What are the best foods for a dog with sensitive stomach?

November 27, 2023

If you’re a pet owner, you’ll know how distressing it can be to see your beloved four-legged friend suffering from an upset tummy. Dogs with sensitive stomachs can have a hard time processing certain types of food, which can lead to a variety of problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive gas, and even skin issues. This is why it’s crucial to provide them with a diet specifically tailored to their delicate digestive systems.

Identifying the Signs of a Sensitive Stomach in Dogs

Before embarking on a quest to find the best food for your dog, it’s important to first identify the signs that your pet has a sensitive stomach. Dogs can’t communicate their discomfort verbally, so it’s up to you to observe their behavior and physical health.

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If you notice your dog frequently experiencing gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, it may be suffering from a sensitive stomach. Other signs to look for include excessive gas, changes in bowel movements, and poor coat quality. A dog with a sensitive stomach may also show lethargic behavior or lose weight unexpectedly.

However, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian first before making any conclusions, as these symptoms can also be indicative of other health problems. Once you’ve confirmed your dog’s condition, you can then start exploring the best diet for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

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Nutritional Needs of Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

The nutritional needs of dogs with sensitive stomachs aren’t drastically different from any healthy dog. They still require a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and other essential nutrients. However, the difference lies in how these nutrients are delivered.

The best foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs are those that are easy to digest. Protein should still be the main ingredient, but it’s better if it comes from easily digestible sources like chicken, turkey, or fish. Avoid richer meats like beef or lamb which can upset sensitive stomachs.

The same principle applies to fat. While fat is essential for dog’s health, too much of it can lead to stomach upset. Thus, select foods that contain moderate amounts of fats.

Grains can sometimes cause stomach issues in dogs. If your dog is sensitive to grains, consider a grain-free diet. However, be reminded that not all grains are bad. Some like brown rice and barley are easy to digest and can be a good source of energy.

Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog

Selecting the right food for your dog with a sensitive stomach can be a challenging task. There are many products available in the market, each claiming to be the best. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right food for your pet:

  • Ingredients: Look for food with high-quality, natural ingredients. Avoid foods with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which can exacerbate digestive problems.
  • The Protein Source: As mentioned earlier, the protein should come from a single, easily digestible source like chicken, turkey, or fish.
  • Grain-free or not: If your dog is sensitive to grains, opt for grain-free recipes. But remember, not all grains are bad.
  • Digestive aids: Some foods contain probiotics and other digestive aids to support a healthy digestive system. These can be beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Top Food Recommendations for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

Now that you’re armed with the necessary information, let’s take a look at some top-rated dog foods that are excellent for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

  1. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin: This dry dog food is a great choice which is specially formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs or skin. It features chicken as its primary protein source and contains prebiotic fiber for digestive health.
  2. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula: This food is excellent for dogs that are sensitive to grains. It features turkey as the primary protein source and includes pumpkin and peas, which are easy on the stomach.
  3. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach: This recipe has salmon as its main protein source, which is great for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It also contains easily digestible carbohydrates like rice and oatmeal.
  4. Nutro Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Diet: This food uses lamb as its single protein source, making it easy on the stomach. It’s also grain-free, perfect for dogs sensitive to grains.

Always remember, transitioning your pet to a new diet should be done gradually to avoid any gastrointestinal upset. It’s also vital to monitor your pet’s response to the new diet. If symptoms persist, consult your vet immediately.

Proper diet and nutrition can significantly improve the quality of life of your dog with a sensitive stomach. With careful consideration and the guidance of a trusted vet, you can find the best food that will support your dog’s digestive health and overall well-being.

Feeding Schedule and Portion Control

Feeding schedule and portion control also play a major role in managing a dog’s sensitive stomach. Overfeeding can lead to stomach distress and exacerbate existing digestive issues. It’s recommended to stick to regular feeding times and follow the recommended serving sizes on the dog food packaging.

A general rule of thumb is to feed adult dogs two meals a day. Puppies require more frequent feeding times due to their fast growth and development. However, if your dog is prone to bloating or gastrointestinal issues, you might want to consider smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

Make sure to monitor your dog’s body weight and adjust the portion size accordingly. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, and it’s critical to ensure they’re getting the right amount of calories to stay at a healthy size. If you’re unsure about the correct portion size for your dog, consult your vet for guidance.

It’s also crucial to avoid giving your dog table scraps or foods that are not intended for dogs. Many human foods can cause stomach upset in dogs, especially those with sensitive stomachs. Stick to high-quality dog foods that are formulated to support your pet’s digestive health.

The Importance of Regular Vet Check-ups

Even with the best dog food and feeding practices, dogs with sensitive stomachs may still experience digestive issues from time to time. Regular vet check-ups are essential for monitoring your dog’s health and catching any potential problems early.

During these visits, your vet can assess your dog’s overall health and check whether the current diet is benefiting your dog’s sensitive stomach. If your pet’s condition doesn’t improve or worsens despite dietary changes, the vet may recommend further tests to rule out other underlying health conditions.

Remember, while food plays a vital role in managing a dog’s sensitive stomach, it’s not the only factor. Regular exercise, a stress-free environment, and plenty of love and care can also contribute to your dog’s overall well-being.


Managing a dog with a sensitive stomach can be challenging, but with the right diet and care, you can greatly improve your pet’s quality of life. Always opt for high-quality dog foods that meet the nutritional needs of your pet and are easy on the stomach. Be mindful of feeding practices, portion control, and regular vet visits to monitor your pet’s health.

It’s important to remember that every dog is unique. What works best for one dog may not necessarily work for another. Patience, observation, and regular consultation with your vet can help you find the best solution for your beloved four-legged friend. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure your pet is happy, healthy, and able to enjoy their life to the fullest despite their sensitive stomach.