From slight nausea after mealtime to loose stools and everything in between, digestive issues aren’t uncommon in dogs. For some pets, the uncomfortable symptoms associated with an upset stomach can be alleviated with the right diet. Many pet parents whose dog’s stomach doesn’t agree with typical meals specifically seek out stomach-sensitive dog foods for this very reason.
While changing foods may help the situation, pet parents in a sensitive stomach predicament may also want to re-evaluate the treats they give their pooch, as those could also contribute to digestive upset. Here, we take a look at some of the reasons pet parents may want to explore dog treats for sensitive stomachs and serve up some of our favorite choices.
Our Top Treats for Sensitive Stomachs
- Best Overall Dog Treat for Sensitive Stomachs: Portland Pet Food Company Pumpkin Biscuits
- Best Training Treat for Sensitive Stomachs: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Digestive Health Bites
- Best Dental Treat for Sensitive Stomachs: Get Naked Digestive Health Dental Chew Sticks
- Best Calming Dog Treat for Sensitive Stomachs: Wholesome Pride Healthy Jerky Bites
- Best Probiotic Treat for Sensitive Stomachs: Great Poop Total Digestive Support Chews
- Best Treat for Puppies with Sensitive Stomachs: Wellness Puppy Bites
Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs: Common Symptoms
The term “stomach sensitivity” is sometimes mistakenly interchanged with the term “food allergy,” but it’s important to note that the two are not the same.
“Not all pets with sensitive stomachs have food allergies,” says Dr. Natalie Marks, a veterinarian at VCA Blum Animal Hospital. “Some are just intolerances.”
By observing their dog closely in and around mealtimes and throughout the course of the day, pet parents can usually pick up signs of a sensitive stomach that stems from more common intolerances.
“Common signs we might see are changes in appetite, licking of the lips, diarrhea, excessive gas, blood in the stool, and excessive salivation,” says Dr. Marks. Other symptoms like light nausea and loose stools could also be indicative of digestive upset and could signal a need for a change in diet or treats.
Beyond those common signs, issues related to stomach sensitivities can also sometimes manifest on the skin. Dr. Marks advises to be on the lookout for symptoms like patchy hair loss, dull hair quality, dryness, flaking, itchiness and redness.
Why Are Dog Treats for Sensitive Stomachs Important?
Consistency is key when it comes to what you feed your dog. And if your pup is suffering from chronic or recurring symptoms of a sensitive stomach, they should be evaluated by a veterinarian so you can be sure you’re giving them the best food and treats for their situation.
“We want to do our best to find the primary problem, whether it’s a parasite, something noticed on blood work, a hormone imbalance, a structural issue, or even genetics,” says Dr. Marks. “If those are ruled out, we start looking at food insensitivity, and that’s where it’s important to remain as consistent and streamlined with the ingredients as possible. And that includes treats, too.”
Dog treats specially formulated for sensitive stomachs feature limited ingredients that are designed to help digestion. For pet parents, these treats play an important role in providing consistency, as a mix of too many ingredients can potentially exacerbate existing issues, even if the diet is largely changed.
Our Selection Process
When selecting our top dog treats for sensitive stomachs, along with noting sustainability and manufacturing processes/testing, we considered the following:
Ingredient quality. Since what’s actually in the treats plays a huge role in how a dog’s stomach will react to them, we paid close attention to the ingredients of each selection.
Safety/efficacy. We looked into the specifics of the intended recipient of each treat, whether designed for puppies, dogs with certain diet restrictions, or any type of canine.
Consumer ratings/reviews. To gain more insight on how each treat fared on a mass level, we checked out customer reviews and noted any interesting findings from pet parents.
Price. While you want a treat that will help with dog digestive issues, you might not necessarily want one that will break the bank every time you re-purchase. With that in mind, we called out great deals, as well as treats that are a little pricier.
6 Best Dog Treats for Sensitive Stomachs
Best Overall Dog Treat for Sensitive Stomachs
Pumpkin has long been lauded as an ingredient with the ability to aid digestion, which is one of the reasons why this dog treat for sensitive stomachs topped our list. Portland Pet Food Company delivers natural, human-grade dog food and treats, and their light, crumbly baked pumpkin biscuits are tasty ones that can help pets with stomach sensitivity. Plus, they’re gluten and grain free, and contain no GMOs, BHA, BHT, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.
- Limited all-natural, sustainable ingredients to make digestion easier
- Human-grade treats
- Pumpkin flavor that can appeal to even picky canines (other flavors available)
- Grain and gluten free
- Ideal for all types of dogs, including seniors
- Made in the USA, with locally sourced ingredients
- Some customers said that these treats were smaller than expected and were broken/crushed upon delivery
Best Training Treat for Sensitive Stomachs
Purina’s appropriately named bite-sized health bites are specially formulated to aid digestion and cater to dogs with stomach issues, featuring a run of limited ingredients and prebiotic fiber. Their smaller size makes them ideal training treats for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Smaller size is great for training
- Specially formulated to aid in digestive health
- Responsibly sourced ingredients
- Contains vitamin C and E for immune system support
- Higher price point
Best Dental Treat for Sensitive Stomachs
Dental health is often an overlooked aspect of overall pet wellbeing. For pets with sensitive stomachs, many dental health chews feature ingredients that induce stomach upset. Get Naked’s dental chews are specially formulated with prebiotics, probiotics, and ingredients high in fiber that aid in digestion, rather than exacerbating stomach issues, making them our favorite dental treats for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Helps with dental issues, including reducing plaque and tartar build up
- Includes probiotics to aid gut health
- Free of ingredients like grains, wheat, corn, and soy that can induce stomach upset
- Good price point
- Only available in one flavor (chicken)
- May not be suitable for pets whose dental issues require them to have softer foods
Best Calming Dog Treat for Sensitive Stomachs
Our Pick: Wholesome Pride Healthy Jerky Bites
Pet parents can stay calm themselves, resting assured that there are flavorful treats for dogs with sensitive stomachs and that can also help relieve a little bit of canine stress. These healthy jerky bites are crafted with a limited-ingredient recipe that promotes digestive health and packs a flavorful punch.
- Active ingredients like L-Theanine, chamomile, and passion flower promote a calming impact on dogs
- Grain/gluten free; no artificial preservatives or fillers
- Suitable for all life stages
- Calming variety is only available in one flavor (turkey)
Best Probiotic Treat for Sensitive Stomachs
Our Pick: Great Poop Total Digestive Support Chews
Not only do these treats pack a 2 billion CFU probiotic punch, they also contain prebiotics, fiber, and plenty of digestive enzymes to help your pup maintain gut health, firm stools, and immune support. This well-rounded probiotic treat for sensitive stomachs comes in a chicken flavor, and depending on the size of your dog, the 120-count container can last up to 4 months.
- Probiotics (2 billion CFUs), prebiotics, fiber, and 6 digestive enzymes promote gut health and firm stools
- Also provides immune system support
- 2 package sizes – 120 count and 240 count
- Higher price point, especially for larger dogs who may require up to 5 chews a day and go through the container at a faster rate
- Only one flavor (chicken)
Best Treat for Puppies with Sensitive Stomachs
Our Pick: Wellness Puppy Bites
These treats from Wellness are a great option for puppies in training thanks to their bite-sized nature. Available in soft and hard varieties in a number of different flavors, they’re crafted with all-natural fruits and vegetables, which promote digestive health.
- Available in a variety of flavors, including lamb & salmon and chicken & carrots
- Made with natural fruits and vegetables
- Both soft and hard textures available
- Perfect bite-sized treat for puppies in training
- Great price point
- Some customers noted that these were too rich for their puppy, causing diarrhea
Dog Treats for Sensitive Stomachs: Buyer’s Guide
Shopping for the right dog treats for sensitive stomachs is really customized to the dog who will be consuming them, but some guidance may help. Here are a few tips for pet parents to keep in mind:
Read ingredient labels carefully. Dr. Marks recommends that pet parents look for treats with good sources of fiber and lower fat levels that can help ease digestion, as well as treats that incorporate probiotics to help balance bacteria in the gut.
Maintain ingredient consistency. Keeping your dog with consistent ingredients across both their mealtime food and treats can help them manage/avoid intolerances or potential exacerbations of issues.
Lean on your veterinarian for help. Your veterinarian will have your pup’s complete nutritional history and be mindful of their specific needs at any given moment.