Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach and Diarrhea

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Do you suspect your dog’s diet is behind her stomach problems? It might be time to look into the best dog food for sensitive stomach and diarrhea. But before making the dog food switch, you must identify the cause of this explosive situation.

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach and Diarrhea 2020

#1 Pick

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet (LID)

This is our favorite, but don’t our word for it! Here’s what real-world purchasers are saying:

  • solved my Lab’s sensitive stomach”
  • Love this for my dogs’ sensitive stomach and allergies”
  • “…the only dog food we found that doesn’t cause stomach upset that he actually enjoys eating.”

Zero chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy or eggs makes Blue Buffalo LID a great option for food sensitivities.

Upgrade Pick

Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Grain Free

Sensitive stomach dog owners are going nuts for Nulo:

  • “Sensitive stomach cured.”
  • “This food is what finally solved my dog’s stomach problems.”
  • Couldn’t be any happier. We have Nulo on subscription.”

This all natural limited ingredient diet is perfect for digestive & immune health.

Budget Pick

Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend w/Probiotics

Save a few bucks AND improve your dog’s gut health with Purina.

One of the most upsetting situations a dog owner can go through is seeing their canine friend sick and in pain. Stomach issues can especially be uncomfortable for both the dog and the owner. Diarrhea and vomiting, for instance, are never pleasant to deal with. Some serious stomach conditions can even prove to be fatal.

Do you suspect your dog’s diet is behind its stomach problems?

Then it’s time to start searching for the best dog food for sensitive stomach and diarrhea. Before making the switch, you will want to gain a complete grasp on what is causing your dog’s stomach problems.

Read on to learn what might be harming your dog’s stomach, as well as different ways you can address and fix it.

Health Conditions that Contribute to Sensitive Stomachs

A gastrointestinal disorder may be causing your dog’s stomach problems. This occurs when your dog is unable to properly digest or absorb its food. As a result, he will begin to suffer from malnutrition and dehydration.

Below are different gastrointestinal and digestive disorders that you should be aware of.

Acute gastroenteritis

This occurs when the stomach and intestines become inflamed or infected.

Items that typically cause this disease include:

  • Spoiled food
  • Dishes that are high in fat
  • Toxic plants
  • Parasites
  • Food allergies
  • Foreign objects 

Luckily, acute gastroenteritis usually lasts for a short amount of time. 


Colitis occurs when the membrane lining the colon becomes acutely or chronically inflamed. This, in turn, causes inflammation of the large intestine.

Patients diagnosed with colitis deal with frequent, painful bowel movements.

Whipworms, tumors, a change in diet, and allergies typically cause colitis. Dogs under the age of 5 are more likely to be affected by colitis.


This term refers to the inflammation of the pancreas.

Foods that are high in fat, disease, or physical trauma often cause pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis can be deadly, but can also be improved with diet.

Small intestinal malabsorption

This disease occurs when the small intestine is unable to digest vital nutrients stored in food. It is often caused by a bowel or pancreas disorder. Symptoms for small intestinal malabsorption include :

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

This disease occurs when a dog’s body is unable to produce pancreatic enzymes. This causes poor digestion and malabsorption of nutrients.

Symptoms of this disease include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • High volumes of soft, fatty feces


Everything from stress to a change in diet to internal parasites can cause diarrhea in dogs.

Because diarrhea severely dehydrate your dog, you will want to take him to the veterinarian if the problem continues to persist.


Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors.

  • A diet containing an insufficient amount of fiber
  • A low exercise regime
  • Dehydration
  • Ingestion of foreign objects 

Some gastrointestinal and digestive orders clear up after a few days. Other illnesses may require long-term care plans. Some digestive issues don’t even have a cure.

This is why it is always important to consult with your veterinarian regarding any health issues you fear your dog may have. They will choose the best plan of action to address your dog’s health problems after examining and diagnosing him.

Food Ingredients that may Cause Stomach Problems

Some dogs can eat garbage and never experience an upset stomach. Other dogs will become sick from the smallest change in their diet. It all boils down to the individual dog and its unique health conditions.

But there are foods and ingredients that will harm your dog’s stomach, no matter how sturdy and durable it might seem.

Foods that are high in fat, such as bacon, ham, and meat trimmings, are known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gastritis in dogs.

These fatty meats also tend to have a high salt content, which forces your dog to drink an abundance of water after ingesting them. This can then cause bloat, which is sometimes fatal. Vomiting and diarrhea may also result from ingesting too much salt.

Other foods that you should avoid feeding your dog include the following.

Onions and garlic

When consumed in high doses, onions and garlic can poison your dog and harm its red blood cells.

This can even lead to anemia, a condition caused when a large amount of red blood cells are lost or destroyed. Symptoms of poisoning include a decreased appetite and vomiting.

Dairy products

Most dogs are lactose intolerant, as they lack the enzyme required to break down milk sugar. As a result, dairy products and canine stomachs do not make a great pair.

Some dogs do handle dairy better than others. However, it is best to proceed with caution and avoid feeding your own canine companion dairy products.

Vomiting, diarrhea, and even gastrointestinal disease may occur when your dog consumes milk products.

Raw meat that hasn’t thoroughly been washed

If you properly prepare raw meat and fish before serving it to your dog, then this shouldn’t cause any stomach problems. However, raw meat that hasn’t been properly handled and washed can cause food poisoning. This is why it is important to keep uncooked meats away from your dog and in blocked off areas that prevent him from accessing them.

Certain types of fish, such as salmon, trout, shad and sturgeon may contain a parasite that causes “fish disease.” This can turn deadly if left untreated.


There’s no doubt that chocolate is a fun, delicious treat to indulge in. But it is best to keep it in your dessert and out of your dog’s food bowl.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic for dogs. Common effects include vomiting and diarrhea, while more extreme health problems including seizures and tremors may also occur.

Greasy junk food

French fries, burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, and any other fast food you can think of should stay out of your dog’s stomach.

These fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas, in canines. Pancreatitis often affects dogs who are overweight, old, or female.

Eggs, gluten, soy and even protein from certain animals may irritate your dog’s stomach.

Some owners cut out these allergens from their dog’s diet one by one until their symptoms disappear. Once they determine the primary source of their dog’s stomach issues, they can avoid feeding it any foods containing the allergen in the future.

Signs That Your Dog Has a Sensitive Stomach

While it isn’t unusual for your dog to experience an upset stomach every once in a while, consistent symptoms may indicate an ongoing problem with your dog’s health. It could mean that your dog simply has a sensitive stomach, but it could also mean that something more serious is at play, such as stomach cancer.

When in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian.

Provided below is a comprehensive list of symptoms for sensitive stomachs in dogs.

  • Vomiting accompanied by lethargy and diarrhea
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constant flatulence
  • Eating grass
  • Blood in the stool
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hypersalivation, also known as excessive salivation
  • Decreased mobility after eating
  • Lack of appetite

Nutritional Needs for a Healthy Stomach

A healthy diet includes high-quality protein, fiber, low amounts of fat, and a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals.

Whatever food you decide to feed your dog — whether it is dry, wet, or homemade — needs to be easily-digestible.

Putting extra strain on your dog’s digestive system will lead to stomach problems. An unbalanced diet can also cause stomach problems in your dog.

For instance, a dog that is fed on a low-fiber diet is susceptible to constipation. On the other hand, a diet that is too high in fiber will cause issues with your dog’s ability to digest food. The key to a healthy diet involves a proper balance of nutrition.

Finding Food for a Dog With a Sensitive Stomach

Once you have determined that your dog’s diet is behind its stomach problems, you can look into transitioning it to a new food brand.

Unfortunately, you can’t determine a brand’s quality by packaging and labeling alone.

For one thing, brands are not allowed to disclose any information about the quality or grade of their ingredients. That being said, you should still check the labels to determine the food’s protein and fiber sources.

If you have the time, you can look up clinical research studies on various dog food brands.

It also doesn’t hurt to check whether a particular brand you are looking into employs a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist. Look out for brands stating that their food is “complete and balanced”.

Commercial food brands containing this label have undergone feeding trials through the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to ensure their products provide a proper balance of nutrients.

Home Remedies/Raw Dog Food

You could also cook up some homemade meals for your dog.

A simple dish comprised of cooked chicken and rice is a popular choice amongst owners for settling an upset stomach.

Ingredients such as probiotic yogurt and canned pumpkin can soothe inflamed stomachs and help produce firmer stools, respectively. Carrots can also improve digestion while providing a plethora of necessary nutrients.

How to Transition Your Dog to a New Food Brand

You will not be able to switch out your dog’s old food brand overnight.

Doing so will only further irritate your dog’s stomach. Instead, you will need to slowly implement the new food into your dog’s diet over time.

According to the AKC, your dog’s first meal with the new food should contain 80-90% of the old food and around 10-20% of the new food.

The ratio of new food can be increased over a span of 10 days.

Treatments for Stomach Problems

Something as simple as switching out your dog’s food for a new brand or cutting out certain ingredients may be sufficient enough to fix its stomach problems. However, this won’t be effective for every situation involving a sensitive stomach.

For instance, if an ulceration in the GI tract is causing your dog’s stomach problems, your veterinarian will likely prescribe special medication that coats the ulcer. He or she may also prescribe anti-vomiting medication for your dog.

If you find that a new diet isn’t improving your dog’s health, your veterinarian could place it on a prescription diet for that reason alone.

Related Questions

Are certain dog breeds more likely to have sensitive stomachs than others?

Yes. Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Great Danes, Shar-Peis and Irish Setters are more likely to suffer from stomach-related health issues than other breeds. The Yorkshire Terrier and Miniature Schnauzer face a high risk of developing pancreatitis and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE), a disease characterized by bloody diarrhea. Due to their deep-chests and large builds, Great Danes carry a high risk for developing bloat. Shar-Peis are also prone to digestive issues. Most members of this breed are born with a genetic defect that prevents their digestive systems from absorbing Cobalamin (B12).

Can stress cause diarrhea in dogs?

Yes. Diarrhea is actually a common response to stress and anxiety among dogs. Anything from a change in environment to a prolonged period of separation from their owners can trigger stress diarrhea. Thankfully, there are several steps owners can take to reduce the chance of provoking this condition. Slowly transitioning dogs to a new environment is crucial for keeping them calm and relaxed. Feeding them a probiotic supplement will keep the bacteria inside their intestines balanced.

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