best-dog-food-for-ibd

5 Best Dog Foods For IBD

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog foods for IBD.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for IBD?

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Vet’s Advice

If your veterinarian has diagnosed Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in your pet then they should be able to advise you on treatment options. Diet can play a big part in managing the disease and any new food needs to be trialed for 6 weeks or more to say whether or not it is helping. Here is what you should look for in a diet for a dog with IBD:

Low residue diet

This means a diet that is very easy to digest. Usually, fiber is restricted in these foods, making nutrients more readily available. This adjustment also helps reduces the volume of your dog’s feces, which is helpful if they are passing multiple loose stools a day.

Hypoallergenic food

In some cases, the cause of a dog’s IBD is an underlying sensitivity to certain proteins in their food. Trialing dogs on a novel protein diet (a type of protein they may not have eaten before like salmon or venison) or a hydrolyzed diet (a diet where the protein molecules have been broken up into smaller sizes such that the body no longer reacts to them in the same way) can help.

Palatability

Your dog needs to find the diet tasty as he is likely to be on it long-term. IBD is not a condition that is cured, it will require lifelong management. So, for a diet to be successful it needs to be highly palatable. Some manufacturers offer a palatability guarantee on their foods.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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IBD Dog Food Reviews

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken Meal
    2. Potatoes
    3. Canola Meal
    4. Peas
    5. Chicken Fat

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 377 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 3.5%

For a diet that is ideal for dogs suffering from IBD, it’s hard to go wrong with Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free. This diet places a high emphasis on the use of easily digestible ingredients to soothe the digestive system. Chicken meal and turkey meal are the two main ingredients, proteins that are full of flavor and rich in the amino acids dogs need for a healthy body.

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free contains ample servings of the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids required for optimal coat and skin health. The fruits and vegetables included in this diet are rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber to provide a boost for digestion and a strong immune system. Glucosamine and chondroitin play a starring role in this food, providing support for joint health in dogs.

Pros

  • Owners are pleased to report that their dogs really enjoy the taste of this food. Even the pickiest of eaters looks forward to their every meal.
  • Dogs that previously suffered with itchy skin as a result of excess yeast found relief from their symptoms with a switch to this diet.
  • Dogs with poor stool quality saw a return to normal stool formation and had fewer bowel movements when consistently fed Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free.
  • Owners like that Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free is available in several different flavors, allowing them to give their dogs some variety in their daily diet.
  • Most owners felt that this food is available at an affordable cost. They are happy to be able to offer their dogs such a high quality diet for a reasonable price.

Cons

  • A few owners expressed that they wished this diet was available in a grain-inclusive formulation. They feel whole grains play an important role in ideal digestion in dogs.
  • Owners shared that they had concerns about quality control with this product. They indicated that the kibble size, shape, and texture differed with each bag.
  • Several owners noted that their dogs’ stool quality was soft and runny when fed this diet. This may be from too rapid a dietary change and may resolve in time.
  • A few owners wondered if this formula had recently changed as their dogs are not doing as well on it as they once were.
  • This diet contains no supplements to assist with optimal joint function in dogs.

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Holistic Select Adult & Puppy Grain-Free Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon
    2. Anchovy and Sardine Meal
    3. Potatoes
    4. Peas
    5. Menhaden Fish Meal

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult and puppy
  • Calories: 448 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 29%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 5.5%

Holistic Select Adult and Puppy Health Grain-Free is one of the best dog foods for IBD on the market today. This excellent quality diet has been carefully calibrated to provide support for dogs suffering from digestive issues. Its formulation includes such powerful helps as probiotics, moderate amounts of fiber, and digestive enzymes to help promote fluid digestive processes.

A grain-free diet, the carbohydrates in Holistic Select are taken from fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of fiber and healthy servings of antioxidants to support a strong immune system to help dogs fight disease effectively.

Pros

  • Owners were very pleased that their dogs were able to digest this food very well. Their stool quality was excellent when fed a regular diet of Holistic Select Adult and Puppy Health Grain-Free.
  • Dogs that suffered with upset stomachs on a continuing basis found relief from this problem when fed this diet on an ongoing basis.
  • Most dogs love the taste of this food, looking forward to their every meal with great anticipation.
  • Owners were thrilled to report their dogs’ coats were healthy, shiny, and soft when fed Holistic Select Adult and Puppy Health Grain-Free on a consistent basis.
  • Many owners noted they like that this diet contains no grains, believing that makes this food an excellent choice for dogs with food-related allergies.

Cons

  • A few owners indicated their dogs’ breath smelled strongly of fish after eating this food. This is likely because this diet’s foundation is fish-based proteins.
  • Some dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it.
  • Owners disliked that this diet contains canola oil. They expressed they would prefer to feed their dogs a food that gets its essential fatty acids from an animal fat. However, it is important to note that ample servings of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are found in the fish proteins in this diet.
  • A few owners felt this diet was pricey.
  • Several owners indicated they would prefer to feed their dogs a diet that is grain-inclusive. They expressed that they felt these ingredients were an important help in achieving ideal digestion.

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Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Turkey
    2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine)
    3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate)
    4. Peas
    5. Dried Ground Potatoes

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 417 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Fiber: 4%

For a diet that packs all of the nutrition and flavor dogs need from the best foods for IBD, it’s hard to go wrong with Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original. A diet that is free from grains, chicken and turkey are the basis of this high quality food, providing dogs with a protein that is easy to digest and high in amino acids.

Wellness CORE has been enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin to encourage joint health. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have been included organically through the addition of flaxseed and salmon oil, ensuring healthy coat and skin.

A proprietary probiotic blend enrobes each piece of kibble to aid in digestive processing. To help discourage stomach distress and focus on optimal nutritional quality, Wellness CORE contains no by-products, wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • Owners really like that this diet is manufactured in the United States and is free from fillers, by-products, and artificial flavors and colors.
  • Dogs love the taste of this food, licking their bowl clean at every meal.
  • A few owners of dogs that suffered from seizures expressed their dogs’ overall health improved when fed Wellness CORE Grain-Free.
  • Dogs that suffered with skin problems from food-related allergies found complete relief from their symptoms when fed this diet on a consistent basis.
  • Owners like that this diet contains no grains. They feel it is an excellent choice for dogs that have sensitivities to these ingredients.

Cons

  • A few owners expressed that they felt these kibble pieces were too large for toy or small breeds to break down well.
  • Some dogs dislike the flavor of this diet and will not eat it. There are several other Wellness offerings with different proteins that may be a better choice for these dogs.
  • Several owners wondered if this formula has recently changed as their dogs are no longer interested in this food.
  • A few owners felt this diet is rather costly.
  • Some owners shared that they prefer to feed a diet that includes some whole grains in its recipe. They believe these ingredients are key to their dogs achieving good digestion.

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Solid Gold Sunday Sunrise Grain-Free Lamb, Sweet Potato & Pea Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Lamb
    2. Lamb Meal
    3. Sweet Potatoes
    4. Chickpeas
    5. Lentils

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 360 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 22%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 4%

Solid Gold Sunday Sunrise is a diet that hits all the high points dogs with IBD need from their meals. Lamb is the main ingredient in this diet, a protein source that is rich in amino acids and easy on the digestive tract.

Solid Gold Sunday Sunrise contains no gluten or grains, an important help to promote strong digestion. Probiotics have been included in this diet, rated among the best dog foods for IBD, to help with the development of healthy gut flora.

A wide variety of superfoods feature prominently in this recipe to boost immune function.

Pros

  • Dogs suffering from excess flatulence saw an end to this problem when transitioned to a steady diet of Solid Gold Sunday Sunrise.
  • This diet is highly recommended for dogs suffering from allergies. Owners reported that dogs that struggled with regular itchiness found complete relief when consistently fed this food.
  • Owners really like that this diet comes in several different flavors. This allows them to offer their dogs some variety in their diet without sacrificing any nutritional quality.
  • Dogs fed a steady diet of this food had beautiful coats that were shiny, healthy, soft, lustrous, and thick.
  • Owners love the price of this food and share that it is highly affordable and a good fit for families wanting to feed excellent nutrition while remaining within a budget.

Cons

  • A few dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it. Solid Gold comes in many different flavors. One of these recipes may be a better fit for these dogs.
  • A few owners expressed they wished this diet contained some whole grains in its recipe, preferring to feed a food that is grain-inclusive to their dogs.
  • Chickpeas, lentils, peas, and pea fiber are all included in this diet. These ingredients are of questionable nutritional value and may be linked to such health problems as rapid elevations of blood sugar and poor fertility.
  • This diet contains no supplements to assist with joint health in dogs.
  • A few owners expressed this diet could be difficult to find in their local stores. Thankfully, it can be ordered online and delivered.

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Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Adult Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Liver
    3. Dried Egg Product
    4. Oatmeal
    5. Pearled Barley

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 403 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 5%

Halo Holistic is a diet based on top quality, natural ingredients to support good digestion and to alleviate stomach distress in dogs with IBD. Whole chicken is the foundation of this diet, a meat that is rich in nutrients and easy for dogs to process.

Halo Holistic, one of the best foods for dogs with IBD, bases its carbohydrate content on fruits and vegetables that contain optimal amounts of fiber and that are also rich in antioxidants to ensure support for the dog’s immune system. Its recipe is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives as well as wheat, corn, and soy.

DreamCoat, a trademarked supplement blend, has been added to provide a vital support for coat and skin health.

Pros

  • Owners are pleased to report that their dogs really enjoy the flavor of this food. Even picky dogs look forward to their every meal of Halo Holistic.
  • Dogs that struggled with poor stool quality saw a return of normal consistency and formation when fed a steady diet of this food.
  • Owners really like that this diet is grain-inclusive, believing the whole grains help to boost their dogs’ digestion.
  • Dogs fed this diet consistently had beautiful coat and skin quality. Their skin was well-hydrated and free from dandruff, and their fur was soft, healthy, and shiny.
  • Though this diet is a little bit expensive, owners felt it was well worth the cost for its exceptional nutritional value.

Cons

  • Some dog owners feel this diet is rather expensive.
  • A few owners wished this diet was available in a grain-free formulation. They felt dogs with allergies would do better on a diet that includes no grains in its recipe.
  • Several owners expressed that the price of this food seems to fluctuate regularly. They wished there was more consistency in pricing.
  • Dried peas, dried chickpeas, flaxseed, and pea fiber are all included in this recipe. These ingredients are of questionable nutritional value and may be linked to such problems as rapid elevations in blood sugar and poor fertility.
  • This diet contains soy protein isolate, an ingredient that is a common allergen for many dogs.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Food for IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease, a condition commonly referred to by the acronym IBD, is an ongoing health issue that causes swelling of the delicate tissues of the gastrointestinal tract and stomach. As a result of this condition, dogs with IBD experience poor digestion and an inability to properly utilize and absorb the nutrition contained in their food.

To date, it is not known what factors must combine for a dog to succumb to IBD. Many veterinary professionals believe it is not one root cause but likely the result of multiple different issues which lead to the development of the condition. Some of the issues veterinarians believe may be to blame for the development of IBD in dogs include:

  • Allergies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Parasites
  • Poor reactions to medications and/or drugs
  • Overvaccination

Dogs suffering from IBD exhibit several different symptoms. Among the most commonly seen problems are vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, poor appetite, and weight loss. Unfortunately, since these symptoms can be indicative of many different health conditions that plague dogs, it is extremely difficult to diagnose IBD. The recommended course to determine the reason behind the symptoms is a blood test accompanied with a biopsy of the inflamed tissue from the stomach or intestines.

Diet plays a critical role in helping to alleviate the discomfort from the symptoms associated with IBD. However, some dogs do not experience the relief they need from a dietary change alone and require antibiotic treatment or anti-inflammatory medications for improvement to occur.

For dogs that only experience the symptoms of IBD occasionally, feeding bland meals such as boiled chicken combined with white rice is an excellent course of action to solve the problem. However, for dogs with recurring bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, a permanent nutritional change coupled with veterinary treatment may be required.

The best dog foods for IBD remain free from the allergens which have been commonly identified with gastrointestinal distress in dogs including corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dog Foods that Help Relieve IBD

Correct portion sizes are important to helping dogs achieve and maintain a healthy weight. To help determine the proper meal size for a dog, it is an excellent idea to use the suggested serving size listed on the bag as a starting point. Since each dog’s nutritional requirements will vary according to its breed, age, weight, and activity level, this basic amount can be adjusted until the right portion has been determined.

The dog’s weight and appetite will serve as helpful guides in determining the correct amount.

As a general rule of thumb, the best dog foods for IBD for mature dogs should contain a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. Puppy foods to address this condition must be comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat with slightly higher amounts also acceptable.

Dietary Requirements for Dog Foods that Help Relieve IBD

There are certain criteria owners should look for in the best dog foods for IBD. One of the key components is a diet that contains the least amount of additives and preservatives. Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are common allergens known to cause stomach distress in many dogs. For this reason, foods containing them are best avoided.

Since dogs suffering from IBD often have poor digestion, ingredients that are easy to process and utilize effectively are key to helping combat the effects of the disease. Foods that possess high moisture content but that contain only moderate amounts of fiber are best to help calm an irritated digestive system.

Any high quality diet should list a meat-based protein as its first ingredient. Since some dogs with symptoms of IBD are sensitive to certain types of proteins, novel meats such as kangaroo, venison, whitefish, salmon, and rabbit are highly desirable. Beef, dairy products, and wheat have been known to cause adverse immune responses, meaning they are best avoided for dogs with IBD.

Though meat meals are perfectly acceptable, by-products and plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat should be avoided as they have been associated with triggering a poor immune response.

Carbohydrates in a diet to address IBD must be limited to whole grains, fruits, or vegetables that are easy to digest. Moderate amounts of fiber are recommended, and antioxidant-rich ingredients are preferred to help boost the dog’s immune system.

Healthy oils play an important part in coat and skin health as well as keeping the body functioning optimally. These are best derived from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish.

Supplements can make a large difference in alleviating the symptoms of IBD in dogs. Prebiotics and probiotics help dogs to establish the healthy gut flora they need to ease stomach discomfort and promote fluid digestive processes. Digestive enzymes are also an excellent idea to help dogs break down their food for ease of absorption.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for IBD

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for IBD:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health

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