Sensitive Stomach Dog Food: What You Should Know

Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
By Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
Updated: 5/8/20242-4 minutes
black dog

Are you thinking about switching your dog’s food to a dog food for sensitive stomach formula? If your dog has an upset stomach, there are a lot of factors that could cause it.

Digestive problems can result from food allergies, infections, dietary indiscretion and more. Most issues resolve after a dog’s digestive system is given a chance to rest, but long-term digestive problems can be more serious.

How Do I Know if My Dog Has a Sensitive Stomach?

It may not be the most pleasant task, but pay attention to your dog’s stool. If your dog’s stools are consistently loose and messy, that could be a sign they’re having trouble digesting their food. Excessive flatulence can also signal sensitive stomach issues.

What Is Sensitive Stomach Dog Food?

Sensitive stomach dog food is formulated to be highly digestible, with high-quality ingredients, so it is gentle on your dog’s digestive tract. Easily digested ingredients like rice and oatmeal are often included.

Foods That Can Alleviate Sensitive Stomach in Dogs

As previously stated, digestive issues in dogs can have a wide variety of causes, which need to be diagnosed by your veterinarian. After consulting with them, they may suggest you serve them home-cooked foods and/or commercial sensitive stomach dog foods with specific ingredients to help settle the issue. These ingredients might include:

  • White Rice: If your dog is experiencing stomach upset, such as diarrhea, your veterinarian may recommend a dog food containing rice or may even suggest cooking some rice for your dog. White rice in particular (as opposed to brown rice) is easily digestible, low in fiber, includes starch and helps harden the stool for dogs experiencing diarrhea.
  • Shredded Chicken: Another potentially helpful meal choice for your dog when they’re experiencing digestive upset is shredded chicken. Shredded chicken isn’t hard to digest and provides plenty of nutrients for your dog. Shredded chicken contains fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals to help replenish any deficiencies your dog has developed while they were sick.
  • Bone Broth: If your dog has trouble keeping food down, bone broth is a good option. You can mix bone broth with their dry food to add moisture or serve it alone as a quick source of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin and more. Remember, bone broth should not be a replacement for your dog’s regular meal. Also, if you make the bone broth at home, remove all bones before serving.
  • Canned Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin (NOT canned pumpkin pie mix, which contains sugar and spices) is not only a healthy treat for your dog but can aid digestion with its high fiber content. Pumpkin also has a wealth of healthy ingredients for your dog, including vitamins A, B6, C, E, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, copper and more.
  • Sweet Potato: Though some dogs aren’t able to tolerate sweet potatoes, a small amount of them can be helpful for digestive upset, thanks to their high fiber content. Keep in mind that sweet potatoes are high in calories, so if you introduce them into their diet, do so sparingly or choose a pet food with sweet potato as an ingredient.
  • Ice Cubes: A dog with diarrhea or who is vomiting needs to stay hydrated, but too much water intake might aggravate the issue. If they seem to have trouble keeping water down, try ice cubes to see if they help, then gradually increase the amount you give them.

There’s no best dog food for sensitive stomachs; it comes down to what’s best for your individual dog. Finding the right answer may require a consultation with your veterinarian.

Meanwhile, if your dog is showing signs of stomach upset like diarrhea or vomiting, it’s essential to keep a close watch. Dogs can quickly become dehydrated and if they have a serious illness, it’s better to get them to the veterinarian or emergency veterinarian sooner rather than later.

For more dog health tips from our experts, visit our Pet Expertise page.

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