Best Food for Older Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs

by Stuart | Last Updated:   August 18, 2019

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With so many foods on the market and so many people blogging about dogs, it can be difficult for a pet-parent to find any sort of real answer.

If you suspect your older dog has sensitivities and are looking for new food then keep reading.

We’re going to discuss some possible options that can help with your dog’s sensitivities.

Top Pick At A Glance

Wellness Core

  • Premium protein expertly balanced with nutrient-rich superfoods for complete and balanced dog food, with guaranteed levels of all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive and no fillers

As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases, thanks for supporting our work!

So, what are the best foods for older dogs with sensitive stomachs? Here are our top picks:

  1. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free
  2. Purina ONE SmartBlend
  3. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach
  4. Hill’s Science Diet, Sensitive Stomach & Skin
  5. NomNom & Ollie – Fresh Dog Food

The best foods for older dogs with sensitive stomachs are ones that avoid the food(s) causing the sensitivities and ones that help improve digestion while avoiding cheaper fillers.

But unless you are dealing with some severe symptoms and/or dietary restrictions there is no reason to think that spending more means a healthier doggie. 

Old dog asleep on blanket with glasses placed in front of eyes

Best Dogs Foods for Older Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs and Allergies

Whenever switching to a new food it’s important to follow both the food’s recommended transitioning protocol and any suggestions from your veterinarian. 

1. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Ocean

If you’re looking for a food that has a good chance of relieving your older doggie’s sensitive stomach then you should consider the Wellness Core dog food.

Wellness Core

  • Available in grain and grain-free recipes, as well as limited ingredient diets for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Made with a high concentration of protein from fresh meat ingredients
  • Guaranteed levels of omega fatty acids from ingredients such as flaxseed and salmon oil
  • Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine for a healthy heart

Effectiveness with allergies:

In case your older dog is one of the very rare populations of dogs that has a grain allergy this food is grain-free.

It contains Whitefish as its first ingredient and the remaining protein sources come from fish.

Value for money:

At $35 a month, this food is starting to get on the pricier side. There is a good chance, however, that it will help your older doggie’s symptoms within a short amount of time.

Few foods can avoid so many common food allergens while still maintaining fairly high nutritional integrity. The Wellness Core Ocean dog food avoids many of the common dog food allergens in commercial dog foods.

In fact, the reviews for this dog food are full of anecdotal stories from pet parents stating this food relieved many of their doggie’s allergies once they switched to it.


This food, unfortunately, has a very strong smell to it. If a fishy smell causes you to feel queasy then you may find this food unbearable to handle.

Just to be on the safe side I recommend storing it in a sealed container and outside of any main room (if possible).

Additionally, not every pet parent and their doggie finds relief with this food. Some pet parents review this food as having made their dog sick causing an upset stomach.


The Wellness Core Ocean dog food may be the quickest way to eliminate many of the common food allergens found in most dog food.

If your older dog’s allergies are getting bad then transitioning them to this food, even if temporarily, may help reduce their symptoms.

I’m sure they’ll have a good reason if they advise against this food as it’s already vet recommended.

2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Sensitive Systems

This food is a great option for pet parents on a budget and contains mostly salmon as its protein.

If you’re trying to pinpoint a particular protein your older dog is allergic or sensitive to, then this food is a good place to start.

Purina ONE

  • Real salmon as the first ingredient
  • Easily digestible for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Contains vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids to promote skin & coat health
  • Veterinarian recommended

Effectiveness with sensitive stomachs:

This dog food has a focus on easier to digest nutrition. It contains salmon (as the first ingredient) and is an omega-rich dog food which can help improve a doggie’s skin and coat.

Other vitamins and minerals found within this food aim to improve a dog’s immune system which may help with defence against allergens.

Value for money:

At roughly $17 a month for a 35 lbs. doggie, this food is an excellent choice for pet parents on a budget.

The main protein source is fish. If you are working with an older doggie that has chicken or beef allergy then this food will help.

Don’t feel bad about the low price, Purina is a well-established pet food company and often sold out of veterinarian’s offices.

A lot of pet parents report this food as helping their dog with a sensitive stomach.

Due to the higher amounts of omega fatty acids, this food is also being praised for making dog coats shinier.


While the first ingredient is Salmon, this dog food does contain some chicken.

If chicken is suspected as a food allergen for your doggie then this product may not work.

This food was once free of all chicken, but it now appears further down the list of ingredients.


This is the best option for those on a budget. In fact, it’s a great option for those not on a budget as well.

If you suspect your older doggie is reacting to certain foods, then Purina ONE SmartBlend may be a suitable food in helping manage their symptoms.

3. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Think of this one as a slightly better version than #1, and at less than $10 extra per month for this food the Purina Pro Plan may be worth considering for a few reasons.

Purina Pro Plan

  • Real salmon is the #1 ingredient
  • Prebiotic fiber promotes digestive health to support your dog’s total well-being
  • Contains no corn, wheat or soy
  • FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula has a new look and product name coming soon. May receive either bag during the transition
  • No corn, wheat or soy. No artificial colours or flavours. No poultry by-product meal

Effectiveness with sensitive stomachs:

The first ingredient is salmon and there is no:

  • wheat
  • soy
  • corn
  • artificial colours
  • artificial flavours
  • no poultry-by-product meal

Like I said, similar to #1 but a little better.

Value for money:

At roughly $24 a month for a 35 lbs. doggie, this food is an excellent choice for pet parents on a budget.

Many pet parents have reviewed this food as responsible for relieving their doggie’s skin allergies.

It can also improve a doggie’s coat making it appear shinier. A lot of pet parents report success with this food and their dog that has allergies.

It contains a prebiotic fibre that promotes digestive health.

It does not contain any corn, wheat or soy which can help when trying to determine a specific food allergy.


While shipping dog food is normally fine, there have been an unusually high amount of complaints about this particular food.

A lot of the complaints from pet parents focus on spoiled or damaged food which may indicate warehousing issues.


If you suspect your older doggie is dealing with a food allergy, especially to something like chicken, then this food is an excellent choice.

If you’re looking for something with even fewer ingredients then keep reading.

4. Hill’s Science Diet, Sensitive Stomach & Skin

This food has been designed to promote better digestive health in dogs while also nourishing their skin.

Hill’s Science

  • Promotes digestive health while nourishing skin
  • Source of prebiotic fibre to support a balanced gut microbiome in your grown dog
  • Formulated to be highly digestible for optimal nutrient absorption & easier stool pick-up
  • Vitamin E & Omega-6 fatty acids to help your grown dog get a lustrous coat and healthy skin
  • No.1 veterinarian-recommended

Effectiveness with sensitive stomachs:

Hill’s Science foods are highly recommended by veterinarians. While this food isn’t perfect for all dog’s it can be an excellent food for some dog’s experiencing symptoms from the food they are eating.

While this food is not geared towards eliminating certain protein sources it does aim to improve digestion. It contains a source of prebiotic fibres that help to balance the gut microbiome in dogs.

The Hill’s Science Diet is formulated to be highly digestible to help dogs better absorb the nutrients from the food they eat. It also contains higher amounts of Vitamin E and Omega 6 fatty acids to help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

Value for money:

This one is a little on the pricier side considering what it contains. However, this food is designed for sensitivities rather than allergies.

As I discussed earlier, food allergies in dogs are rare, and grain allergies are very rare. If you don’t actually know for sure if your dog has a food allergy, this food may be a good way to change up and clean up their diet.

It contains a source of prebiotic fibre to support a balanced gut microbiome in your grown dog.

This food is also designed to be highly digestible, something the food your older doggie is currently eating may lack.


If you are specifically trying to avoid eggs, chicken and/or grains then this food will not work.

Some pet parents have experienced this food making their doggie’s allergies even worse. Whether it’s diarrhea or more itching, some dogs, unfortunately, do not do well on this food.

This is the reality for dog food, unfortunately, but it can be more disappointing when it comes from a higher quality and commercial dog food.


If you’re not actually sure if your older doggie has a food allergy (i.e., you and your vet have not done extensive testing), then this food may be worth trying for your buddy.

It won’t completely change up what your doggie is likely already eating. It will clean up what they’re eating and promote better digestion.

These two things combined may improve your older doggie’s current symptoms like itching or poor quality stool.

5. Premium Dog Food

I want to make it very clear that a premium dog food does not necessarily mean better dog food. Premium becomes a suitable option when you have a doggie that has unwanted symptoms that don’t seem to be improving.

Premium dog food is often for those pet parents that have already tried “everything”.

Fresh Dog Food

Ollie & NomNom

  • The easiest way to feed your pup fresh food
  • Meals specifically formulated for YOUR dog’s age, weight, breed, and allergies
  • Meals arrive on a flexible, regular schedule
  • Use the feeding guide to give your dog their customized portion and ensure they’re getting the right amount of food

If your doggie truly has an allergy then trying out a dog food like NomNomNow may be beneficial. First, NomNomNow contains very few ingredients and contains a single protein source.

6. Allergy Immune Supplement

In case you feel that none of the recommended foods in this post is a good fit for your doggie, or you feel that you may not need to completely switch their food, I’d like to recommend this allergy immune supplement.

Zesty Paws

  • Boost the Immune System – Zesty Paws Aller-Immune Bites are grain-free soft chews that support immune, histamine, and digestive health for dogs with skin, seasonal, and environmental allergy issues

Dog Food & Sensitive Stomachs

Here’s a great quote from Dr. Freeman who is a veterinary nutritionist and a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She is on the cutting-edge of science, with hundreds of articles in prestigious journals, speaking engagements at national and international conferences, and awards for her scientific achievements.

“Pets require nutrients, not ingredients; a diet full of great sounding ingredients can be less nutritious than a diet containing less appealing (to people) ingredients. Some manufacturers may add ingredients to diets solely for marketing purposes, to increase the appeal of the diet to consumers. These ingredients may have unproven benefits, be present in minuscule amounts and provide nothing to the diet but added expense.”[2]

She also is passionate about providing objective and accurate information on pet nutrition to veterinarians, pet owners, and other animal enthusiasts. 

I think this is an important quote as I often see pet parents get hung up on the specific ingredient list in a dog food and while it can be important, most of us aren’t properly trained or educated to actually decipher the meaning behind it all.

Final Thoughts

If you suspect your older dog has sensitive and/or allergies then make sure you, well, make sure!

Too many pet parents fall into a spiral of worry.

Your doggie may have recently developed an allergy or sensitivity to the food they’re eating and, if that’s the case, I hope this post has helped narrow down some new food choices.  

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Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.
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