Dog Food

The Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food

December 24, 2018

The Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Nothing is worse than seeing your dog suffer and food allergies can cause some pretty bag reactions in some dogs.

From recurrent ear infections to painful skin and digestive symptoms, food allergies in dogs are no laughing matter.

Food allergies affect dogs in different ways than they affect humans, but the fact remains that a hypoallergenic diet is the best solution.

A hypoallergenic dog food is simply a dog food free from allergens. Because different dogs are allergic to different things, hypoallergenic dog foods may look different for different dogs.

Keep reading to learn more about your dog’s basic dietary needs and to receive some tips for picking the best dog food to meet those needs.

You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best hypoallergenic dog food.

Quick Look At Our Top Picks:

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Editor's Choice

FirstMate Grain-Free LID Australian Lamb Formula
  • Limited number of main ingredients
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates
  • Single source of high-quality animal protein
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Best Affordable

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Salmon & Whitefish Recipe
  • High-end ingredients
  • Several sources of novel protein
  • Supplemented with probioticsy
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Best for Puppies

Blue Buffalo Basics LID Turkey & Potato Recipe
  • Limited number of main ingredients
  • Single source of animal protein
  • Free from chicken ingredients and artificial additives
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Best for Seniors

Nulo Grain-Free Trout & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe
  • Supplemented with probiotics
  • Several sources of novel animal protein
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates
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Best for Allergies

Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Grain-Free Lamb Recipe
  • Single source of novel protein
  • Limited number of main ingredients
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates
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Understanding the Dietary Needs of Dogs

Dogs require a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet.

Protein forms the building blocks of strong muscles while fat provides a concentrated source of energy.

Carbohydrates provide energy as well as fiber and essential nutrients. Your dog needs these ingredients in specific ratios.

If your dog suffers from food allergies, it becomes more important to carefully choose the ingredients that provide these nutrients. Here are some things to look for in a hypoallergenic dog food:

  • Animal Proteins. Any hypoallergenic dog food should start with an animal protein like meat, poultry, or fish as the main ingredient and provide a minimum of 18% crude protein. Novel proteins like venison, turkey, and rabbit are commonly used in hypoallergenic dog foods.
  • Healthy Fats. Most of your dog’s fat intake should come from animal sources because its body can better metabolize animal fats than plant fats. Your dog needs a minimum of 5% fat.
  • Digestible Carbohydrates. When it comes to food allergies, grains are a common culprit so look for a dog food made with grain-free carbohydrates like vegetables, beans, or legumes.
  • No Artificial Additives. Low-quality ingredients can trigger food allergies, so make sure the dog food is made with wholesome natural ingredients and free from artificial additives.

Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best hypoallergenic dog food for. Here’s what you need to know:

How to Choose the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Now that you know the basics about your dog’s nutritional needs, you can learn how to choose a hypoallergenic dog food.

The best place to start is a recipe made with natural ingredients.

You can look for the word “natural” on the label but keep in mind that claims on pet food packaging is not as closely regulated as for human food, so take these claims with a grain of salt.

As you look at the package, make sure that the product lists a high-quality source of animal protein first.

Novel sources of protein like turkey, duck, venison, lamb, and rabbit are ideal for hypoallergenic dog foods because your dog is unlikely to have had them which reduces the risk for triggering an allergy.

Fats are not usually a problem for allergies, but you still want them to come from high-quality animal sources to ensure digestibility and bioavailability.

When it comes to carbohydrates, your dog has no specific requirements, but they should be digestible and unlikely to trigger allergies.

For most dogs with allergies, this means cutting out grains. Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and legumes are all good options. You should also make sure that the recipe contains plenty of fiber and probiotics to ensure smooth digestion.

To avoid triggering an allergy, a limited ingredient diet is a good idea.

These are simply dog foods made with a low number of main ingredients which reduces the risk for triggering an allergy. These can also be made with novel proteins and grain-free carbohydrates to further reduce the risk.

Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best hypoallergenic dog food.

The Top 5 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

Now that you have a better understanding of your dog’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to shop for a hypoallergenic dog food. Remember, the key is to reduce the risk for triggering an allergy so look for a recipe made with a limited number of ingredients including quality animal protein, healthy fats, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, and beneficial supplements.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best hypoallergenic dog food that you should consider:

FirstMate Grain-Free LID Australian Lamb Formula

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 7.5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 505 kcal/cup

If you’re looking for the best hypoallergenic dog food out there, this FirstMate Grain-Free LID Lamb Formula is on the list.

It is a limited ingredient diet made with 78% animal ingredients and 22% vegetables and supplements.

It features protein-rich lamb as a single source of novel protein with potatoes for digestible carbohydrates. This recipe is supplemented with glucosamine for healthy joints with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption.

Pros:

  • Limited number of main ingredients
  • Single source of high-quality animal protein
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates

Cons:

  • Very expensive to feed as a staple diet

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Salmon & Whitefish Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 26% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Moisture– 11% Max

Caloric Content: 346 kcal/cup

If you don’t have a big budget to work with, you can still feed your dog a high-quality dog food with this Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Salmon & Whitefish recipe.

This recipe is grain-free for digestibility and to reduce the risk for allergies, plus it is made with novel proteins like salmon and whitefish.

It contains plenty of essential fatty acids pls fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support. It also contains probiotics for healthy and regular digestion.

Pros:

  • Several sources of novel protein
  • Grain-free carbohydrates for digestibility
  • Supplemented with probiotics

Cons:

  • Contains chicken ingredients, some dogs may be sensitive

Blue Buffalo Basics LID Turkey & Potato Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 30% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Moisture– 9% Max

Caloric Content: 403 kcal/cup

To get your puppy off to a good start, try a hypoallergenic puppy food like this Blue Buffalo Basics LID Turkey & Potato Recipe.

Not only is this recipe made with a limited number of main ingredients, but it is free from both chicken and artificial additives.

It features lean turkey as the main ingredient with digestible carbohydrates like potatoes.

It is supplemented with omega fatty acids as well as DHA for brain support and it contains plenty of antioxidants for healthy immunity.

Pros:

  • Limited number of main ingredients
  • Single source of animal protein
  • Free from chicken ingredients and artificial additives

Cons:

  • Contains some plant protein (pea protein)
  • Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

Nulo Grain-Free Trout & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 12% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 2% Max
  • Moisture– 12% Max

Caloric Content: 459 kcal/cup

For high-quality nutrition for your senior dog, try this Nulo Grain-Free Trout & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe.

It features deboned trout and turkey meal as the top two ingredients, both hypoallergenic sources of protein, with grain-free carbohydrates.

It is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support and contains chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption. It also contains probiotic supplements for regular digestion.

Pros:

  • Several sources of novel animal protein
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates
  • Supplemented with probiotics

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive to feed as a staple diet

Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Grain-Free Lamb Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 23.5% Min
  • Fat – 16.5% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 447 kcal/cup

If you’re looking for a dog food with a low risk of triggering food allergies, try this Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Grain-Free Lamb Recipe.

Made with a limited number of ingredients and a single source of novel animal protein, this is a top-quality hypoallergenic dog food.

It features real deboned lamb as the main ingredient with peas and tapioca for carbohydrates. It is supplemented with freeze-dried lamb for added nutrition and plenty of beneficial supplements.

Pros:

  • Limited number of main ingredients
  • Single source of novel protein
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates

Cons:

  • Contains some plant protein (pea protein)
  • Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?

Some dogs are more prone to allergies and food sensitivities than others, and the risk for food allergies goes up as your dog gets older.

Dogs can develop allergies to just about any food ingredient, but there are certain foods that are most likely to trigger allergies.

These include low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy as well as common proteins like chicken, pork, beef, and eggs.

Artificial ingredients and by-products can also trigger negative reactions in dogs. If your dog is allergic or sensitive, a grain-free diet may help or you could try a limited ingredient diet made with a novel protein.

Final Remarks

Every dog is unique in terms of his tolerance for certain ingredients, so a dog food that is hypoallergenic for one dog may trigger allergies in another dog. The key is to identify the ingredient(s) that is causing your dog’ problem and then eliminate it from his diet.

One way to do that is through switching to a hypoallergenic dog food until all signs of your dog’s allergy disappear, then introduce potential allergens one at a time until you identify the problem.

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.
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