Best Food for Puppies with Sensitive Stomachs

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Digestive difficulties are common in dogs, but they often go away on their own, or with minor dietary changes.

But what about puppies?

These little creatures tend to suffer from stomach issues because their digestive and immune systems aren’t fully developed yet.

However, not every puppy is the same, and some breeds may be more sensitive than others to different nutrients.

But for most gastronomical problems, the simplest solution is to feed your puppy food that he can easily digest.

How Do I Know My Puppy’s Stomach is Upset?

While occasional stomach upset is normal, and usually not a cause for concern, if your pup suffers from frequent belly troubles, then you may need to feed him a special diet.

The most common indications are:

  • lack of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • soft stool
  • diarrhea
  • excess gas
  • bad breath
  • grass eating

Below is a list of the best food for puppies with sensitive stomachs.

Best Food For Puppies With Sensitive Stomachs

1. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 4-lb

This is a holistic, limited-ingredient food that’s made from a few simple ingredients to minimize food sensitivities and gut problems.

The recipe contains high-quality turkey meat with no by-products and is based on a single animal protein source. In addition, it’s rich in easily digestible carbohydrates like pumpkin and peas.

These fiber-rich ingredients are great for helping with gentle and slower digestion.

Likewise, there are Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and fish oil to support your pup’s cognitive function, while also keeping his skin and coat looking healthy.

To avoid allergies and intolerances, the product doesn’t use artificial flavors or preservatives, nor does it have common food allergens such as corn, wheat, soy, dairy and eggs.

However, it’s packed with professionally selected antioxidants, including blueberries and cranberries, as well as vitamins and minerals to help your puppy grow up healthy.

Our Takeaway: Blue Basics is a well-rounded food for puppies with chronic digestive issues that don’t do well with other foods.


  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Single-animal protein source
  • Easily digestible carbohydrates
  • Contains Omega-3
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • No empty fillers, milk or eggs
  • Packed with real fruits
  • Made in the USA


  • Did not work for everyone

2. CANIDAE PURE Puppy Recipe

CANIDAE PURE Puppy Recipe, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food

This simple, grain-free puppy food is made with only nine easy to digest ingredients that anyone can read and understand.

The recipe contains animal protein from fresh chicken, menhaden fish meal and eggs, and it also has complex carbohydrates from lentils and peas to provide fiber and help with bowel regularity.

Other than that, there’s chicken fat and Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and flaxseed, which are especially good for your pup’s brain and heart.

Free from any harmful substances and empty fillers like corn, wheat or soy, the product is supplemented with probiotics, vitamins and minerals to support both digestive and immune health.

Our Takeaway: CANIDAE PURE is a high-quality food for puppies with allergies or food sensitivities which results in solid poops and minimal gas.


  • Grain-free
  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Contains Omega-3 and probiotics
  • No harmful substances and empty fillers
  • Made in the USA


  • Multiple protein sources
  • Some puppies didn’t like it

3. Fromm Puppy Gold Dry Food

Fromm Puppy Gold Dry Dog Food, 5-Pound Bag

This gluten-free food for puppies uses only wholesome ingredients to help settle their little tummies.

The recipe contains several types of protein: duck, chicken, fish, lamb, whole eggs and real Wisconsin cheese. This means that you need to be sure your puppy isn’t sensitive to any of these things.

Additionally, there’s a variety of complex carbohydrates, including oatmeal, pearled barley, brown rice and potatoes for sustained energy, along with real vegetables such as carrots, lettuce and celery.

The fat mostly comes from chicken, however, there’s also Omega-3 from salmon oil, which helps fight free radicals, and even plays a role in the immune system.

You won’t find any harmful ingredients in the product, too. In fact, you are probably familiar with most of them, simply because they’re real foods!

As an added bonus, it incorporates probiotics to aid digestion, and there are added vitamins, essential minerals and amino acids as well.

Our Takeaway: Although it may not be the cheapest option, Fromm Gold is worth considering, particularly if your puppy is dealing with loose stool.


  • Gluten-free
  • Wholesome ingredients
  • Made with real vegetables
  • Contains Omega-3 and probiotics
  • No harmful ingredients
  • Made in the USA


  • Multiple protein sources
  • A bit pricier than other options

4. Natural Balance L.I.D Puppy Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, 4 Pounds, Lamb & Brown Rice Puppy Formula

This puppy formula has a minimal list of ingredients to reduce the chances of digestive problems and upset stomachs.

The recipe contains a single-source animal protein from lamb meat, with brown rice as the staple grain. While it’s high in fiber and can help with diarrhea, it may be a little hard to digest.

Keep in mind the majority of the fat comes from sunflower oil, and the rest from fish oil, which among other things, can reduce inflammation in the body and fight allergies.

Like all the other products on this list, this one is also free of fillers (such as corn, wheat and soy) and there aren’t any artificial flavors or colors.

On the other hand, it provides several health benefits as it comes with green tea extract and some minerals and vitamins.

Our Takeaway: Natural Balance L.I.D can certainly be a good choice for puppies suffering from an upset tummy or runny stools.


  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Single-source animal protein
  • Free of fillers
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Gluten-free


  • Brown rice may be difficult to digest

5. Nulo Puppy & Small Breed Freestyle Limited Plus Dry Food


Nulo Puppy & Adult Freestyle Limited Plus Grain Free Dry Dog Food: All Natural Limited Ingredient Diet For Digestive & Immune Health - Allergy Sensitive Non Gmo (Turkey Recipe - 4 Lb Bag)

This is another grain-free food that’s high in protein, yet it’s pretty low in carbs in order to avoid food sensitivities and allergic reactions.

The recipe contains a single protein from turkey and has only low-glycemic carbohydrates, particularly chickpeas and sweet potatoes.

While most of the fat is from non-GMO canola oil, there is some salmon oil, which is a better source of essential fatty acids like Omega-3, and can help reduce itching and hot spots.

Furthermore, the product has no eggs, corn, wheat, soy or white potato, and it’s completely free of artificial colors and preservatives.

It also includes probiotics to help support stomach digest, as well as minerals and vitamins to keep your pup in optimum health.

Our Takeaway: Nulo Freestyle is an ideal food for puppies with sensitive stomachs who might also be dealing with skin issues.


  • Grain-Free
  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Single-source animal protein
  • Low-glycemic carbs
  • Contains Omega-3 and probiotics
  • Free of common food allergens
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Made in the USA


  • High canola oil content

What Can Cause a Puppy To Have An Upset Stomach?

Food Intolerance or Food Allergy: Perhaps the most common reason for a sensitive stomach in puppies involves certain proteins, grains and other food allergens that need to be removed from the puppy’s diet.

Dietary Indiscretion: Basically, this means eating things that shouldn’t be eaten. This includes everything from spoiled food and garbage to cat-litter and plants.

Gastrointestinal Parasites: From roundworms to tapeworms, GI parasites can cause weight loss and even severe diarrhea in your puppy. This is a condition that should only be treated by your veterinarian.

Anxiety And Stress: While it’s not as common, some puppies who suffer from separation anxiety or stress may experience physical problems such as stomach aches, nausea and diarrhea.

A Change In Diet: Transitioning your puppy to a new food is a process that needs to be done slowly. To avoid an upset stomach, start with a ratio of 80-20, and increase the amount of new food over several days.

Which Dog Breeds are Prone to Gastrointestinal Issues?

Small Dogs: Yorkshire Terrier, Shih-Tzus and other miniature breeds may suffer from a condition called long-term gastritis (or stomach inflammation) which causes frequent vomiting.

A diet that’s too high in fat may worsen this problem.

German Shepherds: This breed is prone to food allergies, so it’s best to avoid corn, dairy, eggs, soy and wheat in their diet.

German Shepherds are also prone to an inflammatory condition of the stomach, known as Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lack of appetite.

Irish Setters: These dogs are pre-disposed genetically to be gluten-sensitive, which means that wheat or any other grain in their diet is likely to cause them diarrhea, allergies and inflammation.

Grain-free dog food is what’s usually recommended for this breed.

Labrador Retrievers: Labs are inclined to have chronic food allergies, so it’s better to be sure their diet is free from commonly allergenic foods.

They’re also notorious for eating things off the ground, which may also cause them gastrointestinal upset.

Shar-Peis: Since most Shar-Peis are deficient in B12 due to a genetic defect that prevents its absorption, they can experience poor appetite.

They’re also prone to a condition called Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis (an inflammatory bowel disease), as well as to food allergies.

How to Prevent Sensitive Stomachs in Puppies?


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  • Feed your puppy high-quality food that doesn’t contain by-product meal as one of the ingredients
  • Avoid buying cheap puppy food or treats that are made or sourced from China
  • Switch to a turkey, duck, lamb or fish recipe instead of chicken or beef
  • Try a limited ingredient or grain-free diet, as some puppies are unable to digest certain foods
  • Purchase puppy food with a moderate level of fat level (anywhere between 15-20%)
  • Look for good sources of fiber such as peas and lentils, but beware of high-fiber diets
  • Give your puppy probiotics, whether it’s in his food, or by simply using plain yogurt or supplements
  • Don’t reward your puppy with table scraps, and limit the number of dog treats you give him
  • If you plan on switching your puppy’s food, do it gradually, mixing a little of the new with the old
  • Make sure your puppy doesn’t have access to trash cans, litter boxes and household toxins

In Conclusion

Our best advice is to look for a product with a minimal number of ingredients, which also includes probiotics to help support optimal digestion.

Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus is our favorite food choice for puppies with sensitive stomachs!

Though it’s not perfect, it has plenty of protein and other nutrients that your pup needs to grow strong and healthy, while keeping his tummy happy.

As with any dog food, switching should be done gradually and over the course of a few days to avoid even more stomach upset.

In some cases (depending on the pup’s sensitivity to food changes), it may take a little longer.

About the author

Li-ran Bukovza

Li-ran believes that our dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He's fascinated by the dog-human bond and loves researching and writing about new pet trends. With the help of Richie (his trusty Maltese sidekick), he hopes to help as many people as possible understand the beautiful, complex world of canine companionship.