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5 Best Dog Foods For a Sensitive Stomach & Diarrhea

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best food for dogs with sensitive stomach or diarrhea.
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 Sensitive Stomach & Diarrhea?

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Vet’s Advice

Contains highly digestible ingredients

Dogs suffering from diarrhea and sensitive stomachs will often benefit from a diet containing quality highly digestible proteins (such as chicken or salmon) and carbohydrates (such as rice). Not only does this allow for optimal absorption of nutrients, but it also means that proteins and carbohydrates are properly broken down during digestion. When these nutrients aren’t digested properly, they can exacerbate diarrhea and even cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria within the intestine.

Hypoallergenic if your dog has a food allergy

Some dogs that suffer from sensitive stomachs may actually have a food allergy (or adverse food reaction) to one or more of the ingredients in their current diet. Hydrolyzed protein diets contain protein that has been broken down to such a small size, that it is unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction. Diets containing novel protein and carbohydrates, (ingredients your dog has never eaten before such as venison, rabbit, or fish), may also be used in cases of food allergy.

Contains balanced fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics

The correct mix of soluble and insoluble fibers is also beneficial for dogs suffering from diarrhea or a sensitive stomach. They help maintain normal gut motility and certain soluble fibers, known as prebiotics, can promote a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria within the gut (microbiome).

Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) are examples of beneficial prebiotics commonly found in dog food. Not to be confused with prebiotics, though they sound very similar, probiotics are the live strains of beneficial bacteria that can also be added to a diet to help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria within the gut.

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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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Sensitive Stomach & Diarrhea Dog Food Reviews

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

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

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 496 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 4%

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE is a high-quality limited ingredient diet that has been specifically formulated to assist dogs that suffer from sensitive stomachs and diarrhea. This diet bases its foundation on the fish-based proteins salmon, salmon meal, and Menhaden fish meal, all excellent sources of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to provide energy and encourage healthy skin and coat.

This diet contains only eight foods; all of which are of exceptional quality and easy for dogs to digest. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE contains no grains, soy, wheat, corn, fillers, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.  It has been enriched through the addition of a proprietary blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to ensure healthy digestion and strong immunity.

For the best dog food for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea, you can’t go wrong with CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE.

Pros

  • Owners noted that dogs that previously struggled with itchiness found relief when transitioned to this diet.
  • Owners shared that they really like the size of the kibble pieces in this diet, feeling they are the ideal shape, size, and texture for their dogs.
  • Several owners expressed that this food is very calorie dense, meaning they have to feed less in order for their dogs to reach full eating satisfaction.
  • Dogs love the taste of this food, looking forward to their every meal.
  • Dogs fed this diet regularly saw an improvement in their coat quality. Their fur was healthy, shiny, and soft.

Cons

  • In rare cases, some dogs had foul smelling stool when fed this food. This can likely be attributed to a rapid dietary change and will resolve with time.
  • Some owners felt that the kibble pieces were too small for large breed dogs and may pose a choking hazard.
  • Some owners prefer to feed a diet that includes some grains in its formulation. They believe the dietary fiber found in the grains is a vital component of good digestion.
  • A few people felt this diet was too expensive.
  • Several owners indicated that the smallest bags of this food often contained a large amount of crumbs.

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Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Water Buffalo
    2. Lamb Meal
    3. Chicken Meal
    4. Sweet Potatoes
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 370 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 4%

Taste of the Wild High Prairie offers dogs with sensitive stomachs all of the nutrition they need to overcome gastrointestinal distress to enjoy excellent health. This diet bases its foundation on bison and venison; two novel proteins that are unlikely to cause stomach distress in dogs.

This diet contains no grains, taking its carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables that are easy on the digestive system and rich in disease-fighting properties. It has also been enriched through the addition of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to provide energy and to ensure excellent skin and coat health.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie, one of the best foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs and diarrhea, is free from grains, corn, wheat, fillers, artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives. Probiotics have been included to support fluid digestive processes.

Pros

  • Owners like that this diet is based on novel proteins, making it a great choice for dogs with allergies to some of the more commonly utilized meats.
  • Dogs that suffered with poor coat and skin quality saw great improvements after being fed a steady diet of Taste of the Wild High Prairie. Their owners reported their skin was well-hydrated and free from dandruff while their coats were thick, lustrous, and shiny.
  • Owners are pleased with the price of this food. They feel Taste of the Wild High Prairie offers premium quality nutrition for an affordable cost.
  • Dogs love the taste of this food. They look forward to their every meal, consuming each piece of kibble with hearty gusto.
  • Owners reported that dogs with poor digestion and mild gastrointestinal distress saw a return to proper stool consistency and an alleviation of all symptoms related to the stomach when fed this food regularly.

Cons

  • A few owners noted their dogs began to shed more frequently when fed Taste of the Wild High Prairie on a continuous basis.
  • Some owners disliked that this food is grain-free, preferring to feed a diet that includes some nutritious whole grains.
  • In rare cases, some dogs had difficult expressing their anal glands when fed this diet consistently.
  • Several owners indicated their dogs had some mild gastrointestinal distress when changed to this diet. This may be a result of too quick a dietary change and will likely resolve in time.
  • Some dogs disliked the taste of this food and would not eat it. Another Taste of the Wild recipe may be a better choice for these dogs.

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AvoDerm Natural Grain-Free Salmon & Vegetables Formula All Life Stages Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon (Source of Omega 3)
    2. Herring Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Pea Flour
    5. Garbanzo Beans

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: All life stages
  • Calories: 400 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Fiber: 4.5%

AvoDerm Natural Grain-Free is a food of exceptional quality that helps to address the needs of dogs suffering from sensitive stomachs and diarrhea. A food that is rich in healthy fats, Avoderm Natural is primed to support excellent skin and coat health.

This diet, rated among the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea, has been enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to boost the dog’s immune system. It includes both avocado and avocado oil, two powerhouse foods that provide both internal and external benefits for the skin and vital organs.

AvoDerm Natural is free from both corn and wheat. Its proteins are of outstanding quality and pack a powerhouse punch of nutrients to encourage good digestion.

Pros

  • Several owners expressed that they felt this diet offered top tier nutrition for an affordable price.
  • This AvoDerm offering contains no grains, helping owners to feel confident this diet is a good choice for dogs with food-related allergies.
  • Shedding was greatly reduced in dogs consistently fed AvoDerm Natural Grain-Free. In addition to this, their coat and skin quality saw dramatic improvements.
  • The stool quality of dogs fed this diet regularly was excellent. Dogs previously suffering from poor stool quality saw a return to a correct consistency.
  • Prebiotics and probiotics play a starring role in this diet to help boost digestion.

Cons

  • AvoDerm Natural Grain-Free can be difficult to source in stores. It is available for purchase online and can be delivered.
  • Peas, pea flour, potatoes, and flaxseed are all found in this food. These ingredients are somewhat controversial today and are of limited nutritional benefit for dogs.
  • AvoDerm Natural Grain-Free’s formula includes protein and fat in almost equal amounts. Both of these food groups are quite high, and this may prove problematic for the digestion of some dogs.
  • Some dogs dislike this food and will not eat it. Another AvoDerm recipe may be a better fit for those dogs.
  • There are no added supplements for joint health in this diet.

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Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. De-Boned Duck
    2. Duck Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Tapioca
    5. Lentils

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 439 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 4.5%

GO! SENSITIVITIES is a limited ingredient formulation that is optimized to support excellent gut health in dogs with sensitive stomachs. A diet that lists free-range duck as its first ingredient, this powerhouse protein contains generous amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support healthy coat and skin and fuel an active lifestyle.

Prebiotic fiber is included in this diet via chicory root to assist with digestion. GO! SENSITIVITIES contains no gluten, potato, by-products, wheat, corn, or soy.

This diet has been specifically designed to address dogs with digestive issues, making it among the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea.

Pros

  • Owners are pleased to report that dogs with sensitive stomachs found relief from their symptoms when fed Go! SENSITIVITIES.
  • Dogs that consistently struggled with skin problems as a result of allergies saw dramatic improvements in both their skin and coat when fed a steady diet of this food. Their skin completely healed and was very well-hydrated while their coats were healthy, lustrous, and shiny.
  • Owners love that this diet is based on a limited list of high quality ingredients. They feel this plays an important role in helping their dogs combat the effects of allergies.
  • Go! SENSITIVITIES comes in many different flavors, allowing owners to provide their dogs with more variety in their daily diet.
  • Dogs with poor stool quality saw a return to normal stool consistency when fed Go! SENSITIVITIES on an ongoing basis.

Cons

  • A few dogs disliked the taste of this food and would not eat it. A switch to a different Go! SENSITIVITIES recipe may resolve this problem.
  • Several owners shared that they felt this diet was too costly for them to feed their dogs on an ongoing basis.
  • In rare cases, some dogs developed itchy skin when fed this food. This is likely the result of a sensitivity to one of the ingredients found in the diet.
  • A few owners indicated that this food had a very strong fish smell that they found off putting.
  • Several people were disappointed that some of their bags of kibble contained a lot of crumbs.

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Instinct Raw Boost Gut Health Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Adult Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Tapioca
    5. Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid)

  • Type: Freeze-dried raw and dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 471 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 31%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Fiber: 4%

Instinct Raw Boost Gut Health is a grain-free food that hits all the high points dogs with sensitive stomachs need from their diets. This blend of freeze-dried meat and dry food makes this food both nutritious and delicious for dogs to enjoy. Prebiotics and probiotics assist with optimal digestive health.

Chicken is the main ingredient in this diet, a protein that is known to agree with sensitive stomachs. This diet has also been enriched through the addition of antioxidant-rich foods and essential fatty acids to build strong immunity and encourage gut health.

Instinct Raw Boost Gut Health is free from grains, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-products, artificial flavors, and preservatives. For those looking for the best dog food for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea, this is an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Dogs with very poor stool quality saw great improvements when fed this diet regularly. Their stool consistency returned to normal.
  • Dogs with very sensitive stomachs found relief from their discomfort when fed a steady diet of Instinct Raw Boost Gut Health.
  • Owners report their dogs love the taste of this food and eagerly lap up every kibble piece in their bowls.
  • Several owners indicated they are pleased this diet is grain-free, particularly those with dogs that suffer from food-related allergies.
  • Owners are pleased with the price of this food, feeling it offers great nutrition and excellent value for their dog food dollar.

Cons

  • A few owners indicated they felt this diet was a little on the pricey side.
  • Some dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it. This is likely simply a matter of personal preference and is not a reflection on the food itself.
  • Several owners expressed that they would prefer to feed a diet that is grain-inclusive. They felt strongly that whole grains are an important component of dogs’ achieving good digestion.
  • In rare cases, some dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, loose stools, and diarrhea after eating this food. This may be a sensitivity to one of the ingredients or the result of too rapid a change from the old diet to the new.
  • This diet contains no supplements to boost joint health in dogs.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs and Diarrhea

Some dogs are born with stomachs that are sensitive to certain foods, and this can often lead to bouts of diarrhea. Because frequent diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration, it is important to provide dogs with sensitivities with a diet that their bodies can tolerate well.

The wild canine did not favor the type of diet that the modern dog is often offered today. As a result, some dogs remain true to their ancestral heritage with stomachs that rebel against certain ingredients that are not suited to their digestive systems.

All dogs are essentially carnivores. The wild dog did not always have access to meat, and thus, had to accept plants as a secondary food source if necessary. However, many of the dog foods sold at pet stores today bear little resemblance to the diet the wild dog would have consumed. Many of them are comprised of low quality ingredients and filler foods that dogs’ stomachs are not accustomed to and cannot process properly.

In addition to this; just as with humans, dogs possess the capability to develop allergies over time. This can be expressed through food triggers which may indicate a sensitivity, an allergy, or a complete intolerance. When this occurs, diarrhea is one of the most common indications that there is a gastrointestinal disturbance that is food-related.

Veterinary professionals assert that food-based allergies are identified in 10 percent of the dogs they see that are struggling with persistent diarrhea and sensitive stomachs. Sadly, allergies to foods can become apparent at any stage of a dog’s life and nearly any ingredient can be a target.

In essence, an allergic reaction is simply an immune response to something the dog’s body identifies then rejects as foreign. When this rejection occurs, healthy cells are permanently damaged during the body’s attempt to eradicate the foreign body.

However; both sensitivities and intolerances present in a different manner to allergies. Unlike the immune response triggered by an allergy, sensitivities and intolerances are expressed through digestion or skin problems and are often evidenced as gas or diarrhea.

On occasion, dogs will experience sensitivities as a result of parasites in the intestines, the consumption of spoiled or toxic food items, or digestive illness.

The best food for dogs with sensitive stomachs and diarrhea can be a great help in resolving these issues permanently.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs or Diarrhea

Before assessing how much of the best food for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea to feed a dog suffering with these issues, it is important to first ascertain if the problem is a one-time event or a recurring problem.  Dogs with the occasional problem with an upset stomach or diarrhea will need a smaller portion of a food to treat this problem than those who must receive this diet on a daily basis to maintain good gastrointestinal health.

Typically, for dogs experiencing the occasional flareup of stomach sensitivities, it is not necessary to introduce this type of food. Introducing a new diet to a dog whose stomach is already upset will exacerbate the problem.

For those dogs for whom sensitive stomachs and diarrhea can be a regular problem without dietary intervention, this type of food is ideal to bring a resolution to the problem. To determine the amount of food the dog should be fed, begin with the suggested serving size for the dog’s weight. This can be adjusted to reflect the dog’s activity level and appetite until the correct portion has been achieved.

Dietary Requirements for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs or Diarrhea

Sensitive stomachs and diarrhea can be indicative of a far more serious gastrointestinal problem that diet alone will not resolve. If a dog experiences regular gas, it is a good idea to make a visit to a veterinarian for a thorough exam and assessment. Among the problems gas could indicate are internal parasites, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, or even infections of the stomach.

However, if the dog has been examined by a doctor and found to be otherwise healthy, food intolerances or sensitivities are most likely to blame and a diet to address this can be invaluable.

Experts recommend feeding dogs with sensitive stomachs, gas, or diarrhea a diet which contains limited ingredients. This helps to rule out a number of added foods that could be feeding the problem.

Limited ingredient diets are based on the premise of including only foods that are easy for dogs to process and utilize effectively thus eliminating the likeliness of a dog’s body reacting to the diet negatively.

There are several ingredients that should be avoided in any food considered for a dog with stomach sensitivities and/or diarrhea. One of the most common food allergens in dogs suffering with gastrointestinal distress is wheat. Wheat is difficult for dogs to process and utilize effectively. Foods containing this ingredient should be avoided as should any diet that contains wheat-based proteins such as barley and rye.

Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are also known to cause stomach problems in most dogs. These can lead to the development of a recurring allergy, making them ineligible for inclusion on a list of the best foods for dogs with stomach sensitivities or diarrhea.

Other ingredients that are difficult for dogs to digest include the plant-based proteins soy and corn. They offer very little nutritional value and can also be blamed for common side effects such as bloating, inflammation, and gas.

Though healthy fats like chicken fat and salmon oil are excellent additions to any dog food and fat is a critical component of a healthy diet, any fat that is simply labeled “animal fat” is not suited to dogs with stomach sensitivities as its origins and quality are unknown.

High-quality foods suited for dogs with stomach sensitivities always list a lean meat protein as their first ingredient. Whole meats are preferred, but meat meals are also acceptable. By-products are known to aggravate sensitive tummies and should be avoided.

Carbohydrates are an important part of any diet for a dog with stomach sensitivities and diarrhea. Though some dogs do tolerate whole grains well, most foods for dogs that suffer from reactions to certain foods do best on a diet that gets its carbohydrates from fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to support good digestion.

Any food for dogs with sensitive stomachs and diarrhea should contain a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs or Diarrhea

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a food for dogs with sensitive stomachs or diarrhea:

  • 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
  • Based on a limited ingredients list

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