Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach (& Diarrhea!)

Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach
Written by Graeme Hall

When you first get yourself a new furry friend, you naively believe they can eat anything and everything. But this simply isn't true. Dogs aren't walking garbage disposals and just like people dogs can have sensitive stomachs which can become easily irritated by certain foods they eat. 

In fact, I've found that most dogs tend to have more of a delicate stomach than us humans and finding the right balance of what to feed them can often become a struggle.
If you find yourself cleaning up mess lovingly left by your pooch, you're not alone. The good news is that with a few simple changes and tweaks to your dog's diet you can almost eliminate the problems they have with their stomach.

In this article, I have done the legwork for you, and I’ve found the best dog food for sensitive stomachs, and also I have provided information on exactly why dogs get upset stomachs in the first place so you can make any necessary adjustments to your dog's diet if needed.

Hopefully, after reading this, I can stop you having to spend the next couple of weeks crawling around on your hands and knees armed with a spray bottle of Clorox lemon fresh bleach, paper towels, and Febreze!

4 Symptoms of A Sensitive Stomach in Dogs

If you’re a new dog owner, you may find it tricky to determine if your dog has an upset stomach. You've probably not completely bonded with him yet, and his diarrhea might be caused by something else such as being nervous, scared and not food related at all!

But for those of you who have had their pooch for a few years, you should be able to tell quickly if your dog has an upset tummy and he's just not himself.

Either way, if you're unsure about your furry friend below I have listed 4 common symptoms that can indicate if your dog is suffering from an upset stomach.

1. Intermittent Vomiting

The chances are that if your dog has eaten something that doesn't agree with him the odds are that diarrhea or loose stools will not be the only symptom. Most dogs with an upset stomach will also vomit while the vomiting might not be as frequent as diarrhea it could be a sign that the dog food doesn't agree with their delicate stomach.

Even though there are other causes for a dog vomiting which are not related to food, the sight of chunky bits of food in your dog's vomit within 1-hour of eating should sound the alarm bells for you immediately.

2. Itchy Skin

If your dog has food allergies, a telltale sign to look for is itchy skin or rashes. You might notice your dog has started to scratch a lot more, especially in more hypersensitive places on their body such as the armpits, muzzle, feet, and even genitalia.

Inflammation in these susceptible areas of the body could be a sign that your dog has had an adverse reaction to his dog food. It could be something as simple as a particular ingredient in the food or even the dog food brand.

If you think your dog is allergic to their food, stop feeding them immediately and change the food or brand and see if the itchy skin stops. In the meantime, get your pooch checked out by your local veterinarian who should prescribe an ointment to help ease the itchiness on your dog's skin.

3. Occasional Loose Stools

Just like people dogs can suffer from loose stools especially after eating food that doesn't agree with their stomachs. I don't think I need to clarify what a loose stool is, we've all had them, and a dog is no different. But anything that’s not a solid movement could be considered a loose stool, although, of course, some will be a lot looser than others.

Don't freak out when you discover that your dog has diarrhea. It might be nothing serious; your dog might have just picked up a stomach bug from his last walk or even chill from your Air Conditioner unit.

Don't blame your dog food just yet, your first strategy should be a wait and see approach. If after 48 hours your K9 friend improves you can rule the food out and put it down to something else.

After 48 hours if you don't see any improvement in your dog try changing their food completely if that doesn’t help you should get your dog checked over by your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

4. Farting, Yes I Said It! (Gas, Gas & More Gas)

Whoever smelt it dealt it! Before you point the finger at your partner, have a quick glance over to your pooch! If he looks surprised there's a good chance he’s the culprit for that unpleasant odor that's quickly filling your room.

All dogs fart, some more than others, but if you see an increase in dog farts, it could be a sign that your pooch is suffering from an upset stomach. If your K9 friend is scaring himself with his loud farts, it may be time to adjust their diet.

Your dog might also belch rather than farting - it doesn't really matter which end the gas is coming out, if your dog is showing signs of more gas than usual it may indicate that their food isn't sitting well in their stomach and it’s time to adjust his or her diet.

Recommended Dog Food For Delicate Stomachs




Our Rating



Purina Pro Plan

No ingredients that are prone to causing upset stomachs



No unwanted ingredients such as grain and soy



Natural chicken meal and brown rice formula



Handpicked ingredients best for dogs with sensitive stomachs


Blue Buffalo

High-quality mix of all natural ingredients

best dog food for dogs with sensitive stomachs

How to Help Your Dog!

If you think your dog's food is making them ill, it's time to make a few adjustments. Sometimes it can be something straightforward that's causing your dog's sensitive stomach to react in a bad way.

Below I have offered a few remedies and suggestions to give your pooch a helping hand.

Stop Those in Between-Meal Snacks & Treats!

If you have a feeling that something is wrong with your dog's stomach the first thing you should really do is to eliminate any treats you’re giving to your pooch in between meals. By treats, I mean anything that isn't normal dog food, a lot of snacks for humans are too rich for a dog's stomach.

Sorry.. No treats, No table scraps, Nada!

Take a Closer Look at Their Diet

If you've stopped giving dog treats in between meals and still you see no improvement take a closer look at your regular dog food as that might be the culprit!

The first thing you should do is inspect the label on the dog food, have a scan through and make sure that the ingredients are good quality. More often than not this can be a challenge as dog food brands aren't always forthcoming with what they put in their dog food.

Look and see if the protein source and the carbohydrates are coming from a good source such as sweet potatoes.

Unfortunately, many of the big well-known dog food brands use low-quality ingredients and additives to keep the costs low and the profits high. Try to avoid ingredients in your dog’s food such as soy, corn, or any other cheap quality ingredients. These ingredients may seem ok, but in most cases, they are mass produced GMO crops that offer little to no value to your dog's diet and are not a recommended food for sensitive stomachs.

dog food

When going over the label on your dog food make sure you can at least recognize or pronounce 90% of the ingredients on the label. If the label is full of numbers and uppercase letters and you don't understand what's in the food - it's time to change your brand of dog food.

Next, check the amount of fat in the dog food. All dogs will thrive on fat but that fat needs to be of high quality and moderation is key. If your dog’s food has too much of fat, you might want to try a lower-fat dog food - for optimum health of your dog look for a dog food that has around 15% of fat, the food label should have this information, if not move on.

Just like people dogs also need fiber in their diets to keep their “plumbing” ticking over nicely, so make sure that the food you choose has a good amount of fiber content. An excellent source of fiber for most dogs can be root vegetables (like sweet potatoes or carrots), leafy greens, or fibrous fruits like bananas.

If you take time to study the label on your dog's food and you find questionable ingredients, and you do not understand what they are, do a quick Google search because sometimes the “good stuff” can be hidden behind complex names - however, if in doubt chuck it out!

If you're making a changeover to a new dog food after your dog has become accustomed to one brand, try to gradually swap your dog's food over a period of about a week.

Switching Dog Food Brands

Even a sudden change of dog food can give your dog a dodgy stomach.

If Your Dog Doesn't Improve Visit Your Veterinarian

If all else fails and it seems like you've tried everything to ease your dog's sensitive stomach, it’s time to make an appoint with your local veterinarian. Even if you see a slight improvement, it’s still best to get your K9 friend a once over by a vet to rule out any potential underlying health problems.

When it comes to your dog's health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Best Stomach Friendly Dog Food

There are literally 1000s of different types of dog food in the marketplace so choosing the best food for sensitive stomachs can be a challenge.

However, I have done a lot of the legwork for you and picked out 5 best dog foods that are perfect for your dogs sensitive tummy and are easily digestible.

Purina Pro Plan Focus Food, Sensitive Stomach Formula

Purina Pro Plan Focus is our favorite food for dogs with sensitive stomachs because it doesn't come loaded with ingredients that are prone to causing an upset tummy.

Purina Pro Plan Focus is free of soy, corn, wheat, and unwanted artificial ingredients. Instead, it's made using natural ingredients such as rice, salmon (Yes real salmon) and oatmeal. It also comes with much needed Omega-6 fatty acids and zinc that help nourish your dog's skin and will help to promote a healthy coat!

Purina Pro Plan Focus is the best dog food to get your furry friends digestion back on the right track, in fact, I saw a noticeable difference with my dog within a matter of weeks. Buying good quality dog food doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, and Purina Pro Plan Focus comes in a lot cheaper than many other well-known dog food brands that have a tendency to upset a dog's stomach!

Wellness Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

If you're looking for the best dog food that will be kind to your pooches stomach, Wellness Natural limited ingredient Dry Dog Food is a great place to start.

Wellness is already known for making good quality dog food, and many praise them for using top-notch ingredients in their foods. With that said, this “limited” ingredient offering is perfect for dogs with delicate stomachs.

With only a handful of key limited ingredients doesn't mean that it lacks in flavor - trust us your pooch will love the taste of this! And because they use only essential ingredients, you can rest assured that your dog's stomach will be perfectly fine.

In fact, this dog food has no unwanted ingredients such as grain and soy that that might potentially cause food allergies for your dog. Wellness also leaves out any unnecessary preservatives and artificial colors that could also cause stomach problems.

Wellness Natural Dry Dog Food comes in an array of different flavors (not artificial - just the main protein changes) so there's sure to be one that your dog loves! They also have a range of puppy food too.

The only drawback is that Wellness Natural Dry Dog Food contains Canola oil which isn't the best of ingredients for optimum health, but it isn't a deal breaker as far as we are concerned.

AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Formula Dog Food

AvoDerm is a good option if you're looking for a low-fat dog food that still comes with high-quality natural ingredients; as we already covered in this article, having a low-fat diet for your pooch can really help with their digestion and to maintain a healthy weight. The healthy fats that this dog food contains are from flaxseed and herring.

AvoDerm doesn't have any nasty surprises in the ingredients list, and it contains no wheat or corn. The main protein in this particular offering is Chicken, and they source the carbohydrates from healthy brown rice.

On the downside, AvoDerm contains a few questionable ingredients such as avocado, tomato pomace, and alfalfa, but it's worth mentioning that these are only small amounts and should still be easily digestible.

Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food contains a limited amount of handpicked ingredients which are easily digestible and make this brand one of the best options for dogs with delicate stomachs.

What we loved about this particular Nutro dog food is the small-sized kibble. Some dogs love to scoff down their food without even chewing it which can lead to an upset stomach; the small kibble size helps to solve that problem.

Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food comes in a handful of different yummy flavors each of which contain natural sources of protein and other natural sources of fiber such as whole grain oatmeal which is a high soluble fiber that can aid in digestion.

The high levels of zinc, omega-6 fatty acid, and B vitamins also help to promote a shiny coat and soft, healthy skin.

Blue Buffalo Basics Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Dry Dog Food is another brand that offers a high-quality mix of all natural ingredients. All the ingredients are sensible and you'll find nothing that shouldn't be there, it also contains no soy, wheat, or corn and the all natural protein sources come from lamb, turkey, duck, and salmon depending on which flavor you buy.

Because of the limited ingredients in Blue Buffalo Basics you can quickly narrow down the potential problems in your dog's diets and adjust if needed.

Plus, Blue Buffalo Basics comes with plenty of good sources of fiber and much-needed antioxidants that will help keep your dog regular and give a boost to their immune system.

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About the author

Graeme Hall

Graeme is the founder of Doggytastic! which is where he blogs about dog training, health, nutrition and anything else related to keeping a dog happy and healthy. Want to know a little bit more? Make sure to check out his full bio.

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