Dogs can be gassy at times, it’s simply a fact of life. But if your dog’s flatulence sends you running from the room, it might be a sign that something is wrong. Occasional gas and upset stomach are nothing to worry about, but chronic digestive issues are frequently a sign of sensitive stomach.


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Dogs with sensitive stomachs may not need an expensive, veterinary diet. The important thing is to find a dog food made with wholesome, highly digestible ingredients, including a novel source of protein. The more digestible your dog’s food, the smoother his digestion and the fewer symptoms he’ll experience.

In this article, we’ll explore the subject of sensitive stomach in dogs to help you make the right choice for your pup. We’ll talk about the signs of sensitive stomach as well as the causes, exploring food allergies in greater depth as well. We’ll also provide you with some simple things to look for when shopping for the best dog food for sensitive stomach.

What Are the Signs of Sensitive Stomach in Dogs?

Every dog is different and, unfortunately, you may not know exactly what makes your dog different until he starts showing signs of a problem. Sensitive stomach is a fairly common problem in dogs, and it tends to develop slowly over time. This problem can develop at any time in any dog, but there are certain dog breeds prone to sensitive stomachs as well.

Here are some of the most common dog breeds prone to sensitive stomachs:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Irish Setter
  • Shar-Pei
  • Great Dane
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Though sensitive stomach can affect any dog, older dogs and small-breed dogs seem to be affected more heavily than other dogs. Regardless your dog’s breed, however, you should learn to identify the signs of sensitive stomach.

Here are some of the top symptoms of sensitive stomach in dogs:

  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Soft stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stools
  • Hypersalivation
In many cases, sensitive stomach is simply something a dog is born with. In other cases, however, it may be due to a digestive problem or food allergy. You’ll need to keep track of your dog’s symptoms and report them to your vet as accurately as possible. Using this information along with diagnostic tools and tests, your vet may be able to identify the underlying cause and suggest a source of treatment.

Tips for Dealing with Food Allergies and Sensitive Stomach

Once you’ve diagnosed your dog’s sensitive stomach, there are several ways to deal with it. In the case of chronic digestive disorders, treating the disorder itself may resolve the symptoms. For other causes like ulcers or infections, medication may be necessary to resolve the problem.

If your dog doesn’t respond to medication, it is possible that his sensitive stomach is related to what you are feeding him rather than a problem within his body. Dogs can develop allergies and sensitivities to nearly any food ingredient at any time.

Here are some of the signs of food allergies and sensitivities in dogs:

  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Hot spots
  • Skin rashes
  • Scaly or oily skin
  • Pigmented skin
  • Eye discharge
  • Ear infections
  • Hair loss
  • Secondary infections

If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy, you need to stop feeding him the food that contains the offending ingredient. If you’re not sure what that ingredient is, try switching him to an elimination diet. An elimination diet is made with a limited number of ingredients, including a novel source of protein and carbohydrate – this simply means an ingredient your dog hasn’t had before.

After 8 to 12 weeks on the elimination diet, all signs of the allergy should be gone. At that point, you can keep feeding your dog the same food or introduce potential allergens one at a time until you identify the culprit. From there, just feed your dog a recipe free from that ingredient.

What to Look for in Sensitive Stomach Dog Food

Whether your dog suffers from food allergies or simply has a sensitive stomach, the digestibility of his diet is of the utmost importance. The higher the quality the ingredients in his food, the more digestible it will be. When your dog is able to properly digest his food, it will boost his overall health and wellness.

Here are some things to look for in sensitive stomach dog food:

  • Healthy, whole-food ingredients. A high-quality animal protein should be the first ingredient with animal-based fats for energy. Look for digestible whole-food carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables as well as fresh fruits for nutritional balance.
  • Limited number of ingredients. The fewer ingredients in your dog’s food, the lower the risk of triggering a food allergy. Limited ingredient diets are great for dogs with sensitive stomach.
  • Novel protein and carbohydrate. The word “novel” simply means an ingredient your dog hasn’t had before. Some examples include things like venison, kangaroo, bison, duck, and rabbit.
  • Free from common allergens. The most common food allergens for dogs include beef, dairy, chicken, wheat, soy, lamb, corn, egg, pork, fish, and rice. If you’re not sure what your dog is allergic to, you may need to avoid these ingredients to be safe.
  • Complete and balanced. Vitamin and mineral supplements are included in most commercial dog foods to ensure nutritional balance but check to be sure.

If your dog has a food allergy and it goes untreated, it can develop into something more serious. Over time, your dog may develop behavioral changes, worsened symptoms, and a reduced quality of life. If you want what’s best for your dog, start with a balanced diet that his body can easily digest.

The 10 Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Foods

The best dog food for sensitive stomach and skin is made with wholesome, natural ingredients. The digestibility of the food depends on the quality of the ingredients, so choose a recipe rich in animal protein and fat with digestible carbohydrates. You also need to make sure it is complete and nutritionally balanced to provide for your dog’s basic needs.

Here’s our top pick for the best sensitive stomach dog food:

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery Service

Overall Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food: If your dog has a sensitive stomach, the quality of the ingredients in his food matter greatly. The higher the quality of the ingredients, the more digestible the food will be, which means more nutrient absorption for your dog. When it comes to high-quality food for dogs, fresh is one of the best commercial options out there, and NomNomNow is our top pick. NomNomNow is a fresh food delivery service that sends a monthly supply of pre-portioned fresh pet food to your door. You simply provide your dog’s basic information and select a recipe, then they determine your dog’s ideal calorie intake and send you packages portioned just right for your dog. Every recipe is made with wholesome, natural ingredients and is free from artificial additives. Simply put, it is a healthy, digestible diet any dog would be lucky to have, especially your sensitive stomach dog.

  • Pros: Fresh food made from wholesome natural ingredients, perfectly portioned for dog’s calorie needs, no artificial additives, several recipes to choose from, automatic monthly deliveries
  • Cons: Very expensive compared to commercial dry food, some recipes contain potential allergens

Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain Free Dry Food

Most Popular Sensitive Stomach Dog Food: If you’re not sure where to go for a healthy, high-quality dog food, the Taste of the Wild brand is always a popular choice you can trust. Though this brand doesn’t offer any limited ingredient formulas, the Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain Free Dry Food recipe features a single source of novel protein with digestible grain-free carbohydrates. This recipe features fresh lamb as the main ingredient with lamb meal and roasted lamb for supplemental protein. It is naturally grain-free, made with digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and lentils. It provides a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe is rich in fiber with probiotic supplements for healthy digestion, and it is complete and balanced. Overall, it provides 25% protein and 15% fat with 338 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Single source of animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotic supplements, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Not a limited-ingredient diet, some dogs may be sensitive to lamb

American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Duck & Sweet Potato Recipe

Most Affordable Sensitive Stomach Dog Food: If you want what’s best for your dog, you should be prepared to pay for it. Finding a high-quality dog food for dogs with sensitive stomach doesn’t have to be difficult, however, or expensive. This American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Duck & Sweet Potato Recipe is a great option that is also highly affordable. Made with a limited number of ingredients including novel protein and carbohydrate sources, this formula is highly digestible and has a low risk for triggering food allergies and sensitivities. It provides 25% protein with 12% fat as well as 7% fiber for healthy digestion. This formula is supplemented with fish oil to ensure a balance of omega fatty acids as well as chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption. Plus, it is moderate in calorie content, so you don’t have to worry about your dog accidentally gaining weight.

  • Pros: Limited number of ingredients, novel protein and carbohydrate, rich in protein with moderate fat, chelated minerals, blend of omega fatty acids
  • Cons: May be too high in protein for some dogs, contains some plant protein (pea protein)

FirstMate Endurance/Puppy Pacific Ocean Meal Formula LID Puppy Food

Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food for Puppies: Your puppy needs a high-quality diet to fuel his growth and development, but a sensitive stomach can make choosing the right recipe a challenge. We like this FirstMate Endurance/Puppy Pacific Ocean Meal Formula LID Puppy Food because it is made with a very limited number of ingredients and is formulated to meet the high energy needs of your growing puppy. This formula features a single source of novel animal protein (ocean fish meal) and is supplemented with digestible grain-free carbohydrates. It contains supplemental fiber for healthy digestion as well as vitamin and chelated mineral supplements for nutritional balance. You’ll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with glucosamine for healthy bones and joints and, overall, contains 28% protein and 18% fat.

  • Pros: Formulated for puppies, limited number of ingredients, 87% protein from fish meal, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, complete and balanced
  • Cons: May be too high in fiber for some puppies, high calorie content (be careful to avoid overfeeding)

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Senior Real Chicken, Sweet Potato & Garbanzo Bean Recipe

Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food for Seniors: As your dog gets older, his metabolism will slow down, and he won’t need as many calories. The quality of his diet will be just as important, however. That’s why we like this Canidae Grain-Free PURE Senior Real Chicken, Sweet Potato & Garbanzo Bean Recipe – it is made with a limited number of wholesome, natural ingredients to deliver high-quality nutrition for your senior dog. Whether you’re looking for the best dog food for sensitive stomach and gas, or your dog has food allergies, this recipe is a great option. Featuring real chicken as the first ingredient, this formula contains just 9 main ingredients and is grain-free for digestibility. It contains probiotics and supplemental fiber for healthy digestion and is complete and nutritionally balanced thanks to the addition of vitamins and chelated mineral supplements.

  • Pros: Just 9 main ingredients, limited fat and calorie content, rich in lean protein, real chicken first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, chelated minerals, probiotic supplements
  • Cons: Expensive compared to many dry foods, not a single-source protein recipe

5 More Top-Rated Raw Dog Foods

If the sensitive stomach dog foods reviewed above aren’t quite right for your dog, don’t worry – there are many more options. Understanding your dog’s sensitive stomach and the ingredients that trigger a reaction is important, but the following dog foods represent five more of our top-rated picks to give you a place to start your search.

Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Freeze-Dried Patties

When it comes to dealing with sensitive stomach in dogs, the quality of the ingredients matters, and raw dog food is at the top of the list when it comes to quality. Our top pick for the best raw dog food for sensitive stomach is Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Freeze-Dried Patties. This product consists of freeze-dried patties of raw food featuring real duck, turkey, and goose as the main ingredients. The food is prepared raw to preserve the nutritional integrity of the ingredients then carefully freeze-dried to make the product shelf stable. This formula contains organic fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of key nutrients with probiotics, vitamins, and chelated minerals supplements for nutritional balance and healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Freeze-dried raw, real duck as main ingredient, organic fruits and vegetables, probiotic supplements for healthy digestion, chelated minerals, high in protein (38%), rich in fiber
  • Cons: May be too high in fat for some dogs, some dogs dislike the freeze-dried texture

Wellness Simple LID Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula

If you’re looking for the best dog food for sensitive stomach and skin, a limited ingredient recipe made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate is key. We like this Wellness Simple LID Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula because it is exactly as advertised – simple. This recipe contains a handful of wholesome, natural ingredients including real salmon, potatoes, and flaxseed. It is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat with plenty of fiber for regular digestion. It contains all of the vitamin and chelated mineral supplements needed for nutritional balance and is rich in protein to boot. Overall, if you’re looking for a simple, natural recipe to nourish your dog’s sensitive stomach with a low risk for negative reactions, try this Wellness Simple LID Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula.

  • Pros: Limited number of ingredients, real salmon first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, vitamin and chelated mineral supplements, probiotics for digestion, rich in protein with moderate fat
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (flaxseed and canola)

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Lamb & Chickpeas Recipe

Keeping your dog’s diet simple is the key to resolving digestive issues. This Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Lamb & Chickpeas Recipe is a great choice because it features just 8 main ingredients, starting with real deboned lamb. This formula is packed with premium animal protein and other natural ingredients, completely free from grains, fillers, and artificial additives. It is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, with supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. It contains chelated minerals and vitamin supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition, providing a total of 26% protein and 16% fat with 380 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Just 8 main ingredients, real deboned lamb first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, vitamins and chelated minerals, 26% protein and 16% fat
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (sunflower oil)

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Food

If you want your dog to have the best of the best, this Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Food is definitely one to consider. It is a grain-free, limited ingredient recipe made with a single source of animal protein and just a handful of other high-quality ingredients. It features farm-raised turkey as the first ingredient with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like chickpeas and peas. It is free from common allergens like chicken and grains, but still provides a balanced source of nutrition for your dog. It is supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption and contains fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support as well. Overall, it is a high-protein recipe made with wholesome, natural ingredients and nutritionally balanced for your dog’s benefit.

  • Pros: Limited number of ingredients, real turkey first ingredient, free from common allergens, highly digestible, grain-free carbohydrates, chelated minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Duck & Potato Recipe

When it comes to a brand you can trust, Blue Buffalo is definitely up there. This Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Duck & Potato Recipe is a great choice for many reasons. First and foremost, it features real duck as the first ingredient and a novel source of protein. It is highly digestible, featuring grain-free carbohydrates, and supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support. This recipe contains glucosamine and chondroitin for strong bones, calcium and phosphorus for healthy teeth, and a blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. You’ll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with a blend of prebiotics and probiotics to support your dog’s regular digestion. Overall, it contains 20% protein and 13% fat with 354 calories per cup. You’ll love the quality nutrition and your dog will love the flavor.

  • Pros: Limited number of ingredients, real duck as first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin, chelated minerals, probiotic supplements
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), could be higher in protein content

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do you know if your dog has a sensitive stomach? – Sensitive stomach is linked to a variety of different symptoms, but most of them are easy to identify. If your dog is experiencing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea without any other symptoms, it is most likely a digestive issue. If you recently changed your dog’s diet, it is even more likely that this is the problem. Keep in mind that dogs can develop food allergies and sensitivities at any time, so it can happen even if you’ve been feeding him the same thing for years.
  2. Why is my dog so gassy all of a sudden? – Gas is often a sign that your dog’s body is having a hard time digesting his food. This can happen if you’re feeding your dog a cheap food made with low-quality ingredients. It could also be due to a sudden change in diet or something specific your fed your dog. Table scraps like fatty cuts of meat and foods that contain dairy can also trigger an episode of flatulence.
  3. What is the easiest protein for dogs to digest? – Generally speaking, animal proteins are the most digestible for dogs. This includes meat, poultry, fish and eggs, including exotic meats like bison, kangaroo, and venison. Keep in mind that every dog is different, however, so a protein that is highly digestible for one dog might trigger a reaction in another dog. If your dog is having digestive issues, you may want to switch to a different protein – ideally one that he hasn’t had before.
  4. How can I settle my dog’s upset stomach? – Acute digestive issues can be caused by any number of things, but there are some simple fixes to settle a dog’s upset stomach. One option is to stir a little plain, unsweetened yogurt into his food to give his digestive system a probiotic boost. It may also help to give him a boost of fiber by adding some canned pumpkin or sweet potato to his food. Even using an over-the-counter probiotic or fiber supplement might help settle his stomach.
  5. How long does it take a dog to recover from food allergies? – There is no exact timeline because every dog’s situation is different. It depends, to some degree, on the severity of the allergy and how long your dog has been suffering. Once you switch your dog to an elimination diet free from the offending ingredient, you can expect symptoms to resolve within 8 to 12 weeks. It is important to completely avoid the offending ingredient during this time, so be careful about the treats you offer your dog and avoid giving him table scraps as well.

If your dog experiences frequent digestive upset, he could have a sensitive stomach. Talk to your veterinarian to rule out any underlying issues, then consider switching your dog to a more digestible dog food. High-quality, natural ingredients are the foundation of a good dog food for sensitive stomach, but you still need to keep your dog’s specific nutritional needs in mind.

Choosing the best dog food for a sensitive stomach can be tough, but we’re here to help! If you’re not sure where to start shopping or you just want a recommendation to follow, try one of our top 10 picks for the best sensitive stomach dog food reviewed above.

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