Wondering what dog food is best for older dogs with sensitive stomachs? Look no further! You need to consider these nutritious options before buying your next bag!
Yes dogs vomit, but when you are mopping up dog vomit several times a week you might start considering a different dog food to settle your poor pup’s stomach.
I feel your (and his) pain.
When we adopted Beau from the local animal shelter, he was estimated to be somewhere between 3 and 5 and we had no idea of his history.
I was feeding my other dogs Pedigree and I put him on it with the other dogs.
His stomach disputed my choice.
He puked so much he learned to run to the door so I wasn’t shoving him out of it. It was a trying first few months with Beau, but we learned a lot about older dogs with sensitive stomachs, and what to do about it.
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Be Prepared for the Vet Questions
The first thing we did was to take Beau to the vet.
I wanted to be sure there wasn’t anything more going on than just a sensitive stomach. The vet needed more information to help him properly diagnose Beau, so he asked me some questions.
If you are in the same situation, you might want to be prepared. Here are some questions your veterinarian might be interested in:
Is the onset sudden?
- Did this just start happening or has your dog been vomiting occasionally for a longer period of time?
Are there any other symptoms?
- Does your dog seem lethargic?
- Does he have diarrhea?
How does your dog eat?
- Does he bolt his food? (Bolting = your dog scarfing down his food like he hasn’t seen a meal in months).
- Is he fed at regular times?
- How often?
What does the vomit look like? (Gross I know, but it is important.)
- Is there a lot of foam?
- Is it mostly undigested food?
Other than being slightly underweight, the vet could find no other issues with him. So Beau had a picky stomach, and we had to try and find a good food that he could tolerate.
What Dog Food is Best for Older Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs?
When I started my search I asked my vet and consulted a few breeders. The #1 recommendation that everyone had was to look for a food that listed some type of meat as the first ingredient and also included rice or rice bran.
The breeders all had their favorite brand, but our vet said “Find what works for YOUR dog and go with that”.
After doing our research, the first food we tried was Iams Sensitive Naturals, it has fish listed as the first ingredient and rice as the second.
We saw some good results with this food, but in the end Beau was still running to the door a few times a week.
So our search continued…
Next was Blue Buffalo Bison for Adult Dogs.
This food does list meat as its first ingredient but does not have rice in the ingredients.
It was highly recommended by one of my breeder friends so I decided to give it a try anyway.
This time I learned that I should stick to the basic requirements. Beau was not a fan at all, he didn’t seem to like it much and when he did eat it, it quickly made a return trip.
Third in line was Natural Balance Lamb Meal and Brown Rice formula.
This food worked really well but Beau didn’t seem to be a huge fan of it. He would nibble at it and then look at me with his big pathetic brown eyes like “Mom, this stuff is awful”.
It did stop the vomiting, so I was hesitant to try something else but in the end I gave in to those pleading brown eyes.
Our final choice and what we still feed all of our dogs today was Purina One Lamb and Rice.
We finally had a winner!
Beau loved it and kept it in his sensitive little stomach.
The dog was happy, my floors were happy and I was happy. His coat is in good condition and he is maintaining a good weight.
Thankfully our other dog agrees with this choice and is also thriving on this food. Funny thing is, after trying all of the more expensive brands, we ended up with one I can buy at the local grocery store.
Finding the Best Dog Food for YOUR Older Dog with a Sensitive Stomach
If you vet agrees that your dog has a sensitive stomach, it is time to go on the search for the best food for your dog. Here is a short list of things you want to look for in your dog’s new food.
- Meat as the first ingredient
- Rice or Rice bran in the top 5 ingredients
- A food that has kibble appropriate to your dog’s size
- A food that your dog is willing to eat
Once you decide on a food to try, make the switch from one food to the other slowly. Even if the old food was causing occasional upset stomachs, a fast switch from one to the other could double your trouble so it is best to switch gradually.
Start with a 20% new, 80% old mix and gradually up the amount of new food over the course of about 7 days. Once you are completely on the new food give your dog at least a week to adjust completely to the new food before making any decisions on how it is working for him.
The moral of the story is to pay attention to what and how your dog eats.
If he is bolting his food you can try a slow feeder.
If your dog does have a sensitive stomach, find a good food with meat listed as the first ingredient and rice in the top five.
Switch the foods slowly and give them a chance to make a difference in your dog’s sensitive digestive system.
Finally, when you find something that works, even if you can buy it at your local grocery store, stick with it, it will keep your dog happy and your floors clean.