Dogs who are having issues digesting their food will often show symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and they may even experience itchiness if they are allergic to something in their food. As a pet parent, it can be heart breaking to watch your pet have such as difficult time, and you of course want to do everything you can to rectify these issues.
Unfortunately, your dog could be sensitive to any number of ingredients, and this may not be a quick fix. It’s possible that you may need to try several brands before you find one that your pup can eat without experiencing any issues. Fortunately, there are a few really good tricks to eliminate most of the problem ingredients in one go, and in this article we’re going to tell you how to do it. We’ll also recommend some foods that may be a better fit for your dog and explain why they make the cut.
What causes digestion issues in dogs?
There of course can be many, many ingredients which can cause dogs to react badly to a food. The good news is that buying a better quality food will typically eliminate most of them, making your job of finding the needle in the haystack a little easier. Many cheaper foods are filled with corn and grain, these ingredients are not the best for your dog, and in fact they offer little by way of nutrition. Manufacturers use these ingredients because they are a good source of cheap filler calories. Eliminating them is a good step toward putting your pup on a better diet.
When searching for an easy to digest food for your dog you will most likely be looking for something that is grain free and limited ingredient. The reason for this of course is that there are less items here that your dog could react to, making it easier for you to pinpoint problem items. All of our picks in this article will confirm to these rules. It’s also typically a good idea to purchase a food that focuses on a single protein item, as this can also be a problem area for dogs. For example, if you purchase a turkey flavored food, all of the meat items should be from turkey and not from other sources. These are usually a little easier to digest.
Our top picks for easy to digest dog food brands
Okay, now that you know what you’re looking for, here our top picks for the easiest to digest dog food brands. All of the brands in this list are either entirely grain free or they offer a grain free option. They use only high quality meats, without fillers and they offer limited ingredient diets that are easy on your pets stomach. We’ve also noted what’s great about each of these choices. Keep in mind that if you do know some items that your dog is sensitive to that these options all have multiple flavors, and it’s likely that you can find something that excludes the offending ingredient. Okay, here’s our easy to digest dog food brands list!
#1 – NomNomNow
This company based out of San Francisco, makes fresh meals that are tailored to your specific animal! They make everything fresh and deliver it to your door every week like clockwork. That’s pretty cool by itself, but they also offer an exceptionally great food for dogs with digestive issues. Their fresh and limited ingredient options are likely the easiest way to make sure your dog has no further issues with his diet. Below is one of their sample recipes. You can see that the ingredients for the Chicken Chow-Wow contains only four ingredients and one main protein, diced chicken. A solitary protein item is a great choice for sensitive dogs, and the limited ingredient recipe helps weed out allergies.
They of course do have other recipes as well if your pup can’t have chicken, and all of them are formulated by a vet to make sure your dog is getting the best possible nutrition. It’s a little more expensive than feeding your pup kibble, but this is the highest quality dog food you can get. If you only want to feed your dog the very best food, then this is it. You can learn more about NomNomNow at their website, and they frequently give discounts and freebies to new customers. It’s the king of easy to digest dog food brands.
#2 – Halo Dog Food
We understand that NomNomNow can be out of the budget for many pet parents, and if that’s the case for you then don’t worry, we’ve got another great suggestion for you! Halo offers an excellent food that comes in both kibble and canned formulas which is highly digestible. In fact, they’ve even done tests to prove that their food is more digestible than other brands!
They offer grain free, limited ingredient diets that are excellent for pups who have a hard time keeping food down. In addition to using only human grade ingredients, they also do not use any heavily processed or rendered meat meals, they use no GMO products, and they are committed to using items which are sustainably harvested.
Pet parents who are interested in feeding their pup this brand should keep in mind that not every Halo recipe is grain free. If you only want to feed your dog grain free food (which we recommend), then make sure you purchase a product that is marked as such. All recipes are however free of low quality grains like corn and wheat, and meat is always the main ingredients. Click here to find an appropriate halo product for your pup.
#3 – Stella and Chewy
This product is a low carbohydrate diet that is actually made almost entirely of freeze dried meat. If you have a dog that is rather a picky eater, then this may fit the bill. This brand has a limited ingredient profile that contains 95% raw protein, with the remainder being made of healthy vegetables. These are grain free, very palatable to dogs and they even include pumpkin which is a great food item for pups with sensitive tummies.
You can either feed freeze dried food as is or you can use water to have it soak up a bit of moisture first. If your dog doesn’t drink water when he eats, then it’s probably best this way to make sure he’s getting enough liquids as many animals prefer to get them through eating and not drinking. While the company does also sell a kibble/raw mix which is a little more affordable, it uses meat meals which are not as good as whole meats. You can of course always buy an easily digestible kibble like Halo’s, and then feed freeze dried raw with it to make it more attractive to your dog but more affordable for you. Click here to read reviews and see the full ingredients list.
#4 – Dave’s Bland Diets
For some dogs, almost anything seems to trigger their digestive issues. It’s unfortunate, but there is something you can try for them too. Bland diets are often recommended for these dogs, and Dave’s brand makes a convenient diet for pups that makes it so you don’t have to create a diet yourself. A bland diet is merely a food that is comprised of ingredients which are easy for dogs to digest. These foods are made of a gentle blend of one protein and rice, which is normally easy on the digestive tract, but keep in mind that some dogs can be sensitive to it.
Though a little known pet food manufacturer, Dave’s makes high-quality meals for dogs that are affordable and useful for pet parents. The foods also have a very high protein content, making them more palatable than other special diets which tend to be lacking in flavor, causing many dogs to refuse to eat them. This is not so with Dave’s, and if you’ve failed using other restricted diets before, then this one is worth a try. It comes in a few different flavors including chicken and lamb, which you can see here.
Tips for transitioning your dog to his new diet
For pups with sensitive stomachs, it could be rather shocking for them to transition immediately to a new food. They could refuse to eat it or it could even make them ill due to the sudden change. If you feel like this could be a problem for your pooch, then instead start them out slower. Either mix together a small portion of the new food with the old food, or sprinkle the new food on top. This will make the transition a little easier on your dog if he’s having problems.
Once he has accepted the new diet successfully you can begin adding more and more of the new recipe until he has transitioned away from the old food. Keep in mind that it can take two weeks or so for an animal to successfully transition to a new food. If after this point they are still having issues, then it may be back to the drawing board to try another solution unfortunately. Try to remember that choosing the most easy to digest dog food brands is more of a matter of finding the best brand for your individual dog. There are plenty of excellent foods that will still cause your pup to have digestion issues. That doesn’t make those foods bad. It just makes those foods bad for your dog. Other dogs may do wonderfully on these foods.
Looking for other ways to aid your pup’s digestion?
Have you considered their water in take? Many pets are actually dehydrated, and their owners don’t even know. This is because in many cases animals prefer to get their fluids through eating. If your dog has previously been eating only a dry food diet, then this could very well be the case for them. Wet foods are easier to digest, but getting some more liquids into your dog is always a good idea.
Besides being good for their digestion, proper hydration can also assist your dog with kidney and urinary tract health. These are super important for preserving the life long health of your dog. To see how much water your dog is drinking you can mark lines on the outside of a water dish. As your dog drinks through the day you should be able to see how much they are taking in. An adult dog should be drinking around an ounce of water per pound of body weight.
If your dog isn’t meeting his hydration goals, then you could try to rectify this by making their water more attractive. The easiest way to do this is by using a pet fountain. These devices up the quality of your dog’s water by constantly circulating it, keeping nasty mold and bacteria from growing in the dishes. The water also passes through a carbon filter which improves the taste and supplies your dog with fresh water. These products are relatively inexpensive, and they’re a great investment in your dog’s health. Click here to see more about these cool devices.
For dogs who really don’t like drinking their water, you can try to add a little flavoring. The easiest way to do this normally is by getting your dog to drink broth, but in many cases broth from the grocery store is not healthy for dogs. This is because almost all of them contain onion and garlic which is toxic for your pup. However, Honest Kitchen makes an excellent and dog safe broth mix you can use. Just mix it up with some water and offer it to your dog to give them much needed fluids! It works great for picky dogs too because bone broth is extra flavorful. You can learn more about this cool product here.