The 15 Best Dog Foods for Colitis

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

Colitis is a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. If your dog has colitis, you’ll need to choose the right food to help it recover. Finding the best dog food for colitis is tricky, and you can easily get overwhelmed by multiple food options.

To make things easier, we’ve developed a comprehensive dog food guide.

Let’s get started!

The Best Dog Foods for Colitis

Top ProductsRatingTop 5 Ingredients
1. Purina Hypoallergenic Dog Food4.4Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein Isolate, Vegetable Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Partially Hydrogenated Canola Oil
2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dry Dog Food4.8Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat, Brewers Rice, Dried Plain Beet Pulp
3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie Dry Dog Food4.8Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors
4. Zignature Grain-Free Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Dry Dog Food4.7Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed,
5. Natural Balance LID. Limited Ingredient Diets Duck & Potato Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food4.5Duck, Duck Broth, Potatoes, Dehydrated Potatoes, Potato Protein
6. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food4.4Salmon, Barley, Rice, Oat Meal, Fish Meal
7. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food4.6Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Soybean Oil
8. Diamond Care Grain-Free Sensitive Stomach Formula Adult Dry Dog Food4.5Potatoes, Egg Product, Potato Protein, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat

1. Purina Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein Isolate, Vegetable Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Partially Hydrogenated Canola Oil Preserved with Tbhq

Purina Hypoallergenic Dog Food features a tasty recipe for dogs with colitis. If your dog has food allergies and digestive issues, this one is a good choice. It has a single hydrolyzed protein source to prevent a dietary reaction. Additionally, this recipe has one carbohydrate source to minimize food sensitivities.

The kibble is easy to chew and is free of artificial additives and grains. This veterinary diet can also help treat dermatitis, pancreatic issues, and inflammatory bowel disease. It’s one of the best options you can find for your sensitive dog.  

2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat, Brewers Rice, Dried Plain Beet Pulp

If you want to treat your dog’s gastrointestinal issues, including colitis, consider this veterinary diet from Royal Canin. Some dogs are more prone to sensitive stomachs and may develop colitis. This high-fiber dog food can aid with digestion and support your dog’s GI issues. 

The taste and texture of the dog food make it a popular choice. It contains highly digestible proteins and carbs for optimal nutrient absorption and increased energy levels. The recipe also features probiotics to promote gut flora and maintain regular bowel movements. Finally, it has omega fatty acids, EPA, and DHA to help nourish and soothe the GI tract.

3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Dry Dog Food contains hydrolyzed soy proteins for healthy digestion and optimal stool quality. It’s a highly palatable diet for adult dogs with colitis.  

This dog food has moderate calorie content and fat levels to help dogs maintain an ideal weight. It features insoluble fibers to support healthy bowel movements. It also contains prebiotics and probiotics to maintain the balance of good bacteria in your dog’s gut. If you’re looking for dog food to cleanse and soothe your pet’s digestive system, the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet is a great option.

4. Zignature Grain-Free Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed

This all-natural dog food contains holistic ingredients for optimal nutrition and uses real, farm-raised Turkey as the primary ingredient. Other highly digestible ingredients include wholesome chickpeas, peas, and flaxseed. The hypoallergenic recipe is grain-free, making it ideal for dogs with colitis. It is also gluten-free and provides low-glycemic nutrition.

The recipe is free of troublesome ingredients like chicken, corn, soy, wheat, and potatoes. It is rich in fiber and helps avoid colitis-associated diarrhea. Overall, it’s a great choice for dogs with sensitive tummies.

5. Natural Balance LID. Limited Ingredient Diets Duck & Potato Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  Duck, Duck Broth, Potatoes, Dehydrated Potatoes, Potato Protein

The Natural Balance Dog Food is ideal for adult dogs with colitis. It contains carefully selected ingredients and is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs and food-related allergies.

This great-tasting recipe comes in different flavors so that you can get the best fit for your dog. It is a complete and balanced formula for optimum nutrition containing highly digestible ingredients, including duck and dehydrated potatoes. It also has higher moisture content for efficient nutrient absorption.

6. Wellness Digestive Health Lamb Grain-Free Wet Canned Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Lamb Broth, Lamb, Whitefish, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver

Another great option for dogs with colitis is Wellness canned dog food. It’s a pate-style savory dog food featuring super digestible ingredients. This grain-free dog food has premium lean proteins and prebiotic fiber for optimal digestive health. It is great for added hydration and helps restore natural bowel movement.  

This recipe features lamb and lamb broth as the primary ingredients and includes pumpkin and papaya along with essential vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to support overall good health. It also promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat. Overall, it’s great for adult dogs with sensitive digestion.

7. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Salmon, Barley, Rice, Oat Meal, Fish Meal

Purina’s Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach dog food is a special diet for sensitive dogs with colitis. It promotes digestive and skin health. The recipe features easily digestible salmon, rice, fish, and oatmeal that provide essential macro-nutrients. It has omega fatty acids to nourish your dog’s skin and coat and live prebiotics and probiotics to strengthen digestive health. They support effective digestion and enhance nutrient absorption for a healthy and active lifestyle.

8. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Soybean Oil

This sensitive stomach dog food from Hill’s Science Diet can help alleviate your dog’s colitis symptoms and other digestive issues. It features highly digestible ingredients, including chicken, brewers, rice, and soybean oil, that support your dog’s dietary needs and overall health.

Another great feature of Hill’s Science dog food is its prebiotic support, promoting gut flora and improving digestive health. It also contains omega fatty acids and vitamin E to support dogs with sensitive skin.

9. Diamond Care Grain-Free Sensitive Stomach Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Potatoes, Egg Product, Potato Protein, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat

Diamond Care Sensitive Stomach Formula is the best dog food for dogs with food-related stomach sensitivities. It contains a limited selection of ingredients, including easily digestible egg protein for sound digestion. The formula is completely free from grains, gluten, soy, corn, and wheat so that your sensitive dog can enjoy and easily digest a tasty meal.

To further strengthen your dog’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the dog food features live probiotics that promote gut flora and efficient digestion. Also, the recipe features vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids that support your pet’s general health.

10. Holistic Select Adult & Puppy Health Grain-Free Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe

Top 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Anchovy and Sardine Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal

The Holistic Select dog food features a healthy blend of dietary fiber, digestive enzymes, and live microorganisms for optimal gut health. It’s also grain-free, which makes it an excellent choice for dogs with colitis.

The recipe features proteins from novel animal sources such as salmon and anchovy. These proteins are also rich in omega fatty acids and strengthen your dog’s immune system. The formula also has antioxidant-rich ingredients to keep your dog healthy.

11. Natural Balance Grain-Free L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Sunflower Oil

Natural Balance’s Salmon and Sweet Potato dog food has limited ingredients and is digestion-friendly for sensitive dogs. It features real salmon, sweet potatoes, sunflower oil, and other nutritious ingredients that improve colitis symptoms.

Additionally, this dog food is completely free from peas, grains, lentils, corn, and wheat so that your dog can easily digest and absorb nutrients.

12. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Formula Turkey and Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Potatoes, Turkey Meal, Peas, Canola Oil

This limited ingredient dog food manages colitis symptoms and improves stool quality. It has a single protein and a variety of easily digestible carbs for muscle nourishment and optimal energy levels. Additionally, this recipe includes LifeSource Bits that deliver vitamins and antioxidants for cleansing and soothing sensitive stomachs.

It has no grains, corn, dairy wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. If you’re concerned about not meeting your dog’s nutritional needs due to colitis, consider the Blue Buffalo’s Basics LID Formula.

13. Purina ONE Sensitive Systems SmartBlend Adult Formula Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Salmon, Rice Flour, Pearled Barley, Oat Meal, Corn Gluten Meal

Purina ONE Sensitive Systems provides quality nutritional support for dogs that suffer from digestive problems. It has real salmon, rice, and oatmeal to improve gastrointestinal health.

This recipe fuels your pet’s energy reserves in an easily digestible formula. It also contains vitamin E and omega fatty acids to help your dog grow soft and lustrous fur. The recipe is also a great choice for sensitive dogs as it contains antioxidants to strengthen the immune system. Finally, it has glucosamine and chondroitin for improving your dog’s mobility.

14. Taste of the Wild High-Protein Real Meat Recipe Sierra Mountain

Top 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Lentils

If your dog enjoys eating roasted lamb, the taste of the Wild High Sierra Mountain recipe is for you. This recipe is gluten- and grain-free and helps prevent colitis symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Pasture-raised, roasted lamb is the main source of protein for muscle growth and development.

It also contains probiotics (K9 Strain) and antioxidants to support your dog’s gut health and overall wellness. Additionally, the dried chicory root and prebiotic fiber in this recipe can help dogs with colitis.

15. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Chicken Fat, Sweet Potatoes,

This high-fiber option has zero artificial additives, fillers, grains, or by-products. It’s a healthy recipe and is easy on sensitive stomachs. It features quality fiber to aid digestion and improve your dog’s stool consistency. Potatoes, flaxseed, peas, and apples are the main sources of dietary fiber. Other wholesome ingredients include dried blueberries, rosemary, sage, and thyme for added flavor.    

Related:

Buyer’s Guide: What is Canine Colitis?

Canine colitis refers to the inflammation of the colon. Many species can develop colitis, including humans and dogs. This inflammation can cause diarrhea and loose stools.

Colitis is a relatively common disorder in dogs, and many things can cause it. However, it’s easy to avoid colitis by offering a complete and balanced diet.  

What Causes Colitis?

The most common cause is stress. Other reasons can be allergies, parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, and underlying infections.

If your dog has a food allergy or intolerance, it can upset the digestive system. A dietary allergy can also trigger colitis symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.  

Infections

Bacterial infections are a common trigger for colitis. E-coli and salmonella can cause diarrhea in dogs. These infections can make your dog very sick and also cause dehydration. If your dog has these symptoms, consult with your vet immediately.

Parasites

Parasites are also responsible for colitis in dogs. If your dog has a parasitic infestation in the gastrointestinal tract, you’ll notice colitis symptoms straight away. Treatment for these symptoms includes prescription medications.

Allergies

Allergies are a common theme for colitis. Some ingredients in commercial dog foods can cause dietary allergies. Dogs can be allergic to grains, wheat, egg, dairy, and other artificial additives.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease can be a quick diagnosis for your dog. Many dog foods address the symptoms caused by this condition so that you can manage your dog’s symptoms. Look out for symptoms such as vomiting, excessive gas, abdominal distress, fatigue, and colitis.

Stress

Stress can also cause colitis. Reducing anxiety triggers can help ease stress-related colitis symptoms. It’ll also help your dog get back to an active and healthy lifestyle. You can also offer dietary supplements to manage your dog’s stress and anxiety.

Symptoms of Colitis in Dogs

The most common symptom of colitis is diarrhea. The affected dog will produce liquid or semi-formed feces. You might find some mucus and blood in your dog’s stool. Your dog might also pass wind more often than normal.

Dogs with colitis experience pain while defecating and show increased urgency to go.

Another common symptom of colitis is if your dog is visibly tired before or after going to the toilet. You might notice the dog arching its back and hunching over as it passes the stool. Constipation is also a common sign of colitis in dogs.

Quick Recap of Symptoms:

  • Soft, runny feces with bright flecks of blood
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Pain while defecating
  • Weight loss
  • Increased flatulence or defecating
  • Inflammation or pain in the abdominal regions

Dietary Recommendations For Dogs with Colitis

You can work with your vet to find a nutrient profile that allows your dog’s gastrointestinal system to function as normally as possible. A healthy diet is essential for treating colitis, and experts recommend hypoallergenic dog food for canines with colitis. 

Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Hypoallergenic diets for dogs are a great way to alleviate irritating colitis symptoms for our four-legged companions. These dog foods can be grain-free, gluten-free, or have limited ingredients. Here are the key differences between each type:

Grain-Free

Grain-free diets eliminate all grains, including wheat, barley, corn, spelt, rye, and triticale. Some manufacturers also exclude ingredients derived from grains, such as high-fructose corn syrup or rice syrup. However, this is not a strict requirement of a grain-free diet.

Sensitive dogs can develop colitis if they’re allergic to grains. This diet can help dogs with colitis by reducing gut inflammation. It can also alleviate abdominal pain, which is a common colitis symptom.

Gluten-Free

Gluten ingestion can promote intestinal inflammation. Gluten-free dog food is a healthy alternative for dogs with colitis and other dietary allergies. Pet owners should know that switching to a gluten-free dog diet may ease their dog’s food allergy symptoms.

Limited-Ingredient

Limited-ingredient dog food is an excellent option for dog owners. It contains carefully selected ingredients to prevent adverse allergic reactions. Most limited ingredient dog foods have clean, simple recipes with one protein and carbohydrate source. They’re an excellent choice for dogs with food sensitivities and colitis.  

Limited ingredient diets eliminate allergy-triggering ingredients and are moisture-rich for added hydration.

If you are interested in trying a limited ingredient dog food, you should consult your veterinarian first. It’s possible that an over-the-counter LID dog food can work for your situation, but you need to consider your dog’s unique dietary needs before making a decision.

Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

You can easily purchase hydrolyzed dog food from your vet’s office or online. This type of dog food includes chemically broken animal proteins. It’s purified to remove existing allergens and is suitable for dogs with colitis and other digestive disorders. Hydrolyzed protein dog foods rely on rice as the primary carbohydrate source. And that’s because rice has a low tendency to trigger allergic reactions in dogs.

Novel Protein Dog Food

A novel protein dog food contains a protein that is new to your pet’s diet. This diet should also have a single source of carbohydrates. Each dog is unique, and finding a novel protein depends on their past exposure to different proteins. Some options include venison, salmon, duck, or lamb. Lamb has become more popular in commercial dog foods, so this may or may not work for your dog. Your vet can recommend a novel protein dog food based on your dog’s needs and past diet.

Homemade Dog Food

A homemade meal can also be a good option for your dog because it allows you to choose the ingredients that go into your pet’s food. You can also avoid contaminating the dog food by storing and cooking the ingredients separately.  

Pet owners can consult a certified veterinary nutritionist to help them plan their dog’s home-cooked meals. It’s important that the homemade meal fulfills your dog’s dietary needs and provides all the essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed for a balanced diet.

Dairy-free diet

Dairy can be particularly problematic for your dog. Dairy sources can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, making your dog sick and vulnerable. Your vet will most likely recommend a dairy-free diet to prevent allergy flare-ups. 

Final Verdict

Avoiding dog food that has common allergens is a good start. Common allergens include wheat, chicken, and beef. If your dog displays colitis symptoms, you should steer clear of these ingredients in your dog’s food.

Lean white meat, fish, and eggs are easier for dogs to digest. These ingredients are also highly digestible and ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Switching to a diet low in crude fiber can also help some dogs. If your dog suffers from colitis, you should consult your vet for the best recommendations to match your dog’s unique nutritional requirements. Once you have the right information, you can come back and choose one of the options shared in this buyer’s guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is colitis contagious?

Colitis caused by a viral or bacterial infection can be contagious. Dogs can transfer this disease through fecal matter, which may affect other dogs.   

What medications can I give my dog?

You can use anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the swelling. But if the colitis is associated with a viral or bacterial infection, you may need to use antibiotics. Consult your vet before you resort to any medical treatment.

Are digestive enzymes helpful for colitis treatment?

Yes. Digestive enzymes may help break down proteins, fats, and carbs for proper digestion and optimal nutrient absorption.

Is L-glutamine good for colitis treatment?

Yes. L-glutamine helps eliminate inflammation of the large and small intestine and stimulates rapid cell growth.

Is canned pumpkin beneficial for dogs with colitis?

Yes. Pumpkin is fiber-rich and absorbs moisture from the intestines. It is beneficial for dogs with colitis and helps prevent diarrhea.

Is oatmeal good for dogs with colitis?

Oatmeal is an excellent snack for dogs with colitis. It can help soothe your dog’s GI tract when symptoms are flaring up.

Is slippery elm good for dogs with colitis?

You can find this herb in liquid or powder form. It absorbs toxins which can cause intestinal imbalance.

Are probiotics beneficial for dogs with colitis?

Probiotics are one of the best supplements out there. They help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the gut.

Is canine colitis painful?

Yes, canine colitis can be painful. You may notice that affected dogs are lethargic and weak. Vets usually administer painkillers to ease the pain and discomfort that dogs may experience.

Should I take my dog to the local vet?

Yes, you should take your dog to the local vet if you think they have colitis. If left untreated, colitis can have serious consequences. The vet will give them an injection that reduces overall symptoms.

What foods can trigger canine colitis?

There are the common foods that can trigger canine colitis:

  • Dairy products
  • Dried beans
  • Peas
  • Dried legumes
  • Grains

How can I calm my dog’s colitis flare-up?

You can start by feeding a low-residue or hypoallergenic diet. You can also increase dietary fiber content and add fermentable fiber sources such as psyllium, beet pulp, and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) to the dog food.

How long can dogs live with colitis?

Most dogs die within two years of diagnosis, although some may live as long as five years.

How do you treat canine colitis naturally?

Plain yogurt with a live culture may help soothe and heal a taxed digestive system. Supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids is also helpful. Other herbs beneficial for treating colitis include slippery elm, calendula, pumpkin seeds, and marshmallow.

What should dogs with colitis eat?

Dietary fat can help manage chronic colitis. Depending on your dog’s calorie needs, dog food with a low to moderate fat content (10 – 15% DM) may help control vomiting and diarrhea from colitis.

What are common dietary allergens?

Common dietary allergens in dogs include beef and wheat. If your dog has a known intolerance or colitis, you should try to avoid these ingredients.

Should dogs with colitis eat eggs?

Yes. Eggs, lean white meat, and fish are easier to digest for dogs with colitis.

Can dogs with colitis eat brown rice?

Yes. Brown rice is healthy for dogs, and many commercial dog food brands feature it.

Can dogs with colitis eat leafy green vegetables?

Yes. Leafy green vegetables provide high fiber content and essential vitamins for good health.

Can dogs with colitis eat apples?

Yes! Apples are safe and healthy for dogs with colitis.