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What Type of Dog Food is Best for a Sensitive Stomach?


If you have a dog with a sensitive stomach, you may find that some foods cause vomiting, flatulence, or loose stools.

By focusing on foods delivering highly digestible sources of protein, fat, carbs, prebiotics, and probiotics, you should easily restore Rover’s gut health, though.

Have you noticed issues with your dog’s stomach causing any of the above symptoms? If so, you should first get him checked out at the vet. This will rule out any underlying health conditions that could be triggering those symptoms.

Assuming he has a clean bill of health, you’ll need to consider switching up his food.

Before we highlight the best foods for this purpose, a few words about the foods to avoid.

I. Ingredients Likely to Inflame Canine Stomachs

All dogs are different, and some have less tolerant stomachs while others can seemingly devour anything without issues.

Here are 5 common food-related caused of stomach sensitivity in dogs:

  1. Protein
  2. Fat
  3. Fiber
  4. Vitamins and minerals
  5. Overall quality of ingredients

1) Protein

You might find your dog struggles to digest some types of protein. Protein sourced from chicken is a common culprit.

Try switching to food with protein derived from beef, lamb, or fish instead.

2) Fat

High-fat diets are harder to digest for dogs than diets rich in protein or carbs.

If you spot the symptoms of a sensitive stomach in your furball, examine the ingredients on his food. If fats or oils pop up in the first four ingredients, it might be too high in fat for your pup’s digestive system to efficiently process.

3) Fiber

You could find your dog needs some extra fiber.

Foods containing beet pulp are a great way to achieve this without resorting to supplementation.

4) Vitamins and minerals

If you are feeding Fido home-cooked meals or raw food, he might not get the right balance of vitamins and minerals.

In the case of any specialty dog diet, you should speak with his vet to make sure he is getting adequate levels of the vitamins and minerals he needs.

5) Overall quality of ingredients

Check if there have been any clinical studies on the quality of ingredients and use your own judgement to assess the overall quality of the ingredient profile. Low quality ingredients routinely irritate canine stomachs.

So, how can you go about choosing the best dog food for a sensitive stomach?

II. What Makes a Good Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs?

Here are some of the key characteristics of dog foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs:

  1. Limited number of ingredients
  2. Grain-free or with easily-digestible grains
  3. Easily-digestible
  4. Probiotics
  5. Bland composition

1) Limited number of ingredients

The more ingredients a dog food contains, the more chance that one of those ingredients will upset your dog’s digestive system.

This is not to say your dog doesn’t need a wide range of nutrients – he does. That said, the fewer ingredients beyond the core requirements, the better.

2) Grain-free or with easily-digestible grains

Look for grain-free food or food containing grains that are easy for your dog to process.

Many dogs afflicted with a sensitive stomach find it tough to digest corn and wheat.

If you find a formula with grains, look for whole grains, oats, and brown rice if Rover has a sensitive stomach.

3) Easily-digestible

Most dogs digest lamb, brown rice, and potatoes easily and without incident. Chicken is usually OK, but you may find some issues if your dog has a sensitive stomach.

4) Probiotics

Probiotics in dog food will ease your pup’s digestion. From yogurt to pumpkin and other high-fiber ingredients, look for probiotics to smooth the digestive process in a sensitive canine. As an added kicker, this should also firm up his stools.

5) Bland composition

The best dog foods designed to treat gastrointestinal issues are typically quite bland. With basic meats and rice, there will be little to trigger inflammation or irritation in Fido.

With those basics in place, you can find dog food designed for canines with sensitive stomachs in the following three broad categories:

LID (limited ingredient dog food)

As mentioned above, limited ingredient dog foods contain deliberately few ingredients to minimize the chance of any stomach issues.

These foods normally contain just one source of meat-sourced protein, low levels of fat, and a small list of ingredients. Often, you’ll find probiotics to smoothen the digestive process, too.

Hypoallergenic dog food

While not especially cheap, hypoallergenic dog food can effectively mitigate sensitive stomach issues in dogs.

This type of food is made from proteins shattered into building blocks composed of essential amino acids. As a result, the food will slip down easily without causing any irritation on the way down.

Prescription GI dog food

If you need to consult with your vet after finding that all else has failed with dog foods meant to help sensitive stomachs, you might try a purpose-made GI dog food with ingredients expressly selected for the way they support healthy and easy digestion.

III. How to Switch Seamlessly to Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

When you’ve decided that food is the cause of your dog’s stomach issues and you’re ready to switch up his food, take things slowly. If you abruptly change his food, you could create even more problems.

You should ease him into any new food over the course of a week, then.

Start by mixing 80% of his old food to 20% new. Over the next few days, adjust the ratio until he’s eating all-new food by the end of the week.

This strategy is simple but highly effective.

IV. Conclusion

Thanks for stopping by at BarkVA today, and we hope you found the answer to your query regarding what type of dog food is best for a sensitive stomach.

Don’t forget to take your pooch to the vet if you notice any issues with his digestion or gut health. It’s always worth getting informed medical input.

Now, we bring you informative content several times a week, so don’t forget to bookmark our blog before you go, and we’ll see you very soon!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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