Best Food for Puppies with Sensitive Stomachs

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best food for puppies with sensitive stomachs

Digestive difficulties, sensitive stomachs, and food intolerance are all pretty common issues in puppies.

This is mainly because their digestive and immune systems aren’t fully developed yet. However, not all juvenile dogs are the same, and in fact, some breeds may even be more sensitive than others.

In that case, they may need some minor dietary changes. For most gastronomical issues, the simplest solution is to give your puppy food that he can easily digest.

For example, it shouldn’t contain too many ingredients or protein sources, as some animal proteins, such as chicken, may cause digestion problems in sensitive puppies.

Also, you need to stay away from food that’s too high in fat and fiber, since fat is harder to process compared to protein and carbs, and too much fiber can actually cause bloating.

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

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

It’s quite easy to identify signs of a sensitive stomach in puppies, especially if there are multiple symptoms.

That said, you should know that occasional stomach upset may also occur in healthy puppies, and it’s usually not a cause for concern.

The most common indications are:

What’s The 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

Top Ingredients

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Oatmeal, Peas, Brown Rice

This is a holistic recipe that contains only a few simple ingredients, which should minimize food sensitivities and digestive problems.

It includes a blend of professionally selected antioxidants, such as blueberries and cranberries, along with vitamins and minerals to help your puppy grow up healthy.

Macronutrients Breakdown

This food contains high-quality turkey meat with no by-products. It has a single animal protein source, as well as easily digestible carbohydrates, such as fiber-rich pumpkin and peas, which are great for helping with gentle and slower digestion.

Additionally, there are Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseed to support your pup’s cognitive learning, while also keeping his skin and coat in top shape.

As expected from this kind of product, it doesn’t contain artificial flavors or preservatives, nor does it have common food allergens like corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs.

Pros

  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Contains real fruits
  • Uses single-animal protein source
  • Easily digestible carbohydrates
  • Contains Omega-3 from fish oil
  • No empty fillers, milk, or eggs
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

Cons

  • Brown rice may cause bloating

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2. CANIDAE PURE Puppy Recipe

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

Top Ingredients

Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lentils, Peas, Potatoes

This simple, grain-free recipe is made with nine key ingredients that anyone could read, which means it probably won’t cause any digestive discomfort.

It’s also supplemented with probiotics, vitamins, and minerals to support both digestive and immune health.

Macronutrients Breakdown

This food contains animal protein from fresh chicken and menhaden fish meal, as well as whole, complex carbohydrates like lentils, and peas to provide fiber, and help with bowel regularity.

There’s also chicken fat and Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and flaxseed, both of which are good for optimal brain health, while also being beneficial to the skin and coat.

To avoid allergies and intolerances, this product is free from harmful substances and any empty fillers, such as corn, wheat, or soy.

Pros

  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Grain-free
  • Contains probiotics
  • Contains Omega-3 from fish
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • No empty fillers

Cons

  • No fruits
  • Uses multiple protein sources

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3. Fromm Puppy Gold Dry Food

Fromm Puppy Gold Dry Dog Food, 5-Pound Bag

Top Ingredients

Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Oatmeal, Pearled Barley

This is a gluten-free recipe made of top quality ingredients. It incorporates probiotics to aid digestion, along with real vegetables, such as carrots, lettuce, and celery.

There are some essential minerals and amino acids included as well, which promote healthy growth. The one drawback is that it doesn’t have any vitamins or antioxidants.

Macronutrients Breakdown

In this food, there are several types of protein, such as 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.

There are also carbs like oatmeal, pearled barley, brown rice, and potatoes to provide sustained energy.

The fat content comes mostly chicken, but also from salmon oil, which contains Omega-3 fatty acids that nourish the skin and coat, and even plays a role in brain development.

Other than that, there aren’t any controversial ingredients in this product. In fact, you can probably recognize most (if not all) of them, as they’re actually real food.

Pros

  • Gluten-free
  • Contains probiotics
  • Contains veggies
  • Easily digestible carbohydrates
  • Includes Omega-3 from fish oil
  • Real, natural ingredients

Cons

  • No vitamins or antioxidants
  • Uses multiple protein sources
  • Brown rice may cause bloating

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4. Natural Balance L.I.D Puppy Food

Natural Balance Puppy Formula L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Brown Rice Formula, 4.5-Pound

Top Ingredients

Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Pea Protein, Rice Flour

This limited-ingredient recipe uses minimal carbohydrate sources to reduce the chances of digestive problems and an upset stomach.

It’s also shaped for smaller jaws, and supplemented with all the minerals and vitamins your pup should have.

Macronutrients Breakdown

This recipe contains a single-source animal protein from lamb meat, as well as brown rice as the main carbohydrate, which might cause bloating in some cases due to its high fiber content. There’s also a bit of white rice flour, which should aid in proper digestion.

The majority of the fat content comes from canola oil, but there’s also salmon oil and flaxseed, both are sources of Omega-3, and should help support the neural development, while encouraging good looking coats and smooth skin.

Like all premium puppy foods, this product is free of fillers such as corn, wheat, or soy, as well as artificial flavors and colors.

Pros

  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Shaped for smaller jaws
  • Uses single-source animal protein
  • Includes Omega-3 from fish oil
  • Free of fillers
  • No artificial flavors or colors

Cons

  • Brown rice may cause bloating
  • Canola oil isn’t the best fat source

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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)

Top Ingredients

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes, Canola Oil

This is a grain-free recipe that’s high in protein, yet it’s pretty low in carbohydrates in order to simplify things, and avoid food sensitivities or other potential allergens.

It also uses tiny kibbles designed for tiny mouths, as well as probiotics, minerals, and vitamins to keep your pup in top shape.

Macronutrients Breakdown

This food is sourced with a single protein from turkey, and has only low-glycemic carbs, such as chickpeas and sweet potatoes.

The main fat source is non-GMO canola oil, though there’s also salmon oil, which is a better kind of fat and a source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids.

This product is based on a healthy limited diet, so you find any eggs, corn, wheat, soy, or white potato. Plus, it’s completely free of artificial colors and preservatives.

Pros

  • Limited-ingredient puppy food
  • Uses single-source animal protein
  • Grain-Free
  • Contains probiotics
  • Low-glycemic carbs
  • Contains Omega-3 from fish oil
  • Free of fillers and eggs
  • No artificial colors or preservatives

Cons

  • Canola oil isn’t the best fat source

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What Can Cause a Puppy To Have An Upset Stomach?

1. Food Intolerance or Food Allergy

Perhaps the most common reason for a sensitive stomach in puppies is some kind of sensitivity to proteins, grains, and other food allergens. The easiest solution is to remove questionable ingredients from the puppy’s diet.

2. A Change In Diet

Transitioning your puppy to a new food is a process that needs to be done slowly. Start with a ratio of 80-20, and increase the amount of new food over five to seven days.

3. Dietary Indiscretion

Basically, this means eating things that shouldn’t be eaten. This includes everything from spoiled food and garbage to cat-litter, plastic objects, and plants. These items can cause all kinds of problems, including gastrointestinal upset.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Which Dog Breeds are Prone to Gastrointestinal Issues?

While young puppies normally have a sensitive tummy, some dog breeds tend to have more gastronomic problems than others.

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 even worsen the 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 likely 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 they tend to be deficient in B12 due to a genetic defect that prevents its absorption, Shar-Peis can experience poor appetite, and 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? Quick Summary

  1. Feed your puppy high-quality food, and avoid by-product meal
  2. Don’t buy cheap puppy food or treats that are made in China
  3. Try a limited ingredient/grain-free diet, as some puppies find it hard to digest certain nutrients
  4. Switch to a lamb, duck, or fish recipe instead of chicken, turkey, or beef
  5. Purchase puppy food with a fat level between 15-20%
  6. Look for good sources of fiber, such as inulin and beet pulp. But beware of high-fiber diets
  7. If you plan on switching your puppy’s food, do it gradually
  8. Give your puppy probiotics. He can get it from his food, a simple plain yogurt, or a supplement
  9. Don’t reward your puppy with table scraps, and limit the number of dog treats you give him
  10. Make sure your puppy doesn’t have access to trash cans

In Conclusion

Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus has a minimal number of ingredients that are easy on the stomach, and it also includes probiotics to help support healthy digestion. For these reasons, this is one of my favorite food choices for puppies with sensitive stomachs.

Although it could be better with some fruits in it, it’s still a well-rounded product for puppies that are still growing. It has many nutrients that your pup needs to build a strong and healthy immune system, while also maintaining his skin and coat, and 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 even take a bit longer.

Overall, changing up foods is an easy way to reduce belly issues, as well as prevent allergies to certain ingredients, and it can even help if your pooch is a picky eater.