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9 Best Dog Foods for Acid Reflux in 2020

After eating a particularly spicy meal, you know it’s only a matter of time before you feel that familiar tightness in the center of your chest. The feeling slowly creeps its way up into the back of your throat, causing a burning sensation and leaving behind a bitter taste. You know this feeling well – heartburn.

Heartburn is also known as acid reflux and it is extremely common, affecting about one-third of Americans on a monthly basis and about 10% every day. For most people, acid reflux is closely linked to diet, though there are physiological factors as well. What you may not realize is that dogs can be affected by acid reflux as well! Sometimes called bile reflux in dogs, acid reflux causes symptoms such as burping after eating, bad breath, wheezing, and excessive salivation.

In this article, we’ll explore the subject of acid reflux in dogs including what it is, what causes the problem, and how it can be treated. We’ll also talk about the role diet plays in dog acid reflux treatment and provide you with reviews of the best dry or wet food for dog with acid reflux.

The Basics About Acid Reflux in Dogs

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Heartburn is a condition that develops when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. Occasional heartburn is completely normal and generally nothing to worry about, but recurrent episodes may indicate a more severe problem – gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. For many people with GERD, it is a combination of causes, one of which is a weak esophageal sphincter – the ring of muscle that connects the esophagus with the stomach. When this muscle weakens or relaxes, it allows food and stomach acid to flow backward from the stomach into the esophagus.

Though your dog’s anatomy is very different from your own, this is one point of similarity. Acid reflux in dogs can be caused by weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, abnormal emptying of the stomach, and obesity. Taking certain medications may also increase a dog’s susceptibility to acid reflux.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of acid reflux in dogs:

  • Gurgling stomach noises
  • Burping after eating
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Vomiting or coughing after eating
  • Whining while eating
  • Discomfort while eating
  • Pausing during eating
  • Wheezing sounds
  • Excessive salivation

Symptoms of acid reflux in dogs are not always easy to identify. Some symptoms may develop or worsen over time, even if they start out as occasional or mild symptoms. The biggest thing to look for is signs of discomfort or pain during and after eating. If your dog pauses while eating and shows signs of discomfort before resuming his meal, it could be a sign of acid reflux. Persistent bad breath (beyond normal dog breath) is another common symptom.

Now that you have a better understanding of what acid reflux is and what causes it, you may be wondering about the best dog acid reflux treatment. The best treatment depends on the underlying cause of your dog’s issue, but diet is likely to play a significant role. Read on to learn more.

What Role Does Diet Play in Treatment?

If you notice any of the symptoms listed in the previous section, it may be a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian. Be sure to tell your vet about all of the symptoms you’ve noticed as well as their onset and progression. Your vet will perform an exam and may do a feeding trial, listening to your dog’s chest after feeding him to determine whether he’s experiencing reflux. In some cases, your vet may recommend a more comprehensive exam involving an endoscopy to view the esophagus from the inside to check for ulcers, tumors, or inflammation.

In addition to checking the condition of your dog’s esophagus, your veterinarian may do some blood tests. High blood calcium levels can contribute to overproduction of stomach acid which is a contributing cause for acid reflux. If your dog is obese, he could have increased fat masses in the throat that restrict the esophagus.

Once your veterinarian has examined your dog and confirmed a diagnosis of acid reflux, the next step is to talk about dog acid reflux treatment. Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to help reduce your dog’s acid reflux.

Here are some simple tricks to try:

  • Feed your dog several small meals throughout the day instead of one or two large meals.
  • Try feeding your dog easily digestible foods like boiled chicken and rice until his stomach settles.
  • Add water or chicken broth to your dog’s kibble to make it easier to digest.
  • Consider switching to a wet or semi-moist dog food to reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
  • If your dog is overweight or obese, help him lose weight.
  • Alter your dog’s food to reduce the fat and protein content (this helps reduce stomach acid).
  • Supplement your dog’s diet with probiotics to improve digestion and minimize symptoms.
In very rare cases, acid reflux in dogs is so serious that it requires surgical intervention. This is usually only necessary in the case of a severe hernia or ulcer. The surgery may be possible to do endoscopically which reduces recovery time because it is minimally invasive.

What to Look for in a Good Dog Food for Acid Reflux

Every dog requires the right balance of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients in his diet. In most cases, higher protein content is better, but many veterinarians recommend controlling protein content in a dog food for acid reflux. Your dog still needs a minimum of 18% to meet him basic nutritional requirements but keeping it around 20% to 25% is ideal. Look for low-fat options as well, having at least the required minimum of 5% but no more than 12% to 15%. The quality of fat and protein in your dog’s diet matters as well because high-quality ingredients are more digestible.

So, what food is best for acid reflux in dogs? There are many options out there, so it can be difficult to choose just one. Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you! Before we get into our top picks, take the time to learn what you should be looking for in the best dog food for regurgitation and reflux.

Here are some things to look for in a dog food for acid reflux:

  • High-quality animal-based protein. Though you should be feeding your dog limited amounts of protein, it still needs to come from high-quality animal sources to ensure digestibility.
  • Healthy animal-based fat. Similar to protein, you’re looking for a recipe with limited fat but it needs to come from highly digestible animal sources – things like chicken fat and salmon oil are ideal, though you can include flaxseed or canola oil to balance with omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Complete and balanced nutrition. High-quality nutrition is key for treating bile reflux in dogs, so look for a recipe with a limited number of wholesome, natural ingredients. You should also look for the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy to ensure nutritional balance.
  • No fillers or artificial additives. Avoid any dog food made with low-quality grains like corn, wheat, and soy as well as recipes with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
  • Increased moisture content. Higher moisture content will help dilute stomach acid and reduce acid reflux symptoms, so choose a higher moisture dog food or add water or broth to it.

By now you have a deeper understanding of acid reflux in dogs and you know what to look for in the best dog food to treat it. Keep reading to see our top picks.

The 9 Best Dog Foods for Acid Reflux

The Best dog food for regurgitation and acid reflux is one made with a limited number of high-quality, natural ingredients. Look for animal sources of protein and fat with limited content of these two nutrients as well as fortification with essential vitamins and minerals. It is your choice whether you feed your dog wet food or kibble but consider adding moisture to your dog’s dry food if that’s what you choose. Here’s our top pick for the best dog food for acid reflux:

Ollie Fresh Food Delivery

Overall Best Dog Food for Acid Reflux: High-quality nutrition is essential for any dog to be healthy, but whole-food ingredients are especially important if your dog suffers from acid reflux or other digestive issues. Low-quality grains, fillers, and plant-based proteins can be tough on your dog’s stomach and may increase the risk of reflux. That’s where Ollie comes in Ollie Fresh Food Delivery Service sends prepackaged portions of freshly prepared dog food right to your door. Choose from four recipes, each made with premium-quality ingredients, and have it customized to your dog’s unique nutritional and calorie needs. Simply follow the included feeding instructions and watch your dog flourish. Because it is prepared in small batches, it retains more of its nutritional integrity and as a fresh food, it is higher in moisture than most kibble. It may cost more than the average dog food, but it is well worth the price to give your dog the best of the best.

  • Pros: Fresh food delivered to your door, choose from several protein options, high-quality natural ingredients, customized to your dog’s nutritional needs, rich in moisture
  • Cons: Very expensive compared to kibble

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Food

Most Popular Dog Food for Acid Reflux: When shopping for dog food, it is easy to become overwhelmed because there are so many options to choose from. If you’re really not sure what to choose, consider a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. Not only is this brand popular among dog owners, but it is a good choice for dogs with acid reflux as well. This brand uses premium-quality natural ingredients including real animal protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables to deliver complete and balanced nutrition in a highly digestible way. This Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Food is a great choice because it features novel proteins like salmon and ocean fish meal with digestible carbohydrates like sweet potato and potatoes. It contains fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients but still contains essential supplements for vitamins and chelated minerals. This recipe contains probiotics for healthy digestion as well and provides 25% protein and 15% fat with 3% fiber and 360 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Real salmon first ingredient, naturally grain-free, highly digestible whole food ingredients, fresh fruits and veggies for nutrition, probiotics for digestion, limited fat and protein
  • Cons: Fairly expensive compared to average kibble, may need to add water or broth

Canidae All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula

Most Affordable Dog Food for Acid Reflux: All dogs deserve a high-quality dog food, but good dog food is not cheap. If you’re looking for a recipe that will meet your dog’s nutritional needs and help reduce acid reflux without breaking the bank, consider this Canidae All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula. Formulated for dogs of all breeds and life stages, this recipe features multiple premium sources of protein including chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish. It is nutritionally dense but free from low-quality ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy. This recipe is highly digestible with whole grains like brown rice and barley, plus it contains probiotics and natural enzymes to support healthy and regular digestion. It may not be a limited ingredient diet, but it is packed with healthy nutrients and is easy for your dog’s body to digest. Overall, this formula contains 24% protein and 14.5% fat with 4% fiber and 468 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Formulated for all breeds and life stages, several premium animal proteins, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, probiotics for digestion
  • Cons: Higher in calories than some kibbles, not a limited ingredient diet, may need to add water or broth

Natural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice Formula Canned Food

Best Dog Food for Acid Reflux and Sensitive Stomach: If your dog suffers from acid reflux and a sensitive stomach, you need to be extra careful in choosing a new dog food. High-quality, natural ingredients are always recommended but are particularly important for a dog with sensitive stomach. Our top pick for the best dog food for acid reflux and sensitive stomach is Natural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice Formula Canned Food. This is a limited ingredient diet which means it is made with a shorter list of ingredients, starting with real lamb as the first and followed by lamb broth for a boost of moisture and natural flavor. This recipe is highly digestible with brown rice as the primary carbohydrate and it contains all of the vitamin and mineral supplements your dog needs for balanced nutrition. With a moisture content of 78%, this recipe is highly digestible and palatable, and it will help resolve your dog’s acid reflux symptoms. If your dog doesn’t do well with lamb, there are other protein options to choose from as well.

  • Pros: Limited number of primary ingredients, real lamb first ingredient, digestible brown rice for carbohydrates, complete and balanced nutrition, rich in moisture
  • Cons: Higher in fat and protein than dry food version

5 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Acid Reflux

If the dog foods reviewed above don’t seem like the right fit for your dog, don’t worry – there are many other options to choose from. Here are a couple more high-quality dog foods that can help maximize the results of your dog’s acid reflux treatment. Check them out below!

Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Adult Dry Food

Every dog deserves a diet made with premium, natural ingredients and this Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Adult Dry Food delivers just that. This formula is designed to nourish your dog’s body from the inside out, made with real, whole chicken and no rendered meat meals. It features non-GMO fruits and vegetables which deliver a natural source of key ingredients, plus it is supplemented with Proprietary DreamCoat supplement to support your dog’s skin and coat. This recipe is considered highly digestible due to the quality of the ingredients and it is highly palatable as well. Better ingredients means better nutrition and more regular digestion – all of this adds up to a holistic picture of improved health and wellness. This recipe provides 25% protein and 15% fat with 5% fiber at 403 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Holistic natural recipe, premium quality ingredients, real whole chicken, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamins and chelated minerals, complete and balanced
  • Cons: Very expensive compared to the average kibble

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner Canned Food

Many dogs with acid reflux do better on a high-moisture diet made with simple, natural ingredients. This Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner Canned Food is a great choice because it is a wet food recipe, containing 78% moisture. This formula also features a limited number of main ingredients including real chicken and chicken liver, several fruits and vegetables, and whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal. This wet food features vitamin supplements and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition, plus it has just 396 calories per cup. You’ll be glad to know that this formula provides additional benefits such as added glucosamine and chondroitin to boost joint health and it is a lean source of animal protein. Use it as a meal or a meal topper.

  • Pros: High in moisture, real chicken first ingredient, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamin supplements and chelated minerals, added glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Cons: Contains carrageenan as a thickener

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Food

When it comes to treating acid reflux in dogs, digestibility is key. The best dog food for healthy and regular digestion will be made from wholesome, natural ingredients with no low-quality grains or fillers and no artificial additives. Many veterinarians suggest that avoiding grains entirely is good for dogs with acid reflux, though that is for you as the dog owner to decide. If you do choose a grain-free diet for your dog, this Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Food is a great choice. Featuring chicken meal as the primary protein with fresh chicken and turkey for supplemental protein, this recipe is full of animal protein. It contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe is supplemented with essential vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption, plus it contains probiotics for healthy digestion. Overall, this recipe is an excellent source of balanced nutrition and is loaded with real meat flavor at an affordable price.

  • Pros: Grain-free recipe for digestibility, chicken meal as main ingredient, fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamins and chelated mineral supplements, probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Cons: May be too high in protein for some dogs

Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature Chicken, Turkey & Duck Recipe Canned Food

Some dogs suffering from acid reflux simply do better on a wet food diet. When shopping for wet food, you need to be sure that the recipe is still made from high-quality natural ingredients and formulated for balanced nutrition. This Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature Chicken, Turkey & Duck Recipe Canned Food is a great choice because it comes from a trusted brand but is still very affordable. This recipe features real chicken and turkey as the first two ingredients, and it contains no corn, wheat, or soy and is completely free from artificial additives. It does contain whole-grain ingredients, however, which are very nutritious and highly digestible. This is a senior recipe, so it has slightly lower levels of protein, fat, and calories than average which is perfect for dogs with acid reflux. This recipe also contains fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients but is supplemented with essential vitamin and chelated minerals for balance. Overall, it is a healthy source of balanced nutrition for your dog.

Pros: Senior recipe lower in protein and fat, real chicken first ingredient, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, complete and balanced nutrition

Cons: Senior recipe may not be ideal for all dogs

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula

If your dog suffers from acid reflux, it may be wise to switch to a limited ingredient diet to improve digestibility. Choosing a diet made from a limited number of high-quality natural ingredients ensures that your dog gets the nutrition he needs without any unnecessary additives. This Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula is the perfect choice because it is all-natural and contains a short ingredient list. The primary ingredient is fresh salmon and it is supplemented with salmon meal. This is a grain-free formula featuring potatoes and peas as the main sources of carbohydrates with a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from various sources. This recipe is supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and it contains a total of 25% protein and 12% fat with 5% fiber and 446 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Limited number of main ingredients, fresh salmon first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, blend of omega fatty acids, chelated minerals and probiotic supplements
  • Cons: Higher in calories than some recipes, not all dogs require grain-free diets

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do you feed a dog with acid reflux? If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with acid reflux, you may need to make some changes to his diet. Many veterinarians recommend withholding food for a day or two to help the stomach settle down. After that, you can start feeding your dog small amounts of low-fat, low-protein dog food. If your dog is still having a lot of trouble, you might try meals of boiled chicken and rice or broccoli to help settle the stomach before transitioning onto the new dog food.
  • Does pumpkin help acid reflux in dogs? Many dog owners want to know if there is a natural remedy for acid reflux in dogs. Acid reflux is often dependent on what the dog eats, however, so there is usually no need for a natural remedy other than changes to the diet. Some dog owners say that adding canned pumpkin to their dog’s diet helps resolve digestive issues, particularly when the acid reflux is due to eating rich or spicy food. Whether or not it helps with acid reflux, the fiber in canned pumpkin can help with digestive upset.
  • What foods make acid reflux worse? Acid reflux in dogs can be the result of an anatomical issue like a weakened lower esophageal sphincter or an excess of fatty tissue in the neck, but it may also be triggered by certain foods. If your dog gets into the rich, fatty holiday leftovers it could trigger an episode. Certain foods high in acid like citrus can also trigger acid reflux, as can eating large amounts of food at once. To help resolve your dog’s occasional acid reflux, feed a bland diet in small quantities spread throughout the day until things settle down.
  • Should I choose dry or wet food for dog with acid reflux? Many veterinarians recommend increasing the moisture content of a dog’s diet to help with dog acid reflux treatment. Drinking extra water and adding more moisture to your dog’s food helps dilute the stomach acid and increases pH, both of these things contribute to reduced acid reflux. You can switch your dog to a wet dog food, add a wet meal topper, or simply soak your dog’s kibble in water or chicken broth prior to feeding him.
  • What food is best for acid reflux? There is no single answer to this question because there is no “best” dog food that works for every dog. Pay attention to the recommendations provided above regarding the use of high-quality, animal-based ingredients and limited fat and protein content. If you’re having trouble finding a dog food that meets these requirements, consider a senior dog food. These tend to be lower in fat and calories than the average dog food and may also be more digestible for your dog. Some veterinarians recommend grain-free diets as well since some dogs have a hard time tolerating grains.

Now that you have a better understanding of what causes acid reflux in dogs, you’re ready to start treating it! Remember, you should talk to your veterinarian for a diagnosis first and to determine whether your dog needs some form of treatment other than dietary changes. When you’re ready to start shopping for new dog food, take what you’ve learned here and put it to work or simply choose one of our top picks above. Best of luck to you and your dog!

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