How to find foods that may be easier to digest and help with uncomfortable symptoms

What’s the best dog food for sensitive stomachs?

Quick takeaways about sensitive stomachs

  • Very young or older dogs are more likely to have sensitive stomachs.
  • Key symptoms include regular diarrhea and loss of appetite.
  • The most common cause is a poor-quality diet or one that contains trigger ingredients.
  • Changing to a good-quality, natural diet like raw can make a big difference.

Just as our stomachs are sensitive to certain foods, so are dogs. And if you’ve noticed that your dog is doing sloppier poos, vomiting after eating or farting lots, they might be having digestive issues.

Although any dog can have a sensitive tum, it can be more common in very young or elderly dogs.

“If your dog isn’t their bright, happy self then a large part of the problem could be their diet,” says a veterinary nurse and educator for Natures Menu, Melanie Sainsbury.

“Choosing the best dog food for sensitive stomachs can make a big difference.” Our guide explains what to look for and why.

Key symptoms of sensitive stomachs in dogs

The term ‘sensitive stomach’ might not be very scientific, but it’s commonly used to describe a whole range of dog symptoms. And these can range from moderate to severe.

Key signs can include:

  • Repeated episodes of diarrhea
  • Loose, mucousy or mal-formed poops
  • Vomiting
  • Increased wind (farting)
  • Bloody poo
  • Loss of appetite

Common causes of a sensitive stomach

With some dogs, it’s easy to spot the root of the problem. They’ll happily scavenge from bins or clear up scraps and then reap the consequences.

With others, it’s much harder to know what’s going on and it can be difficult to find the cause. Here are some of the possible triggers:


The most common cause of tummy trouble is diet. Dogs need a balanced, consistent diet which contains all the essential nutrients they need to keep them healthy.

Dogs who feast on leftover human food or scraps can have digestive problems. And even if your dog only eats pet food, they could develop intolerances to ingredients like grains, milk, soya and certain proteins.

Even if it contains no trigger ingredients, some pet food can be hard to digest for some dogs, so it’s important to choose a diet that suits your pet.

Our customers who have dogs with sensitive tummies often report that raw dog food has helped with digestion – and our regular meal plans could help with consistency.


Just like in humans, there can be a direct link between a dog’s gut and anxiety and stress.

So, if your dog is anxious, has separation anxiety or perhaps is more sensitive to changes like house moves, visitors or strangers in the house, this sensitivity may affect their digestion.

Managing your pet’s stress can help to relieve the symptoms. Having a consistent routine and providing a calm, safe space for them to eat can help. Or, you might want to work with a registered behaviourist.

Stomach bugs

Some dogs, particularly younger puppies, are like children in that they seem to pick up every bug going!

Sociable dogs can be more at risk of viral gastroenteritis (stomach upset). Dogs who snuffle things on their walks can catch bacterial gastrointestinal more easily – caused by the bacteria in spoiled food.

If your dog is unwell for more than 24 hours then seek veterinary advice. Regular diarrhea and vomiting could lead to dehydration, so speak to your vet if this is the case.

The best dog food for sensitive stomachs

Once you’ve ruled out any obvious medical issues, it’s time to think about diet. Your dog needs good-quality food that’s easily digestible, free from common intolerance triggers and meets all their nutritional needs.

Also, you’ll need to consider the age of your pooch and if they have any other health or dental issues.

Raw dog food is a good place to start, as it mimics the diet your pet would naturally eat and can be easier to digest.

Raw dog food is exactly what it says on the tin. The ingredients include meat, vegetables, fruit and sometimes grains.

If your dog has a particularly sensitive stomach, you could buy the ingredients and make it up yourself. But, if you’re time-poor or not sure where to start, then our personalised meal plans could be the answer.

“Chicken with vegetables and/or brown rice is a great one to start all dogs on raw food. It has a 60% meat content, so nothing too rich to upset the tummy,” says Melanie. “Put a natural diet into your dog and see the benefits shine through on the outside.”

What to do if your dog has an upset stomach

If your dog just has a minor stomach upset, you should be able to look after them at home with these steps.

1. Stop food altogether

This is so their digestive system can recover. Puppies and senior dogs should never be starved for more than 12 hours.

Healthy adult dogs can have food withheld for 24 hours.

2. Make sure they have access to water

Clean, fresh drinking water will help them avoid dehydration.

3. Offer small amounts of bland food

Try boiled, skinless chicken or fish with plain rice.

Mashed potatoes or boiled carrots are also good options and are easier to digest as they’re high in fibre, which absorbs water.

Once they’ve recovered, avoid feeding any fatty food or table scraps to help prevent the problem from happening again.

If your dog develops any more serious symptoms such as bloody poo or vomit or is very young or elderly, it’s best to take them to the vet.

Sensitive stomach FAQs

Are probiotics good for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

To keep healthy and happy, your dog needs ‘good’ bacteria in their gut, which helps the digestive and immune systems function properly.

Most dogs eating a good quality, balanced diet will get enough nutrients from their food, but older dogs or dogs with digestive issues might need a little help.

Probiotics are a source of good bacteria that support gut function and help with digestion. If your pet has had a bout of tummy trouble, your vet might recommend a course of probiotics to help them recover.

“Always speak to your vet about the best probiotics for dogs as not all of them are the same or as beneficial,” says a veterinary nurse and educator for Natures Menu, Melanie Sainsbury.

Which dog breeds are more prone to sensitive stomachs?

Any breed can suffer from tummy trouble, but miniature and toy breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers seem to be more prone.

Larger breeds are susceptible too including Great Danes, Collies, German Shepherds and Retrievers.

What ingredients should I avoid in dog food for sensitive tums?

The most common allergens are grain, milk, legumes, soya and some types of protein such as lamb and beef.

It’s best to avoid any highly processed commercial food as this can contain high levels of salt and preservatives.

How often should I feed my dog with a sensitive stomach?

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you could try feeding them little and often to make their meals easier to digest.

2 or 3 small meals a day might be better than one large one.

Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients to help keep your dog healthy and happy.