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Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food | Reasons & Solutions

by ashley
How to help dog with sensitive stomach

It’s always a cause for concern when you notice that your canine companion is having health troubles. Just like humans, doggos can have sensitive stomachs. Several signs can alert you to an upset stomach and digestive issues, and there are more than a few options for treating the symptoms and ultimately restoring your furry friend to health and happiness. When Fido’s not feeling fine, it can be stressful for everyone. DoggyAdvice made a list of  some of the most popular and best dog food for sensitive stomachs. Below we also got answers to some of the most common questions surrounding sensitive stomach issues in dogs.

Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food

Dry Dog Food

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Canned Dog Food

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Does My Dog Have A Sensitive Stomach?

You may have recently noticed some symptoms of stomach sensitivity in your dog, and now you’re wondering how to know for sure. Of course, if your pup is having severe problems, your best bet is to head to the vet to get your pet the immediate care they need. However, if you’re just starting to put together the puzzle pieces on what’s bothering your pup, here are some indications to take into consideration. 

Signs Your Dog is Suffering From Stomach Problems

Fortunately, the signs and symptoms of dogs with sensitive stomachs and pups that are feeling under the weather shouldn’t be all that hard to spot. Unfortunately, they’re not at all lovely to look at or experience in person. At least it’s simple to discern when there’s a problem. To help you decipher the signs, as Veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney told Animal Planet, here’s a list of some common symptoms of sensitive stomach in pups.


Sometimes dogs simply have a tummy ache. You may have seen your canine chomping on grass in the yard. That’s how they induce vomiting themselves if something has made their tummy feel yucky. Every now and again is relatively ordinary. But if your pup is throwing up a lot or has other symptoms like gas and diarrhea, it’s worth checking out what’s going on as it might be a sensitive stomach. 


Because they gulp air when overly-excited about eating, dogs can end up gas discomfort if they tend to chow down too quickly at dinnertime. Again, when combined with other symptoms, it can be a sign of gastrointestinal illness or other digestive issues. 


Loose, runny stools are a sure sign that something is amiss in the digestive tract. It could be as simple as your furry friend breaking into a dish of leftovers from the fridge or a recent change in dog food. Whatever the cause, if it happens occasionally and alone, it’s no cause for alarm. Do remember that a dog with diarrhea needs extra hydration, so make sure to leave a full water bowl for Fido no matter what other steps you take. 

Eating Grass

Ever wonder why doggos do this? As referenced above, their instincts and intuition have taught them over time that eating grass will literally tickle their tummies, thereby inducing vomiting. So, on the one hand, like all of the above symptoms, it could be harmless. You know your furbaby best, and you know when it’s time to call on the vet. Dogs with sensitive stomachs might show only some of the mentioned symptoms. When in doubt, always be safe and ask a vet.

Breed-Based Stomach Problems

Knowing your pup’s breed and background can be a great place to start when you’re searching for answers about potential in dogs with sensitive stomachs. Some doggos simply have the genetic inclination for digestive problems and sensitive stomachs. 

Larger breeds with deep chests like Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, and even Basset Hounds are especially prone to something called Gastric Dilation-volvulus. In layman’s terms, that’s a twisted stomach or bloat. The condition can be fatal if left untreated. WebMD for Pets reports that it can be particularly painful for your pup and always results in the need for veterinary intervention if a dog’s stomach does become twisted.  

Smaller breeds aren’t totally in the clear either. Small-sized doggos like Terriers and Yorkies can have stomach issues that are unique to their size as well. Since itsy-bitsy pups have itsy-bitsy tummies, dry dog food can expand inside their small stomachs leading to vomiting and other signs of stomach sensitivity. 

Other Causes of A Sensitive Stomach 

While the cause can be genetic, as for the Fido’s mentioned above, it can also be any number of common (and not so common) ailments caused by a variety of culprits. If you’ve been noticing signs of an upset or sensitive stomach, your vet can do various tests to help understand precisely what’s causing the problem and how best to treat it. Of course, a visit to the vet is always your best source for diagnosing dog problems, but here are some standard issues that might be causing your pet to suffer.

  • Worms or other parasites 
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Stomach Bloat
  • Acid Reflux
  • Dog Food Allergy
  • Sensitivity to Medications

The good news is that no matter the size or breed of your doggo, there are things you can do to help keep their digestive systems happy, healthy, and working well. Let’s take a look at some recommended precautionary and preemptive steps you can take to keep your tail-wagger’s tummy feeling fine and dandy. 

Changes in Diet and Exercise For Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs

Thankfully, medical care for dogs has advanced rapidly in the past several decades. There are medical interventions and medications available to treat almost any condition including for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s wonderful to have these services available, but it’s also important to remember that good health relies on a healthy dose of prevention, too. Here are some non-medical options you can consider if you’ve noticed signs of indigestion or stomach sensitivity or if you’re simply looking to head off the problem before it arises. 

Elevate Doggo’s Dog Bowl 

There are a number of products out there designed to make eating more ergonomic for your pup. Chewy.com, the Amazon of the pet world, has some great options you can explore for lifting Fido’s food and water dishes. The idea behind this solution, especially for larger breeds, is that they gulp less air when they eat at muzzle level than when they have to drop their heads low to the bowl to eat and drink. It’s a solid preventative measure if you know your dog is prone to a sensitive stomach, and it’s definitely a change worth implementing if your pup is already experiencing issues. 

Go For A Walk – Before Eating

Exercise is generally considered good for digestion, and taking a stroll after supper is something many folks and Fidos might do with good intentions. As it turns out, the exercise part itself is spot-on, but there are actually dangers associated with letting your canine get too crazy in their after-dinner activities. 

For dogs and humans alike, exercise is an essential element of day-to-day health maintenance. Timing is the make it or break it factor here. Just like you wouldn’t likely choose right after a heavy meal as the ideal time for a high cardio workout, your dog’s digestive system doesn’t think it’s a great idea either. 

Especially for the larger-breed furbabies mentioned above, eating a large meal and then going out for playtime can spell trouble for your tail-wagger in a hurry. When the stomach is heavy with food and gulped air from excited eating or rough play is a time when you should be extra aware of your pup’s wellbeing, particularly if your dog’s breed is known to be at risk for a twisted stomach.

Choose Alternatives to Dry Dog Food

In addition to healthy and safe activity levels, some pups just don’t sit so well with kibble in their stomachs. Like the small breeds mentioned above who can get sick if dry dog food expands too much in their stomachs, there are various reasons why you might ditch dry dog food to help your pup feel better. 

For example, allergies and acid reflux are two common culprits of tummy troubles in dogs, and both can be treated, at least in part, by a change in doggie-diet. Eliminating potential allergens from your dog’s diet is a great way to help improve their digestive health. Gluten, rice, and soy are all common sources of sensitive stomachs, so look for dog food that’s free of these. 

Also, look for non-GMO products that are as chemical-free as possible, meaning the fewer, the better in terms of preservatives and additives present in your pup’s food. Basically, you and man’s best friend will both be feeling great about your smart decisions to stay away from dull, dry processed dog foods. 

The Dog Bakery breaks down the right way to go slow about it with any food transition you make with your dog. They say it should be a process that takes around 7-10 days, during which you progressively increase the amount of new food your dog eats each day as you steadily decrease the old food until your canine is eating the new cuisine exclusively. 

Try an Elimination Diet

You know something is bothering your furry friend, but you haven’t been able to pin down the cause. As mentioned above, many ingredients in processed dog foods can irritate your pet’s digestive system. When this is the cause for your canine’s discomfort, removing that food from their diet will relieve the reaction. Even with healthy, high-quality ingredient food, it might not be the best dog food for your particular doggie because of one specific ingredient. 

In an elimination diet, you’ll make the transition to a new food, free of potential irritants. If you see from the switch that tummy troubles ease up, then it’s clear that the old food was part of the problem. You can begin to add back elements one-by-one, and when your pup has a reaction to dog treats that contain gluten, for example, you’ll know that gluten-free is the way to go for Fido.  

If you think trying an elimination diet sounds like it could be the right solution for your doggo, check out the many fresh dog food options that abound. Companies like Farmer’s Dog offer fresh, human-quality dog food, and they even deliver it straight to your door, a decided bonus in our current times. 

Consult With Your Veterinarian

Obviously, there are times when preventative measures simply aren’t sufficient, and it’s clear that medical care is needed. If your dog is showing signs of distress or is repeatedly experiencing upset and sensitive stomach symptoms, consulting with your vet is always the best bet. For some dog food for sensitive stomachs you will need a prescription from your vet. He will also be able to advise you on the best dog food for sensitive stomachs or other course of action for your dog’s sensitive tummy.

We encourage you to maintain a close relationship with a qualified, high-quality veterinarian that you and your pet both adore. In the case of sensitive stomachs, because there are so many variables and sometimes it’s difficult to discern what’s behind your pup’s stomach problems, it’s essential that you have someone knowledgeable and trustworthy to treat your doggo. Here are some tips we scored from the American Veterinary Medical Association on finding the best vet for your pet! 

A Little Help From Your Friends – A great place to start vet-hunting is in your own backyard. Ask around with friends or neighbors who they use as a vet and why. 

Get Your Pedigree On – If your pet has pedigree papers proving their genetics, AVMA suggests searching for a local breeder’s club. They’re likely to have a vet who’s very knowledgeable about your particular type of pup. 

Check Out Your Vet Before You Need Them – Another great suggestion from AVMA is to make sure you find your vet in advance of any potential pet-care needs. You can eliminate scary situations like needing emergency care without knowing where to turn. Plus, finding a vet while you’re still anticipating a pet means you can ask for their knowledgeable input on what 

Office Hours, Emergencies, & Other Services – Vet your veterinarian before striking up a conversation about your canine. You’ll want to know about appointment times and availability, who covers the clinic if when the vet is out, if the office handles emergencies or refers out to a hospital, as well as what range of services they offer like boarding and grooming. 

Payment for Service – This one is pretty straightforward. You’ll want to be sure you know what forms of payment are accepted and if the office accepts pet insurance. If you already have a policy, make sure you select a vet who’s included in your network. If you’ve found a vet you like, ask what insurance they accept and consider a policy with that company.


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