Do you have a dog with a sensitive stomach or who has been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal disease? Unfortunately, dogs can suffer from intestinal issues just as people do. It can be related to food sensitivities or allergies or more serious conditions such as irritable bowel disease. Once you have spoken with your veterinarian and decided that a food that is made specifically for GI concerns is the best course of action, then you will want to find one that helps alleviate the problems your dog is experiencing.
Finding the ideal food can be a daunting task because we know you don’t want to worsen the problem. That’s why we put together this reviews list of the 10 best dog foods for digestive problems. Each review provides information about the product, as well as the pros and cons, so you can determine which one is right for you and your dog. The buyer’s guide at the end of the article offers considerations to keep in mind when making your final decision.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022:
The 11 Best Dog Foods for Digestive Problems:
1. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food — Best Overall
The Farmer’s Dog is the overall best dog food for digestive issues. All of the Farmer’s Dog food recipes are fresh and made with real ingredients. Any dog could benefit from real, fresh food instead of over-baked kibbles stuffed with fillers and preservatives, but if your pup has tummy troubles, finding a healthy choice is even more vital.
Your canine’s stomach wasn’t made to digest processed food. Dry kibbles aren’t as beneficial as fresh food because they undergo a refining process which kills harmful bacteria – as well as some of the nutrients. The Farmer’s Dog food is cooked at their facility at a low temperature that allows the food to retain the nutrients and then quickly frozen to preserve the quality until it reaches your home. While the ingredients vary depending on the recipe, all choices of Farmer’s Dog contain a wholesome trifecta of real meat, vegetables, and vitamins.
That’s it! There aren’t any preservatives or artificial ingredients. This food is 100% human-grade and edible (the CEOs claim they’ve eaten a lot of it!)
The Farmer’s Dog lets you customize your dog’s food plan according to their age, breed, and overall health condition. When you’ve created the right subscription for your pup, they’ll ship it to your door – no trip to the store required! The downside is the cost, as this food can be pricey since it is made with real, fresh ingredients.
2. Purina ONE Digestive Health Formula Dog Food — Best Value
Purina One is the best dog food for digestive problems for the money because it provides a highly digestible formula that is an affordable option. Real chicken is the first ingredient in the recipe, which is full of easy-to-digest proteins. Probiotics are added to support the health of the digestive system, and there are no fillers, so every ingredient serves a special purpose.
Whole-grain wheat and corn provide fiber and antioxidants promote immune health, and there are plenty of vitamins and minerals for overall well-being. On the downside, this formula has a high amount of fat, which can be a problem for some dogs with digestive issues and the reason that we rated it as number two on our reviews list. However, this formula will support many sensitive stomachs. Many owners have noticed their dogs have less gas and solid stools after introducing this food to their dogs who were suffering from diarrhea and upset stomachs after eating.
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3. Hill’s Prescription Digestive Care Canned Dog Food — Best for Puppies
This canned dog food from Hill’s Prescription diet is ideal for puppies who suffer from digestive concerns. The formula was developed by nutritionists and veterinarians and is clinically proven to help the digestive tract because it is low in fat and high in other nutrients. On the downside, you will need a vet authorization to purchase this product, but it is not a complicated process.
Puppies love the texture of soft food, and with the addition of pork and turkey liver, pork by-products, and turkey heart, this one is tasty and remains easy to digest. It includes prebiotic fibers that encourage healthy bacterial growth and ginger to calm and soothe the GI tract. A healthy immune system is important to keep the digestive system happy so the added antioxidants are doing their part. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for promoting gastrointestinal recovery and increasing skin and coat health.
4. Royal Canin Vet Diet Gastrointestinal Canned Dog Food
If you prefer feeding or supplementing with canned food, then the Royal Canin low-fat food is an ideal choice. It is made palatable by adding easy-to-digest proteins from pork by-products while keeping the fat content down to prevent vomiting and diarrhea and help increase appetite. The addition of fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA, which help soothe an upset GI tract.
Prebiotics are added to promote good bacteria to reside in the gut, and dietary fibers from beet pulp and powdered cellulose help ensure healthy stools. Antioxidants support the immune system, which in turn, keeps the digestive system healthy. On the downside, this is a pricey product, and you need a veterinarian’s authorization to order it online.
5. Royal Canin Vet Diet Gastrointestinal Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin offers a dry dog food that is palatable and highly digestible for dogs who have digestive concerns. It is low in fat and contains digestible proteins and prebiotics that increase the healthy bacteria in the bowels.
Dietary fiber from psyllium seed husk, beet pulp, and barley aids in forming a healthy stool, while the addition of fish oil adds omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA to provide nourishment to the gastrointestinal tract. Antioxidants are added to help keep the immune system healthy, which in turn, helps the digestive system. On the downside, you will need a veterinary authorization to purchase this item, but this ensures that you are providing a diet that is recommended by your vet.
6. Hill’s Prescription Multi-Benefit Digestive Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet offers a formula that helps maintain a healthy weight, normal blood glucose, and urinary health and promote healthy digestion, all in one. It has been clinically tested to provide the needed nutrition for these conditions and to promote overall immune health.
The high level of fiber (20%, to be exact) helps your dog feel full, promote healthy digestion, and stabilize blood glucose levels. The primary protein is chicken, which is highly digestible, and the fat sources from chicken fat, chicken liver, and soybean oil provide flavor while keeping the total fat content at 6%.
On the downside, your veterinarian has to authorize the purchase, and it is a pricey product. However, if you have a dog who needs a recipe developed by nutritionists and veterinarians, keep Multi-Benefit Digestive in mind.
7. Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets Formula Canned Dog Food
This canned dog food from Purina Pro Plan is formulated with easily digestible ingredients to promote nutrient absorption so your dog can be healthy. The primary ingredient is meat by-products, followed by barley, chicken, and rice. These ingredients are great for digestion but also add flavor to the food so your dog will enjoy eating it.
Fat and carbohydrates are reduced to offer optimized nutrition, as well as prevent GI upset. We like that it is specifically suited for dogs who have gastritis, enteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or other diseases of the intestinal tract, so you know it is well suited for GI concerns. It also includes prebiotic fiber and antioxidants to nourish the GI tract and immune system.
This is another food that requires veterinary authorization, but it is more affordable than other prescription canned dog foods. On the downside, some owners have reported the consistency to be very thick, which made their dogs not like it as well as other canned food.
8. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food
Canidae offers a recipe that agrees with sensitive stomachs. It is a grain-free formula that uses limited ingredients. The primary protein is real lamb, which is a more tolerable red meat. Grain can also be a culprit for food sensitivities, so instead, it uses vegetables and legumes such as sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, and peas.
There are no fillers, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives used because these can also cause stomach upset. Canidae fortifies this food with a blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to provide nutrient-dense food that is perfect for those dogs who suffer from GI upsets. On the downside, the formula is high in fat and low in fiber, but if your dog doesn’t have issues with fat, then this food is an ideal choice.
9. Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This limited ingredient diet from Natural Balance uses potato and duck as the main ingredients. One way to reduce the number of sensitivities is to limit the food to a single animal protein source. This formula reduces the carbohydrates and food additives, and the amount of fat isn’t as high compared to regular adult recipes.
This is a grain-free recipe that includes omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseeds that provide fiber, as well as help produce a healthy and shiny coat. The amount of fat is 10% with sources from canola oil and salmon oil. This amount of fat may or may not be a gastrointestinal issue for your pup. However, it is lower than other dry dog foods. Unfortunately, the amount of fiber is only 3%, which is lower than other foods made specifically for digestive problems.
10. Holistic Select Adult Health Dry Dog Food
Holistic Select is formulated with many ingredients to support a healthy digestive system. The primary ingredients are anchovy and sardine meal, followed by brown rice and oatmeal. It also includes salmon meal, canola oil, and salmon oil, which makes this somewhat high in fat at 13%.
The recipe has plenty of fruits and vegetables that provide extra fiber to make the total fiber content at 4.5%. With fish as the main ingredient, this formula is high in omega fatty acids that provide nourishment to your dog’s skin and coat. Antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries and pomegranate support a healthy immune system, which in turn, supports the digestive system.
On the downside, since there are many ingredients in this recipe, there is more potential for digestive issues with an already sensitive dog. Unfortunately, the fish ingredients also make this food smelly. However, it contains prebiotics and probiotics, which are essential for a healthy digestive system.
11. Authority Skin, Coat & Digestive Adult Dry Dog Food
Our final review is for Authority dry dog food formulated for skin, coat, and digestive health support. The flavor combination includes fish and potato, making this a grain-free option. It uses whitefish and fish meal, but it does not list the type of fish meal, which means it is difficult to know if it is a high-quality or low-quality addition. Also, the fish in this recipe causes the food to be strong smelling, but it doesn’t affect the palatability.
The fiber content is high at 5% because you will find beet pulp and flaxseed among the ingredients. But the fat content is also high because of the fish ingredients. However, the fatty acids help nourish your dog’s skin and coat for a healthy shine. There are no artificial colors or preservatives, and Authority uses a blend of vitamin E, selenium, and zinc that helps keep the immune system healthy.
On the downside, this food contains sodium hexametaphosphate, which has no nutritional value. Some companies include this as a tarter control method.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Digestive Care Dog Food
Since there is a wide variety of food to choose from, there are considerations to keep in mind before making your final decision. This buyer’s guide goes over features to look for in food, ingredients that are good and bad for sensitive stomachs, cost of the food, and talking to your veterinarian.
Recommendations From Your Veterinarian
If you haven’t already done so, it’s a good idea to let your vet know about your concerns. If your dog is having digestive symptoms such as vomiting, loose stools, or a poor appetite, you want to let your vet know what is going on so they can help diagnose and figure out a plan. Many of the foods on this reviews list require a veterinarian to authorize before you can buy the food, because specialty food is only warranted with certain issues and you don’t want to feed your dog a food that they don’t need.
The biggest culprits for causing digestive issues are the protein source, fiber source, amount of fat, being low in vitamins and minerals, and the quality of the ingredients.
Protein: Too many protein sources or the wrong protein source can cause problems. If you’ve been feeding your dog chicken-based food, it may be good to try something that is duck- or fish-based instead. Limiting the ingredients to one source or meat protein is also a good idea. Many regular foods use more than one meat ingredient in their recipes, so even switching to one that uses chicken only may help your dog.
Fiber: Some dogs may need extra fiber in their diet. Typically, dog food is low in fiber, but providing more fiber may help with digestive issues. Look for good quality fiber sources such as psyllium, flaxseed, and beet pulp.
Fat: A diet high in fat is harder to digest, so switching to a lower-fat diet may help with many digestive issues. Look at the percentage of fat in the food, and talk to your vet about whether your dog should be on a low-fat diet.
Vitamins and minerals: When your dog doesn’t receive enough vitamins and minerals, their immune system won’t function properly, which can affect digestive health. It’s important to feed a diet that provides adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants are also a great addition for dogs who have digestive concerns.
Quality of the ingredients: Make sure you are providing quality food that uses good ingredients; choose a brand that is well-known and uses minimal ingredients to provide optimal nutrition. The more ingredients included in the food, the more likely a food allergy or sensitivity can occur.
You have probably noticed that special diets are expensive. It can be hard to find good gastrointestinal dog food if you have a low budget. If it is recommended that your dog eats a diet geared toward digestive health, it is wise to follow that advice to prevent further complications. You will save money in the long run by feeding a diet that can keep your dog healthy, rather than paying for vet bills because your dog is sick all of the time.
Finding the right food for your dog with digestive problems shouldn’t be a frustrating experience. This review list features 11 of the best foods to help you narrow your search for the best.
Our top pick for best dog foods for digestive issues is The Farmer’s Dog. All their recipes are fresh and made with real ingredients. All dogs could benefit from real, fresh food instead of over-baked kibbles stuffed with fillers and preservatives. The best value on our reviews list is the Purina One formula, which is an affordable option for those who need a digestive health formula geared toward improving GI health while providing the needed nutrients for your dog to remain healthy and happy.
Providing your dog with the best food for their needs is at the top of your priorities, so we hope you can use the information from this article to find the ideal food that fits your expectations, budget, and needs of your dog.
Featured image credit: eminens, Pixabay