The 9 Best Dog Foods for Acid Reflux

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

If your dog is having problems with his food, you may wonder:

Do dogs suffer from acid reflux?

How can I tell acid reflux from other problems my dog may have?

Should I change my dog’s food?

Unlike us, dogs can’t just pop an antacid and eat that overstuffed burrito; other measures need to be taken, the first of which is often switching their dog food.

But choosing a dog food isn’t always straight forward.

So we’ve prepared this customized guide just for you. You can learn all about acid reflux in dogs and choose the best dog food for your best friend. So, if you’re ready, let’s dive in!

The Best Acid Reflux Dog Foods – My Top 5 Picks

1. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,725 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26%, Fat (min.) 16%, Fiber (max.) 4%, Moisture (max.) 12%
  • Form: Dry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Ground Rice, 3. Canola Meal, 4. Sunflower Oil, 5. Chicory Root
  • Sensitive digestion formula
  • No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

No matter what breed or size your dog is, the Purina Pro Plan Focus Dog Food is a good choice for dogs with digestive and acid reflux issues. This recipe is made with salmon as the main source of protein because of its easy digestibility. Additionally, it contains prebiotic fiber from chicory root to support the growth of healthy bacterial flora found in the intestine, which leads to better digestion. Also, it’s free of corn, wheat, and soy, which can cause stomach issues in dogs suffering from acid reflux and food sensitivity.

Purina Pro Plan Focus Dog Food also contains rice and oatmeal. Both of these are especially easy on a dog’s stomach, and help provide energy to they can stay active throughout the day. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help provide nourishment to your dog’s skin and make their coat shiny and soft. Finally, there’s glucosamine to keep your dog’s joints lubricated and functioning smoothly, which improves mobility.

Buy on Chewy

2. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,725 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 21%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.) 5%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Sweet Potatoes, 2. Salmon, 3. Canola Oil, 4. Menhaden Fish Meal, 5. Salmon Oil
  • Limited Ingredient Diet
  • No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Easy digestion formula

For dogs suffering from acid reflux, a limited ingredient diet that’s lower in fats and proteins is important; and that’s what the Natural Balance LID dog food is all about. It contains very few selected ingredients like Salmon, which is easy to digest, non-allergenic, and provides plenty of essential amino acids and minerals. The second main ingredient is sweet potato, which is rich in fiber and contains carbohydrates to fuel your dog’s body.

Because dogs with acid reflux problems usually have sensitive stomachs, Natural Balance has eliminated wheat, soy, and corn to alleviate any digestive problems. This formula contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives to make sure that your dog is receiving only the best nutrition. Apart from this, the dog food also contains omega-three acids, which play an important role in supporting the growth of a shiny and softer coat.

Buy on Chewy

3. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Classic Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Entree Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,266 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 7%, Fat (min.) 5%, Fiber (max.) 1.5%, Moisture (max.) 78%
  • Form: Pate
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Rice, 3. Fish, 4. Potato Protein, 5. Carrots
  • Easily digestibility for sensitive stomachs
  • Salmon proteins rich in DHA
  • Contain Omega 6 fatty acids

For dogs suffering from acid reflux, wet food tends to be quite the treat. And this Purina Pro Plan Focus wet dog food is one of the best, not only due to its pleasing texture and taste but its overall nutritional benefits. The main source of proteins in this formula is Salmon, which not only provides essential amino acids needed for muscle development but is also a source for Omega 6 fatty acids, which help nourish your dog’s skin and gives them a softer and shinier coat.

It also features easily digestible rice, which provides energy so your dog can stay active. The salmon in this dog food also contains DHA, which encourages cognitive development and greatly enhances the taste of the dog food, which is especially useful if you have a picky eater.

Buy on Chewy

4. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Reduced Fat Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per cup): 360 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 33%, Fat (min.) 10-12%, Fiber (max.) 12%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Potatoes, 4. Peas, 5. Ground Flaxseed
  • Reduced-fat formula
  • No wheat, corn, soy or meat by-products
  • Grain-free recipe

Dogs that suffer from acid reflux are particularly reactive to excess fat; therefore, it’s crucial to keep it to a minimum. That is why Wellness Core Reduced-Fat Dog food is a great choice for those dogs that suffer from sensitive stomachs and acid reflux issues. The formula uses real, deboned turkey and chicken to aid in muscle nourishment while keeping things digestible. More importantly, the recipe is completely grain and gluten-free so that even the most sensitive dogs can digest their food properly.

Carbohydrates are sourced mainly from peas and potatoes, which provide plenty of energy and are highly digestible as well. Moreover, it contains many wholesome veggies and fruits like apples, blueberries, and kale that provide lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. What’s special with this dog food is that it contains almost 25% less fat than the original formula, plus its completely free of artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives. It’s also free of wheat, corn, soy, and meat by-products to ensure that your dog’s digestive health stays at its best.

Buy on Chewy

5. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,503 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 20%, Fat (min.) 12%, Fiber (max.) 6%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Potatoes, 3. Canola Oil, 4. Peas, 5. Chicory Root
  • Limited Ingredient Diet
  • Glucosamine and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • No wheat, corn, soy or poultry by-products, dairy or eggs

For dogs with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues like acid reflux, fewer ingredients are usually a better option. That is why Blue Buffalo has created its L.I.D. Turkey and Potato Dog Food to ensure that your dog gets proper nutrition in the fewest possible ingredients possible. The recipe includes only premium-quality ingredients like turkey, which provides nourishment and supports muscle growth. It also includes potatoes and peas, which supply carbohydrates to fuel your pooch so that they stay active and energetic.

Apart from this, this dog food also provides prebiotic support, which leads to better overall digestive health through the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria. Also, the recipe contains multiple antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies which supply loads of vitamins and minerals. It also contains glucosamine, which supports joint and bone health. And lastly, the recipe is free from all kinds of harmful ingredients like wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, and all sorts of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives too.

Buy on Chewy

Interesting posts you might want to check out:

FAQ’s

What is acid reflux in dogs?

Acid reflux is when the gastric acid in the stomach, which aid in digestion, travel up to the esophagus due to overproduction of acid or relaxation of the esophageal sphincter.

What causes acid reflux in dogs?

Any number of things can cause acid reflux. Primarily, it is caused by feeding your dog inappropriate or spicy foods, or food that is high in fat. In more serious cases, acid reflux can also result from obesity or even hiatal hernia.

How to know if your dog has acid reflux?

If your dog is suffering from acid reflux, you’ll notice that your dog is regurgitating their food quite often. Also, you might see your dog whining when eating because of pain, and they’ll start losing their appetite as well.

What is the best food for acid reflux in dogs?

If your dog is suffering from acid reflux, you’ll notice that your dog is regurgitating their food quite often. Also, you might see your dog whining when eating because of pain, and they’ll start losing their appetite as well.

Should you give your dog antacid?

Although dogs can take antacids, it’s generally not the most suitable or safest method of dealing with acid reflux. Human antacids are meant for humans and may cause problems for your dog. You should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any medicines made for humans.

What are the best proteins to feed a dog with acid reflux?

Some of the best proteins to feed dogs with acid reflux are fish like whitefish and salmon, or duck meat, as all of these proteins are very easy to digest and thus help in reducing acid overproduction.

Is acid reflux in dogs dangerous?

Acid reflux can cause the delicate lining of the esophagus to wear down which typically isn’t critical or life-threatening. However, in the long-term, it can cause loss of appetite which will lead to weight loss and weakness or fever as well.

Is acid reflux painful for dogs?

Yes, acid reflux can lead to heartburn in dogs just as it does humans. It may also become painful for them to swallow, which might cause them to lose their appetite. Also, keep an eye out for any signs of whining or pain while your dog is eating.

Can surgery cause acid reflux in dogs?

Yes, acid reflux can be a side effect caused by surgery. Typically, when anesthesia is administered, the gastroesophageal sphincter relaxes, which causes the content of the stomach, including the gastric acid to travel up to the esophagus.

Can you feed your dog with acid reflux homemade food?

Yes, homemade food is a great option for dogs suffering from acid reflux, as you have control over the ingredients and their proportions. Try to add proteins that are easy-to-digest like fish and reduce the fat content.

How to prevent acid reflux in dogs?

If you want to prevent acid reflux, don’t feed your dog table scraps or treats that contain lots of fats because these foods tend to cause overproduction of acid, some of which sneak up to the esophagus.

Buyer’s Guide

Although it is difficult to know if your dog is suffering from acid reflux, what’s even more difficult is finding a dog food to reverse it. Typically, dog food alone doesn’t have the power to completely eradicate acid reflux on its own if it’s serious. But it is a major factor which can help put an end to the problem, which is why it’s important to know which dog food to buy if your pup suffers from acid reflux.

But before heading into that direction, you need to completely understand what acid reflux is in dogs, what causes it, and how to recognize it.

Acid Reflux in Dogs

By definition, acid reflux is an uncontrollable reverse flow of the gastric or intestinal fluids into the esophagus. These fluids are very acidic, which helps dogs in digesting all the meat and food they eat.

The stomach has a lining that prevents acids from damaging it; the esophagus does not. So when the acid travels up to the esophagus, it wears down the mucous lining, which leads to inflammation and discomfort.

If left untreated, acid reflux can cause more serious problems in the future, which is why you must recognize the symptoms as soon as possible so that you can treat them more easily.

Recognizing acid reflux in dogs can be hard because dogs are typically very good at hiding it, and even if they do show them, the symptoms are usually so minor that they largely go unnoticed. Here are some of the most common symptoms of acid reflux in dogs:

Symptoms of acid reflux

  • Regurgitation of food:This is perhaps the most common symptom of all, and although it’s not that uncommon for dogs to regurgitate their food from time to time, it can signal an underlying issue. Note that regurgitation is different from vomiting and usually happens suddenly, unlike vomiting, which you can normally foresee.
  • Signs of pain while eating: If your dog is suffering from acid reflux, they’ll probably have an inflamed esophagus. So, when they’re eating, they’ll be in pain and might let out a whine or a howl when they’re swallowing food.
  • Gagging or burping:Dogs with acid reflux will usually try to clear the pathway by gagging, which might also lead to vomiting. Burping is also a sign of gastric issues, so keep an eye out for both.
  • Bad breath and tooth decay: When the gastric acid travels up to the esophagus, and some of it gets into the mouth, it’ll cause their breath a pungent smell. The acid will also wear down the enamel of your dog’s teeth, causing tooth decay.
  • Drooling or excessive salivation: Because acid travels up to the esophagus and causes your dog pain, you’ll notice that they are salivating or drooling excessively and might even start wheezing.
  • Loss of appetite: The pain of acid reflux can cause your dog to lose their appetite.
  • Weight loss: If your dog doesn’t eat, it’s obvious that they’ll start losing weight. Weight loss might be a slightly hard one to detect, so you need to keep a close eye if you want your dog to get better.

Ways to treat acid reflux in dogs

Although it sounds scary, acid reflux is treatable. When treating it, you need to make changes to their diet and everything that revolves around it because that’s what usually causes it in the first place.  There are many ways to treat acid reflux in dogs, but usually, diet is the factor that plays the biggest role. Keeping that in mind, the best way to deal with acid reflux would be to buy the right dog food. We’ll discuss what you need to look for in a dog food later.

Along with this, there are other ways to deal with acid reflux as well, including changing feeding frequency, trying out some common home remedies and using prescription medicine too if needed. Let’s go through each one of these:

1. Switching Dog Food

The first step you should probably take is to switch your dog food with one that’s going to help treat acid reflux. Your main goal here should be to look at the following properties in your dog food:

  • Low-Fat
  • Low-Protein
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • No wheat, soy or corn

You should look for a dog food that’s both low in proteins and fats because they increase the gastric acid in their stomachs. Also, look for a dog food that contains meat-based, easily digestible proteins like duck and lamb instead of plant proteins, which are harder to digest. Also, try to eliminate any dog food which contains allergens like wheat, soy, or corn, especially if you know your dog has existing sensitivity or allergy problems.

2. Homemade Dog Food

Another option is to switch to homecooked food instead of specialized dog food. Homemade dog food has its own advantages over packaged dog food. You have complete control over the ingredients, and you can choose what’s best for your dog and their needs. And although it requires a lot of effort to prepare and store the dog food, it’ll save you an extra few bucks.

If you do plan to cook your dog’s food by yourself, make sure that you use high-quality ingredients and proteins. Also, to ensure that your dog gets the best nutritional benefit, avoid using overly processed food or proteins like sausages and nuggets. Use grains like rice or vegetables like sweet potatoes that provide your dog with plenty of carbohydrates and energy.

3. Feed Small, Frequent Meals

Whether you choose to swap your dog food with another brand or cook it at home, feed them smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Along with this, keep a bowl full of water beside or soak the dry food in water or bone broth. Feeding smaller meals more frequently causes less stress on their stomach and lowers the acidity level, which helps in reducing acid reflux. Also, if you feel like your dog eats too fast, purchase a slow-feeding bowl to help reduce both bloating and burping.

4. Treatment Through Medicine

If you feel like your dog is dealing with acid reflux of a more severe level, and it’s interfering with their health and daily life, then you can opt to treat it through prescription medicine. We highly suggest you consult a veterinarian for this, as they’ll suggest the medicine and dosage according to your dog’s need.

Pro-kinetic medication is sometimes prescribed to dogs suffering from acid reflux. It allows the food to pass through the digestive system more easily while strengthening the esophagus sphincter muscles to prevent the gastric acid from backing up into their esophagus. Pepcid is also sometimes prescribed by vets as it lowers gastric acid production, reducing acid reflux.

5. Home Remedies

Home remedies can be unreliable and even dangerous sometimes, but this particular remedy has been tested and is known to bring relief in acid reflux. It involves feeding your dog a piece of bread covered with natural honey. Natural honey is full of antioxidants and is known to have multiple beneficial health properties. It brings relief in heartburn and has a soothing effect on your dog’s stomach.

Preventing acid reflux in dogs

Like other health issues, preventing acid reflux is always easier than curing it. Much of the time, the cause of acid reflux in dogs is the feeding of inappropriate, high-fat, spicy foods by their owners. If you feed your pooch a treat or let them have your leftovers whenever they make puppy eyes, you are part of the problem.

Spicy food is one of the main culprits of acid reflux in dogs. Although you might think that a little leftover of your spicy food might not harm your dog, it will most probably cause acid overproduction, which will back up into their esophagus. Also, giving them too many fatty treats will cause overproduction of acid as well and, in the long-term, will cause obesity, which is a cause of acid reflux in itself.

Thus, it’s necessary to avoid these poor feeding habits, and it’s very important to control yourself, no matter how much it looks like your pup is dying to have just one bite of your food. Trust us; you’ll thank yourself later.

My Remaining Picks for Best Dog Foods for Acid Reflux

6. Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Lamb Recipe Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,783 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 8%, Fat (min.) 6%, Fiber (max.) 1.4%, Moisture (max.) 78%
  • Form: Pate
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Lamb Liver, 3. Dried Peas, 4. Sunflower Oil, 5. Flaxseed
  • Limited Ingredient Diet
  • No grains, wheat, soy or corn
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Wet foods with easily digestible proteins and limited ingredients are a good choice for dogs experiencing acid reflux, and that’s what Merrick’s L.I.D. canned food is all about. It all starts with real, deboned lamb, which is not only very easy to digest but also contains plenty of essential amino acids to aid in muscle nourishment. Most of the carbs come from peas, along with sunflower oil and flaxseed which provide additional vitamins and minerals. Additionally, this recipe is completely free from grains, soy, wheat or corn which can upset the digestive system of some dogs. Along with this, the formula is also free of artificial colors, preservatives or flavors, which might cause allergies otherwise.

7. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,725 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 21%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.) 5%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Sweet Potatoes, 2. Salmon, 3. Canola Oil, 4. Menhaden Fish Meal, 5. Salmon Oil
  • Highly-digestible ingredients
  • Grain-free formula
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dog Food believes in the idea that the best diet for every dog is one that’s like that of their ancestors. Thus, they have created a formula that is not only nutritious but also contains ingredients that are easy on their stomachs, gradually helping overcome acid reflux. The main ingredient here is 100% real smoked salmon, which is easier to digest for dogs with sensitivities and allergies. Along with this, potatoes and peas provide your pooch with lots of carbs so they can always stay active.

Not only this, but the recipe is enriched with prebiotic fibers sourced from chicory root, which encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables like blueberries provide plenty of essential vitamins and antioxidants as well. Lastly, the recipe is made free of grains, wheat, soy or corn and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives to ensure the best digestive health.

8. American Journey Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,300 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 9%, Fat (min.) 7%, Fiber (max.) 1.5%, Moisture (max.) 78%
  • Form: Pate
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Broth, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Sunflower Oil, 5. Flaxseed
  • Limited Ingredient Diet
  • Easy-to-digest lamb
  • Grain, wheat, soy, and corn-free

American Journey has come up with a very effective and delicious solution for dogs suffering from gastric issues, which also includes acid reflux. The reason why this dog food is so effective is that the main source of protein here is lamb. Real lamb in this dog food not only offers better digestibility compared to other proteins but also makes it much more appetizing. Sweet potatoes and lamb broth are the main carb sources that provide lots of energy, while sunflower oil and flaxseed both act as a source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and soft. The whole process happens in the USA, using only the highest quality ingredients. Each dog food is made free of grains, wheat, soy or corn and doesn’t contain any sort of artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

9. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Suitable for: Small, medium, and large breeds
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,100 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 5.5%, Fat (min.) 3.5%, Fiber (max.) 1.5%, Moisture (max.) 78%
  • Form: Pate
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Chicken Liver, 5. Canola Oil
  • Limited Ingredient Diet
  • Grain-free
  • Made from highly-digestible ingredients

If your dog is one of the more sensitive digesters who can’t seem to enjoy anything they eat fully, Natural Balance’s L.I.D. canned dog food is the perfect choice for you. The whole formula is designed for the more sensitive dogs, starting with real chicken which not only provides plenty of proteins to encourage muscle growth but also adds texture and taste to the dog food. Carbs are derived mostly from sweet and regular potatoes, which act as a great alternative to grains, which can often upset a sensitive dog’s stomach. More than that, the dog food also contains many essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and B12 to strengthen the immune system. Aside from this, the dog food is also free from grains, wheat, soy, and corn, all of which are common allergens for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

References