Home Dogs Best Dry Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach in 2020

Best Dry Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach in 2020

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Dogs that suffer from digestive problems struggle with discomforting symptoms that prevent them from leading a happy and healthy life. Further, pup parents feel distressed because they just don’t know what to do to comfort their dogs. 

The most frequent digestive system issues include sensitive stomach and secondary gastritis, followed by gastroenteritis. Many times these gastrointestinal disturbances are a consequence of food intolerances

Thanks to the broad range of dry dog food that you can find on the market today, digestive care in dogs does not have to be a life long struggle. Still, with so many dog food brands, some pup owners find it challenging to choose the right type of food.

How To Choose The Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach

If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, there are a few easy things that you should do and look for when choosing a brand and type of food. 

  • Switch to an all natural-based ingredients diet

Natural ingredients are easy to digest and are less likely to trigger a reaction or cause any gastrointestinal disturbances. 

Try to avoid heavily processed foods as they tend to overburden the stomach and digestive enzymes. Natural ingredients are easier to digest, will leave the stomach quicker, and nutrients are absorbed more easily.

Foods containing artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors are also more likely to trigger mild to even severe gastrointestinal disturbances. 

  • Antioxidant enriched food and natural supplements

Natural supplements such as coconut oil, turmeric, quercetin, and spirulina can reestablish, promote, and sustain healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. You can choose a type of food enriched with fruits and vegetables that contain natural antioxidants, or you can give your dog these healthy foods as a treat or snack.)

  • Go for single protein diets

Choosing a type of food that contains protein derived from a single kind of meat and by-products might help you identify the triggering cause of the digestive issues in your dog. Also, as mentioned previously, preservatives, flavors, and coloring agents are commonly associated with a sensitive stomach. Luckily, you can find a series of dog food brands that use a limited number of ingredients in their formulas and keep away from any artificial or synthetic compounds. 

  • Take notes 

While it might sound weird, taking notes on the brand, type of protein, and content of grains might help you figure out what component in the food is triggering a reaction in your pup. Take the time to read the ingredients list and write down those that you think might act as triggers for the digestive issues. 

Exclude these components entirely from your dog’s diet, at least for a while. If you want to confirm the triggering ingredients, you can start reintroducing them. If digestive problems reappear with the reintroducing of a component, then it will prove that your dog is, in fact, intolerant to that specific ingredient. 

  • Don’t expect an immediate result when switching diets

While some dogs recover immediately with the right diet, most need a while to get used to the new type of food. Whit each day, you should notice that your dog is more energetic, eats better, and digestion is regular.

If you are not sure what might best fit your fur baby, don’t worry! We are here for you with a list of the best dry dog food for sensitive stomach.

7 Best Dry Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach

Acana Singles Limited Ingredient
Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach Acana Singles Limited Ingredient

Duck & Pear; Lamb & Apple; Pork & Squash; New Beef & Pumpkin; New Turkey & Pumpkin

ACANA Singles is a nutrient-dense diet, rich in protein form a single animal source, with no peas or plant-protein isolates. The recipe contains fresh fruit and vegetables, providing your dog with all the essential nutrients required for overall health and healthy digestion. 

The formula is made with fresh meat and a limited number of ingredients, with a ratio of meat, organs, and cartilage to deliver all required nutrients that help dogs lead a happy and healthy life. All components in the food contribute to optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients, which makes this type of food ideal for dogs with a sensitive stomach. 

  • Main ingredients: 
    – 65 % meat sourced from farmers;
    – Farm-grown fresh vegetables and fruits (pear, apple, squash, or pumpkin).
  • Type: Grain and gluten-free.
  • Recipe characteristics: the recipe contains minimal additives, 0% potatoes, NO GMO ingredients, highly digestible ingredients ideal for dogs with food sensitivities.
  • Enriched with Vitamin B complex, vitamin E, Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, taurine for muscle function, glucosamine for joint support, prebiotic fibers, and antioxidants to support the immune system. 

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Diamond Naturals Recipe

Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach Diamond Naturals Recipe

Salmon & Potato; Lamb Meal & Rice; Beef Meal & Rice; Chicken & Rice 

Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food comes in different flavors and for all stages of growth and breed sizes. The recipe is enriched with natural ferments and is designed to combine a strong immune system with healthy digestion. 

Optimal digestion is ensured through a blend of both soluble and insoluble fibers from pumpkin and coconut. The chicken variety is not advised for dogs with intolerance to this type of protein. 

  • Main ingredients: 
    – 23 to 27% protein derived from Wild Caught Salmon, real pasture-raised lamb, real beef or fresh chicken;
    – the recipe includes plant-protein isolates such as lentils, peas and peas flour;
    – natural ingredients from trusted and sustainable family-owned and ran sources from the USA and around the world.
  • Type: Grain and gluten inclusive diet, as it contains rice and potatoes. 
  • Recipe characteristics: Does not contain corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or added preservatives. The recipe comprises minimal additives, 0% potatoes, NO GMO’s, limited highly digestible ingredients, ideal for dogs with food sensitivities and intolerances.
  • Enriched with: Vitamin B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, taurine and selenium. 

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Nutro Limited Ingredient

Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach Nutro Limited Ingredient

Lamb & Sweet potato; Salmon & Lentils; Venison & Sweet potato; Duck & Lentils

This type of food is based on ten ingredients or less, making it ideal for dogs with food sensitivities. The brand follows a clean feed philosophy, avoiding components such as corn, wheat, soy, and dairy protein that are commonly known to cause food sensitivities. 

All ingredients used in Nutro Limited come from trusted farmers and suppliers to ensure high-quality nutrition for your pup.

  • Main ingredients: 
    – 20 to 22% protein derived from salmon, lamb, beef or duck;
    – the recipe contains plant-protein isolates such as lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes;
    – other highly digestible natural ingredients are sweet potatoes and beet pulp.
  • Type: Grain-free, and it also does not contain corn, wheat, or soy-derived protein.
  • Recipe characteristics: – Nutro Limited is made with NON-GMO clean and natural ingredients. All available flavors are free of chicken meal and chicken by-products, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.
  • Enriched with: Vitamin E, vitamin A, B complex, Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, zinc, biotin, and vitamin D3. The broad range of prebiotic fibers and antioxidants support your dog’s healthy digestion.

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Solid Gold Leaping Waters

Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach Solid Gold Leaping Waters

Leaping Waters with Cold Water Salmon – Holistic Adult Dog Food

Solid Gold was founded 40 years ago, with the mission to provide healthy holistic food for dogs. Leaping Waters was designed especially for dogs with a sensitive stomach. Healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients are sustained by probiotics, or live good bacteria, that through a patented technique, stay alive and viable until consumed. 

On the plus side, the carefully selected ingredients in Solid Gold Leaping waters promote a shiny and healthy-looking skin and fur, but also a strong immune system. 

  • Main ingredients: 
    – 26% high-quality protein derived from cold water salmon. The ingredient list also includes protein derived from chickpeas and tapioca;
    – the recipe contains plant-protein isolates such as lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes;
    – other highly digestible natural ingredients are sweet potatoes and beet pulp.
  • Type: Grain and Gluten-free. Free from corn, soy, or wheat, ensuring an optimal energy balance for an active life. Free of chicken meal and by-products. 
  • Recipe characteristics: Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites Free.
  • Enriched with: Rich in Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Packed with fiber, antioxidants, and prebiotics to feed good bacteria and aid digestion.

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Lucy Pet Formulas for Life

Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach Lucy Pet Formulas for Life

Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food – Salmon, Pumpkin, & Quinoa

Lucy Pet Formulas is based on salmon derived protein and is recommended in particular for dogs with sensitive stomach and skin issues. 

The flat shape of the kibble makes it easy to chew and ideal for dogs of all sizes, from toy to large breeds. Also, the food is packed with all essential nutrients, making it appropriate for all life stages.

  • Main ingredients: 
    – Protein derived from salmon and chicken meal. This type of kibble is not recommended for dogs with sensitivity to chicken protein;
    – the recipe contains plant-protein isolates such as peas, peas starch and quinoa;
    – other highly digestible natural ingredients are pumpkin, carrots, flax seeds, miscanthus grass, and chicory root.
  • Type: Grain and Gluten-free. 
  • Recipe characteristics: Lucy Pet Formulas for Life is free from soy, or wheat.
  • Enriched with: Rich in Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, enforced with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, probiotics, high-quality antioxidants, and it is fortified with taurine.

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Purina Pro Plan Focus

Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach Purina Pro Plan Focus

Salmon & Rice Sensitive Skin and Sensitive Stomach Formula for small and large breed dogs

Purina Pro Plan Focus is one of the most appreciated kibbles of the company. The recipe was formulated for dogs with sensitive skin and stomach, but also for optimal overall health. 

All main components in the food are targeted at restoring skin and digestive health. 

  • Main ingredients: 
    – 26 % protein derived primarily from salmon, but it also from tuna;
    – oatmeal is a key ingredient that is known to reduce skin inflammation and stomach sensitivity. Oatmeal can effectively restore the skin barrier and healthy digestion by maintaining hydration and promoting tissue repair.
  • Type: A grain inclusive diet that contains high-quality rice, oats, and barley. 
  • Recipe characteristics: It does not contain chicken and beef meal and by-products; it is free of wheat, corn, and soy and free of artificial colors or flavors.
  • Enriched with sunflower oil, omega 3 & 6 for the support of skin and coat health, oatmeal to ensure a high-quality source of fibers, and natural prebiotics for proper digestion and boosting of the immune system. The recipe contains brewers yeast, which is an excellent source of vitamins of the B complex.

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Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive

Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach Hills Science Diet Sensitive

Sensitive Stomach & Skin Recipes

This dry dog food is a specialized veterinary recommended diet designed to promote and restore digestive and skin health. The formula is based on prebiotic fibers, which serve as “food” for the good bacteria in the dogs’ gastrointestinal tract. The added prebiotic fibers are a direct contributor to a balanced gut microbiome, healthy digestion, and nutrient uptake. 

The main protein in Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive is derived from chicken, and thus it might not be suited for dogs with sensitivity to this type of protein. 

  • Main ingredients:
    proteins derived from chicken meal and egg products, but not from chicken by-products;
    – other highly digestible ingredients rich in antioxidants include flaxseeds, oats apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, and green peas;
  • Type: This is a grain inclusive diet, as it contains brewers rice, cracked pearled barley, and whole-grain sorghum; 
  • Recipe characteristics: The formula is free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors; 
  • Enriched with vitamins of the B complex, vitamin E & Omega-6 fatty acids for a lustrous coat and healthy skin

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How do you know if your dog has a sensitive stomach?

Dogs that suffer from a sensitive stomach usually display a series of symptoms that may variate in frequency and intensity. 

Some breeds have a higher predisposition than others to food intolerances and sensitive stomach. For example, Yorkshire and Scottish Terriers, Labradors Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Grate Danes, German Shepherds are well known for their high predisposition of being food sensitive.

Some of the most frequent clinical signs include:

  • Diarrhea can have multiple causes, but dietary sensitivity is among the most common. Most often, diarrhea caused by food sensitivity is manifested by large volumes of loose stools, but with a regular bowel movement frequency. Other clinical signs associated with diarrhea include dehydration as water is lost with the loose stools.
     
  • Vomiting can occur when dogs are being fed with highly processed foods that are difficult to digest. Also, in the long term, dogs with a sensitive stomach can develop gastritis, which is the inflammation of the gastric lining or even gastric ulcers or erosions in the gastric wall. 

    If not addressed, chronic vomiting can cause mild to even life-threatening dehydration.
  • Weight loss appears as a consequence of persistent diarrhea and vomiting, but also that food is not digested entirely, and nutrients are not absorbed. Most dogs that lose weight progressively will have reduced fat deposits on their body and even reduced muscle mass.

    In the long term, an organism depleted from its essential nutrients can develop other illnesses. 
  • Gas is highly common in dogs suffering from food and gastric sensitivity. This usually happens when food takes longer to leave the gastrointestinal tract, and it starts fermenting. Further, the digestive system cannot recognize and break down artificial or synthetic ingredients, which in turn will spur fermentation processes.

    Symptoms associated with gas includes moderate to even severe abdominal pain, reluctance to move or searching for hiding places, or lack of appetite.

    In large dogs, gas accumulation and bloating can be life-threatening conditions as it can cause Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion. 

  • Lack of appetite can also have a multitude of causes. A sensitive stomach is one of them too. The symptoms mentioned previously can cause severe discomfort making your dog not want to eat. Also, dogs are very smart, and in time they learn to associate a specific type of food with consequent physical discomfort. 

If you observe any persisting symptom, then you should contact your local veterinarian and schedule an appointment. Although in themselves they might not sound like life-threatening symptoms, they can aggravate quickly, making your pup’s recovery more difficult. 

Common causes for sensitive stomachs in dogs 

  • Food intolerances – clinical signs occur due to the digestive system’s inability to break down specific compounds in food. These include particular grains, gluten, dairy, and proteins, but also artificial additives.
  • Congenital stomach sensitivity is also possible. In these dogs, clinical signs may appear during very early ages and can interfere with healthy growth and development.
  • Food allergies are exaggerated reactions of the immune system, which recognizes one or more components in the food as potential threats. In most cases, aside from mild digestive issues, these reactions may have various clinical presentations but mostly manifest with itchiness of the skin and scratching.

Sensitive stomach symptoms are often confused with those observed in colitis (colon inflammation), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), infectious gastroenteritis and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). All these illnesses are severe in themselves, have different causes, and need to be managed through different treatment protocols. 

Make sure that you check with your local veterinarian for any changes you would like to make in your pup’s diet or for persisting clinical symptoms you observe. 

References:

Craig, J. M. “Food Intolerance in Dogs and Cats.” Journal of Small Anim Practice, 2018, DOI:10.1111/jsap.12959.

Rudinsky, Adam J., et al. “Nutritional Management of Chronic Enteropathies in Dogs and Cats.” Journal of the American Vet Medical Association, vol. 253, no. 5, 2018, pp. 570–578., DOI:10.2460/javma.253.5.570.

Dr. Madalina Burlacu, DVM
I am a veterinary doctor with more than ten years of clinical experience, and I am still fascinated by the world of small pets and veterinary medicine. It is a domain that is always full of new and exciting things to learn that take me out of the ordinary and keep me driven even when it gets tough. I love that I get the satisfaction of helping people understand the medical conditions of their pets, and I have the chance of contributing directly to the happy life of their beloved furry friend.

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