Has your dog developed symptoms that are making you consider switching their food? It could well be that they have a sensitive stomach, and this is actually a more common issue than you might think. There are dog foods specifically designed to help aid digestion and reduce symptoms of digestive trouble, and they’re effective in doing so.
In this article we discuss everything you need to know about your dog’s sensitive stomach, our recommendations for the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs and some other great tips, keep reading to find out more.
How can I tell if my dog has a sensitive stomach?
When pet owners see their dog in a state of distress, one of the first things they often think of is changing their diet, naturally, it’s the first port of call.
Rightfully so as it’s a much cheaper solution than going to the bets and often a common cause of issues!
First, you’ll need to identify how you can actually tell if there’s something up with your dog’s stomach? Unfortunately, there isn’t really a clear cut answer as there are a lot of symptoms that can be caused by poor digestion and stomach issues due to their diet and these could also cross over with other issues, not related to their diet.
There are a couple of telltale signs that you should attempt to change your dog’s food and see if it resolves the issue. Here are a few of the most common issues that may be caused by your dog’s food:
- Little to no appetite – has your dog always been one to go straight to the food bowl, but that seems to have changed? It might be due to stomach issues, and they’re smart, so may well have figured out it is their food!
- Nausea and vomiting – an obvious tell tale sign, it can be a variety of different things, however, but the first thing to test is changing food. After that, if the issue isn’t solved, we would recommend trying to slow down the speed they are eating at, in which you can get specialised bowls.
- Constant swallowing – This ties into nausea and vomiting, it’s likely that they feel sick and are trying to overcome that feeling.
- Soft poo – If their stool is continually soft and runny, change their diet. This is often found if there on a wet food diet, so you might want to change it to dry and see what happens.
- Diarrhea – This might be that they have a sensitive stomach, but it could also be that there eating things they shouldn’t be.
- Blood in poo – A worrying sight for any pet owner, and you might not think it, but this can simply be caused by their food. If it continues, however, make sure that you take them to a vet.
- Excessive salivating – Again, this can simply be a food thing!
- Constantly passing gas – My dog constantly gets this, and it’s usually if he has any form of wet food.
- Laziness and fatigue after eating – Have you noticed a visible decline in your dogs activity levels? This could be that they have a sensitive stomach that is causing them pain, but it might also be that they aren’t getting enough nutrients and vitamins from their current diet.
If you have changed their diet a few times and the issues still persist we would recommend visits a vet as it could be a more significant underlying heath issue.
What dogs are prone to a sensitive stomach?
In truth, there’s no distinction as to what dogs might be affected by sensitive stomach issues, it can affect any dog no matter the age or breed. That being said, there are some breeds that are slightly more susceptible than others and typically that’s smaller dogs like the Scottish Terrier, Minature Schnauzer and Yorkie to name a few, although if you have a larger dog breed that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
As your dog gets older, it’s also increasingly likely to suffer from a sensitive stomach, so be aware that over time you might need to change their food.
What kind of dog food is best for a sensitive stomach?
To understand what you want to look for in dog food for a sensitive stomach, you need to understand what you DONT want to have included in the food. Here are the things in your dog’s food that might cause them to have a bad stomach:
- Protein: All dogs stomachs are different, and sometimes your it might not agree with the particular source of protein. You might not have to go for a food that is specifically targeted to sensitive stomachs, you may just have to switch their beef diet to chicken for instance.
- Low on Fibre: Dogs need a lot of fibre, and some of the cheaper dog food just won’t supply that – so try upping the fibre intact!
- Fat: If your dog food is high in fat then it might be hard for some dogs to digest, try choosing a food that has a lower level of fat to see if this is the issue – dog food zero if you would!
- Vitmans & Minerals: It could be possible that your dog is suffering from a deficiency of vitamins and minerals as the food may not be supplying enough of it.
If you’re on the hunt for sensitive dog food, there are a couple of things that you should look for and try:
- Choose food with limited ingredients and not too many additives – High in fibre, low in fat with lots of vitamins and minerals. Some of the cheaper foods are packed full of ingredients to try and make your dog feel “full”, but at a low price, and these products generally aren’t great for your pet.
- Hypoallergenic dog food – A lot of foods are labelled as hypoallergenic meaning they are designed specifically for sensitive stomachs and won’t contain ingredients that are known to cause such issues.
- Switching to wet dog food can also sometimes help – but be aware, it can also sometimes have the opposite effect! I’ve actually done this with my dog, and the results were not pleasing.
- As previously mentioned, change the protein type – beef to chicken, or lamb to salmon, you’ll often find that fish-based protein tends to be easier for your dogs stomach to digest and deal with.
Is there anything else you can do to help a sensitive stomach?
Yes, eliminate any extra food that your dog has. Even dog treats, particularly rawhide, can cause your dog to have a poorly tummy. Sometimes with dogs, and particularly greedier food-driven dogs, you might find that they are eating or drinking things on their walks that they shouldn’t be, causing an upset stomach, I should know, my Staffie does this all the time.
Tips to transition to a different dog food
Changing a dogs food completely can cause an adverse effect on your pet’s stomach, even if your dog didn’t have a sensitive stomach, to begin with, so you should always take care when switching their diet to a new food.
A good tactic to adopt when switching your pet’s food is to do it gradually. Start by introducing a small amount, of their new food mixed with their old food, around a third. After a few days, if they aren’t having any adverse effects change it to two thirds, and later again to the new food completely.
Best dog foods for sensitive stomachs
Now the section you’ve been waiting for. As you might be able to tell by the information above, we’ve done a lot of research on the topic of which food you should buy for your dog if they have a sensitive stomach, so we know exactly what we’re looking for.
We’ve scoured the web, searching high and low, all to find you the top seven best dog foods for sensitive stomachs in our opinion, we’ll provide a detailed overview of each to inform you which might be best for your dog.
This is a dog food created by the brand Purina, a well-known name in the pet industry. This line of foods is called BETA, and this product, in particular, is a dry food solution in the form of pellets in a bag that comes in a 14kg weight and is flavoured like salmon.
This food is particularly designed and developed to cater for dogs that have sensitive stomachs – its tailored nutrition means that your dog can go back to living its normal curious and active life without its diet holding it back.
Formulated with salmon and offering a high-quality food solution, everything that is included in the package is targetted at supporting and improving a dogs digestion – in particular the inclusion of Omega 3 and 6, as well as fatty acids, which are aimed at not only helping your dogs stomach but also just improving their overall health.
Unlike some of the cheaper dog foods, there are absolutely no added artificial colourings, flavours or preservatives included, which are all ingredients that can have an adverse effect on your pet’s stomach.
As we’ve previously mentioned, it’s key for a food targetted for sensitive stomachs to have a minimal amount of ingredients and Purina do that.
In this particular mix, you will find a salmon meal, wheat, corn, rice, Soya meal, poultry fat, dried parsley, dried spinach, dried carrot, fish oil, dried beet pulp, corn gluten, minerals, digest and dried chicory root.
As you can see, they all very natural ingredients that will leave your dog happy and content!
This is a 2kg bag of dog food by the brand Burgess, and it’s the perfect solution for dogs with sensitive stomachs, as you can see it is hypoallergenic. The flavour we have actually picked out here is turkey and rice, but it’s also available in Lamb and Rice, Turkey and Rice, Scottish Salmon & Rice.
The main reason that this is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs is it’s a very simple recipe, it’s made without any maize, wheat, beef, eggs, soya or dairy which are all ingredients that can cause stomach issues. It is completely free of any artificial flavours or preservatives, there are no extra additives at all!
The protein contained in each one of the flavours is highly digestible and is important for your dog’s muscle retention and formation. The recipe is also rich in Omega 3 which is an important ingredient to your dog’s skin health.
Furthermore, it contains natural antioxidants used to support and improve the mans best friend immune system. There is also Yucca extract included which is targeted at reducing stool odour and improve stool formation.
As you can see on the product, there are lots of great reviews and it’s currently 4.5 stars on value for money & thickness, as well as 4.3 stars for flavour.
Your dog will love it, trust us!
This is a 10kg bag of dog food by the brand Pippa & Max, and it’s aimed particularly for smaller breeds of dogs, and of course, for those with a tendency to have a sensitive stomach.
This food is designed to improve your dog’s digestion, make for fewer toilet runs, decrease flatulence and reduce allergies. It’s completely grain-free so very easy to digest, and unlike other foods, it also won’t cause issues for your dogs such as itching, patch coats, upset stomachs and hair loss.
What makes this food different is that it’s actually been approved by trained veterinarians – it’s formulated with only the freshest and purest ingredients to ensure your pet is as healthy as it can be with nutrients in every bite! It’s the very best and balanced nutritious meal for your beloved pet.
As with a lot of other foods in this list, it has absolutely no additional flavourings, preservatives or artificial colours, all ingredients are completely natural. It’s suitable for all types of dogs, domestic or working, and even uses natural preservatives to maintain that key freshness.
The core ingredient is chicken, which is obviously high in protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and in this particular mix it makes up 56% of the whole recipe. The food is also further enhanced with Omega 3 and vitamins which are used to improve and support visual development, cognitive function and reducing inflammation in the stomach.
Some dogs favour wet food, so we decided it was best to include a solution for those pet owners and pick the best wet food for sensitive stomachs we could and it’s without a doubt this product by Royal Canin.
Before digging into the product itself, the brand Royal Canin are well known and since 1980 have been producing veterinary based and specialised diets for dogs. Their premium quality food products are all aimed at creating specialised diets for specific problems for both cats and dogs.
This specific product is 12x tins of chicken dog food, at 420g per tin. They include a minimal amount of proteins to reduce allergy risks and they contain fatty acids that will help with digestion and skin issues. It’s also packed with nutrients to further support the digestive system.
They do however state that it is not recommended for dogs with pancreatitis.
This chicken and rice dog food solution contain 8.5% crude protein, 6% fat content, 2% crude ash, 1% crude fibres, 0.4% Omega 3, 1.7% Omega 6 and the additives of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
As far as specialist sensitive dog foods go, this is relatively cheaper – with this 15kg pack from Chudleys available at below £25. The brand offers a range of quality dog foods with high levels of nutrition, quality protein and their own signature blend of antioxidants to maintain your dog’s health.
This particular Lamb sensitive dog food is a hypoallergenic solution that is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It contains 26% protein and 12% of fat making it perfect for active dogs. It’s also free from wheat, eggs and soya, which are all ingredients linked to causing upset stomachs in dogs.
To further help with digestion it also contains specially selected herbs, dietary fibre sources and prebiotics. Although chicken flavoured, this dog food is actually rich in lamb, and also has rice, oats and vegetables.
Furthermore, this diet is a reduced-calorie one, so perfect for dogs also susceptible to gaining weight. It also contains carnitine which helps support weight management, utilising fat reserves. It meets all the key criteria for dogs in terms of vitamins and nutrients, but due to its blend of fibres, it gives a full feeling and reduces hunger but can be used to better control your dog’s weight.
This dry dog food for sensitive stomachs is brought to you by Arden Grange, a British run company that has been developing dog food since 1996 with the philosophy of nutrition without compromise. All of their products are naturally hypoallergenic and do not contain wheat gluten, soya, beef and dairy products, all ingredients that are known to be linked to causing pets to have an upset stomach.
It’s available in 2kg, 6kg and 12kg and this particular one that we have picked out is fish flavoured. It’s made with the intention of helping dogs that have a delicate digestion system and/or sensitive skin issues.
It’s cereal and grain-free recipe providing a wholesome and naturally hypoallergenic food source for your dog. The food ensures that your pet will stay energetic with its slow-release energy formula and specifically cranberry extract which is excellent for maintaining a healthy urinary tract.
All in this food is great for the immune system and digestion, it provides everything you need to keep your dog healthy. It’s highly rated, currently an Amazon Choice product and 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Last but not least is this product by Pooch & Mutt, a company that specialises in healthy food for dogs – they are a small independent UK company that is award-winning and their whole ethos is that your only as happy as what you eat, so you should feed your pet right!
This particular product is their “health & digestion” one, specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s a premium food solution that is completely grain-free – it’s packed with active ingredients including almost half being Scottish Salmon, as fish is often easier for dogs to digest than other meats like chicken for instance.
There are a couple of other ingredients that are all targeted at aiding the digestive tract. It has sweet potato, parsley, probiotics and prebiotics within it. It also contains charcoal, which sounds bad, but it’s not, it absorbs stomach gasses and promotes a firmer stool.
This product in the Pooch and Mutt range is actually vet recommended and is free from cereal, grain, gluten, GM produce, colourings, preservatives and artificial flavours.
On a side note, you’re also supporting a small British business with your purchase!
Changing your dog’s food is the first port of call as we’ve mentioned a few times in this article, and you should try a few different sensitive food solutions to really get an idea of what is best, as every dog is completely different – be aware that switching the food, even if it’s too one that is aimed at aiding digestion, might not work the first time, you may well have to try a few different options.
That being said if the issues persist after changing their food a few times to these sensitive specific solutions, and doing it in the right way, then you might want to consult a vet to ensure the problem isn’t more serious and your dog doesn’t have any more significant underlying health problems.
Your dog’s sensitive stomach may also just be a temporary thing, it happens from time to time! If this is the case then you might not need to jump the gun and change their food, there are actually tummy settling solutions for dogs that you can buy to remedy one-off issues – although we wouldn’t recommend just constantly using them.
We also did a bit of research on tummy settlers, and although we won’t go into as much detail, here are just a few of our top suggestions of stomach settlers for dogs:
- Suitable for cats and dogs
- One Dose Per Day
- Contains Pre & Probiotics to help settle your pets stomach
- Fast Acting Formula
- Easy to use syringe for fast and accurate dosing
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