Looking For The Best Dog Food For Boxers With Sensitive Stomachs?
Here’s a look at our favorites, including our top pick – Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food.
If you feel like your dog is a pickier eater than a two-year-old, you’re not alone. While many dogs are garbage disposals that can eat anything and everything, there are a surprising number of pets that develop a sensitive stomach.
Sometimes the sensitivity is due to a temporary illness, other times it could be a lifelong allergy or ingredient intolerance. Either way, there are plenty of dog foods that are specially formulated to appease sensitive stomachs with targeted nutrition and ingredients.
Before we dive in to what to look for and the top 5 dog foods for sensitive stomachs, keep in mind that sensitive stomachs can sometimes be a symptom of serious illness. If your dog frequently vomits, has unusually loose stools, or has unusually bad gas, you should talk to your veterinarian.
Doing tests at the vet’s office can be pricey, but then again so is dog food. If you try 10 different kinds of dog food and still can’t get your dog to eat, you probably would have spent about that much money at the vet. And if the veterinarian doesn’t find any chronic issues, they may be able to give you valuable nutrition or diet advice to get to the root of the problem.
What to Look For in Dog Food For Boxers With Sensitive Stomachs
Once you’ve ruled out any illnesses with the veterinarian, the problem will probably come down to an intolerance to certain ingredients. Here are some of the most common food-related causes of sensitive stomachs:
- Protein source – the protein in dog food usually comes from meats such as chicken, beef, lamb, or fish. Just as humans can be allergic to seafood, dogs can develop an intolerance to these protein sources. Pay attention to the primary protein source in your dog’s food, and try switching it up. If their current food is chicken-based, try using a beef-based food source instead.
- Fiber source – if your dog has a runny stool, they may not be getting enough fiber in their diet. Look for dog food that provides the fiber they need to regulate their digestive system.
- Fat content – dog foot that’s high in fat tends to be more difficult to digest. If oils or fats are listed in the first four ingredients on the packaging, that might be the culprit causing their sensitive stomach. Instead, switch to dog food that’s high in protein or carbohydrates.
- Vitamins and minerals – generally speaking, most commercial dog food has the right levels of vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to be healthy. The only time a vitamin or mineral deficiency is possible is if your dog is on a special diet, such as raw or home cooked food. If you feed your dog raw or home cooked food (which is not a bad thing, by the way), talk to your veterinarian to ensure your meals are providing the essential vitamins and minerals your dog needs for a healthy digestive system.
- Quality of ingredients – this can be a tough one to measure. Dog food manufacturers can’t list the quality of ingredients on the packaging, so oftentimes the best indicator of quality is the price tag. Cheap dog food tends to use poorer quality ingredients, while more expensive dog food should use better quality ingredients with fewer fillers. A good indicator of quality is to look at the first four ingredients listed on the packaging. If a protein such as poultry, beef, or seafood isn’t listed, the food may have too many fillers that aren’t good for sensitive stomachs.
As you’re assessing which dog food to purchase, look for options that are “complete,” “balanced,” or specially formulated for “sensitive systems.” Wholesome, all natural, and organic dog foods tend to be better for sensitive stomachs, but the food can still be poor quality even if it’s all-natural.
Pay special attention to the first four ingredients on the label to see if protein and carbohydrates are the primary ingredients.
You can’t go wrong when you choose the dog food that most veterinarians feed their own dogs. All of the Science Diet formulas offer complete, nutritionally balanced food made with high quality ingredients that are easy to digest.
The Sensitive Stomach & Skin mix includes a clinically proven blend of antioxidants for sensitive systems, along with an extra dose of vitamins C and E that support their immune system. The addition of omega-6 fatty acids is also good healthy skin and a glossy coat.
The Blue Buffalo brand is renowned for its all-natural, simple ingredients. A high-quality protein is always the first ingredient, and the formulas are 100% grain and gluten free (two ingredients that can upset sensitive stomachs).
This particular mix has a turkey base (a high-quality protein that’s rarely used in dog food) with easily-digestible carbohydrates like peas and potatoes. It also includes pea fiber and pumpkin to support gentle digestion, and omega 3 & 6 for skin and coat health.
This exact Purina ONE Smart Blend is actually the brand of food that I feed my dog. I’ve given my dog a few of their various formulas, and she’s loved them every time, so it’s definitely a brand that I trust. This mix has a salmon base that’s rich in omega fatty acids, and includes rice and oatmeal gentle digestion.
Like all of the options mentioned in this article, this Royal Canin mix offers complete nutrition, so you know your pet is getting all of the vitamins and minerals that they need. It includes special ingredients that promote gentle digestion and a healthy coat, and it includes a proprietary blend that supports healthy bones and joints.
This can be particularly useful for large breeds that tend to suffer from physical stress from their body weight.
If you’ve tried a few different proteins and still can’t find a good fit for your dog, you may want to consider a non-protein blend like the Honest Kitchen Preference #7. This mixture is entirely composed of dehydrated fruits and vegetables, offers complete, balanced nutrition, and has specialized ingredients to promote healthy digestion.
While it can be frustrating switching between dog foods, the best way to find the perfect fit for your dog is to keep trying different blends until you find one that sticks. You’ll notice that each of the options mentioned in this article have a different protein base—that was intentional.
If you try a chicken-based dog food and your dog continues to turn up their nose, then try the turkey-blend, or the salmon-blend, or even the fruit/vegetable blend. They’re all excellent offerings by reputable brands, and one of them is sure to hit the sweet spot.