Serving a balanced diet and providing daily exercise can keep your dog healthy, but sometimes your animal may experience a digestive problem that results in diarrhea. A minor bout of loose stools should not cause alarm, but the condition should be addressed immediately to prevent dehydration.
There are several causes of diarrhea, but a change in diet can help get your pet back to normal. Although you have several options for premium products for sensitive stomachs, we’ve selected the top 10 best brands and provided in-depth reviews to help you find the perfect food for your pup.
Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.
A Glance at Our Top Picks in 2023
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Basics Adult||
|Best Value||Iams ProActive Health Adult||
|Premium Choice||Purina ONE Plus Digestive Health||
|Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive||
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet||
The 10 Best Foods for Dogs with Diarrhea
1. Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Dog Food – Best Overall
We chose the Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Dog Food as our pick for the best overall food for dogs with diarrhea. It features deboned turkey as the primary animal protein, and it’s supplemented with pumpkin and pea fiber to ensure gentle digestion. The recipe is 100% grain-free for pups with gluten allergies and sensitive stomachs. It contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to promote healthy hair and skin.
Blue Diamond chose turkey as the protein source for canines with chicken allergies. The formula does not include dairy, soy, or unnecessary fillers. Dog owners are overwhelmingly impressed with the Blue Diamond recipe; however, the high price is our only issue with the brand. But Blue Buffalo Basics is still more affordable than many of its competitors.
2. Iams ProActive Health Adult Dog Food – Best Value
|Size:||13-ounce cans (12 pack)|
For sensitive pets that prefer wet food, you can try Iams ProActive Health Adult. It won the prize for the best food for dogs with diarrhea for the money, and it’s ideal for pet parents who operate on a tighter budget. Iams slow-cooked recipe includes beef, vegetables, rice, and real broth. With only 1% crude fat, ProActive has one of the lowest fat contents of any brand we reviewed. High levels of fat can irritate upset bellies and cause weight gain. It contains essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese.
Dogs that dislike ground meat recipes will love the tender chunks of meat in gravy. Although Iams’ formula is well-balanced, it includes wheat flour that can irritate dogs with gluten sensitivities.
3. Purina ONE Plus Digestive Health Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
Purina ONE Plus Digestive Health Formula is our pick for the best premium formula for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Purina One is trusted by millions of dog owners for its healthy recipes, and the Digestive Health formula can help pups suffering from diarrhea. It uses chicken as its primary protein source, and it features probiotic components to aid with digestion and boost the healthy bacteria in your pet’s gut. Digestive Health also includes glucosamine to support joint health and antioxidants to maintain the dog’s immune system.
Even picky dogs seem to love the taste of Digestive Health, but it may irritate animals that are sensitive or allergic to chicken ingredients.
4. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Stomach Food – Best for Puppies
Choosing a dog food for puppies with diarrhea can be difficult, but Purina Pro Plan is designed to help young dogs with digestive problems. It uses salmon as the primary protein and includes rice to make the food more digestible and easier on upset stomachs. It does not contain artificial flavors or colors and uses live probiotics to increase healthy bacteria levels. Sunflower oil and fish oil are included as sources of omega fatty acids to improve cognitive development and vision.
Pro Plan is higher in calories than adult food to ensure your puppy develops appropriately, and it does not contain wheat, fillers, or corn. Although Pro Plan is an excellent choice for young pups, the crude fiber content could be a bit higher.
5. Royal Canin Vet Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food
Excess fats and oils can irritate a dog’s digestive system, but the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet brand is made with only 5.6% crude fat. Royal Canin includes fish oil with omega fatty acids to soothe the animal’s digestive system and promote healthy skin and hair. The high-protein recipe uses a prebiotic blend to increase beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, and a mixture of vitamins and minerals helps support the immune system.
Before using Royal Canin, you’ll need to get a veterinarian’s recommendation. Royal Canin is an effective product for treating sensitive stomachs, and dogs enjoy the taste, but it’s more expensive than most competitors.
6. Solid Gold Leaping Waters Sensitive Stomach Dog Food
Since 1974, Solid Gold Leaping Waters has produced holistic pet food for dogs with digestive problems, and its Sensitive Stomach brand is designed to improve gut health with a blend of 20 superfoods. It contains salmon, chicken fat, pumpkin, blueberries, cranberries, and lentils to aid digestion and solidify loose stools. It’s free of grains and gluten, and it includes omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and cognitive development. It does not contain corn or soy, and the formula uses a probiotic blend to improve digestion and gut health.
Solid Gold products appeal to picky dogs, and they seem to enjoy the taste for the Sensitive Stomach brand, but the kibble may be too hard for dogs with dental problems.
7. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin is a veterinarian-recommended formula that uses beet pulp as a natural prebiotic to help with digestion. The recipe uses chicken as the primary source of protein and includes omega fatty acids and vitamin E to promote healthy skin and fur. It only uses natural ingredients in the recipes and does not contain artificial flavors or preservatives.
Hill’s Science Diet is an expensive brand, but it’s more affordable than many of its competitors. However, the product’s most significant issue is the food’s flavor. Several dog lovers were impressed that the food fixed their pet’s issues with diarrhea, but they were disappointed that their dogs grew tired of the taste and had to try other brands.
8. Blackwood Salmon Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
For 20 years, Blackwood has produced high-quality small-batch meals for pups with digestive issues. The Salmon Meal and Brown Rice Recipe is made in small batches and cooked at lower temperatures to lock in nutrients typically lost in high-heat processes. Salmon meal is the primary protein, and the recipe includes probiotics to aid digestion and support a healthy digestive tract. It does not contain corn, wheat, or soy but includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to maintain healthy fur and skin.
Although dogs seem to like the taste of Blackwood’s salmon recipe, the ingredient list is much larger than competitors and contains a high level of crude fat.
9. Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Wholesomes Sensitive Skin and Stomach is a protein-rich food that uses salmon as its first ingredient. It does not use peas, lentils, or legumes in its recipe but includes ancient grains such as pearled barley and oatmeal to aid digestion. It’s packed with omega fatty acids to maintain a healthy coat and taurine to support heart health.
Wholesomes is an excellent option for dogs with sensitivities to poultry, but it’s not for animals with grain allergies. Compared to most premium dry foods, Wholesomes is more affordable. It’s also higher in protein and crude fiber than other brands, but several consumers mentioned their dogs could not stand the flavor of the kibble.
10. Diamond Care Sensitive Stomach Formula Dog Food
Rather than using chicken, beef, or fish as the primary protein source, Diamond Care Sensitive Stomach Formula features egg proteins for easier digestion. Diamond Care has one of the highest levels of crude protein of any premium dry brand, and it contains a probiotic blend that’s species-specific. Each probiotic culture is native to the dog’s intestinal tract, and it’s enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Although it’s formulated with essential nutrients, the most significant problem with the Sensitive Stomach kibble is its inconsistency. Several dog owners complained that the color and smell of the food are different every time the food is delivered. Also, the kibble is not appetizing to some canines.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Food for Dogs with Diarrhea
The products we reviewed are designed to help canines with digestive problems. However, they’re not meant to treat dogs with severe medical issues, like bacterial infections. If your dog has frequent diarrhea or bloody bowel movements, take your dog to the vet immediately. After treating your pet, your doctor will probably recommend a specialized diet to help your dog recover.
If you’re undecided which brand is best for your pup, you can examine these tips for more details about analyzing different products.
Dog Food Price and Quantity
You’ve probably noticed that pet food for a sensitive stomach is more expensive than standard flavors, but most products are not too expensive. When you’re checking online prices, be sure to examine the food’s weight. A $90.00 bag of food may seem expensive at first, but if it is in 35-pound bags, it’s only $0.16 per ounce. If you serve half-pound portions to your dog every day, your daily cost is only $1.29.
Dog Food Ingredients
If your pet has not been tested for food allergies, they could still react to one of the brands designed for sensitive stomachs. Although the products are made for dogs with loose stools, some ingredients could irritate the animal’s stomach. For instance, dogs with chicken sensitivities should not consume meals with chicken byproducts, chicken meat, or broth. Luckily, you can find several meals without poultry ingredients.
Dog Food Flavor
Treating your pet’s diarrhea is the primary reason for buying specialized products, but you also have to find a brand that your dog likes. The high-quality dog foods with high customer approval ratings are useless if your dog cannot stomach the flavor.
You may have to try a few brands before you settle on a product your pet enjoys. Some companies provide free samples if you follow them online, but unfortunately, most manufacturers do not offer high-end product samples.
You can find tips and product recommendations online, but your veterinarian is the best source for unbiased information about pet products. If your dog suffers from diarrhea or IBS, your vet will give your dog a fecal test to check for worms and may run a blood or urine analysis. After your dog’s checkup, your vet can recommend a specific brand and approve a prescription for specialized foods.
How to Introduce New Meals to Your Pet
Your furry friend does not always welcome a new brand of food, and some dogs aren’t shy about their displeasure with foul-tasting food. Encouraging your dog to eat new brands can be a slow process that takes several days or weeks. Some of the products include manufacturer recommendations for helping your dog adjust.
On the first day you introduce a new meal, only add a small amount to your pet’s existing brand. You can gradually increase the portions each day until your dog eats their meals without the old food.
Probiotic and Prebiotic Supplements
If you’ve tried several brands, but your dog cannot warm up to any of them, you can try adding supplements to their existing food to treat their sensitive gut. However, you could run into the same problem with the product if your pet dislikes the taste. Most supplements come in powders or liquids, and they’re easier to disguise in wet food than kibble. Before adding a supplement, remember to check with your veterinarian to ensure it’s safe and beneficial to your dog’s condition.
We discussed several exceptional products for treating dogs with diarrhea. Based on this list of foods, our best overall pick was Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Dog Food. Blue Buffalo produces its food with deboned turkey for dogs with chicken allergies, and its all-natural recipe does not contain any unnecessary ingredients.
Our best value pick was the Iams Proactive Health Adult brand. It has one of the lowest fat contents of any specialized diet meal, and its chunky texture is ideal for pups that dislike wet ground food. We hope our guide and reviews will help you select the perfect dog food for your best friend.
Featured Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock