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The 8 Best Puppy Foods for Sensitive Stomachs

It is essential that while our pups are growing, they ingest healthy and high-quality puppy food. However, not all puppies adjust well to solid food.

Their immunological and digestive systems, as well as their intestinal microbes, are adapting to the new food supply.

During this period, it is usual for pups to confront a variety of obstacles. Some puppies are more sensitive than others and appear to experience stomach problems well into adulthood.

There are fortunately puppy meals created exclusively for these pets. Review BestForPets' (bestforpets.org) recommendations for the best puppy foods for sensitive stomachs.

You should have something for nearly every dog.

icon Vet Approved
icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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Reviews

Salmon & Brown Rice Puppy Formula by Natural Balance L.I.D.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Puppy Dry Dog Food with Healthy Grains

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Natural Balance L.I.D. Salmon & Brown Rice Puppy Formula is an affordable and high-quality option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

This dry dog food is made in the USA using premium ingredients, including salmon and fish flour, making it an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids.

This limited ingredient diet contains a single animal protein source and healthy grains, and it is free of soy, gluten, artificial colors, or flavors, making it an ideal choice for dogs with allergies or digestive issues.

Additionally, it is poultry-free, making it a great option for dogs with chicken allergies. The addition of whole-grain brown rice increases the food’s fiber content, which aids in maintaining your dog’s digestive health.

The formula also contains essential vitamins and minerals that help support your puppy’s growth and development.

Designed specifically for growing dogs, this puppy formula follows a balanced nutritional philosophy, and its small bites are perfect for small mouths. The inclusion of DHA supports your puppy’s healthy brain development.

Natural Balance’s ‘Feed with Confidence’ program tests every batch of food from start to finish, ensuring safety with every bite.

You can validate the bag on their website or by calling their Customer Care Team of Registered Veterinary Technicians.

Overall, Natural Balance L.I.D. Salmon & Brown Rice Puppy Formula is an excellent and affordable choice for pet parents looking for high-quality dog food for their furry friends, especially those with sensitive stomachs or allergies.

Pros

Salmon and fish meals are the primary components of this dish.

United States manufactured

Whole grains present

Inexpensive

Cons

Not wheat-free


ORIJEN Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for Puppies

ORIJEN® Puppy Dry Dog Food, Grain Free, High Protein

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ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a premium option for pet parents who seek to provide their puppies with a high-quality diet.

This pellet dog food is formulated with fresh, whole animal ingredients, such as free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs, which are biologically appropriate for canines and meet their natural, biological needs.

Enriched with 85% quality animal ingredients, such as meat, organs, cartilage, and bone, ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food provides optimal nutrition for growing puppies.

These fresh regional ingredients are sourced from trusted suppliers and delivered to the kitchen fresh or raw, ensuring the highest quality for your furry friend.

However, pet parents should be aware that the ingredient list includes a significant number of allergens, such as poultry, turkey, flounder, and eggs, which may not be suitable for some sensitive canines.

To enhance flavor and appeal to picky eaters, the cereal is coated with freeze-dried meat.

Although ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of the finest dog foods on the market, it is quite expensive due to the high proportion of premium components.

Nevertheless, pet parents who are willing to pay a premium can be confident that they are providing their puppies with a biologically appropriate and high-quality diet that meets their natural, biological needs.

Pros

85% animal ingredients

Superior components in every respect

Coated freeze-dried kibble

Organ meats comprised

Cons

Expensive


Blue Buffalo Fundamentals Turkey & Potato Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food

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Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey & Potato Puppy Food is an excellent option for pet owners who are looking for a limited ingredient diet for their puppies, especially those with food sensitivities.

This dry puppy food features a single animal protein source, real turkey, and does not contain chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs.

In addition to potatoes, peas, and pumpkin, this diet also includes DHA and ARA, which are essential for cognitive and retinal development in puppies.

The antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits in the formula are a precise blend of vitamins and minerals specifically chosen by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage needs, and a healthy oxidative balance.

Made with the finest ingredients, this natural dog food does not contain any by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

With this limited ingredient formula, puppies are exposed to fewer potential allergens, making it a good option for those with multiple food allergies.

Pet parents should note that while turkey is the primary protein source in this diet, canines that are allergic to chicken are typically also allergic to turkey.

Therefore, this diet may not be suitable for these dogs.

Overall, Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey & Potato Puppy Food is a high-quality, limited ingredient diet that supports gentle digestion and promotes healthy growth in puppies.

Pros

Antioxidants comprise

DHA and omega fatty acids added

Without corn, wheat, or soy

Confined ingredient list

Cons

The company is notorious for its numerous recalls.

Expensive


Grain-Free ACANA Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

ACANA Dog Puppy Recipe, 25lb | Premium High-Protein

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ACANA Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food is a high-quality option for pet owners who are looking for a nutrient-dense and protein-rich diet for their puppies.

This formula contains whole free-run chicken, turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs, delivering the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and development.

This grain-free formula is also enriched with high-quality vegetables and fruits such as peas, legumes, and pumpkins, providing essential vitamins and minerals to supplement your puppy’s diet.

In fact, approximately sixty percent of the ingredients in this recipe are derived from animal sources, ensuring that your puppy receives sufficient protein and lipids for their biological needs.

In addition, this formula includes probiotics to improve your puppy’s digestive health and eliminate any digestive issues they may have.

This food is also free from grains, gluten, potato, or tapioca, which are common allergens in pet foods.

Instead, it is crafted from whole, quality animal ingredients to provide a biologically appropriate diet that nourishes your puppy according to their natural, biological needs.

ACANA sources their fresh regional ingredients from trusted regional farms, ranches, and waters, ensuring that only the highest quality ingredients go into their recipes.

With a focus on natural and nutritious ingredients, ACANA Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food is a high-quality option for pet parents who want to provide their puppies with optimal nutrition and support their long-term health and wellness.

Pros

60% of animal products

poultry and turkey are included

Probiotics added

Grain-free

No wheat, corn, or soy

Cons

Included as the fourth element are peas.


Recipe for Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy

Taste of the Wild, Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food, 14 Pound

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Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe is a grain-free dog food that is an excellent option for pet owners with puppies who have sensitive digestive systems.

This formula is rich in high-quality proteins sourced from salmon and ocean fish meal, which are ideal for canines with stomach sensitivities.

The salmon in this recipe is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support healthy development in puppies.

This brand prides itself on using only natural foods to derive all of the vitamins and minerals in their dog food, which sets them apart from many of their competitors.

This formula also includes a high concentration of probiotics, which can aid in digestion and support a healthy immune system. Antioxidants are also present, helping to prevent oxidative stress.

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe is made in the United States and is a family-owned brand that uses only premium ingredients.

This formula is free from corn, wheat, and synthetic substances, ensuring that your puppy receives only the highest quality nutrition.

This protein-rich recipe includes a tailored blend of superfoods to provide hard-working antioxidants, which are essential for supporting your puppy’s overall health.

It also contains DHA, which supports brain and vision development in puppies.

The kibble size is smaller and ideal for growing puppies, and the recipe is highly digestible, making it easier for your puppy to absorb all of the nutrients they need.

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe is made with ingredients from trusted, sustainable sources around the world and is guaranteed to contain species-specific, proprietary probiotics that support your puppy’s digestive health.

This formula is a great option for pet parents who want to provide their puppies with high-quality, nutrient-dense, and protein-rich nutrition.

Pros

Salmon is the primary component of this dish

Highly DHA

Probiotics added

Made in America

Cons

Included as the fourth element are peas.

Very tiny kibble


Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Puppy Food

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Puppy Food with Probiotics

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Purina Pro Plan is a well-known brand in the pet food industry, and their Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula is a good option for pet owners who are looking for a premium dog food for their puppies.

While this formula may be slightly more expensive than other options on the market, it is worth the investment due to the high-quality ingredients it contains.

Lamb is the first ingredient in this formula, which provides a rich source of protein for your puppy. Oatmeal is also included as an easily digestible carbohydrate source, making this formula gentle on your puppy’s stomach.

Additionally, sunflower oil is present in this recipe, which provides omega-6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat. DHA from omega-rich fish oil is also included, which promotes brain and vision development in puppies.

This formula is fortified with guaranteed live probiotics, which support your puppy’s digestive and immune health.

Natural prebiotic fiber is also included to nourish specific intestinal bacteria and promote digestive health in puppies. Antioxidants are also present in this formula to support your puppy’s developing immune system.

While rice and barley are present in this formula, they are not essential components for dogs. However, rice is an easily digestible ingredient and may be a good option for puppies with sensitive stomachs.

Overall, Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula is a nutrient-dense and protein-rich option for pet parents who want to provide their puppies with optimal nutrition.

This formula is designed to support your puppy’s overall health and wellness, including their digestive and immune health, brain and vision development, and bone and teeth health.

Pros

Salmon is the primary component of this dish

Highly DHA

No artificial tastes or colors

Cons

Expensive

Rice and barley are the primary ingredients.


Nutro Ultra Dry Puppy Food

NUTRO ULTRA High Protein Natural Dry Dog Puppy Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken Lamb and Salmon

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Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food is a popular choice among pet owners who are looking for a high-quality food option for their puppies.

This formula is marketed as a combination of nutrients that will support your puppy’s growth and development.

However, upon examining the ingredient list, it appears that this cuisine is primarily comprised of poultry and grains.

The first two ingredients in this formula are poultry and poultry entrée, which provide an excellent source of high-quality protein.

However, it’s worth noting that some puppies may have allergies to poultry, so it’s important to keep this in mind when selecting a food option for your puppy.

While there are a few “superfoods” included in this formula, they are present in small amounts and rank lower on the ingredient list.

Additionally, this recipe contains fifteen nutrients that may be beneficial for your puppy, but they are not present in significant amounts.

One positive aspect of this formula is that it does not contain any preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, or chicken by-product meal.

All of the grains used in this recipe are whole grains, which provide an abundance of fiber that may be beneficial for puppies with sensitive stomachs.

This recipe is specially formulated for puppies, with the exception of large breed puppies weighing 70lbs or more as an adult.

Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for growing puppies, including brain development and healthy growth.

Overall, Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food is a high-quality food option that is made with real ingredients and provides complete and balanced nutrition for your puppy.

This formula is made with quality ingredients, sourced from a trusted network of farmers and suppliers.

While the ingredient list may be primarily comprised of poultry and grains, this formula is still a good option for pet parents who want to provide their puppy with optimal nutrition.

Pros

No artificial preservatives, tastes, or colors

Poultry as the primary component

Ingredients with proven quality

Cons

There are several grains incorporated.

Many dogs have a sensitivity to chicken.


Solid Gold Powerful Miniature Dog Food

Solid Gold Mighty Mini Small Breed Dog Food

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Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy Breed Puppy Food is a natural dry dog food that is formulated specifically for dogs who have difficulty consuming other foods.

While this formula may be expensive, it’s not quite of adequate quality to justify the price.

The primary ingredient in this formula is poultry, followed by poultry meal. While both of these foods are high in protein and excellent alternatives for many dogs, they are also common allergens.

Additionally, the remainder of the formula contains legumes and pea protein, which may be linked to cardiac problems.

The preponderance of the protein in this formula comes from concentrated pea protein rather than meat.

One positive aspect of this formula is that it omits wheat and gluten, which can occasionally irritate the stomach of a sensitive dog.

Additionally, it contains probiotics, which are an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

This formula provides 90 million probiotics per pound for digestive health, balanced gut flora, and immune support for dogs.

Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy Breed Puppy Food is designed to support gut, immune, and coat health for your small puppy, adult, or senior dog breed.

It’s also easy on the teeth and stomach and is a great healthy food option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

While this formula is loaded with antioxidants, superfoods, vitamins, and minerals, and omega fatty acids to support skin, coat, and immune system health for pet dogs, it may not be the best value for the price.

There are other high-quality food options available on the market that provide similar benefits at more affordable prices.

Overall, Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy Breed Puppy Food is a high-protein dog food that provides muscle support for dogs from cage-free chicken. This formula contains no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colorings, or preservatives.

It’s a good option for pet parents who are looking for a natural food option for their dogs, but there are other options available that may provide better value for the price.

Pros

Specifically formulated for tiny breeds

Contains chicken as the primary component.

Probiotics added

Cons

Includes poultry (which sometimes causes problems with sensitive dogs)

Contains significant levels of peas and pea protein

Buyer's Guide

Choosing the correct puppy diet is crucial for your dog’s health. Not only does the puppy food maintain your dog’s health today, but it also ensures that your dog will mature into an adult with a healthy body.

If you feed your puppy low-quality food, he or she may not attain his or her utmost potential. If your puppy has a sensitive stomach, you will face additional challenges.

Not only must you purchase high-quality food, but your puppy must also be able to digest it.

In this section, we will assist you in navigating the plethora of information regarding puppy food so that you can choose the optimal diet for your dog.

Go Simple

There are several possible explanations for why your dog may have a sensitive stomach.

In many cases, your dog may simply be unable to digest certain foods, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress. In other cases, the issue may be caused by a combination of factors.

Regardless of the cause, the solution is to simplify your dog’s diet by choosing a basic dog food with fewer ingredients.

Foods with fewer ingredients are often easier for your dog’s digestive system to handle and can help you avoid any troublesome substances.

Many manufacturers offer “limited ingredient diets” that are ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

These diets contain only the most essential ingredients, such as meat and grains. If you are having trouble selecting a dog food, we recommend trying one of these options.

Single Proteins

Dogs are often sensitive to proteins, despite what certain marketing firms may tell you. In fact, chicken is the most common source of protein in dog food.

Even if the package doesn’t mention chicken on the front, it may still contain chicken as an ingredient. (So, always double-check.)

Choosing a meal with a single protein source makes it easier to eliminate allergenic components.

Some dogs are even sensitive to multiple proteins at once, so limiting their diet to a single protein can help ensure their food is easily digestible.

Thankfully, many of the meals we reviewed contain only one protein source, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one. If you know where to look, the market is full of them.

Reduce your carb intake

Many dog foods contain a long list of carbohydrates, including grains and vegetables.

While some dogs can handle carbohydrates just fine, others may struggle with large quantities, particularly if they are from different sources.

Therefore, we recommend selecting foods with fewer varieties and less carbohydrates. Avoid foods like corn that are difficult to digest and instead opt for vegetables whenever possible.

However, you may also want to limit your dog’s intake of legumes, lentils, and potatoes, as these may also be associated with health problems.

Animal Fats

Some manufacturers of low-quality dog food use synthetic and plant-based lipids to enhance the flavor of their products.

While these have the same effect as animal lipids, they are cheaper to produce. However, many dogs have difficulty digesting these lipids, especially in large quantities.

Therefore, look for brands that contain no added lipids or animal fats if fats are included. Salmon oil and poultry fat are both excellent sources of fat.

However, you should avoid substances like canola oil, which may not be as nutritionally beneficial and can be harder on a dog’s digestive system.

Fiber

When shopping for food for your sensitive dog, it’s important to choose options with a high fiber content. Fiber is crucial for a dog’s digestive health, and many dogs with digestive disorders don’t get enough of it.

The fiber content is often specified on the back of many dog food products.

FAQs

1. What can I feed my puppy with a sensitive stomach?

Boiled lean chicken or turkey, canned salmon or tuna, cooked eggs, canned pumpkin, bone broth, white rice, and boiled potato/sweet potato are excellent options for puppies with sensitive stomachs.

These foods are easily digestible and rich in essential nutrients that can help keep your puppy healthy.

Remember to avoid giving your puppy excessive amounts of seasoning, oil, or fiber, as these can cause stomach upset.

2. Is it normal for puppies to have sensitive stomachs?

Yes, stomach sensitivity is common in dogs.

However, if your puppy’s stomach issues persist even after trying a slow feeder bowl or switching to a sensitive formula, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

3. How do I know if my puppy has a sensitive stomach?

The classic symptoms of a sensitive stomach in dogs include intermittent loose stools or diarrhea, vomiting (you can tell your dog is feeling unwell if he stops eating or licks his lips and swallows frequently), and excessive gas.

There may also be blood in the stool, and your pet may regurgitate.

4. What protein is the easiest on a dog’s stomach?

For dogs with sensitive stomachs, lamb is an excellent option for dog food. Since lamb is not a common protein, most dogs have not developed an allergy or sensitivity to it.

Additionally, it is a readily digestible protein that can help prevent gastrointestinal upsets.

5. Do probiotics help dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Yes, probiotics can help dogs with sensitive stomachs by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in their digestive system, which can outcompete harmful bacteria and improve overall digestive health.

6. What is the healthiest way to feed a puppy?

The best diet for puppies is a high-quality commercial kibble formulation. This ensures that all the necessary nutrients for your puppy’s growth and development are present.

While you may add prepared meats, vegetables, or rice as desired, the commercially balanced kibble should be the primary source of nutrition.

7. What are common food sensitivities in puppies?

Proteins, particularly those derived from dairy, beef, poultry, chicken eggs, soy, or wheat gluten, are the most common allergens in dogs’ diets.

When a dog consumes food containing these substances, their antibodies react with the antigens, causing the onset of symptoms.

Conclusion

Consider Natural Balance L.I.D. Salmon & Brown Rice Puppy Formula if your budget is tight.

This dish has just fish as the primary protein source and relatively few carbs. It is extremely cheap and high in protein.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hope that our in-depth evaluations have assisted you in locating the best puppy foods for sensitive stomachs.

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Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler

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