Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Dealing with a sensitive stomach is never fun. You need to watch every ingredient that goes into your diet, and sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to find out what is causing your sensitivity. But what do you do when it’s not you suffering from dietary issues — it’s your dog?

While we normally think of humans as having the most sensitive stomachs in the animal kingdom, dogs are just as susceptible. And when you’re the one picking up after them whenever they do their business, you want them to maintain healthy digestion more than anything!

Navigating the world of dog food is never easy, even when your dog is 100 percent healthy. So, to help you find the best dog food for your pup’s sensitive stomach, we’ve compiled a list of comprehensive reviews for the top formulas currently available.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

ModelPriceFlavorsEditor Rating
Hill's Science
Hills Science Diet(Best Overall)

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Chicken recipe4.80/5
Halo 36200
Halo(Best Value)

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Chicken & Chicken Liver4.75/5
Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo(Premium Choice)

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Turkey & Potato4.60/5
AvoDerm
AvoDerm(For Puppies)

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Chicken & Brown Rice4.55/5
Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan

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Salmon & Rice4.45/5

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Sensitive Stomach

1. Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food – Best Overall

Hills Science Diet

The Hill’s Science Diet 8860 Dry Dog Food is our top choice for pups with sensitive stomachs and skin. This formula is designed to be easily digestible and includes prebiotic fiber to support your dog’s gut.

Because dogs frequently develop skin reactions caused by their diet, your dog’s skin can often be the first indication that they have a food sensitivity. This formula is also full of important nutrients, including vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids, for basic skin and fur health.

As with any food, this formula works better for some dogs than others. While it tends to alleviate digestive issues, some dogs may still react to it.

Pros
  • Popular, veterinarian-supported brand
  • Easily digestible
  • Contains fiber, vitamin E, and Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Alleviates some skin sensitivities
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Not guaranteed to relieve sensitivities or allergies

2. Halo Natural Dry Dog Food – Best Value

Halo

If you think adhering to your dog’s specialty diet means spending a fortune, then finding the best dog food for sensitive stomach for the money might just change your mind. The Halo 36200 Natural Dry Dog Food is a budget-conscious option for owners who still want to feed their dog the best.

This formula includes whole chicken and chicken liver, and is designed to be extremely digestible. The kibble pieces are small enough for small breeds to easily pick up and chew, and also help improve digestion.

However, since the kibble is designed for smaller breeds, this isn’t the best option for large dogs or those who “inhale” their food at mealtime. Also, the flavor of this formula isn’t a favorite of some dogs.

Pros
  • Designed for easy digestion
  • Includes whole, natural ingredients
  • Small kibble for toy and small breeds
  • Sources ingredients from sustainable sources
Cons
  • Not suitable for large breeds or fast eaters
  • Flavor is hit-or-miss

3. Blue Buffalo Diet Dog Food – Premium Choice

Blue Buffalo

While it’s possible to feed your dog great food without breaking the bank, there’s also nothing wrong with investing in a premium formula. The Blue Buffalo 753 Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food is an excellent choice for dog owners looking to limit their dog’s intake of unknown ingredients.

The use of a single animal protein in this food means less chance of triggering an allergic reaction or sensitivity in your dog. The formula also excludes common triggers like corn, wheat, and soy.

Many owners report that this kibble has a bad smell, though their dogs don’t seem to mind! Since this formula is grain-free, it’s also important to read up on the potential connection between grain-free diets and heart disease before making the switch.

Pros
  • Limited ingredient formula
  • Single source of protein
  • Good results for dogs with food allergies
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
Cons
  • Kibble smells bad
  • Subject to grain-free diet controversy

4. AvoDerm Dry & Wet Dog Food – For Puppies

AvoDerm

Adult dogs aren’t the only ones to suffer from sensitive stomachs and food allergies. If your young puppy is showing signs of a sensitive stomach, then consider switching them to the AvoDerm 100064769 Natural Puppy Dry & Wet Dog Food.

This formula is designed specifically for puppies’ unique needs, including the inclusion of DHA for healthy eyes and brain. It also includes ingredients that keep your pup’s skin and coat healthy and boosts their immune system.

This puppy food includes avocado, which is fine for most dogs but can trigger stomach upset in others. If you know your dog reacts to avocado, you should definitely skip this formula. Also, some puppies struggle with chewing the kibble, which is quite hard.

Pros
  • Great option for puppies and adolescent dogs
  • Fortified for healthy development
  • Supports puppy immune system as they grow
Cons
  • Kibble is too hard for some puppies
  • Some dogs react to avocado

5. Purina Pro Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan

Many dog owners, trainers, and veterinarians consider Purina Pro Plan formulas to be some of the best on the market. So the Purina Pro Plan 17552 FOCUS Adult Dry Dog Food is an excellent choice for pooches with sensitive stomachs.

This dog food is formulated to be easy to digest and soothe sensitive skin. It includes real salmon, prebiotic fiber, and antioxidants. On the other hand, it excludes common triggers like corn, wheat, and soy.

Sadly, the formula isn’t a good fit for all dogs, so it’s important to test it out before making the switch completely. Some dogs still experience itchy skin and upset stomach on this food.

Pros
  • Loved by owners, trainers, and veterinarians
  • Supports digestion and healthy skin
  • Formulated with good ingredients without common triggers
Cons
  • Only provides relief for some dogs
  • Some dogs refuse to eat it because of the smell/taste

6. Royal Canin Digestive Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin

Dogs require specialized nutrition based on their life stage, size, and breed. The Royal Canin 451040 Small Digestive Care Dry Dog Food offers an easy-to-digest formula that supports small breed health.

This formula contains a mix of protein, prebiotics, and fiber to keep your dog’s digestion healthy and regular. It also supports the overall health of your pup’s gut microbiome. This food is suitable for adult dogs who weigh up to 22 pounds.

Of course, this food won’t support the needs of medium and large breeds. It also doesn’t appeal to picky eaters, so some dogs may refuse to eat it.

Pros
  • Designed for small dogs up to 22 pounds
  • Recipe contains protein, prebiotics, and fiber
  • Maintains a healthy gut
Cons
  • Only for small breeds
  • Flavor doesn’t appeal to all dogs

7. Nature’s Recipe Dry Dog Food

Natures Recipe

If your dog’s stomach responds well to pumpkin, then the Nature’s Recipe 3052150611 Grain Free Dry Dog Food is a formula definitely worth checking out. This dog food is made with easy-to-digest chicken, salmon, or lamb, along with sweet potato and pumpkin to round out your pup’s carb intake.

This all-natural formula includes a balanced range of vitamins and minerals for overall health while also excluding common triggers like corn, wheat, soy, and artificial colors. If your dog has a sensitive stomach but you don’t yet know what is causing it, then this recipe might be a good place to start.

Some dogs experience increased gas with this food, even if they don’t present with any other signs of stomach upset. If your dog is allergic to chicken, you should stay away from any of these formulas, because even the non-chicken flavors contain chicken byproducts. Also, this is a grain-free recipe, so be sure to research the latest studies on canine heart disease before switching to this food.

Pros
  • Contains pumpkin, which helps maintain healthy digestion
  • Free of common allergens like corn, wheat, and soy
  • Three easy-to-digest recipes available
Cons
  • May cause increased gas
  • All flavors contain chicken byproducts
  • Subject to grain-free scrutiny

8. Iams Proactive Health Adult Dog Food

Iams

While there are many options out there for limited ingredient or specialty formulas, sometimes you just need a basic, well-rounded dog food. The Iams 10190526 Proactive Health Adult Dog Food includes a range of nutrients your dog needs without many common allergens and triggers.

This food contains fiber, prebiotics, and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy digestion and skin. The hard kibble is also designed to scrape away plaque and buildup from your dog’s teeth for better oral health.

Reports state that this dog food formula has changed several times in recent years, including changes to the kibble’s appearance and bag label. While this doesn’t mean the food won’t be a good fit for your pooch, it does mean you should check each new bag before buying. Again, because this is a grain-free food, be sure to consider the recent findings related to cardiac disease.

Pros
  • Well-rounded formula with real chicken
  • Kibble helps clean teeth
  • Contains fiber, prebiotics, and fatty acids for overall health
Cons
  • Formula changes often
  • Consider risks of a grain-free diet before buying
  • Many dogs dislike the taste

9. Solid Gold Holistique Blendz Dog Food

Solid Gold

The Solid Gold 11040 Holistique Blendz Dog Food is designed for the specific needs of adult and senior dogs with sensitive stomachs. This recipe includes whole grains and fish, making it a great alternative for dogs with chicken allergies. It’s also potato-free.

This dog food relies on a single source of protein, which can help prevent allergies or sensitivities, and contains probiotics and fiber for healthy digestion. The probiotics inside this formula are designed to stay alive until fed to your dog, so you don’t need to worry whether they’re getting the full benefits or not.

As with any food, some dogs just aren’t fans of the scent or flavor of this kibble. The pieces are also a bit too big for smaller breeds, which can be an issue. This food is also more calorie-dense than many other popular brands, so be sure to follow the feeding guidelines for your dog’s size.

Pros
  • Recipe based on whole grains and fish protein
  • Contains fiber and probiotics for improved digestion
Cons
  • Some dogs don’t like the flavor
  • Kibble pieces are quite big
  • May cause unwanted weight gain
  • Triggers vomiting in some dogs

10. Blackwood Sensitive Stomach Dog Food

Blackwood Pet Food

The Blackwood 22300 Pet Sensitive Stomach Dog Food stands out because the company is family-owned and it’s made in the United States. If you prefer to support smaller companies over large corporations, then this is definitely a sensitive stomach formula to check out.

This recipe is free of common allergens like corn and wheat, instead relying on brown rice and vegetables as healthy carb sources. It also includes a variety of probiotics and prebiotics to maintain digestion and encourage a healthy gut.

Depending on your dog’s specific sensitivities, this food may provide little to no improvement. Some dogs even become sick on this food. While most dogs seem to benefit from the sensitive stomach formula, not all enjoy the flavor.

Pros
  • Family-owned and made in the USA
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • Made in small batches with probiotics
Cons
  • Does not work for all dogs
  • Can trigger digestive issues in some dogs
  • Flavor is unappealing to some
  • Smaller brand is sometimes difficult to find

Buyer’s Guide

Caring for a dog with a sensitive stomach can seem like a nightmare at first. Once you identify and manage their triggers, though, it’s no different than taking care of any other animal. With that said, getting from Point A to Point B — in this case, from recognizing the symptoms to finding an appropriate food — can be extremely overwhelming.

If you believe your dog might have a sensitive stomach or food allergies, the information below should help you navigate managing their symptoms:

How to tell if your dog has a sensitive stomach

While many cases of sensitive stomachs in dogs are easy to identify, others are more subtle. According to various sources, some of the most common signs of food sensitivities in canines include:

  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Vomiting immediately or shortly after a meal
  • Excessive gas
  • Bloating
  • Excessive digestive noises
  • Lethargy or signs of being in pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Rashes

Generally, dogs with sensitive stomachs will present these symptoms off and on throughout their daily lives. Of course, these symptoms can also indicate a variety of other issues. If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your options.

If any of these symptoms come on suddenly, consult with a veterinarian immediately.

What should you do if you suspect your dog has a sensitive stomach?

If your dog shows signs of a sensitive stomach or food allergy, you obviously want to provide them with relief. But if you don’t know what is causing their symptoms, taking the next step can be hard.

To start, some food allergies can be detected by a veterinarian’s test. This is an easy way to narrow down what could be triggering your dog’s symptoms.

However, many dogs react to certain ingredients without having a true allergy. In these cases, many experts suggest switching to a limited ingredient diet. Limited ingredient foods provide well-rounded nutrition with as few ingredients as possible, making it easier to pinpoint your dog’s triggers.

As with any canine health concerns, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian to make sure you’re on the right track for a happy and healthy pup.

Conclusion

After reviewing some of the top dog foods for sensitive stomachs currently available, our top pick is the Hill’s Science Diet 8860 Dry Dog Food. This formula is backed by veterinarian support, is made in the USA, and is easily digestible. Plus, the balanced recipe of fiber, vitamin E, and fatty acids will keep your dog healthy for a lifetime.

For those shopping for dog food on a budget, we suggest the Halo 36200 Natural Dry Dog Food. This food was created for easy digestion using only natural ingredients. The small kibble makes it perfect for toy and small dog breeds. On top of that, Halo sources its ingredients from ethical farmers and fishermen.

On the other hand, our choice for those who want to buy the best of the best for their dog is the Blue Buffalo 753 Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food. With this formula, your dog gets a single source of protein and a recipe that limits potential allergic reactions.

Finally, for those who need puppy-friendly food that won’t upset their little ones’ stomachs, the AvoDerm 100064779 Natural Puppy Dry & Wet Dog Food is the best choice. This food contains DHA and other nutrients for optimal development and even boosts your puppy’s immune system.

After putting together our list of reviews, it’s clear that there are countless options out there for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Finding the formula that’s right for your pooch is just a matter of trial and error.

So, what do you think? Have you had any luck treating your dog’s sensitive stomach with any of these formulas? Do you have any other suggestions that have worked for your pup? Share your experiences in the comments below!


Featured image credit: kalhh, Pixabay