The Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food: Ranked and Reviewed

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: December 31, 2022
© Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock.com

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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall sensitive stomach dog food is Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin.
  • Dog food for sensitive stomachs is usually made with limited ingredients.
  • If you suspect that your dog has a sensitive stomach, consult with your veterinarian to ensure that there isn’t a more serious underlying condition.
  • Consider the following factors qualities: limited ingredients, palatability, and price.

It’s true that some dogs have strong stomachs and can eat just about anything. You might find them rummaging through the trash, and you may quickly scold them for being naughty. The next day, however, they’re completely fine. Their stools don’t change, they don’t get bloated, and they don’t experience any negative effects from some of the foods they eat that they shouldn’t be touching. Just like with humans, every dog’s body is different. Some dogs are born with an inherited sensitive tummy while others may develop sensitivity as they age. For these types of dogs, they must be provided with dog food made specifically for their sensitive stomachs. These types of foods typically have a limited-ingredient recipe made specifically for dogs that need a little extra tender, loving care.

Before switching up your pup’s food, you should know whether the sensitive stomach issue is chronic or whether it’s signaling something more severe. Getting a professional opinion about your dog, especially when it comes from a vet that knows your pup’s medical history, is a great way to start caring for your pet’s uncomfortable tummy. When your vet rules out any severe illnesses, you can begin to consider which type of sensitive stomach dog food is best for your pup. Your dog may have an intolerance for certain ingredients, or he may be dealing with an ulcer, parasites, or a bacterial imbalance. No matter what type of gastrointestinal issue your dog is dealing with, you can help your pup by making changes to his dog food. A simple change like this can make him a lot more comfortable.

Below, we’ve identified the best overall dog food for pups with sensitive stomachs; however, there may be other considerations when it comes to your unique pup. Small breeds have a different set of nutritional requirements than large breed dogs, for instance. Additionally, puppies require more robust nutrition for their growing bodies than senior dogs, that may need a softer texture and a lower caloric intake. Some dogs are stubborn and won’t take to a new dry food, so introducing wet food may be your best option when getting him to switch over. Whatever your dog needs, we’ve got you covered with plenty of options.

  1. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
    • Designed specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs
    • Chicken and rice base is appetizing and tasty
    • Grains like barley, rice and sorghum help bind bowel movements
    • Contains prebiotic fiber to help for solid stools
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Bundle: Purina Small Breed Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach  + Focus Classic Salmon & Rice Canned
    • Perfect for small breeds
    • Contains real salmon as the first ingredient
    • Makes a real difference to coat and skin health
    • The classic entrée is incredibly alluring for dogs
    Check Chewy
  3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Gastrointestinal
    • Contains probiotics
    • A blend of dietary fiber supports healthy digestion
    • Contains omega-3 fatty acids and EPA and DHA from fish oil
    • Added antioxidants support his immune system
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  4. Solid Gold Leaping Waters Cold Water Salmon & Vegetable
    • Grain-free and gluten-free
    • Contains a single source of protein - cold water salmon
    • Budget-friendly option
    • Added probiotics for optimal digestive and gut health
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon
    • Perfect for puppies of all breeds
    • Salmon is the first ingredient
    • Zero artificial flavors or colors
    • Helps to nourish your puppy's brain and vision development
    Check Chewy
  6. Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Dry Dog Food
    • The ideal choice for aging dogs
    • Real turkey is the single animal protein
    • Contains a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
    • Developed with the help of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Top Picks: The Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food Today

#1 Best Overall: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken

The best overall sensitive stomach dog food is Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken. This recipe is formulated for adult dogs, no matter the breed size, and contains ingredients that nourish your pup from the inside out. It is made with real chicken as a first ingredient and contains prebiotic fiber to support a balanced microbiome for healthy digestion. This formula also delivers a generous amount of vitamin E and omega-six fatty acids. This helps to improve your dog’s skin and coat. Science Diet is backed by decades of cutting-edge research, and their pup-approved formulas have long been customer favorites.

The prebiotic fiber in this formula is crafted with beet pulp and is highly digestible to support optimal nutrient absorption. Along with the vitamin E and omega-six fatty acids, this recipe includes additional natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It’s recommended by veterinarians for dogs with sensitive tummies and it provides your pup with the nutrition he needs for a lifetime of health and happiness. This dog food doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s made in the USA with global ingredients you can trust.

Reviewer reported that this dog food is the perfect help for dogs with allergies. Switching over a 12-year-old Labrador was seamless. This poor pup was initially licking his paws excessively, but that behavior quickly stopped after the full transition to this formula. In our experience, we found that many veterinarians have recommended this specific recipe, and adult dogs of different ages not only take to the taste easily, but pet parents also see improvements immediately. The prebiotic support helps to support healthy digestion and absorption of the other beneficial ingredients and being that it’s well rounded and accepted by dogs of all sizes, we had to highlight this dog food as number one on the list.

A few reviewers reported that their dogs continued to suffer from sensitive stomachs after eating this food.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken

ProsCons
This veterinarian-recommended recipe is formulated for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes.Some reviewers said that their dogs continued to suffer from sensitive stomachs after eating this dog food.
The first ingredient is chicken.
It contains prebiotic fiber to support dogs’ balanced microbiome for healthy digestion.
It also contains vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
This recipe is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
It’s made in the US with global ingredients you can trust.
Best for Adult Dogs
Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
  • Designed specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Chicken and rice base is appetizing and tasty
  • Grains like barley, rice and sorghum help bind bowel movements
  • Contains prebiotic fiber to help for solid stools
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Budget-Friendly Small Breed: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Switching over to a sensitive stomach dog food can be expensive, but, fortunately, there’s a budget-friendly alternative: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach. This bundle is perfect for small breeds and includes both dry dog food and a salmon and rice entrée. It’s a high-protein recipe that’s perfect for small breeds under 20 pounds. It also features real salmon as the first ingredient along with omega-6 fatty acids to help support your dog’s healthy skin and coat.

This is a complete recipe that helps keep your dog on a balanced diet, especially if he suffers from an upset stomach or allergies. Just because your dog is on a special diet doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the texture, aroma, and flavors he craves. The classic entrée is packed with nutrient-rich salmon and rice and is incredibly alluring for dogs. According to reviewers, this formula doesn’t just settle well in small breed dogs’ stomachs, it also makes a massive difference in coat and skin health. If you’ve been noticing dull fur on your pup, get ready because this food will restore a lustrous coat that your pup will love showing off.

Some reviewers found that their dogs weren’t fans of the flavor. If your dog is more into meaty flavors like beef and chicken, he may not take to the salmon recipe. However, if your dog is a fan of salmon flavors, he’ll benefit from this formula. Incorporating the wet food with the dry food can also help better transition your pup since he’ll be able to enjoy two different textures and flavor profiles. Sometimes, combining two types of food is the way to go, especially for picky small breeds, and we love that Purina Pro Plan has created this budget-friendly formula that meets multiple needs at once.

Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach

ProsCons
This bundle includes dry dog food and a wet food salmon and rice entrée, both of which are formulated for small breeds under 20 pounds.Some reviewers said that their dogs weren’t fans of the salmon flavor.
The first ingredient is salmon along with omega-6 fatty acids to support skin and coat health.
The classic entrée has an enticing texture, aroma and flavors.
Reviewers report that these recipes settled their small dogs’ stomachs and improved their coat and skin health dramatically.
Best Budget-Friendly
Bundle: Purina Small Breed Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach + Focus Classic Salmon & Rice Canned
  • Perfect for small breeds
  • Contains real salmon as the first ingredient
  • Makes a real difference to coat and skin health
  • The classic entrée is incredibly alluring for dogs
Check Chewy

3. Best Wet Dog Food: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat

Wet food is often more palatable than dry food, and when switching over your adult dog, it can help to serve soft, aromatic food like Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat. This canned dog food is made to be both alluring and digestible. It contains probiotics to help maintain the balance of good bacteria in your pup’s gut. Plus, it has a blend of dietary fiber that supports healthy digestion for optimal stool quality. No more messes to clean up (or odors that offend every nose within a square mile!).

The recipe includes omega-3 fatty acids and EPA and DHA from fish oil — all to help soothe and nourish his gastrointestinal tract. It features a precise blend of antioxidants to support his immune system as well. Keep in mind that this is a veterinary exclusive wet dog food for dogs with either a long or short-term digestive issue. You need a prescription from your vet to purchase this item but once you have it, you can speed up purchasing by uploading a scan or a photo of the authorization for the vendor. Once that’s taken care of, you and your pup are good to go!

Some pet parents said that this dog food is prohibitively expensive.

Pros and Cons of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat

ProsCons
This wet dog food is specially formulated for adult dogs with sensitive stomachs.This formula requires a prescription from a veterinarian.
It contains probiotics to maintain the balance of good bacteria in dogs’ guts.Some buyers said that this dog food is prohibitively expensive.
This formula features a blend of dietary fiber to support healthy digestion for optimal stool quality.
It includes includes omega-3 fatty acids and EPA and DHA from fish oil to soothe and nourish dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts.
A precise blend of antioxidants supports dogs’ immune systems.
Best Wet Dog Food
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Gastrointestinal
  • Contains probiotics
  • A blend of dietary fiber supports healthy digestion
  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids and EPA and DHA from fish oil
  • Added antioxidants support his immune system
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best Dry Dog Food: Solid Gold Leaping Waters Sensitive Stomach Grain-Free

Solid Gold Leaping Waters Sensitive Stomach Grain-Free is grain-free and gluten-free and formulated specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs. This chicken-free formula is easy to digest and contains a single source of protein (cold water salmon) and probiotics. It’s also scientifically designed to promote a healthy coat. It’s packed with ample nutrients like omega-6 and three fatty acids to improve your dog’s skin. This holistic blend was designed to be nutrient-rich for dogs that like to be active. The formula is ideal for giving your dog the energy he needs to continue with his active lifestyle. The protective probiotics in this formula are combined with fiber-rich prebiotics so that they can remain alive and viable until they are consumed and absorbed by your pet’s tummy. These added ingredients help your dog achieve optimal digestive and gut health.

It’s not always easy finding a high-quality dog food that’s also gentle on your wallet. However, this Solid Gold formula is one of the best dry dog food recipes we found. One reviewer noted that the sheen of fish oil is visible on the kibble when you feed it. That was one of the primary reasons they decided to switch over to this kibble so that their dogs could have it regularly. They noted that the previous food they were providing their dog with required 4 1/2 cups of kibble while this brand and formula only require 2 1/2 cups of kibble. That massive difference in the amount of nutrition they get per bite blew us away. Now, a nine-year-old border collie and an eight-month-old German shepherd puppy both get to enjoy the helpful nutrients of this dog-approved recipe.

Some pet parents reported that the kibble was too large for their dogs.

Pros and Cons of Solid Gold Leaping Waters Sensitive Stomach Grain-Free

ProsCons
This recipe is formulated specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs.A few reviewers said that the kibble was too large for their dogs.
It’s free from chicken, grain, and gluten and features a single source of protein: cold water salmon.
It includes prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive and gut health.
It also supports skin and coat health with nutrients like omega-6 and three fatty acids.
It’s nutrient dense, so you may be able to feed your dog less food without sacrificing the amount of calories and nutrition they ingest.
Best Dry Dog Food
Solid Gold Leaping Waters Cold Water Salmon & Vegetable
  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • Contains a single source of protein - cold water salmon
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Added probiotics for optimal digestive and gut health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best for Puppies: Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice

No matter if you have a small breed dog or a large breed dog, Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice is perfect for puppies that need something easier to digest. This recipe contains 100% complete and balanced nutrition with salmon listed as the first ingredient. It also includes rice, which is gentle on your puppy’s sensitive digestive system. Along with ingredients that help to protect your dog’s digestive process, omega-6 fatty acids are also included from sunflower oil to support his healthy skin and coat. DHA from omega-rich fish oil helps to nourish his brain and vision development while antioxidants help to support his developing immune system. All of this with zero artificial flavors or colors! Puppies need a solid head start to ensure they develop well. Purina Pro Plan delivers advanced nutrition, so your puppy grows strong and healthy as he matures.

Some reviewers with golden retrievers, reported that their puppies experienced less itching and irritation and had significantly less bloated tummies and gas bubbles after eating this dog food. There was one downside though. The golden retriever puppies had a hard time transitioning to this dog food but once that transition was made, their bellies were 100% better. Plus, their owners noticed healthier coats and overall happier pups. Other reviewers found that even though they purchased the dog food for only one of their dogs, their other dogs took to it as well. They had to separate the puppy food from the adult dogs (and even their cats!) but once they did, they were able to ensure the product went to the pup for which it was intended.

A few reviewers reported that their puppies didn’t like this food.

Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice

ProsCons
This recipe is formulated for puppies that need food that’s easy to digest.Some buyers said their puppies didn’t like this food.
Salmon is the first ingredient, and it also contains rice, which is gentle on puppies’ digestive systems.
Other ingredients that aid the digestive process include omega-6 fatty acids from sunflower oil, DHA from omega-rich fish oil for healthy brain and vision development, and antioxidants to support developing immune systems.
This formula is free from artificial flavors and colors.
Best for Puppies
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon
  • Perfect for puppies of all breeds
  • Salmon is the first ingredient
  • Zero artificial flavors or colors
  • Helps to nourish your puppy's brain and vision development
Check Chewy

6. Best for Senior Dogs: Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Natural Adult

Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Natural Adult is formulated specifically for senior dogs, which have different nutritional needs. This limited-ingredient diet doesn’t contain chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs. This makes it the ideal choice for aging dogs that have sensitivities to different food ingredients. This formula starts with real turkey as a single animal protein source alongside potatoes, peas, and pumpkin to gently support your dog’s digestive system. Along with these gentle ingredients, this formula includes a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These “Lifesource Bits” are carefully formulated by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support your dog’s immune system and healthy oxidative balance as he ages.

One reviewer noted that after switching an aging Labrador over to this recipe, he began eating again and enjoying better quality sleep. The owner had grown concerned after the dog started waking up whining at 5:00 a.m. and stopped enjoying his previous food. Now, the reviewer is happy to report that the dog is back to his old bouncy, and happy self. Although this food is more expensive than the one they were previously using, they are very happy to have made the switch.

Another reviewer reported that this food is ideal for dogs with food allergies because when their Yorkie mix was switched over to this formula, her itchy symptoms subsided.

We also appreciate that the crunchy texture helps to support dental health while delivering great nutrition for sensitive pups.

Some reviewers said that their dogs continued to have digestive issues after eating this food.

Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Natural Adult

ProsCons
This food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of senior dogs.Some buyers reported that their dogs continued to experience digestive issues after eating this food.
It’s free from chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs, so it’s ideal for aging dogs with sensitivities to any of these foods.
Real turkey is the single animal protein source and potatoes, peas, and pumpkin gently support dogs’ digestive systems.
“Lifesource Bits” provide the precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals support senior dogs’ immune system and healthy oxidative balance.
Best for Senior Dogs
Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Dry Dog Food
  • The ideal choice for aging dogs
  • Real turkey is the single animal protein
  • Contains a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Developed with the help of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Dog food for sensitive dogs has similarities across the board like reduced ingredients and single protein sources, but they are all formulated differently. The single protein source may come from fish or chicken and supporting ingredients may or may not include probiotics. When deciding on the best food for your canine friend, consider the following:

Limited Ingredients

The most important consideration when selecting dog food for your pup with a sensitive tummy is the ingredients list. Always make sure that it contains a single protein source listed as the very first ingredient. This could be turkey, chicken, beef, or salmon. If your dog has an allergy to any one of those protein sources, make sure that you select a product that eliminates that protein source and any byproducts that include it. Pups with sensitive stomachs need a limited ingredient diet, so their digestive system can work well without being overloaded. Additionally, it’s helpful to provide your pup with this type of dog food because it removes many of the common allergens that may activate itchiness, irritation, or gastrointestinal upset in your pup.

Palatability

Palatability is another crucial factor. The fact is, if your dog doesn’t take to the new, limited ingredient dog food, he’s not going to enjoy any relief from his symptoms. Some dogs are harder to transition than others, and you may want to consider employing a wet food recipe to help with the transition process (like with the bundle Purina Pro Plan offers). Know ahead of time what flavors your dog prefers and try to stick with dog food that incorporates that specific protein source as the first ingredient. It will be easier to transition your dog to anything that tastes familiar. Be patient during this process as well. To increase the chances of your dog accepting the new dog food, you should transition him slowly over seven to 10 days.

Price

Prescription dog foods and even sensitive stomach dog foods that don’t require a veterinarian’s approval are typically more expensive than regular diets usually fed to dogs. These specialty foods do come at a higher cost but ultimately, they save you on future vet bills. Consider your budget and select a dog food that won’t break the bank. Remember, we included the Purina Pro Plan budget-friendly option in this list so you can have that on hand should you need it.

The Different Types of Sensitive Stomach Dog Food: Pros and Cons Compared

Dry Dog Food: crunchy texture and affordable option with a variety of protein-centered flavors.

ProsCons
AffordabilityN/A
Supports dental health 
Multiple recipes available 

Wet Dog Food: highly palatable though often more expensive than dry dog food.

ProsCons
Dog-approved flavorsUsually more expensive than dry dog food
Easy on teeth 
Easier transition due to high palatability 

Dog Food for Puppies: perfectly formulated for the nutritional needs of growing dogs.

ProsCons
Perfected nutritional supportN/A
Smaller kibble size 
Appropriate for different breed sizes 

Dog Food for Senior Dogs: gentle on senior dogs’ sensitive tummies with nutrients to support bone and joint health.

ProsCons
Specially formulated for aging dogsN/A
Ultra-limited ingredients 
Excludes common allergens 

Products For This Review:

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

The Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food: Ranked and Reviewed FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What food should I feed my dog with a sensitive stomach?

Many sensitive stomach dog foods include mild ingredients in their recipes, like chicken and rice. Some may include a different kind of protein like salmon alongside the rice. These ingredients are used because they settle well even into the most sensitive tummies. You may also notice additional ingredients in limited recipes like pumpkin, barley, oats, and eggs. Each of these ingredients provides optimal nutrition while being easy on your pup’s stomach.

What can I feed my dog with gastrointestinal problems?

For a quick fix, a switch over to a much blander recipe is the way to go. Often, chicken and rice are ingredients well-tolerated even when your pup is going through it. Pumpkin is another helpful ingredient to help settle unhappy tummies. Look for recipes that contain these soothing ingredients, whether in wet or dry food.

Is grain-free better for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Dogs are natural carnivores, and grains can adversely affect some dogs’ digestive process. Ingredients like wheat and corn can be difficult for pups with sensitive tummies to digest. Dog food formulated for pups with sensitive digestion usually include grain-free ingredients or incorporates grains easy to digest, like oats, rice, or whole grains.

What dog food is easy on a dog’s stomach?

Several! But be mindful of your dog’s specific allergies. For instance, if your dog has developed an allergic reaction to chicken, even though that’s typically an easily digestible food, it won’t be appropriate food for his tummy. Consider other protein sources like turkey or salmon if this is the case. Ultimately, the best dog food for your dog is personalized. When you understand his individual needs, you can provide him with the right type of dog food to ease his tummy troubles.

How do I safely transition to a new food if my dog has a sensitive stomach?

The most important skill you can employ is patience. Dogs with sensitive tummies need a little bit more careful attention than those with robust tummies. That means customizing the transition based on everything you know about your beloved pet. Slow transitions are best. Incorporate a little bit of the new food with a little bit of the old food to start. Within a few days, you should be at a 50/50 ratio. Once your pup is into the new food, you can reduce the amount of old food. This process is dependent on your pup and your relationship with him. You will know when the time is right to switch over completely.

How to support a dog with a sensitive stomach?

Aside from switching over to a sensitive stomach dog food, you can also take other actions to help support your pup’s health. For example, if he likes to snack on scraps even though he gets sick, make sure you are making trash and other leftovers inaccessible. That might mean taking out the trash every evening to ensure your dog doesn’t have access while you’re sleeping. Changes could also mean helping your dog eat more slowly. A good sensitive stomach food has limited ingredients, which typically tends to positively impact the overall gastrointestinal health of your dog. There are many little actions you can take, like reducing the number of treats you give your pet, and ultimately, changing over to dog food that is made specifically for sensitive stomachs.

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