, corn, white potato, peas, pea protein, or tapioca.

In addition, it does not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Top Ingredients: 

  1. Deboned Turkey.
  2. Turkey Meal.
  3. Chickpeas.
  4. Sweet Potatoes.
  5. Canola Oil.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein: 30% (minimum).  
  • Crude Fat: 17% (minimum).
  • Crude Fiber: 3.50% (maximum).
  • Moisture: 10% (maximum).
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): 0.03% (minimum).
  • Calcium: 1.20% (minimum).

2. Natural Balance LID Grain-Free Dog Food

The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet (LID) is made with fewer ingredients to reduce the chances of your canine having an upset stomach.

It features beef as the principal and sole animal ingredient hence a great choice for canines that have digestive issues with chicken, lamb and other animal proteins.

The single animal protein source is supplemented with few carbohydrates mainly chickpeas and peas.

This limited ingredient diet is grain-free, does not contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, chicken, corn, wheat, or soy.

Natural Balance LID features high fiber to boost healthy digestion.  

Top Ingredients:

  1. Beef.
  2. Pea protein.
  3. Beef Meal.
  4. Chickpeas.
  5. Peas.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein: 32% (minimum).
  • Crude Fat: 14% (minimum).
  • Crude Fiber: 4.5% (maximum).
  • Moisture: 10% (maximum).
  • Copper: 10mg/kg (minimum).
  • Vitamin A: 4550 IU/kg (minimum).
  • Vitamin E: 46 IU/kg (minimum).

3. Wellness Natural LID Dog Food Lamb & Oatmeal

If you are looking for a complete wellness diet for your furry friend with a sensitive stomach, then consider Wellness Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food.

This dog diet is formulated with fewer ingredients hence a perfect formula for canines with stomach sensitivities, food allergies, and intolerance.

This diet is crafted with a single source protein of real lamb, supplemented with easily digestible carbohydrates that include ground rice and millet, for well-balanced nutrition.

It features probiotics and prebiotics for ease of digestion as well as flaxseed for nourished healthy skin.

Notably, this food diet is formulated using all-natural ingredients.

It does not contain gluten, corn, meat by-products, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Top Ingredients: 

  1. Lamb.
  2. Lamb Meal.
  3. Oatmeal.
  4. Peas.
  5. Ground Rice.

Guaranteed analysis

  • Crude Protein: 21% (Minimum).
  • Crude Fat: 12% (Minimum).
  • Crude Fiber: 4.75% (Maximum).
  • Moisture: 11% (Maximum).
  • Omega 6 fatty acids: 2% (Minimum).
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: 0.75% (Minimum).

4. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Diet

Another great food option for your sensitive dog is the Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Diet.

Being a limited ingredient diet, the formula is carefully crafted with few essential ingredients that meet the nutritional needs of your adult pup, hence a perfect diet for dogs with a sensitive stomach.

Its primary ingredient is the real salmon that is also the sole protein source.

The diet is blended with easily digestible carbohydrates specifically peas, potatoes and pumpkin that smoothens digestion.

The formula also comprises a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Featuring all the finest natural ingredients, the formula does not contain wheat, gluten, soy, chicken, by-product meals, eggs, dairy, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Top Ingredients: 

  1. Deboned Salmon.
  2. Oatmeal.
  3. Brown Rice.
  4. Salmon Meal (Source of Glucosamine).
  5. Peas.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein: 20% (minimum).
  • Crude Fat: 12% (minimum).
  • Crude Fiber: 6% (maximum).
  • Moisture: 10% (maximum).
  • Calcium: 0.9% (minimum).
  • Phosphorus: 0.7% (minimum).

5. Canidae Premium Dry Dog Food

If you are looking for a dog formula that caters to dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, then Canidae Premium Dry Dog food is the most suitable formula.

Whether it is a Pitbull, a Chihuahua, a puppy to a senior dog, this formula will suit them all.

This premium dog food provides your dog with optimal nutrition thanks to its great ingredients, and is formulated with lamb meal and rice as the main ingredients.

  • Remember, these two ingredients are easy on your dog’s digestive system.

Your dog’s digestive system is further enhanced by the presence of probiotics in this formula.

Canidae premium dog food is also packed with antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system in your dog.

In addition, the formula comprises omega -3 and Omega- 6 fatty acids for enhancing and nourishing your dog skin and coat.

Canidae Premium All Life Stages comes in 5 varieties, so you can choose the main protein.

What’s more, this formula does not feature wheat, corn or soy.

Top Ingredients: 

  1. Lamb meal.
  2. Brown Rice.
  3. Cracked Pearled Barley.
  4. Rice Bran.
  5. Peas.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein: 23% (Minimum).
  • Crude Fat: 12.50% (Minimum).
  • Crude Fiber: 4% (Maximum).
  • Moisture: 10% (Maximum).
  • Linoleic Acid: 3.55% (minimum).

6. Nutro Limited Ingredient Adult Diet Dog Food

Nutro Limited Ingredient diet is one of the best dog food for sensitive stomach and diarrhea.

Its primary ingredients lamb and sweet potato are easy on your dog’s digestive system as they are easily digestible.

This diet features 10 utmost key ingredients coupled with vitamins, minerals, natural flavors among other nutrients.

Notably, this Nutro limited ingredient diet does not feature ingredients that are prone to causing food sensitivities among canines. For instance, grains, dairy protein, corn, wheat, or soy.

In addition, it does not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet is made in the USA and crafted with non-GMO ingredients.

Top Ingredients: 

  1. Deboned Lamb.
  2. Lamb Meal.
  3. Chickpeas.
  4. Dried Potatoes.
  5. Dried Sweet Potato.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein: 20% (minimum).
  • Crude Fat: 14% (minimum).
  • Crude Fiber: 3.5% (maximum).
  • Moisture: 10% (maximum).
  • Linoleic Acid: 3.5% (minimum).

7. Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach & Skin

Hill’s Science Diet for Sensitive Stomach and Skin has wowed many pet owners as the best dog food that meets the nutritional needs of sensitive stomachs.

The formula features a perfect blend of natural ingredients that offer your pup a complete, and well-balanced nutrition.

It comprises of brewers rice that is easy to digest and contains less protein as opposed to animal proteins) as the primary ingredient. 

It also features chicken meal as the secondary source of protein, Vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids to nourish your dog’s skin and coat.

Also, it features vegetables and fruits as well as antioxidants.

What’s more, the diet allows for easy digestion and optimal absorption thanks to its easily digestible ingredients.

The digestive health is further improved by the presence of prebiotic fiber that enhances a balanced microbiome and development of bacteria in the gut.

Top Ingredients: 

  1. Brewers Rice. 
  2. Chicken Meal.
  3. Whole Grain Sorghum.
  4. Cracked Pearled Barley.
  5. Pea Protein.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein: 21% (minimum).
  • Crude Fat: 12% (minimum).
  • Crude Fiber: 4% (maximum).
  • Moisture: 10% (maximum).
  • Vitamin E: 400 IU/kg (minimum).
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 3% (minimum).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my dog’s stomach hurts?

Be on the look-out for some of the common symptoms such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, flatulence, weight loss, etc.

Do dogs digest food differently from humans?

Yes, their digestive tract is quite different.

For instance, food that is not completely digested can stay in the stomach for longer; up to eight hours.

For human beings, partially digested food settle in the stomach for even half an hour before proceeding to the intestines.

Why is my pooch pooping undigested food?

There is a myriad of possible causes ranging from food allergies, food intolerance, dehydration, eating low fiber foods, stress, infections, etc.

Conclusion

Managing canine’s stomach sensitivities and diarrhea can be quite difficult especially if you have not established the underlying cause of sensitivity.

The worst scenario is when the presenting symptoms mirror a different health condition.

Working with your veterinarian to determine the precise cause of food sensitivity in your pooch is a crucial step towards finding a lasting solution. 

Importantly, feed your dog a diet designed for a sensitive stomach, featuring ingredients that enhance their digestive, absorption and immune systems.

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Sources

https://www.vet.cornell.edu/hospitals/companion-animal-hospital/cardiology/canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy-dcm

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