Looking For The Best Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach and Diarrhea?
Here’s a look at our favorites, including our top pick – Natural Balance Limited Ingredient.
Not all dogs are the stereotypical garbage disposals that can eat anything and everything—nor should they be. What you feed your dog has a major impact on their longevity, energy, eyesight, coat, and overall health. If your dog has a sensitive stomach and diarrhea, it’s even more important to provide them with the right food so you can help them feel better now and continue to feel healthy going forward.
What to look for in dog food for sensitives stomachs
Dogs with sensitive stomachs usually present their indigestion problems with vomit, diarrhea, and excessive gas. It’d be easier if they could talk to us and explain exactly what’s bothering their stomach, but alas, the communication barrier means you’ll need to figure out what food is best for them through trial and error. It’s often a single ingredient that’s causing their symptoms (or a small cluster of related ingredients), so it’s usually a quick fix if you switch to a different dog food mix. Going with good quality ingredients and even all-natural foods helps a lot, too.
As you’re looking for a new dog food with purposeful nutrition that’s designed for sensitive stomachs, here are a few tips to help you know what to look for as you read the labels:
- Protein – the protein in dog food typically comes from poultry, red meat, or fish. If your dog is having diarrhea or vomiting, it may be as simple as a reaction to the type of meat you’re feeding them. Animals can develop intolerances to things like seafood just as easily as humans can. When you pick a new dog food to try, start by going with a different meat source than you’re currently using. If you’re currently feeding your dog a chicken-based product, switch to beef. If you’re using a salmon-base, try swapping for a lamb-based mix. But whatever you do, make sure the food doesn’t include meat byproduct. Your dog needs wholesome protein, especially if they have an upset stomach.
- Fiber – diarrhea and loose stools tend to be indicative of a fiber deficiency. Try switching to a dog food mix that is high in fiber to help your dog digest and process their food easier.
- Fat – high-fat foods can be difficult to digest. Avoid dog foods where oils or fats are listed in the first four ingredients, as too much fat may be the culprit behind their sensitive stomach and diarrhea.
- Vitamins and minerals – even cheaper dog foods should have the right amount of vitamins and minerals for dogs, so getting the minimum recommended nutrition shouldn’t be the problem. The only time a vitamin or mineral deficiency is likely is if your dog is on a special diet, especially if they consume raw or home-cooked food. While feeding your pet home-cooked meals isn’t a bad thing, you should talk to your veterinarian to make sure the meals have the right ingredients to ensure they’re getting all of their essential vitamins and minerals.
- Quality of ingredients – dog food packaging doesn’t list the quality of ingredients, so the best indicator of overall quality ingredients is usually the price tag. Quality dog food with purposeful nutrition and no fillers will always cost more than the cheap, mass-produced options. That said, quality dog food should still be affordable, so don’t feel like your dog needs to eat filet mignon every night while you’re stuck eating ramen noodles.
- Fillers – I glossed over this one earlier, so let me drive the point home here. Do not—I repeat DO NOT—feed your dog food that is packed with fillers like animal byproducts, vegetable byproducts, corn, and wheat. These are cheap fillers that are easy to mass produce, and they’ll rob your pet of the wholesome nutrition they need to be healthy.
Dog food by Limited Ingredient Diets uses simple formulas with limited ingredients to help minimize the chance of food sensitivities. Their food uses a targeted mix of premium protein and carbohydrate sources that allow you to systemically narrow down what foods your dog eats.
As such, you can be sure that your dog is getting premium quality ingredients with targeted nutrition. This particular mix by LID is grain free, supports healthy skin and shiny coats, and helps to maintain good digestive health. It’s all natural, so there are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Wellness is another great food provider that focuses on simple, limited-ingredient diets. They always use a single source of protein, and the carbohydrates are all easily digestible. They don’t use corn, wheat, soy, or gluten, and their all-natural mixes are free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. The blends include probiotics and prebiotics for easier digestion, and they include flaxseed that nourishes healthy skin.
If you’re like me you probably trust Rachael Ray’s recipes in your kitchen, so it’s an easy transition to trust her pet food to be just as tasty and nutritious for your dog. Nutrish dog food is all made from simple, wholesome ingredients.
Each recipe pairs a single animal protein with the right veggies, vitamins, and minerals to ensure your pooch is getting a well-rounded diet. All of their food is grain free and gluten free, and you’ll never see a filler on the label. They’re also all-natural, so there’s no artificial colors or flavors.
The Purina Beyond Natural is actually the food that I trust to feed to my own dog. It’s a great all-natural, no-filler solution that manages to be a bit more affordable than some of the other premium all-natural brands. The first ingredient is always meat-based protein, and you’ll never see any corn, wheat, soy, byproducts, or artificial colors or preservatives in the recipe.
These guys produce their food in their own facilities, and all of their recipes are engineered by pet nutritionists to ensure quality control and purposeful nutrition.
Last but not least is this Healthy Naturals mix from Iams. I should point out that not all of Iams’ dog food is all-natural, so don’t just go by the name here—you’ll need to get the Healthy Naturals mix for dogs with sensitive stomachs. This dog food is made with grass-fed lamb, and includes all of the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your dog needs for easy digestion, a healthy immune system, and a shiny coat.
Finding the right dog food for a pet with a sensitive stomach and diarrhea may require some trial and error, so don’t expect that the first one you try will be an instant solution. Also remember that it’ll take some time to process the old food out of your dog’s system, so even when you find the right food your dog might still show symptoms of an upset stomach for a few days.
If you have to try a couple of different protein bases, I’d recommend picking a brand that you trust and sticking within their suite of dog food for more consistency. Doing that—especially with the limited-ingredient brands—will help you control the variables to find out exactly which ingredient is causing their upset stomach and diarrhea.