Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach: Improving Digestion Through Diet

15 Minute Read
Updated April 11, 2023

When your furry friend is dealing with digestive issues, finding the right nutrition is essential for their health and happiness. Dogs with sensitive stomachs require special care, and selecting the best dog food for sensitive stomach can make a significant difference in their overall well-being.

In this blog, we'll explore top-rated dog foods designed to support digestive health, ensuring your pup enjoys mealtime without discomfort. From grain-free options to easily digestible ingredients, discover the best choices to keep your canine companion feeling their best.


Signs of Poor Digestion in Dogs

Digestion plays a vital role in your pet's overall health. Poor digestion can lead to a wide range of symptoms, even some that you might not think are tummy-related. 

While many dogs suffer from tummy troubles to varying extents, there are some signs that you may notice more frequently. Recognizing the early symptoms of digestive problems will help you react and address the problems as quickly as possible. 

The better their digestive system works, the healthier they will be overall. 

Here is a quick list of some of the most common signs that your pet has a sensitive stomach:

    • Excessive or strong-smelling gas
    • Loose stool/diarrhea, either frequent or intermittent
    • Vomiting (different from regurgitation)
    • Inconsistent stool quality, frequently changing without dietary changes
    • ‘Scooting’ or dragging their bums on the ground
    • ‘Cling-ons’ are pieces of stool that stick to the bum (especially in short-haired breeds)
    • Excessive grass eating, usually accompanied by vomiting
    • Bowel movements outside of appropriate areas
    • Tummy gurgling

Occasional or one-off symptoms are usually nothing to worry about, but consistent or repeated digestive issues indicate that your pet may have a sensitive stomach.


What Causes Poor Digestion in Dogs?

If you are seeing signs of sensitive digestion in your dog, then the next step is to determine the cause. Understanding what is causing the digestive issues can help you choose the best dog food for sensitive stomach and take another necessary measures to boost digestion.

Occasional symptoms can be caused by a number of things:

    • Dietary changes
    • Too much human food or treats
    • Ingestion of non-edible materials
    • Stress or anxiety
    • Illness or injury

These causes tend to produce short-term and temporary symptoms that will subside with proper diet and time. Talk to your vet if your pet experiences acute digestive issues to rule out more serious health issues. 

Prolonged or consistent digestive issues in dogs are typically more systemic and are rooted in diet and the balance of bacteria in your dog's gut. 

To be sure, take note of how often and severe the symptoms are. They may help you determine if a dietary change is required.

Before you can start treating your pet's digestive issues, it's helpful to understand how their digestive system works so you can choose the right foods, products, and treatments to make them healthy again.


The Importance of Gut Flora in Dogs

Bacteria play a huge role in digestion. Your dog's digestive system relies on the right amount of digestive bacteria to properly break down food. This is referred to as the gut flora. 

Your pet’s digestive tract is an ecosystem with both good and bad bacteria living and reproducing constantly. When not enough good bacteria is present, the harmful bacteria can affect digestion and overall health.


Healthy digestion relies on the good bacteria keeping the bad bacteria in check.

While these healthy bacteria reproduce to continue populating your pet’s system, things like diet, genetics, and general health can either boost or limit their body’s ability to provide an environment for that bacteria to replenish.

Appropriate diet is a key factor in properly balanced gut flora. Poor quality, imbalanced, or inconsistent diets can diminish the good bacteria population, allowing harmful bacteria to thrive and make your dog sick.

Pets that aren’t fed the right diets are prone to recurring digestive issues, and if not corrected, can lead to digestive disorders or ailments that can have long-term health effects.

Common gastrointestinal disorders in dogs are:

    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Chron’s Disease) - Inflammation of the intestines
    • Colitis - Inflammation of the colon
    • Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) - Weakening of the intestinal barrier that filters nutrients to the bloodstream

While not all dogs with sensitive digestion are affected by these conditions, addressing digestive problems at the first sign can be the most effective method to prevent them.


Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Now that you can recognize the signs and understand how to improve your pet’s digestion, you need to find the right dog food for sensitive stomachs that will complement their specific dietary needs.

There are a number of dry dog foods that claim to be for sensitive stomachs, and while many of these use easy-to-digest ingredients and digestive aids, you don't have to limit yourself to just sensitive stomach formulas. Different types of dog food, like raw, canned, and freeze-dried can support optimal digestive health. 

Additionally, every type of dog food has pros and cons that may help support better digestion in your pet. The high moisture content in wet dog food, for example, can support better digestion by helping regulate the speed and efficiency of the digestion process. 

Raw diets are often favoured because of the simplicity and wholesomeness of ingredients, allowing you to better control what your dogs consumes and eliminate ingredients that may contribute to poor digestion. 

Check out some of our top picks for dog food for sensitive stomachs to find the right diet to boost your dog's digestive health.

Best Dry Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach

As the most popular dog food type, it's not a mystery why the majority of the sensitive stomach dog foods you'll find are dry dog foods.

Dry dog food contains more carbs than other types of dog food. This isn't always ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs, but there are many sensitive stomach dog food options that opt for lower carbohydrate contents and stick to easy-to-digest and low glycemic carbs to support digestion and offer plenty of dietary fibre.

Here are a few of our most popular dry dog foods for sensitive stomachs:

Farmina N&D Quinoa Functional Digestion


In addition to offering premium, nutrient-dense, and digestion-friendly ingredients, like lamb eggs and prebiotics, Farmina Quinoa Functional Digestion Dog Food uses a unique extrusion technology that increases starch digestibility and reduces nutrient loss during cooking. This leaves a product that is more nutrient-dense and easier to digest.

Nutram Ideal Sensitive Stomach Dog Food


Choosing animal proteins that are easy to digest, like lamb and eggs is a great way to provide a complete and balanced diet for dogs with sensitive digestion. Perfectly paired with high-fibre and nutritious ingredients, like butternut squash, and a prebiotic blend, Nutram Ideal Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food is suitable for adult dog breeds that suffer from chronic digestive issues.

go! Solutions Sensitivities LID Lamb


Opting for limited-ingredient dog food can help to eliminate problem ingredients that contribute to digestive issues. go! Solutions Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food is perfectly formulated to offer a well-balanced mix of premium animal proteins, fibre-rich carbs, and digestion-friendly prebiotics to optimize digestion and nutrition.

Best Wet Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach

Another popular food option for dogs with sensitive digestion is canned or wet dog foods. Wet food can be easier to digest than dry food due to its high moisture content.

The best wet dog foods for sensitive stomach will have limited ingredients and pair a high-quality meat source with healthy ingredients like pumpkin or tripe to improve digestibility and overall nutrition.

Check out some of our favourite canned dog foods for sensitive stomachs:

ZiwiPeak Tripe & Lamb Wet Dog Food


Made from wholesome and nutritious ingredients from New Zealand, ZiwiPeak Tripe & Lamb Wet Dog Food starts with 91% free-range lamb, which includes cold-washed lamb tripe to support digestive health. Complimented with superfood ingredients like kelp and green-lipped mussels, this flavourful wet dog food is packed with nutrition to support total body health.

Koha Limited Ingredient Wet Dog Food


A limited-ingredient wet dog food is a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Koha Limited Ingredient Wet Dog Food uses simple, natural, and wholesome ingredients to provide complete and balanced nutrition in an easy-to-digest formula. These formulas are high-protein and low-carb, further supporting smooth digestion.

Vetdiet Skin and Stomach Health Wet Dog Food


Vetdiet Skin and Stomach Wet Dog Food is a specialty formula that is optimized for skin and stomach health. This tummy-friendly fish recipe is paired with a blend of prebiotic and fibre-rich ingredients to support your dog's digestion long-term by aiding your dog's natural gut flora. 

Best Raw Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach

Raw dog food diets are ideal for sensitive stomachs because they are minimally processed, low in carbs, and digest quickly and efficiently. They are also high in moisture, which aids in digestion.

Unlike other foods that add ingredients to support digestion, raw dog foods for sensitive stomach are effective because they have so few ingredients and they are in their most natural state, untouched by heat damage, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. 

Take a look at our top raw dog foods for sensitive stomachs:

Instinct Raw Longevity


Instinct Longevity Raw Dog Food offers the natural nutrition of raw animal proteins with the added benefits of carefully selected fruits and vegetables to provide vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre. The inclusion of ground miscanthus grass and probiotics ensures better digestion and supports your dog's natural gut flora. 

K9 Choice


K9 Choice Complete Dinners are another great raw option for dogs with unknown sensitivities. These limited ingredient formulas paired Canadian-sourced premium animal proteins with a select mix of wholesome and nutritious fruits and vegetables to offer an easy-to-digest and highly nutritious diet for dogs of all ages.

Big Country Raw Dinners


Not only is Big Country Raw the most popular raw dog food in Canada, but it is extremely versatile for all types of dietary needs. Big Country Raw Dinners are excellent raw dog food for sensitive stomachs due to their limited and whole food ingredient. These raw meals contain barley grass which can help produce digestive acids that break down food.


Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach

A great alternative to raw diets is freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. They are limited in ingredients and lower in simple carbohydrates. They use minimal or no heat to remove the moisture from the food, leaving the nutrients intact and in their natural state. 

This style of food will be naturally preserved and requires fewer if any, vitamin and mineral additives. This will allow the body to process the essential nutrients quickly and easily. 

When it comes to digestion, natural ingredients will be easier for their bodies to identify, digest, and absorb than heavily processed food that uses high heat or extrusion processes. 

Primal Freeze Dried


One of our most popular freeze dried dog foods for sensitive stomachs is Primal Freeze Dried. A mix of high-quality animal proteins, organic produce, and carefully selected superfoods results in a well-balanced and easily digestible formula. This freeze-dried diet is boosted with a carefully selected probiotic blend to support gut flora and improve overall digestibility.

K9 Natural Freeze Dried Beef Feast


Simplicity is the key to easily digestible freeze dried dog food. With this flavourful blend of animal proteins and select superfoods, K9 Naturals Freeze Dried Beef Feast is about as close as you can get to a fresh raw diet in a practical shelf-stable recipe.. The inclusion of beef tripe offers the digestive benefit of raw green tripe in a less stinky and easier-to-feed format. 

Acana Bone Broth Infused Freeze Dried Patties


Acana is a well-known Canadian dog food brand, but one of their newer additions is Acana Bone Broth Infused Freeze Dried Diets. This meat-rich and flavourful diet contains bone broth, tripe, high-fibre pumpkin, and prebiotic-rich chicory root to offer a digestive boost to better break down and absorb nutrients.



Best Diet Supplements for Sensitive Stomachs

Food should always be the first place you look when trying to identify or correct digestive issues in dogs, but supplements can be an excellent tool to further boost digestive health and prevent unwanted tummy troubles in sensitive dogs. Natural supplements for digestion can be easily added to any meal.

Some of our favourite digestive aids for sensitive stomachs are:


By adding more good bacteria into your dog's system, you can help control harmful bacteria and improve digestion quickly. The best probiotics for dogs use bacteria strains that are native to the canine digestive tract. Additionally, probiotics are often paired with prebiotics, which are a food source for good bacteria, helping them populate and rebalance your dog's gut flora.

Learn more about the benefits of healthy bacteria in The Best Probiotics and Prebiotics for Dogs.


Pumpkin is an excellent source of digestive fibre, helping to regulate the speed of digestion. This can help fix issues with both diarrhea and constipation, making it a useful tool to curb symptoms and support healing. The high moisture content of pumpkin supports digestion and dogs love the flavour.

Find out how much pumpkin should dogs have and more feeding tips in The Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs.


We know that the best medicine comes from food, which is why adding raw green tripe to your dog's meals is a great way to naturally boost digestion. Tripe is the lining of the stomach of animals like cows or lambs, and when raw and unbleached, it is loaded with natural bacteria and enzymes that can support your dog's natural gut flora.

Learn more about the benefits of tripe in What is Green Tripe for Dogs?

Slippery Elm

For fast-acting relief of symptoms like diarrhea, Slippery Elm is a natural supplement that coats the intestinal tract to reduce the irritation that can worsen or prolong symptoms. It's fast-acting and can help relieve the discomfort that sensitive stomachs can cause your pooch.


Keep in mind that while these supplements are helpful for the treatment of digestive issues, they won't necessarily solve the underlying issue. Use these in combination with appropriate diet changes and veterinary care to support long-lasting digestive health in dogs. 

Products like Slippery Elm are best used as needed, while digestive aids like probiotics can be given daily in maintenance doses to consistently support your dog's digestion.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are common signs of digestive issues in dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Common signs of digestive problems in dogs with sensitive stomachs include diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, gurgling noises in the stomach, and changes in appetite.

How can I improve my dog's digestion if they have a sensitive stomach?

To improve canine digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs, consider feeding them a high-quality, easily digestible dog food formulated for sensitive stomachs. Ensure portion control, avoid sudden dietary changes, and offer smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overloading the dog's digestive system.

Are there specific dog food ingredients I should look for or avoid for sensitive stomachs?

Look for dog foods with easily digestible protein sources like chicken or turkey. Avoid ingredients that commonly trigger sensitivities, such as artificial additives, fillers like corn or soy, and excessive fat content.

Can probiotics help improve canine digestion in dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Yes, probiotics can be beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs. They can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and improve digestion.

What feeding practices can help prevent digestive upset in dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Feed your dog in a quiet, stress-free environment to reduce anxiety during mealtimes. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or foods that are not part of their regular diet.

When should I consult a veterinarian for my dog's sensitive stomach issues?

If your dog's digestive problems persist or worsen, or if you notice other concerning symptoms like lethargy or blood in the stool, it's essential to schedule a full checkup with your veterinarian.

Written by

Krystn Janisse

Krystn is a passionate pet nutrition enthusiast. She has worked in the pet industry for over a decade and loves to share her passion for animal welfare with others. She is currently working for one very rebellious cat, Jack, and hanging out with a goofy but loveable doggo named Roxy.


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