If you are in search of the right food for your senior pal that suffers from a sensitive stomach, it can be challenging to narrow down the choices. Foods that are geared toward dogs with sensitive stomachs aren’t always a one-size-fits-all solution. Each dog will have their own needs and it can be difficult to find what works.
In addition to stomach sensitivities, senior dogs tend to have different nutritional requirements compared to younger dogs. There are not a lot of foods out there that are specific to both seniors and stomach sensitivities but don’t worry, there is hope. Not all senior dogs will require a senior formula and may function just fine on food suited for all life stages.
We’ve narrowed down some of the best food choices for seniors with sensitive stomachs so that you don’t have to. Make sure you talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s specific nutritional needs before making changes to its diet.
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 (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||Nom Nom Turkey Fare Fresh Dog Food||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Budget Buy||Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach||
|Spot & Tango||
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|Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Canned Food||
|Wellness CORE Digestive Health Wholesome Grains||
The 10 Best Senior Dog Foods for Sensitive Stomachs
1. Nom Nom Turkey Fare Fresh Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall
|Caloric Content:||1,479 kcal/kg or 201 kcal/cup ME|
Our top pick for best overall food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs goes to Nom Nom Turkey Fare. You cannot beat the quality of Nom Nom or the benefits of this fresh food. An additional perk? Nom Nom has a team of PhDs and Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionists that are behind the formulation of their dog foods.
Those that suffer from sensitive stomachs need easily digestible, high-quality food that offers an ideal nutritional balance. This particular recipe is made with turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, and spinach but they do offer other choices including Chicken Cuisine, Beef Mash, and Pork Potluck if your dog needs a different source of protein.
Nom Nom is great for finicky eaters, as it’s rare that any dog will turn down this delicious fresh food. It is ideal for dogs of any age and is very easy for seniors to chew. This food is expensive but can be used as an addition to dry kibble to help relieve the pressure on the wallet.
You are getting exceptional quality for the price but remember to keep in mind that with any fresh food, you need to make room in the refrigerator or freezer upon arrival. This food can last up to 8 days when refrigerated and up to 6 months frozen.
2. Wholesome Sensitive Skin & Stomach – Budget Buy
|Food Type:||Dry Kibble|
|Caloric Content:||3,485 kcal/kg or 355 kcal/cup|
Wholesome Sensitive Skin & Stomach is a great choice if you are on a budget and looking for the best value for the money. Salmon is the number one ingredient with additional ancient grains to help support digestion. This recipe is free from peas, lentils, and legumes and even contains taurine for supporting heart health.
Other dog owners did say that it helped alleviate gas and even recurring skin conditions that had occurred with other foods. The biggest complaint was that some finicky dogs refused to even try the food. This company has had issues with recalls in the past, but they were prompt and upfront with the issues.
Overall, this is a good option for those looking for a less expensive food option but it’s best to check with your veterinarian to ensure the quality is well-matched for your pooch.
3. Spot & Tango Unkibble Freeze Dried Dog Food
|Food Type:||Dry kibble with freeze-dried coating|
|Lifestage:||Fresh or shelf-stable “Unkibble”|
|Caloric Content:||4,131 kcal/kg|
Spot & Tango get our 3rd spot choice for best senior dog food for sensitive stomachs. Spot and Tango have different food types available to fit your individual needs. Not only do they have three UnKibble recipes, which are shelf-stable foods. They also have three different options for fresh recipes.
All the UnKibble recipes are made with fresh, whole ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, fillers, or additives. It is called Unkibble because, unlike regular dry kibble, is not extruded and contains no meat meals or powdered mystery substances. It is created by using a fresh dry process to maintain nutritional quality.
All Spot and Tango recipes are balanced for nutrition for any life stage and are designed with AAFCO’s nutritional standards and developed by veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Unkibble features the option of Duck & Salmon, Beef & Barley, and Chicken & Brown Rice while the fresh recipes include Turkey & Red Quinoa, Beef & Millet, and Lamb & Brown Rice. This gives you some versatility in main protein choices for your sensitive-stomached companion.
Ingredients are sourced from local farms and human food suppliers, so you can rest assured that the meat is human-grade. Spot and Tango are expensive compared to competitors, so it won’t be a wallet-friendly choice, but the quality is top-notch. You can opt for a risk-free trial and get refunded if your dog doesn’t like the food. A downside to Spot and Tango is that delivery is only once per month in most locations across the United States.
4. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Canned Food
|Caloric Content:||1,325 kcal/kg or 469 kcal/can|
Sometimes seniors need great quality canned food for ease of chewing and extra hydration. If you are in the market for canned food that works for your sensitive-stomached senior, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient canned food is a great option.
This natural, canned wet food is crafted with a single source of protein and easily digestible carbohydrates. The goal of this formula is to maintain excellent digestive health and energy levels. This food is full of all-natural ingredients and added vitamins and minerals for your dog’s overall health and wellness. It is also free of any meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives.
Wellness has a team of veterinarians and nutritionists that carefully craft their formulas to best suit the needs of any dog. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient is also available in dry kibble, so it is still an option for those looking for dry food. The canned food can be fed as a full meal or supplement to the dry kibble. Wellness can seem a bit pricey, but it does have excellent quality and reviews that stand behind it.
5. Wellness CORE Digestive Health Wholesome Grains
|Caloric Content:||3,627 kcal/kg or 395 kcal/cup|
Wellness CORE Digestive Health was created specifically for gut health. There are 100 million CFUs of beneficial microorganisms per pound of this dry kibble for the support of a healthy microbiome. Naturally sourced prebiotic fiber is in place for intestinal health and optimal energy levels.
This formula contains digestive enzymes and superfoods like pumpkin and papaya to add extra benefits for overall digestive health and function. Made without any corn, wheat, and soy, this food also contains a balanced blend of essential vitamins and minerals and omega fatty acids for added immune system support.
This formula is highly digestive and ideal for dogs of any age. Other than some picky eaters not wanting to try the food, it gets wonderful reviews and is recommended by many owners with dogs that suffer from sensitive stomachs and issues with digestion.
6. GO! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Salmon Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Food Type:||Dry Kibble|
|Caloric Content:||4,084 kcal/kg or 449 kcal/cup|
GO! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Salmon Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is designed to help support dogs that suffer from food allergies and sensitivities. This dry kibble is ideal for dogs of all ages and uses minimal ingredients to help ensure those sensitives are kept at bay. GO! has a team of veterinary nutritionists behind each food to ensure proper formulation.
This recipe is free from grains, gluten, chicken, potatoes, wheat, corn, and soy and is also made without any artificial preservatives or by-product meals. De-boned salmon is the number one ingredient in this formula, making it a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for skin, coat, and cognitive health.
This food comes highly regarded among owners with dogs that suffer from sensitive stomachs and other sensitivities. Some owners raved about how much it helped their dogs. The biggest complaint about this food was the fish smell, which is expected with a salmon formula. It does have slightly higher calories per cup than some other foods so keep an eye out for those seniors that need a more restricted caloric intake.
7. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach
|Food Type:||Dry kibble|
|Caloric Content:||4,049 kcal/kg or 467 kcal/cup|
Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach is a high-protein dry food for adult dogs and is formulated for those with sensitive skin and stomachs. There are some different flavor varieties, but this particular food contains salmon as the first ingredient and is made to be highly digestible with added rice and oatmeal.
This is a dry kibble that contains live probiotics and prebiotic fiber to help with digestive and immune health. The included omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are in place for optimum skin, coat, joint, and overall mobility health. You can also get this food in canned form, so it’s great for those that need a more palatable option.
This food is made without any corn, wheat, or soy and comes highly reviewed among many but it is important to note that some owners did advise that their dogs experienced some gastrointestinal issues after starting this food. It is also higher in calories per cup than some competitors and that is something to consider if your senior has issues with being overweight.
8. Solid Gold Young at Heart Senior
|Food Type:||Dry Kibble|
|Caloric Content:||3,285 kcal/kg or 325 kcal/cup|
Solid Gold Young at Heart Senior is a grain-free, gluten-free recipe that has real chicken as the first ingredient and is formulated with a balance of fat, calorie, and protein levels to keep your dog satiated and prevent extra weight gain. This formula contains highly digestible protein for sensitive stomachs, antioxidant-rich spinach, and a blend of 20 different superfoods.
The additional probiotic support is in place for gut health and this food is made in the United States without any fillers, corn, wheat, soy, grain, gluten, carrageenan, or artificial preservatives. The biggest complaint among owners was that some dogs didn’t like the taste of the food. Overall, Solid Gold’s holistic formula for seniors gets high ratings among senior dog owners.
9. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin
|Food Type:||Dry kibble with tender shreds|
|Caloric Content:||394 kcal/cup|
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin Chicken Recipe is a dry kibble specifically designed for adult dogs that experience sensitive stomach and skin issues. Real chicken is the number one ingredient in this formula, and it contains prebiotic fiber to properly support a balanced microbiome for digestive health.
This particular recipe is rich in vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health. Hills advises there are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives but this only applies to dry kibble, not canned food. Hill’s has been in the business for over 70 years and does get good veterinary recommendations overall.
There were some complaints that dogs suffered from upset stomachs and loose stools when switching to the formula, meaning it had the opposite effect for those looking for a gentler formula. Other dogs turned their noses up to the food and refused to eat it.
10. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Senior
|Food Type:||Dry kibble|
|Caloric Content:||3,462 kcal/kg or 348 kcal/cup|
Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Senior is a food made with high-quality limited ingredients, however, it is last on our list due to its low protein content. This is not ideal for all senior dogs, but it’s also great for those with sensitive stomachs thanks to the limited ingredients.
Real turkey is the number one ingredient and is typically digested well by seniors and those with sensitivities. The formula also includes high-quality potatoes, peas, and pumpkin for additional digestive support. Blue Buffalo made this food to have proper nutrient balance specific to our beloved seniors as it also contains added taurine, glucosamine, and chondroitin to support joint health, mobility, and heart health.
This recipe does not contain any chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs which have all been linked to sensitivities. The blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the formula was picked by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to ensure overall health and nutritional balance. Let’s not forget about the omega fatty acids that are included for skin, coat, and brain health.
This all-natural food doesn’t come with an extremely high price tag but still offers high quality for the cost. This is a well-reviewed food that is great for all sizes and breeds.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Buy the Best Senior Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
When your dog reaches senior status, which can vary by breed and size, you may be concerned with their dietary needs as an older dog. In addition to that, if they have already been suffering from a more sensitive stomach, you’re going to want the best food possible to meet all of their changing needs but also be gentle on their digestive system.
Senior Dog Diet Considerations
Older dogs tend to be less active and have a slower metabolic rate, causing their energy requirements to decrease. It is much easier to become obese because of these changes, so it’s best to ensure their food is of a proper caloric intake for their age and activity level.
You do not necessarily have to switch your dog’s food over to a senior formula just because they have come of age to be considered a senior. While there are plenty of senior formulas on the market, there are some that are geared toward all life stages.
It’s best to check with your veterinarian about your dog to ensure you are taking the best route. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the National Research Council have not determined any official dietary requirements for aging dogs, partly because seniors’ individual health needs vary so much.
Things to Keep in Mind
As mentioned, seniors can be prone to obesity due to their decrease in activity and slower metabolic rate, which is why most senior foods are formulated with below-average calories. If your senior dog is not obese and has maintained a healthy weight, you may not need to make any changes. On the other hand, if your older dog is on the overweight side, it may be beneficial to opt for lower-calorie food. This needs to be discussed with the veterinarian to ensure that your dog’s needs will be met.
Healthy seniors need more protein to maintain lean muscle and keep fueled. Older dogs tend to lose a lot of muscle mass, which is very detrimental to their mobility. Make sure your food choice is rich in protein and offers a good balance of nutrients.
Senior dogs are at a higher risk of health conditions such as kidney and heart disease. Too much phosphorus and high protein levels can be problematic for those with kidney issues and excessive sodium can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure.
In addition, your dog could suffer from or be prone to other genetic health conditions in their older age so you will need to speak with your veterinarian about the most balanced dietary options specific to your dog’s needs. This is the best way to ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep their diet healthy and their nutrition well-balanced.
Hydration and Palatability
Senior dogs can dehydrate more easily than adult dogs. In addition, their old age can cause a decline in dental health and while it is very important to maintain their dental health with regular veterinary care, they may end up requiring a more palatable food choice. Some may need to switch to high-quality fresh or canned foods for both ease of chewing and extra hydration.
Seniors With Sensitive Stomachs
Although there are plenty of foods on the market for dogs with sensitive stomachs, not many are geared toward seniors. Unless you recently adopted a senior dog, you likely know what already works best for your dog’s sensitivities and should check with your veterinarian before making any dietary changes. If they are doing well on their current food, you may not have to make any changes at all.
If you recently adopted a senior dog with a sensitive stomach, the first course of action would be getting a veterinary exam to properly diagnose the reason for the sensitivity. Once you have determined the root cause, you can feed an appropriate food.
For Sensitive Stomachs:
Nom Nom Turkey Fare formula is a great overall choice that offers high-quality fresh food. It has a soft consistency that protects your senior’s sensitive teeth while adding hydration. This is a recipe based on limited and natural ingredients good for those with food sensitivities, covering all your needs at once.
Wholesome Sensitive Skin & Stomach is a good option for those on a budget. This inexpensive food features a salmon meal as the number one ingredient, which is a very common protein choice for sensitive tummies.
Spot and Tango will offer you a more personalized approach with premium quality food options. The food is formulated by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to meet all your dog’s dietary needs.
Remember to always involve your veterinarian when looking to change your dog’s diet. You must understand the root cause of their sensitive stomachs so that you can offer them the best diet. Also make sure to tailor your choices to your dog’s specific needs, especially as they get up there in age.
Featured Image Credit: Pommer Irina, Shutterstock