10 Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach and Diarrhea (2021)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall for Sensitive Stomach: Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food
“Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food is an excellent choice for dogs of all sizes and life stages that suffer from irritable bowels and sensitive stomachs. This dog food is rich in L-carnitine, which aids digestion and improves metabolism.”

Best For Dogs With Allergies: Acana Singles Dry Dog Food
“Acana Singles Dry Dog Food is the best limited ingredient dog food for those with stomach problems. It has five different flavors each packed with great nutrition value.”

Best Budget Option: Diamond Naturals Light Formula Dog Food
“Diamond Naturals Light Formula Dog Food is an inexpensive quality dog food for pups with a sensitive tummy. It is super low in fat, has high fiber content and added joint supplements for less active dogs.”

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Looking for a nutritious dog food that your little pooch can enjoy is not an easy task. You need to try a few products to see which one is the best for your dog in terms of flavor and nutritional value. But it gets even challenging if your little fur ball is sensitive to a few ingredients. And since there’s a whole list of ingredients that goes into dog foods, it can be hard to pinpoint which ingredient they’re particularly allergic to.

If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, this guide will talk you through the best dog foods for sensitive bowels and unusual gut activity.

Product Name
Best Overall For Most Dogs
Best For Dogs With Allergies
Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food, Turkey, Brown Rice & Venison Recipe for Weight Management, 26 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)
ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Apple, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
Diamond Pet Foods Naturals Lite - Lamb & Rice - 30 lb
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Very good fat count for dogs prone to sensitive stomach diarrhea
Premium quality ingredient list
Low-fat formula, and lower in Omegas too
Pro 2
Contains L-carnitine for energy and metabolism regulation
Variety of flavours allows avoidance of common allergens
Higher than normal fiber content (8%)
Best Overall For Most Dogs
Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food, Turkey, Brown Rice & Venison Recipe for Weight Management, 26 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Pro 1
Very good fat count for dogs prone to sensitive stomach diarrhea
Pro 2
Contains L-carnitine for energy and metabolism regulation
Custom Button
Best For Dogs With Allergies
Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Apple, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Premium quality ingredient list
Pro 2
Variety of flavours allows avoidance of common allergens
Custom Button
Best Budget Option
Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Diamond Pet Foods Naturals Lite - Lamb & Rice - 30 lb
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Low-fat formula, and lower in Omegas too
Pro 2
Higher than normal fiber content (8%)
Custom Button
Sources researched
18
Sources researched
Customer reviews
17,000
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
16
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach and Diarrhea

Here are our highly recommended foods for dogs who suffer from sensitive stomach and diarrhea:

1. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food

Best Overall for Sensitive Stomachs

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food, Turkey, Brown Rice & Venison Recipe for Weight Management, 26 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)
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Overall Rating91%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients90%
High Fiber Content90%
Moderate Fat Content95%
Other Added Nutrients92%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Outstanding fat count
  • Decent protein count for most dogs 
  • Contains L-carnitine for energy and metabolism regulation 
  • Natural prebiotics assist with digestion

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine 
  • Fat count may be too little for active dogs   

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food is the ideal choice for dogs catering to a sensitive stomach. If your dog suffers from irritable bowel syndrome or an inability to pass food properly, it will surely benefit from this dog food’s mix of high-quality nutrients.

Its protein levels sit at 26%, which is perfect for most dogs who are moderately active. Its fat count is between 8 and 11%, which suits dogs that require less fat in their diet or for diarrhea-related reasons. 

This dog food also contains L-carnitine, which helps improve metabolism and manages energy regulation in dogs of all ages.

2. Acana Singles Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient Food

ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Apple, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
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Overall Rating90%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients95%
High Fiber Content90%
Moderate Fat Content85%
Other Added Nutrients90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Premium quality ingredient list 
  • Variety of flavors eliminates common allergens
  • Contains DHA and EPA
  • Contains glucosamine & chondroitin

CONS

  • Slightly higher fat count than preferred 
  • Somewhat pricey 

Limited-ingredient dog food is beneficial for easing stomach problems in that dogs can avoid common allergens such as grains, corn, eggs, soy, gluten, or wheat. 

If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, it will undoubtedly thrive on a diet of Acana Singles Dry Dog Food. This dog food contains a single protein source and just a few carefully selected vegetables. 

It sufficiently meets your dog’s protein requirements and is even rich in vitamins and minerals. 

Its flavor variety is just as impressive and will entice even the pickiest of eaters.

3. Diamond Naturals Light Formula Dry Dog Food

Best Value for Money

Diamond Pet Foods Naturals Lite - Lamb & Rice - 30 lb
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Overall Rating90%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients90%
High Fiber Content90%
Moderate Fat Content90%
Other Added Nutrients90%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Low-fat formula
  • Higher than average fiber content (8%) 
  • Added joint supplements & L-carnitine 
  • Highly affordable compared to similar formulas

CONS

  • Low in protein 
  • May be too low in fat for active dogs 

Diamond Naturals Light Formula Dry Dog Food is not just famed for its high-quality ingredient list, grain-free properties, and sensitive stomach formula—it also comes at a fantastic price. If you’re both budget and quality-conscious, Diamond Naturals provides the best of both worlds. 

However, it is relatively low in fat. Thus, we recommend this budget option as a temporary measure or supplement to other low-sodium diets.

4. American Journey Puppy Dry Dog Food 

Best For Puppies

American Journey Lamb

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Overall Rating92%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients95%
High Fiber Content90%
Moderate Fat Content90%
Other Added Nutrients95%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Ideal for early stages of development
  • High in protein, good calcium, and phosphorus levels
  • Contains DHA
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin

CONS

  • Not suitable for puppies who are sensitive to poultry as it contains chicken meal

If your puppy has developed a sensitive stomach from the get-go, you won’t want to delay treatment. American Journey Puppy Dry Dog Food is perfectly balanced to support growth and early development.  

Is your puppy a picky eater? You won’t have to worry about correcting stool issues with this delectable line of dog foods for sensitive stomachs—it contains real chicken that your puppy will surely love.

5. Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Wet Dog Food 

Best Wet Food For Sensitive Stomachs

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Wet Dog Food Real Beef Recipe - (12) 12.7 oz Cans
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Overall Rating88.75%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients90%
High Fiber Content90%
Moderate Fat Content95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • A fully balanced wet food formula 
  • Contains chelated minerals for easier digestion 
  • Grain-free and high in protein 
  • 96% real beef

CONS

  • Contains no veggies or fruits 

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Wet Dog Food is ideal for dogs with a sensitive stomach as it is lower in fat (3,5%) and higher in fiber (3%) than most other wet foods. Its 96% protein levels also aid pickier dogs in the digestion process and enhance overall gut health.

Because wet dog foods typically contain plenty of moisture, Merrick’s wet dog food selection is also helpful in rehydrating your dog. This feature is especially beneficial if your pet has been suffering from diarrhea.

6. American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food 

Best Flavor Range

American Journey Salmon

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Overall Rating88%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients95%
High Fiber Content90%
Moderate Fat Content90%
Other Added Nutrients80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • More affordable than most other specialty diets
  • Lower in fat and higher in fiber
  • Contains DHA
  • Various recipes help avoid problematic ingredients

CONS

  • No other useful supplements

American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is right up there on the top list for the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs because it’s one of the more affordable options yet still retains all the necessary nutrients its higher-priced counterparts have. 

You’ll find various recipes available online, which is ideal for dogs that need to avoid problematic ingredients. Its grain-free formula also prevents allergies.  

This diet’s chelated minerals aid your dog’s digestive system, as it lowers the risks of food intolerance. Its high levels of omega-6 fatty acids help prevent or eliminate the occurrence of diarrhea.

7. Tylee’s Human-Grade Dog Food 

Best Fresh Food Option

Tylees-Human-Grade-Beef-Recipe-Frozen-Dog-Food

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Overall Rating87%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients95%
High Fiber Content90%
Moderate Fat Content90%
Other Added Nutrients80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Human-grade ingredient list 
  • High in fiber, moderate in fat 
  • Various flavors for easy digestion
  • Minimally processed and free of preservatives

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain any added supplements 
  • Slightly pricey  

If your pup has been suffering from diarrhea due to a sensitive stomach, you may want to consider feeding him or her a fresh food diet like Tylee’s Human-Grade Dog Food.

Although most higher-quality dog foods are also minimally processed, fresh food can eliminate food aversions and sensitivities that may still be lurking underneath a pickier stomach.

8. Solid Gold Holistique Blendz 

Best For Less Active Seniors

Solid Gold - Holistique Blendz with Oatmeal, Pearled Barley & Ocean Fish Meal - Holistic Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food for Adult & Senior Dogs - 28.5lb Bag
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Overall Rating86%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients85%
High Fiber Content80%
Moderate Fat Content95%
Other Added Nutrients85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Rich in grains and vegetables for sufficient fiber intake 
  • Fat content is ideal for older and less active dogs
  • Does not contain common allergens
  • Contains DHA to keep aging brains agile

CONS

  • The animal protein source only appears as ingredient number three 
  • Slightly on the expensive side 

If your senior dog is still quite active, you can keep feeding him or her high-quality, grain free adult dog food. However, more often than not, geriatric dogs will experience significant energy loss. Thus, older dogs will need something like Solid Gold Holistique Blendz.

This formula avoids all the most common allergens, which is helpful for older pups with severe intolerance and unusual bowel movements. Though lower in fiber, Solid Gold’s senior formula is also very low in fat.

9. Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food 

Best For Active Dogs

Overall Rating85%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients95%
High Fiber Content80%
Moderate Fat Content85%
Other Added Nutrients85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • High in protein with a moderate fat count
  • Various recipes available for picky eaters
  • All-natural ingredient list 
  • Good level of glucosamine & chondroitin to help manage energy levels

CONS

  • A more expensive option than some other dog foods 
  • All recipes contain potato, which may not agree with all dogs 

For active dogs, the Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food protein and fat numbers are more than sufficient. 

Its lower fiber content is perfectly balanced by a moderate fat count, which keeps high-energy breeds from experiencing irritable bowels.

10. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food 

Best Grain Free Option

Wellness Simple Natural Grain Free Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Salmon and Potato Recipe, 24-Pound Bag
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Overall Rating84%
High Quality, All-Natural Ingredients85%
High Fiber Content85%
Moderate Fat Content90%
Other Added Nutrients80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Lower fat count than most other sensitive-formula diets
  • Retains a high protein count for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Fewer ingredients and a lesser chance of sensitivities 
  • Moderate Omega-6 fatty acids

CONS

  • No added supplements 

Some dogs just don’t react well to any type of grain. Fortunately, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food is entirely grain free and formulated with limited ingredients such as natural beef, brown rice, and sweet potato.It has a medium animal protein count of 25% and a lower fat count of 12%. For picky eaters and dogs experiencing frequent bowel problems, this dog food is among the best chicken-free diets.


Key Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach and Diarrhea

1) All-Natural Ingredient List

Many commercial dog foods are manufactured with cheap, low-quality “filler” ingredients that are difficult for most dogs to digest. 

The best dog foods for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea should have a high-quality and a correctly identified animal protein source as the primary ingredient. Ideal limited-ingredient dry dog foods should also contain healthy carbs in the form of fruits and vegetables. Finally, gluten-free grains provide an excellent source of fiber.

Pet owners should avoid corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, dairy byproducts, and preservatives.

2) High Fiber Content

Fiber is something that most pet parents don’t pay much attention to. Because it’s a part of staple plant ingredients, fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains like brown rice should be present in dog foods for pets with irritable stomachs. Consider a diet that doesn’t dip below 5% fiber on the guaranteed analysis list.

3)  Moderate Fat Content

Although fat is the most easily accessible energy source for puppies and digestion aid, too much can still cause diarrhea. 

Select dog foods that contain only a maximum of 15% fat. Very active dogs might be used to quite a bit more than this, but chronic diarrhea sufferers should avoid it. 

4) Other Added Nutrients

Even if a dog food is formulated for sensitive stomachs, it should have natural additives that support the immune system in dogs of all life stages.

You’ll want to see probiotics, prebiotics, moderate omegas, and chelated minerals in your chosen food’s breakdown of nutritional value. Some breeds will require glucosamine and chondroitin, while puppies need DHA and EPA. 

Including all these ingredients in your dog’s diet will boost their immune system and overall health.

5)  Affordability

We believe that a large part of keeping dogs happy is making sure their parents are just as satisfied. Affordability allows dog owners generous options to suit every budget.

As such, our options for the best value for money are just as high-quality as everything else on the list. We’ve rated each option according to its price and steer budget buyers away from pricier foods.


Questions & Answers

What could cause a sensitive stomach and diarrhea in dogs? 

The most common cause of sensitive stomachs is food intolerance. However, some pet parents mistake intolerance for allergies. True food allergies directly impact the immune system and are occasionally life-threatening. On the other hand, intolerances may simply cause manageable digestive issues. 

Diarrhea is a result of a digestion problem. In dogs, it typically occurs due to a lack of fiber or too much fat content in their food. 

Other things that may cause irritable bowels include stress, reactions to medication, intestinal parasites, infection, or inflammatory diseases.

The best way to prevent these adverse reactions is to remove ingredients that cause your pet to react badly. You might, for instance, want to avoid food containing legumes

What are some signs and symptoms that indicate my dog has a sensitive stomach? 

Dogs with sensitive stomachs will foremost be reluctant to eat their food. They might also demonstrate signs of discomfort after eating or suffer from either constipation or diarrhea

Their coat and healthy skin may also become dry and dull, indicating that nutrients aren’t being absorbed effectively due to food sensitivities. 

What features should I look for in the best dog food for sensitive stomach and diarrhea? 

Firstly, you should be reviewing the quality of the ingredients of your dog’s food. All-natural, whole food ingredients are among the best options. These foods don’t contain corn, wheat, soy, or artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

A good benchmark for fiber content should be a little more than 5%. Ensure that your dog’s diet is made up of fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes or pumpkin. Their food might also contain healthy grains like brown rice. Prioritize a high-quality animal protein source as first on the chosen food’s ingredient list. 

Its fat content should be moderate – a high fat count can make diarrhea worse. Remember to compare crude fat content and omega inclusions.

Apart from that, the best dog food for sensitive stomach and diarrhea should contain other appropriate supplements for your specific dog. Expecting dogs, for instance, should consume a diet suitable for pregnancies

Dogs of all ages will benefit from glucosamine, chondroitin, DHA, EPA, and L-carnitine. These ingredients also help promote healthy skin and shiny coats. Dogs with bad breath will also benefit from a well-formulated meal. If the smell persists, consider a breath freshener spray

Should I consider hypoallergenic dog food?

Hypoallergenic dog foods are ideal for breeds like cocker spaniels, golden retrievers, and boston terriers that demonstrate sensitivity to specific ingredients and animal proteins. Sometimes, a dog’s digestive system won’t take well to components such as potatoes, brown rice, chicken, or legumes. 

Thus, foods containing proteins not recognized by your dog’s antibodies as antigens can help reduce the occurrence of severe allergic reactions. 

How do I transition my dog into a specially formulated diet?

When transitioning your dog into a new, specially formulated, and grain-free diet, you’ll want to do so gradually over 7 to 10 days. First, start by mixing 75% of their old food with your chosen alternative for about three days. Then, shift by 25% per three days until they are fully transitioned into the new diet. 

What are the symptoms of a sensitive stomach? 

Dogs with sensitive stomachs will experience various symptoms, most of which involve intermittent loose stools or diarrhea. When it comes to observing your pet’s stool, below are a few red flags you’ll want to keep an eye out for: 

  • Hard, dry, and crumbling stool
  • Moist and beginning to lose form
  • Poor, viscous consistency
  • Diarrhea, with some areas of consistency
  • Watery diarrhea 
  • Blood in stool
  • Uncontrollable diarrhea
  • Stool of an unnatural color 

These symptoms will be similar to what occurs when your dog experiences:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis, or inflammation of the colon
  • Gastroenteritis, or infection of the digestive system
  • Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas 

Other symptoms of a sensitive stomach might also include: 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hypersalivation
  • Sudden lack of appetite
  • Excessive gas
  • Decreased mobility and fatigue
  • Itchy skin with patches of hair loss 
  • Tear stains or reddish-brown marks on the face
  • Excessive lip licking or air licking
  • Excessive thirst
  • Smelly breath
  • Audible noises originating from the stomach

While some symptoms are indicative of a sensitive stomach, some are less apparent than others. For instance, lip-smacking isn’t something even experienced pet owners will typically associate with indigestion. However, this activity might insinuate overactive salivary glands. This overproduction of saliva can cause discomfort and acidity, potentially causing harm to your dog’s throat and teeth. 

On the other hand, some of the symptoms listed above might result from a neighboring ailment such as an irritated gastrointestinal tract or severe allergy. Whenever possible, sponsor testing for any underlying disorders with a veterinary expert. Determining the root cause of your dog’s symptoms can help inform decisions regarding an alternative diet, medication, and necessary lifestyle changes. 

If you suspect your dog is suffering from a sensitive stomach, ensure that sudden changes in their diet or other environmental conditions aren’t causing these symptoms. 

What types of dogs are prone to a sensitive stomach? 

While all dogs can become subject to a sensitive stomach, those that are more likely to experience symptoms are older pets and smaller breeds. These types of dogs include: 

  • Labrador Retrievers – because of their deep and narrow chests, Labs are genetically predisposed to bloat, during which the gut dilates, causing pain. 
  • Miniature Schnauzers – these small and highly active dogs are unfortunately prone to metabolic disorders. Thus, they are likely to develop inflammatory bowel diseases and experience severe intolerance. 
  • Yorkshire Terriers – unfortunately, these tiny dogs are notorious for experiencing pancreatitis, which makes it difficult for digestion to occur due to a deficiency in the enzymes. 
  • Shih Tzus – these dogs are susceptible to pyloric hypertrophy, which affects the stomach musculature and causes backed-up ingesta in the abdomen. 
  • Great Dane – like the Labrador Retriever, this giant breed is frequently at risk of bloat, which happens to be its number one cause of death.

Conclusion

Suppose your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, irritable bowels, or frequent diarrhea. In that case, you may be better of ditching its former diet for something high in animal protein, low in fat, and selectively formulated. 

When selecting the best dog foods for pets with this condition, consider whether your dog has food intolerance or allergies—remember to distinguish between the two. Then, give your dog’s new diet a dry run. If they react adversely to the food, discontinue it. 

Finally, always consult with a veterinary expert before making any changes to your dog’s diet or lifestyle. A professional opinion can help your dog develop properly and eliminate unwanted conditions.