1. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon Adult Large Breed Formula Dry Dog Food
Best Overall Dog Food for German Shepherds with Sensitive Stomachs
Purina is a premium brand with a name that you can trust. Their sensitive skin and stomach formula is fully researched using food trials and their formulas and backed by veterinary nutritionists.
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon Adult Large Breed Formula Dry Dog Food helps protect your dog’s sensitive stomach with easily digestible ingredients. Crafted with real salmon and easy on the tummy oats, this research-backed formula contains no soy, wheat, or artificial colors or flavors that can cause belly upsets or skin flare-ups.
Alongside stomach-loving antioxidants for your dog’s immune support, the nutritious bounty is crafted using EPA and glucosamine for joint health.
And, if that wasn’t enough…
The dry kibble is strengthened with both prebiotics and probiotics for beneficial digestion.
Reinforced, nutritionally complete formula fortified with glucosamine and Omega-3 fatty acids for joint support.
Easily digestible salmon and ground oats for gentle nourishment.
Boosted with natural prebiotic and probiotic fiber to help healthy gut bacteria thrive.
2. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food
Best Vet-Recommended Sensitive Stomach Dog Food for German Shepherds
Caring for your dog’s sensitive stomach and skin doesn’t mean skimping on the flavor. That’s where Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food comes in.
Its larger kibble size for bigger breed dogs is specially developed to care for dogs prone to tummy trouble. With highly-digestible natural ingredients – along with added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids – your pet can more easily digest and absorb all the nutritious goodness.
What’s more, the researched-backed formula includes antioxidants to reinforce the immune system, prebiotic fiber for healthy elimination, and Omega-6 for moisturized skin and a shiny coat.
A formula backed by research and recommended by veterinarians.
Included beet pulp, to help soothe the stomach and improve stool quality.
Crafted with highly digestible ingredients to enable optimal nutrient absorption.
Incorporates vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a glossy coat.
Prepared with natural ingredients for a healthy, wholesome meal.
Does your German Shepherd have diarrhea frequently?
Do you want their potty problems to be history?
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Digestion Salmon Dry Dog Food uses an exclusive ActivBiome+ Technology blend of prebiotics, whole grain oats, and pumpkin. This nutritional combination means your German Shepherd is well on her way to healthy, regular stools in as little as 7 days!
You can easily help your dog’s soft stools using this kibble filled with vitamins and nutrients that sustain her digestive well-being. And that means a healthier pet and household.
Simple, high-quality salmon is highly digestible and the most important ingredient.
Aids in developing a healthy gut microbiome for overall digestive well-being.
Premium dry dog food that helps keep regular and healthy stools to lessen diarrhea.
Includes an exclusive blend of prebiotics for soothing sensitive tummies, along with whole grain oats and pumpkin for tasty nutrition that is packed full of flavor.
Best Grain-Free Food for German Shepherds with Sensitive Stomachs
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is made especially for dogs with grain sensitivities. Using highly digestible protein from fresh chicken, combined with nourishing prebiotic fiber, this grain-free formula helps promote nutrient absorption while helping ease sensitive stomachs.
Apples and cranberries, full of vitamins C and E, are rich in antioxidants and promote a healthy immune system. To round out the skin-loving formula, flaxseed provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to help give your dog a lustrous coat and supple, smooth, skin.
Created using only highly digestible ingredients to support ideal nutrient absorption.
5. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Duck & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
Best High-Protein Dog Food for German Shepherds with Sensitivities
Just 8 wholesome ingredients create this sensitive formulation for soothing tummy issues and bringing relief. This unique recipe brings together a protein-packed meal full of chicken, wholesome veggies, and a powerhouse of probiotics, antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s immune system for ongoing good health.
Canidae never uses any corn, wheat, soy, grain, or artificial ingredients, keeping things simple so your sensitive dog’s digestion can keep working at its best.
Prepared with only 8 simple, real food ingredients for a complete and balanced high-protein meal.
Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives for sensitive tummies.
Free of grains, soy, and wheat for dogs with sensitive digestion and problem stomachs.
Fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS proprietary blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to focus on your pet’s ongoing health.
6. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Turkey Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food
Best Grain-Free Food for German Shepherds with Sensitive Stomachs
With Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Turkey Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food, your dog can have the goodness of raw foods, even if they have sensitivities. This recipe emphasizes a carefully thought out short ingredient list, made with just one animal protein and one vegetable to reduce allergies and stomach problems in dogs.
Built upon the simplicity of raw nutrition, Instint’s Limited Ingredient Diets are essential nutrients that your dog craves. Plus, it’s all made in the USA with the purest ingredients sourced from around the world.
Prepared with easily-digestible protein that provides all the essential amino acids your large-breed dog needs to keep their muscles strong.
Natural omega fatty acids and antioxidants encourage healthy skin and coat, plus improved immune health.
No artificial colors, preservatives, chicken, beef, fish, potato, sweet potato, chickpeas, corn, soy, wheat, or grains — for dogs with multiple sensitivities and the most delicate of stomachs.
7. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Salmon & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
When looking for a limited ingredient and grain-free food for your German Shepherd’s delicate stomach, you don’t have to choose between flavorful taste and your dog’s sensitivities. That’s because Blue Buffalo’s Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula is a scrumptious, limited-ingredient diet made with fewer ingredients for food sensitivities in dogs.
This tasty formula contains a single animal protein source, real salmon, and incorporates pumpkin and easily digested carbohydrates for a simple, yet mouthwatering, meal.
And, don’t forget, it also has BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits—a combination of handpicked antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. These select pieces reinforce your dog’s overall health and wellness.
A simple, but delicious, meal crafted with real salmon for digestible protein.
High-quality ingredients like potatoes, peas, and pumpkin provide easy-to-digest carbohydrates for sensitive tummies
A gentle formula that is free from chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs which can upset stomachs.
Made without poultry by-product meals, preservatives, and artificial flavors to keep the formula as gentle as possible for delicate stomachs.
Best Food for Senior German Shepherd with Sensitive Stomach
Owning a senior German Shepherd comes with its own set of particular problems. This is especially true when dealing with an aging dog that also frequently has food sensitivities.
Don’t fret over what to offer your senior to calm their stomachs and instead turn to a top name brand with Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Perfect Digestion Dry Dog Food. Using only specially selected gentle ingredients the Hill’s veterinary team has crafted a highly digestible formula for your senior companion.
With whole grain oats and tasty pumpkin, the small-bite kibble is packed with nutrients that support digestive health and are easier to eat for those with dental issues.
Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Digestion even improves your senior dog’s stools in as little as 7 days!
This means more regular, healthy stools for your German Shepherd and less clean-up for you.
A delicious chicken formula that’s low in fat for stomach sensitivities.
Scientifically proven formula reduces poor, runny stools in as short as one week.
9. Purina Pro Plan Development Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies with Sensitive Stomach
Some German Shepherd puppies experience frequent soft stools and diarrhea when coming to a new home. The stress of leaving their littermates and learning a new routine can trigger stomach upset and digestion problems.
Leave it to Purina Pro Plan to develop a specialty formula for German Shepherd puppies in need of a bit of extra TLC for those stressful life events.
Using real salmon complemented by rice this easy-to-digest meal provides your growing puppy with all the nutrition they need to fuel their bodies — all while easing their sensitive stomachs. Furthermore, the added sunflower oil and vitamin A promote a shiny coat and supple skin to give your puppy even more reason to cuddle.
Created with oatmeal and fresh salmon to promote gentle and calm digestion.
Contains DHA from fish oil which helps support healthy brain and vision development in maturing puppies.
Probiotics support digestive system function and immune health, while prebiotic fiber encourages specific supportive good gut bacteria in the intestines.
Purina Pro Plan Development Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
Comparison Chart: Best Dog Food for German Shepherds with Sensitive Stomachs
What’s the best dog food for German Shepherds with sensitive stomachs?
The best food for German Shepherds with sensitive stomachs contains highly digestible ingredients and is low in fat. Highly digestible ingredients are easier for German Shepherds to digest and provide more nutrients. The food should avoid the most common known allergens, such as dairy and beef. The right levels of proteins, fats, and fiber will help ensure your German Shepherd gets the nutrition they need while dealing with their stomach issues.
Supplementing with probiotics shows promise for managing digestion problems in German Shepherds and a daily regimen is advised.
The only problem?
Finding the exact dog foods that meet these requirements in an aisle full of fancy packaging and flashy marketing. Here are the top picks laid out for you, along with even more delicious options for your dog’s dinner and a sensitive stomach guide for keeping your dog healthy and active.
Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds with Sensitive Stomachs
When selecting the right dog food for German Shepherds with sensitive stomachs, understanding what you should look for is critical to making the right decision for their health.
There are several factors to consider when comparing sensitive dog foods:
Ingredients: One of the most important things to consider, especially for dogs with sensitivities and diarrhea issues.
Life stage formulation: The life stage formulation helps to ensure your dog gets the right amount of nutrition and calories for their age.
Price and budget: The price of sensitive dog foods, especially for a large German Shepherd, plays a role in which food many owners feed their dog. Some owners have a limited budget for speciality foods.
Portion size (calories): While you might think a large bag of dog food is a great deal, the calorie content is more important.
Let’s take a peek at each of the standards so you’ll understand what to look for when buying your German Shepherd’s next bag of dog food.
Healthy ingredients are essential when raising a sensitive stomach German Shepherd. It’s good to always know what you’re feeding your dog, especially a growing puppy.
For dogs with belly problems, you’ll want to find brands with:
A wholesome main source of protein
Added Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
Probiotics and prebiotics
Balanced vitamins and minerals
When these main ingredients are provided they create a healthy blend of balanced nutrition. Once these basic components are met, you can then check for additional options you prefer, such as grain-free choices or the inclusion of beneficial ingredients like blueberries, oats, and pumpkin.
Dogs need particular nutrition for their age and life stage. This life stage is usually noted on the packaging of the product so you can offer your dog the right nutrition for their life group. Feeding a senior dog is different from feeding a puppy and knowing their life stage helps you to choose the right formula for healthy growth or maintenance.
There are 3 main life stages available on the market currently:
Puppy growth formulas
Formulas for pregnant/lactating dogs
Maintenance formulas (for adult and senior dogs)
While senior dogs don’t have their own specific category, they do have their own nutrition needs you need to consider. The right dog food will help keep your aging companion in top form while keeping them lean and active.
Consumers are swayed by the price of dog food when determining whether they purchase the food or not. An adult German Shepherd can eat upwards of 3 to 4 cups of food a day, and this adds to your budget. Since your sensitive dog requires sensitive food, this will add to your pet’s spending.
Specially formulated foods are generally higher in price due to their ingredients and cost of production. Keep in mind you’ll need to set more funds aside to cover the increase in price. This cost is in addition to any supplements, treats, or other food products you’ll need to feed along with their kibble.
When choosing a sensitive food for your German Shepherd another item to consider is the size of the product you’re buying. Don’t just assume that a bigger bag of foods means it’s a better deal.
Some dog foods have higher calories per cup of food and a smaller bag might be a better buy than another brand with a larger bag of food, but fewer calories per cup. This means you’ll need more cups of food to reach the same energy or calorie level as the more calorie-dense food.
The calorie amount per cup is an important factor when buying any food for your dog, especially higher-priced sensitive dog foods.
How do I choose the right sensitive food for my German Shepherd?
The best dog food for a German Shepherd’s sensitive stomach contains highly digestible ingredients, is low in fat, and meets their nutrition and calorie needs. Highly digestible ingredients are easy to digest and supply more nutrients for the volume of food, helping to provide your dog with essential nutrients for their health.
One option you can try at home is to start an elimination diet. This means giving your dog an ingredient she hasn’t eaten before. By isolating certain ingredients, you can better understand what foods increase your dog’s stomach sensitivity and what foods don’t.
It’s best to select a high-quality diet that has a short ingredient list. The fewer the ingredients the less likely the number of variables your dog might have sensitivities to.
Selecting Different Diets
It’s okay to choose different ingredients than the current diet. But, avoid choosing exotic ingredients such as kangaroo, bison, or other unusual proteins. If you’ve been feeding your pet a higher fat diet you can try one that is lower in fat. Be aware that fiber could also cause your dog to experience stomach upsets or diarrhea problems.
If you’re thinking about trying an elimination diet for your German Shepherd, it’s best to speak to your vet before you begin. They will provide expert advice on the plan you’ve chosen, suggest diet alternatives if necessary, and keep an eye on the process so your dog stays happy and healthy throughout the elimination trial.
What kind of dog food should I feed a German Shepherd with a sensitive stomach?
When feeling overwhelmed shopping for dog food, focus on the three main types of dog food that work best for German Shepherds who have sensitive stomachs:
1. Limited ingredient dog food: A limited ingredient dog food helps to troubleshoot any food sensitivities your dog might have. These formulas are widely available in different formats, such as dry dog food or canned. And many are also grain-free. Limited ingredient dog foods contain fewer ingredients than regular commercial dog food. Generally, the food has one source of protein (from meat) so you can find a food that doesn’t upset your German Shepherd’s stomach. They also are usually crated with low to moderate levels of fat, and some have added probiotics to aid digestion.
2. Hypoallergenic dog food: Hypoallergenic dog food for German Shepherds is made from proteins that have been broken down into simpler, more easily digestible amino acids. This makes the protein less likely to cause a bad reaction and make your dog sick. Look for labels that state they are hypoallergenic and avoid foods that have multiple sources of protein.
3. Prescription gastrointestinal (GI) dog food: Prescription GI foods are canine foods made expressly for dogs with digestive issues. They require a veterinarian’s recommendation and generally a prescription in order to purchase them. Unfortunately, they are usually more expensive than store-bought limited ingredient and hypoallergenic dog food. Some German Shepherds may require prescription dog food if they are truly allergic (and not just sensitive) to specific proteins or carbohydrates found in many foods on the market.
Sensitive Dog Food Type
Limited ingredient dog food
Troubleshooting your dog’s stomach sensitivities at home; readily available in pet stores
Hypoallergenic dog food
Dogs that are allergic to specific proteins and require the protein source to be broken down before eating; less common in pet stores
Prescription gastrointestinal dog food
Dogs with true food allergies; only available with a veterinarian’s recommendation and prescription
Choose one of these formulas for sensitivity in your GSD.
What alternative diets could I consider to help my dog?
The most convenient option for owners is store-bought dog food for sensitive stomachs. But some people might want to consider a homemade sensitivity diet.
While it’s possible to make your own sensitive food at home, it’s essential to ensure that your dog is getting the right amount of energy, protein, and nutrients for her breed, age, life stage, and life cycle. A sensitive homemade diet should contain protein (from meat or fish), fiber (from carbohydrates), fats, fatty acids, along with the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
There are also companies that sell fresh, gently cooked foods made to suit your dog’s diet. These formulas are another option for those looking for options to the kibble at pet supply stores.
Always talk to your veterinarian or qualified canine nutritionist to ensure you are given a healthy and balanced diet and meal plan if you choose to cook your German Shepherd’s food at home yourself. Any improperly cooked or unbalanced food can cause long-term damage to your dog unintentionally.
How do I know if my German Shepherd has a sensitive stomach?
A sensitive stomach is when a dog eats a particular food and this causes a digestive upset.
Common signs and symptoms that your German Shepherd has a sensitive stomach include:
Excessive salivation and drooling
Loss of appetite
Decreased mobility after eating certain food substances
Signs of abdominal pain or avoiding your touch when they usually accept petting
The most common symptom seen in a German Shepherd with a sensitive stomach is diarrhea.
Diarrhea can result if one of the normal digestion processes goes wrong. You might even find that you frequently change their food in order to find “the right one” to suit their stomach issues and prevent their frequent bouts of gastrointestinal upset.
It’s stressful for both your German Shepherd!
Your dog is uncomfortable and feels ill, and you’re desperate to help.
When your German Shepherd seems to react poorly to their regular food it’s best to get a formal vet’s diagnosis to get to the bottom of the matter as quickly as possible. This is especially true if your dog has had continued symptoms despite your good efforts.
What causes a sensitive stomach and diarrhea in German Shepherds?
There are multiple causes why German Shepherds can have diarrhea. This could range from eating something they should not to a sudden change of food.
If you are inclined to change your dog’s food, remember to do it gradually over at least a seven to ten-day period. You can do the food switch by mixing a small amount of the new food with the original food. As each day passes continue to add more of the new food while including less of the original diet.
If at any point your German Shepherd gets upset to the stomach or has diarrhea, stop the new diet and let them have a few days of rest on their original normal diet before trying with the introduction of the new food again.
It’s possible that your German Shepherd could be intolerant to some ingredients. This is true even if they have previously fared well with them.
German Shepherd puppies may get diarrhea when coming to a new family home due to stress and a sudden change in feeding routines. You may have to introduce your puppy to a different food even more slowly to avoid stomach upset and frequent diarrhea.
There are many other causes of diarrhea and upset stomach. If your dog is unwell please seek veterinary advice for more information immediately.
What kind of foods can German Shepherds be sensitive to?
Much like you, food sensitivities in GSDs are based on the individual dog. While one dog can eat a certain food without any issues, another dog may have an upset belly when they try even one kibble of the same food.
Foods that German Shepherds may be sensitive to include:
Eggs and egg products
Some carbohydrates found in vegetables
Allergies and food intolerances can often affect a dog’s digestive system and overall health. Making a good dietary choice for your dog is one way to avoid digestive upset and support excellent physical well-being.
If you want to understand more about which foods your German Shepherd is sensitive to you can use this inexpensive, at-home intolerance test. This is an easy kit that you can give your dog from your own home without visiting a vet’s office and it doesn’t hurt them (If you enter this code – lovemydog – on checkout you can get a discount.).
Problems with Changing Dog Foods
One of the biggest mistakes owners make is trying too many diets on their own before seeking veterinary attention. In haste to help your sick German Shepherd, you might think frequently changing foods is a good option.
And some dog owners might feed over a dozen diets, sometimes for only a couple of days at a time, before quickly switching foods again. This kind of feeding routine makes it much harder to get to the bottom of things.
Food changes take time to show effects and don’t happen in just a few days. Stick with one food and note your dog’s diarrhea, upset stomach, and other gastrointestinal issues for a couple of months to see an effect.
What should I do if I think my puppy or dog has a sensitive stomach and diarrhea?
It is always advisable you speak with a veterinarian when dealing with frequent, excessive diarrhea or bought of vomiting due to a sensitive stomach.
While an elimination diet that you diligently monitor can be started at home, you’ll still need the help of a vet to determine if there are any underlying health concerns. The diet should help eliminate what foods your dog or puppy may have sensitivity to such as beef, dairy, or wheat (some of the most common food allergens).
Once you’ve picked your new diet, introduce it gradually and give it a try as the only food that your German Shepherd receives. If they improve, then you can keep them on that diet.
Especially schedule a check-up if your dog or puppy is not recovering from mild diarrhea at home. German Shepherds with frequent bouts of diarrhea may become dehydrated which complicates their health further.
Don’t wait to seek help when in doubt.
Speak to your veterinarian in situations where:
the diarrhea is increasing and is accompanied with bouts of vomiting
there are bloody mucous or blood in the stool
Most vet clinics have 24-hour emergency service so don’t delay in seeking treatment. Some stomach problems can’t be solved with food changes alone and need medications to help resolve them.
Conclusion: Getting to the Bottom of Your German Shepherd’s Food Sensitivities
Having a German Shepherd that frequently gets sick from eating their meals is stressful. Not knowing how to help can leave you feeling desperate and willing to try almost anything to keep your dog healthy.
There are so many diets on the market it can be confusing to pick the best food for your German Shepherd to help their sensitive stomachs. But, don’t buy just any kibble without first knowing more about how to help your German Shepherd’s sensitive digestion.
Provides your companion with the essential ingredients they need
Is created with stomach-calming ingredients for gentle digestion
Gives them a taste they’ll love! 💗
If your German Shepherd has a sensitive stomach, then following this buyer’s guide will prepare you with the information and steps you can take to feel confident when choosing the right food to prevent stomach issues.
Don’t give up searching for the right ingredients and formulation when looking for the best food for a German Shepherd with a sensitive stomach.
There’s a market full of choices and you’re bound to find a product that meets your dog’s unique needs at a price you can afford.
Know another German Shepherd owner with a sensitive dog?
Cave, Nick. (2006). Hydrolyzed Protein Diets for Dogs and Cats. The Veterinary clinics of North America. Small animal practice. 36. 1251-68, vi. 10.1016/j.cvsm.2006.08.008.
Catherine Krasavin owns Shepherd Sense, a dog website aimed at German Shepherd owners and lovers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, with Honors, and has been training dogs for over a decade. Catherine’s currently attending continuing education courses to keep up with the latest in animal science, as well as earning her diploma in dog training. She owns a plush coat German Shepherd who was awarded Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Gold Award - the highest level of achievement.
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