Best Fresh Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach

Kevin Bischof Written By Kevin Bischof

Addressing the specific dietary needs of dogs with sensitive stomachs becomes paramount in the quest for optimal canine health. Canines grappling with a sensitive stomach may exhibit a range of distressing symptoms, from severe stomach pain and discomfort to frequent vomiting and diarrhoea. In this article we try to find best fresh dog food for sensitive stomach.

These issues can lead to a decreased appetite and weight loss and even contribute to skin problems, such as itching and redness. Moreover, a sensitive stomach can manifest in allergy symptoms like ear infections. The toll on a dog’s overall well-being is substantial, often resulting in fatigue and lethargy.

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Photo by fatty corgi on Unsplash

Recognizing these challenges and finding the right nourishment is crucial. In this article, we aim to guide pet parents towards a path of digestive comfort and overall vitality for their cherished canine companions.

Our Top Picks

Best For All
Almo Nature HQS Natural Chicken & Tuna with Vegetables
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Nature’s Diet Lamb Liver Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Best Topper for Senstivie Stomachs
PureBites Plus Squeezables- Gut & Digestion Dog Food Topper

What is Sensitive Stomachs in Dogs ?

A dog with a sensitive stomach may experience various health problems and discomforts. Here are possible conditions that a dog with a sensitive stomach may encounter.

Discomfort on the Stomach:Severe stomach pain and a feeling of discomfort.
Vomiting:Frequent vomiting, especially after consuming foods that irritate or are challenging to digest.
Diarrhea due to sensitivity in the digestive system.
Gas Issues:
Increased gas formation due to disruptions in the digestive system.
Loss of Appetite:
Decreased appetite due to continuous stomach discomfort.
Weight Loss:
Continuous vomiting or diarrhea can lead to weight loss in the dog.
Skin Problems:
A sensitive stomach may also contribute to skin problems, causing itching, redness, or skin infections.
Allergy Symptoms:
A sensitive stomach can lead to allergies and intolerances, including symptoms such as itching, ear infections, or other allergy signs.
Fatigue and Lethargy:
Continuous stomach problems may result in a decrease in the dog’s energy levels.
Intestinal Issues:
Intestinal inflammation or irritation is a condition that can be seen in dogs with sensitive stomachs.

What Causes a Sensitive Stomach in Dogs?

Diet Ingredients or Changing Diet

A dog diet plays a crucial role in the health and functionality of its digestive system, making it a common culprit behind sensitive stomach issues. Ingredients within a dog’s food, such as specific proteins, grains, or additives, can trigger allergic reactions or intolerances, leading to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and gas. Sudden changes in Diet also disrupt the delicate balance of the dog’s gastrointestinal flora, causing discomfort and digestive upset.

Furthermore, the quality of the food matters significantly; low-quality foods that are high in fats or lack sufficient fibre can exacerbate or contribute to the development of sensitive stomach symptoms. Poor dietary habits, such as overeating or consuming non-food items (a behaviour known as pica), can further strain the digestive system, emphasizing the importance of a well-balanced, appropriate diet tailored to an individual dog’s needs to prevent and manage sensitive stomach issues.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are significant factors that can lead to sensitive stomachs in dogs, underscoring the deep connection between a dog’s emotional well-being and physical health. Just as in humans, stress can disrupt a dog’s digestive system, leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Stressful events might include changes in the environment, such as moving to a new home, adding a new pet or family member, or even separation anxiety when left alone.

These emotional disturbances can trigger the release of stress hormones, which impact gut motility and function, leading to an upset stomach. Managing a dog’s stress involves creating a stable, comforting environment, consistent routines, and possibly the help of a veterinarian or an animal behaviourist to implement strategies to reduce anxiety. This holistic approach to managing stress can be crucial in alleviating sensitive stomach symptoms and improving overall health in dogs.

Stomach Bugs

Stomach bugs, including bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, are common culprits behind sensitive stomach issues in dogs. These infections can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal discomfort.

Bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli, viruses such as parvovirus, and parasites like giardia or worms can all cause significant gastrointestinal upset. These pathogens can be contracted through contaminated food or water, contact with infected animals or faeces, or, in the case of parasites, from the environment or vectors like fleas.

Key Ingredients to Look for in the Best High-Protein Dog Food

Check Easily Digestible Protein Sources

Ideal dog foods for sensitive stomachs often feature easily digestible protein sources, such as hydrolyzed proteins or novel proteins (those the dog has not been exposed to previously), to minimize the risk of adverse reactions. High-quality, whole-food ingredients are preferable, including wholesome grains (for dogs without grain sensitivities) or grain-free alternatives like sweet potatoes, which provide necessary fibre without irritating the gut.

Including probiotics can also be beneficial, as these support a healthy balance of gut flora, aiding digestion and nutrient absorption. Fats should come from digestible and high-quality sources like fish or flaxseed, providing essential fatty acids that support gut health without being overly heavy. Additionally, artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives should be avoided, as these can exacerbate digestive issues.

Probiotics Make Nutrients More Accesible

Probiotics aid in the breakdown of food, making nutrients more accessible and absorption more efficient while also helping to manage and reduce the occurrence of diarrhoea, gas, and bloating. They contribute to the overall health of the gut lining, which can be particularly beneficial for dogs suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

Prebiotics are Crucial Elements

We think that best fresh dog food for sensitive stomach will have prebiotics. They are another crucial element to contemplate when choosing dog food for sensitive stomachs, acting as the fuel that feeds the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the gut. These non-digestible fibres facilitate the growth and activity of healthy gut flora, contributing to a balanced digestive ecosystem that is essential for dogs with digestive sensitivities.

Foods rich in prebiotics, such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS), mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), and inulin, help maintain the integrity of the gut lining, enhance nutrient absorption, and support regular bowel movements.

Best Fresh Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach

Canada Fresh Red Meat Canned Dog Food

Crude Protein: 9.5% min,

Crude Fat: 8.5% min,

Crude Fiber: 0.5% max,

Moisture: 78% max

Canada Fresh Red Meat Canned Dog Food is designed with sensitive stomachs in mind, featuring high-quality beef and lamb as its primary protein sources. This formula is particularly beneficial for dogs that thrive on red meat but struggle with standard poultry-based diets.

The limited ingredient list and absence of peas reduce the risk of food sensitivities, promoting easier digestion. The high moisture content aids in hydration and ensures the food is gentle on the stomach, making it an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive digestion.

Pros: Limited ingredient diet, high moisture content for hydration, red meat as the primary protein source.

Cons: Some dogs may prefer dry textures, and canned food storage can be less convenient than dry kibble.

PureBites Dog Pates Chicken & Pumpkin Food Topper

Crude Protein: 10% min,

Crude Fat: 5% min,

Crude Fiber: 1% max,

Moisture: 78% max

This food topper from PureBites is crafted with only chicken and pumpkin, offering a simple yet effective solution for enhancing your dog’s Diet, especially for those with sensitive stomachs. Chicken provides a high-quality protein source that is easy to digest, while pumpkin is well-known for its digestive health benefits, including fibre to support bowel regularity.

Being grain-free and limited in ingredients minimizes the risk of allergic reactions and food sensitivities. It’s an excellent way to add moisture and nutrients to your dog’s diet without overwhelming their digestive system.

Pros: Simple and pure ingredients, support digestive health, and are easy to mix with regular food.

Cons: Serves as a supplement to diet, not a complete meal on its own.

Sprankles Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Crude Protein: 42.0% min,

Crude Fat: 20.0% min,

Crude Fiber: 3.0% max,

Moisture: 5.0% max

Sprankles offers a high-quality, freeze-dried raw chicken recipe particularly suited for dogs with sensitive stomachs due to its minimal and natural ingredient list. The high protein content supports lean muscle mass, while the freeze-drying process preserves the raw nutrients and enzymes, aiding in optimal digestion.

This product is grain-free, reducing the risk of grain allergies, and the single-source protein minimizes the chances of food sensitivities. It’s an excellent choice for owners looking to incorporate raw nutrition into their dog’s diet. Diet is a convenient, digestible form.

Pros: High protein content, preserved raw nutrients, minimal ingredient list.

Cons: Requires rehydration before feeding, higher price point than traditional kibble.

Nature Pet Foods Grain-Free Salmon & Menhaden Fish Meal Recipe

Crude Protein: 29.0% min,

Crude Fat: 17.0% min,

Crude Fiber: 6.5% max,

Moisture: 10.0% max

Nature Pet Foods offers a salmon and menhaden fish meal recipe that’s an excellent option for dogs with sensitive stomachs, focusing on grain-free ingredients to minimize potential dietary sensitivities. The choice of salmon as the primary protein source provides high-quality, easily digestible protein and omega-3 fatty acids, essential for maintaining healthy skin and coat, and can help reduce inflammation in the digestive system.

Menhaden fish meal adds additional protein and fat, making this recipe well-balanced in nutrition. Including natural fibres supports digestive health. At the same time, the absence of grains, corn, wheat, and soy reduces the risk of allergic reactions, making it a suitable option for dogs with specific dietary needs.

Pros: High in omega-3 fatty acids, supports skin and coat health, grain-free to minimize allergies.

Cons: The fish-based formula may not appeal to all dogs, and the higher fat content may require monitoring for dogs with certain health conditions.

Almo Nature HQS Natural Chicken & Tuna with Vegetables

Crude Protein: 16% min,

Crude Fat: 0.5% min,

Crude Fiber: 0.5% max,

Moisture: 83% max

Almo Nature’s HQS Natural Chicken & Tuna with Vegetables wet food is crafted from high-quality, human-grade ingredients, offering a blend of chicken and tuna with a high protein content essential for muscle maintenance and overall health.

Best Fresh Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach formula is particularly suited for dogs with sensitive stomachs due to its high moisture content, promoting hydration and aiding digestion. Including vegetables adds valuable fibre and nutrients, supporting a balanced diet. Being free from artificial additives, grain, and gluten and rich in natural proteins, it minimizes the risk of food sensitivities and allergic reactions.

Pros: High-quality, human-grade ingredients; high in natural proteins and moisture; includes vegetables for additional nutrients.

Cons: Some dogs may be sensitive to seafood; wet food requires proper storage.

Merrick Lil Plates Petite Pates Adult Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

Crude Protein: 8.0% min,

Crude Fat: 4.0% min,

Crude Fiber: 1.4% max,

Moisture: 82.0% max

Merrick Lil Plates Petite Pates is designed for small breeds with sensitive stomachs, offering grain-free nutrition packed into a smooth, easily digestible pate. The recipes feature deboned meat as the first ingredient, ensuring high-quality protein intake. This line avoids common allergens like corn, wheat, and soy, reducing the risk of digestive issues.

Additionally, including probiotics supports healthy digestion, making it an excellent choice for adults with sensitive stomachs. The variety of flavours allows pet owners to cater to their dog’s preferences while ensuring nutritional balance.

Pros: Tailored for small breeds, it includes probiotics and a variety of flavours.

Cons: Specifically designed for small breeds, which may not be suitable for larger dogs.

Crude Protein: 50.0% min,

Crude Fat: 14.0% min,

Crude Fiber: 3.0% max,

Moisture: 6.0% max

Nature’s Diet Dietrs a single-ingredient, freeze-dried lamb liver formula with high protein and essential vitamins and minerals. This minimalist approach is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs, as it reduces the risk of ingredient-induced digestive issues.

The freeze-drying process preserves the natural nutrients and flavours, providing a raw feeding experience without the inconvenience. Lamb’s liver is rich in vitamin A and iron, supporting overall health, vision, and immune function. This product can be used as a food topper or a treat, adding valuable nutrients to your dog’s Diet.

Pros: High in essential nutrients, single-ingredient formula, convenient raw feeding solution.

Cons: May need to be supplemented with other foods for a balanced diet.

PureBites Plus Squeezables- Gut & Digestion Dog Food Topper

Crude Protein: 8% min,

Crude Fat: 3% min,

Crude Fiber: 1.5% max,

Moisture: 82% max

This unique food topper from PureBites focuses on enhancing gut health and digestion. The squeezable format makes adding moisture and nutrients to any dry food easy and enjoyable, particularly beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Made with chicken, pumpkin, and added prebiotics, it promotes a healthy digestive system and supports overall wellness. The grain-free formula ensures compatibility with dogs prone to grain sensitivities, making it an excellent supplement to any diet.

Pros: Easy to use, supports gut health, grain-free.

Cons: As a supplement, it does not replace the need for a complete and balanced diet.

The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Woof Beef Recipe Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Crude Protein: 44.0% min, Crude Fat: 35.0% min, Crude Fiber: 2.0% max, Moisture: 8.0% max

This freeze-dried beef recipe provides a high-protein, high-fat diet suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs, offering a blend of beef, organs, and New Zealand green-lipped mussels. Including organs ensures a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, while green-lipped mussels provide a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, supporting joint health.
The grain-free formula and minimal processing reduce the risk of food sensitivities, making it an ideal choice for dogs requiring a nutrient-dense, easily digestible Diet.

Pros: High in protein and essential nutrients, includes beneficial supplements for joint health, grain-free.

Cons: The high-fat content may require monitoring for some dogs, and the freeze-dried format might need rehydration.


Are probiotics good for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Probiotics can be beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs. They work by introducing healthy bacteria into the digestive system, which can help balance the gut flora and improve digestive health. This can lead to better nutrient absorption, reduced symptoms of gastrointestinal upset (such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and gas), and an overall improvement in the health of the digestive system.

Which dog breeds are more prone to sensitive stomachs?

Some breeds are often cited as having a higher predisposition to sensitive stomachs and digestive health concerns. German ShepherdsYorkshire TerriersGreat DanesBoxersLabrador Retrievers and Bulldogs.

How often should I feed my dog with a sensitive stomach?

Instead of two large meals daily, feeding smaller, more frequent meals can help. This approach can ease the burden on your dog’s digestive system, allowing it to process food more efficiently and reducing the likelihood of digestive upset.

Is Grain-Free Food Good for Dogs?

The topic of grain-free dog food has been debated among veterinarians, pet owners, and nutritionists. Meanwhile, grain-free diets have become popular, especially for dogs with specific allergies or sensitivities. You have to check: 

Author: Kevin Bischof
Kevin Bischof
Kevin Bischof is a doctoral student at Istanbul University, dedicated to advancing his knowledge and expertise in his chosen field. With approximately five years of experience in the realm of animal nutrition research, he has demonstrated a commitment to understanding the complexities of nutritional needs in the animal kingdom. His academic pursuits at Istanbul University reflect a passion for contributing to the scientific understanding of animal nutrition, potentially making a positive impact on the well-being and health of various species.

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