Sensitive stomachs and allergies often go hand in hand due to certain ingredients in common dog food brands. Reading dog food labels gets confusing in a hurry since every brand is clamoring for your attention. It reminds me of stepping off a plane in a foreign land and being greeted by the locals who see me as fresh meat. How do you know how to choose the best dog food for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs? That’s the question we answer for you in this guide.
Let’s start by going over the ingredients and key points to consider when choosing the right dog food. After that, we share 5 brands that fit the mold and give you the best chance of finding the right food for your dog. Since not everyone can afford to consult a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist or have a professional allergy test, testing a couple of food options is a better place to start.
Ingredients That Cause Upset Stomachs in Dogs
- Extra Food, e.g. Treats
These are the three most common causes of upset stomachs in dogs. Protein is especially important since it can both upset a dog’s stomach and cause allergic reactions.
Chicken, beef, and eggs are the most common protein sources that upset a dog’s stomach and cause allergies. Some dogs simply cannot digest certain types of protein, and this is the reason to go outside the box when finding good protein sources for your dog.
Now, let’s talk about fat. Both humans and dogs can get diarrhea or runny stools when they consume too much fat.
Lastly, cutting out treats, scraps, and table food is a wise idea, especially in the beginning phase when you’re working to get your dog’s GI tract regular.
Top 5 Foods for Dogs with Allergies & Sensitive Stomachs
|#1) The Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dehydrated Organic Whole Grain|
|#2) “I and love and you” Lovingly Simple|
|#3) Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets|
|#4) Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed|
|#5) CANIDAE All Life Stages|
How to Transition Your Dog from Old Food to New Food
Before we take a closer look at each of the five brands in the chart above, I want to share some tips on how to transition your dog to new food. It’s important to transition your dog slowly to avoid upsetting his stomach or causing any unnecessary digestive stress.
- First, consider how much food your dog eats each day
- Second, divide that number by 10 to get 10%
- Third, increase the percentage of new food your dog eats by 10% each day
- The entire process takes about 10 days before your dog eats 100% new food
For example, on the first day, your dog eats 90% old food and 10% new food. On day 2, your dog eats 80% old food and 20% new food. Also, it’s a good idea to mix the two foods evenly before you serve.
If you’re transitioning to wet food or dehydrated food, follow the same steps you would with two dry foods.
Reviews of the Best Dog Food for Allergies & Sensitive Stomachs
In this section, I share the highlights and overviews of each of the five brands along with the pros & cons. We investigated each brand to determine how dogs with sensitivities are reacting to the foods in this guide. We included our findings in the pros & cons sections below.
#1) The Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dehydrated Organic Whole Grain
We’re big fans of The Honest Kitchen dehydrated food. If you’re someone who wants to feed your dog homecooked meals but doesn’t have enough free time to cook, The Honest Kitchen is the perfect solution. Each box is full of nutritious dehydrated human-grade food that you simply add water to when your dog is ready to eat. In just minutes, the food rehydrates to become a nutritious meal for your dog.
Another major selling point is that this food does include healthy grains for a more well-balanced diet and to improve heart health. We say this because there’s controversy over whether grain-free foods are healthy for dogs. Personally, my Bassett Hound is as healthy as an ox, and he’s eaten grain-free most of his life. However, you may want to err on the side of caution by choosing a food with grains.
Another highlight of The Honest Kitchen food is that it’s actually quite affordable for being human-grade food. Each box multiplies to 4 times its weight once it’s rehydrated, so a 4lb box makes 16 pounds of food.
The finely-chopped ingredients are easy for dogs of all sizes and ages to eat. If you have a senior dog with missing teeth, it’s possible to make the food on the soupy side. All in all, this is an excellent limited-ingredient food that’s formulated to meet the nutritional guidelines of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for adult dogs.
- The turkey formula is good for dogs with allergies to chicken and/or beef
- Contains healthy grains for heart health
- Very easy to prepare
- Especially good for senior dogs or dogs with missing teeth who have trouble chewing
- Contains zero corn, wheat, soy, or egg products
- 100% Money-Back Satisfaction Guarantee
- Made in the USA (no ingredients from China)
- Loved by owners of all breeds with sensitive stomach issues
- Too low in protein for some breeds
- Some dogs refuse to eat it
- The chicken and beef varieties are not good for dogs with allergies (stick with turkey)
#2) “I and love and you” Lovingly Simple
Another dog food brand we’ve come to love is “I and love and you.” It’s easy to tell that the people behind this brand are real pet parents who care deeply about pet nutrition. Of all the varieties they offer, Lovingly Simple is the best choice for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs.
The food is made in the USA and contains none of the junk that’s offered in a lot of other more popular brands. One highlight we like a lot is the blend of prebiotics & probiotics that go into every batch. If your dog is battling yeast issues that can worsen food allergies, good dog food with probiotics can help to repopulate the GI tract with healthy bacteria for better digestion & immune health.
Additionally, lamb is full of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, it’s great for dogs with food allergies that don’t do well on chicken and/or beef. Lastly, Lovingly Simple contains a healthy serving of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for optimal skin and coat health.
- An excellent choice for dogs with chicken & beef allergies
- Contains pre & probiotics for better digestive health
- Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
- The kibble is the perfect size for all dogs from chihuahuas to large breeds
- Approved for bulldogs with sensitive stomachs and allergies
- Good for picky eaters
- Healthier stools
- The company provides transitioning instructions on the bag
- Not all dogs are fond of lamb
- Several damaged bags upon arrival
- You may prefer food with grains
#3) Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets
Of the five brands in this guide, Natural Balance is the most affordable. My mom feeds her yellow lab this brand, and he scarfs it down every time. The small, flat-shaped kibble is easy for dogs of all sizes to chew. One thing we really like about this brand is the number of different varieties. If your dog is allergic to chicken and/or beef, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Our personal favorite variety is Sweet Potato & Venison. Other varieties that are worth a look for dogs with allergies are Potato & Duck, Sweet Potato & Bison, and Lamb. Like the Lovingly Simple brand above, L.I.D. is a limited ingredient grain-free dog food that’s a great choice for dog parents who are trying to identify what’s causing their dog’s allergies.
The limited-ingredient blend contains no wheat, corn, chicken, eggs, beef, or fillers. One missing ingredient is probiotics, which may or may not be a dealbreaker depending on whether your dog has yeast issues or irregular bowel movements.
- The most affordable option of the five brands in this guide
- Several non-poultry varieties to choose from
- There’s a wet version of the same food
- Venison is an excellent source of essential amino acids for better muscle tone
- It may help to firm stools for dogs with runny stools
- Good for all dog breeds with sensitive stomachs, including Pitbulls, Greyhounds, and German Shepherds
- May help to clear up skin allergy issues
- Good kibble size for large and small breeds
- Some quality control issues
- Does not contain probiotics
- Inconsistent batch quality
#4) Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited is one of our best-rated dog foods for Schnauzers with skin allergies, and we believe it deserves a spot here as well. The Small Breed variety is perfect for pet parents who want a smaller kibble size with healthy grains. Despite containing grain, this formula contains none of the most common dog food allergens such as corn, wheat, eggs, and chicken. Instead, it contains oatmeal and brown rice.
Additionally, it contains pumpkin which adds fiber to support gentle digestion. You’ll also find healthy amounts of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids derived from fish oil. The final ingredient we like is BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Since nutritional deficiencies may be the cause of your dog’s digestive problems, LifeSource Bits may help to remedy the problem.
A couple of drawbacks to this variety are the high price and no added probiotics. Depending on how well your dog does on this food compared to others, you may or may not feel it’s worth the extra money compared to other brands.
- The best-rated variety of the five in this guide
- A top choice for small breeds with digestive issues and allergies
- Healthier bowel movements after switching to this brand
- Most dogs gobble it up
- It may help to firm stools for dogs with runny stools
- Small dogs with allergies typically do well on the turkey formula
- Healthier skin and coats
- May help to clear up ear problems
- The highest upfront cost of the five brands in this guide
- Several ripped bags upon arrival
- May cause gas
#5) CANIDAE All Life Stages
The final brand is another premium dry dog food option that’s certainly worth a look for families with multiple dogs. If you’re a fan of probiotics for better gut health, this brand adds probiotics to each batch after cooking, which we think is pretty cool. Additionally, each formula is very clean yet not grain-free to provide a more well-balanced diet for all dogs including puppies.
The variety we like the most for dogs with sensitive tummies is the Lamb Meal & Rice blend. It’s full of nutritious ingredients including brown rice, lamb meal, cracked pearl barley, millet, salmon oil, peas, and rice bran. This combination makes for a healthy mixture of protein, fat, and fiber that’s easier on your dog’s stomach.
Similar to Blue Buffalo Basics, the only real drawback is the price per lb of kibble. Compared to the first three options in our guide, it does cost more, and you may find that the other brands offer better value for the money, especially if you have multiple dogs to feed.
- Its versatility makes it a good choice for families with multiple dogs
- May help to eliminate gas issues in bulldogs
- Good for dogs with sensitive itchy skin
- May help to eliminate vomiting issues
- Good for all size breeds including chihuahuas
- The 44lb bag helps to lower the cost per lb
- Contains probiotics
- More costly than other brands
- May not agree with all dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Inconsistent batch quality
When choosing the best dog food for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs, it’s important to consider the cause of your dog’s allergies and choose ingredients that are easier on the stomach. Additionally, be sure to consider the transitioning instructions provided on the bag or use our guide above to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach.
Considering most food allergies are caused by corn, wheat, eggs, chicken, and beef, all of the food varieties in this guide are better alternatives than foods that contain any of the aforementioned ingredients.