The 7 Best Dog Foods for Allergies
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According to veterinarians, food allergies and sensitivities are not nearly as common as many owners believe. Try telling that to someone when their dog is itching and scratching in the middle of the night!
If you know your dog’s triggers, there are some good dog foods for allergies. Depending on your dog’s allergy or sensitivity, he or she may be able to eat a wide range of foods as long as you avoid certain ingredients.
If you have a dog that seems to have a food allergy or food sensitivity, you probably know how hard it can be to find dog foods that help the situation. Keep reading to learn more about the best dog foods for allergies.
At a Glance: Best Dog Foods for Allergies
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below, where we have highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
1. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food
2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
3. Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food
Best for Small Dogs
4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support Dry Dog Food
Best Gluten Free
5. Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula
Best for Seniors
6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Food
Best for Puppies
7. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy Limited Ingredient Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food
Foods for Dogs with Allergies
If your dog has food allergies or sensitivities (also called food intolerances), you have several different options.
- Prepare your dog’s food yourself. This is an option, but it’s difficult. I have done this. It’s hard.) The upside is that you can control every single ingredient, so you can make sure that your dog is not eating any allergens. The downside is that it’s a real chore. Maybe not at first, but after months and years, it can wear you out. Especially when you always have to buy less common meats or other ingredients for your dog and prepare them. In addition, it’s not always easy to make sure your dog is getting a nutritionally complete and balanced diet.
- Buy a veterinary diet for dogs with allergies through your veterinarian. This option can work for many dogs. The number one drawback for many people is the cost. Diets that require a prescription from your veterinarian are often very expensive. However, this is sometimes the only option for dogs with allergies. Many of these foods are hypoallergenic. They may contain hydrolyzed protein. The protein used (whatever it is) is broken down into such small molecules that your dog’s gastrointestinal system can’t even react to it. So, no allergic reaction.
- Buy over-the-counter limited ingredient diet (LID) dog foods. Limited-ingredient diets generally have one kind of protein and one carbohydrate source. For that reason, they are supposed to be better for dogs with allergies. You have to be careful when buying these foods, however. They may be called “limited ingredients,” but they often contain lots of ingredients. Some of them also seem to have more than one protein and one kind of carb. So, check the ingredients to make sure they are suitable for your dog. If you know your dog’s allergens and you find a LID food that works for him, this kind of diet can be a good choice.
The Top 7 Best-Rated Dog Foods for Allergens Reviewed
WELLNESS SIMPLE LIMITED INGREDIENT DIET GRAIN-FREE SALMON & POTATO FORMULA DRY DOG FOOD
- Protein: 25% Min
- Fat: 12% Min
- Fiber: 5% Max
- Moisture: 11% Max
- Features natural probiotics, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine and taurine
- Includes a single-source of protein that is expertly balanced with easily-digestible carbohydrates
- Crafted to encourage whole body health by supporting digestive function and promoting a healthy coat and skin
- Contains a significant number of plant-based ingredients and some of the protein comes from plants instead of meat
Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 26.0% Min
- Fat: 16.0% Min
- Fiber: 4.0% Max
- Calories: 429 kcal/cup
- Made without corn, wheat or soy or artificial colors or flavors
- Natural prebiotic fiber nourishes specific intestinal bacteria for digestive health
- Fish Oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids for joint health and mobility
- Salmon is the first ingredient
- Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
- This food was formerly Purina Pro Plan FOCUS. Some people are not happy about the change and the new formula
- Contains barley, rice, and oatmeal so it may not be a good choice if you don’t like grains
Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food
- Protein: 21% Min
- Fat: 12% Min
- Fiber: 4% Max
- Calories: 392 kcal/cup
- Gluten Free, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Chicken-Free
- Helps improve digestion & stool quality
- Visible improvement in skin & coat
- Helps maintain a healthy skin barrier
- Supports a healthy immune system
- Don’t even look at the ingredients. You will hate them
- This food is high in potatoes and low in protein
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 28% Min
- Fat: 11.5% Min
- Fiber: 18.8% Max
- Calories: 245 kcal/cups
- Made with hydrolyzed protein for adult dogs under 22 lbs with food sensitivities
- Helps reduce skin and GI reactions that may be a result of sensitivities to common proteins found in pet foods
- Promotes a urinary environment unfavorable to the development of both struvite and calcium oxalate crystals
- This food requires veterinary authorization so it is more expensive
- Royal Canin has had some supply issues
Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula
- Protein: 23% Min
- Fat: 14% Min
- Fiber: 4% Max
- Calories: 355 kcal/cup
- Real lamb is the first ingredient in this complete and balanced recipe
- Grain-inclusive brown-rice formula is gluten free
- Essential amino acids help maintain your little dog’s strong muscles
- Smaller kibble size is formulated especially for small breeds
- The protein percentage is lower than many dog foods and the rice/carbohydrate content is high.
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Food
- Protein: 18% Min
- Fat: 10% Min
- Fiber: 7% Max
- Calories: 352 kcal/cup
- Deboned salmon is the first ingredient.
- Limited-ingredient dog food with essential proteins and carbohydrates to help meet your dog’s energy requirements.
- Free from chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy and eggs.
- Does not contain poultry by-product meals, artificial flavors, or preservatives
- This is a grain-free formula that is high in peas
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy Limited Ingredient Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 30% Min
- Fat: 12% Min
- Fiber: 4% Max
- Calories: 520 kcal/cup
- Grain-free and free of soy, wheat, corn and other fillers for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
- Fortified after cooking with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
- Made from a simple, whole food recipe at Canidae’s Texas facility
- This is a grain-free formula and it contains higher amounts of peas and lentils, if that is a concern for you
Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs
Here are some common ways to tell if your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity.
Signs of a food allergy:
- Itching (aka pruritus)
- Itchy paws
- Hot spots
- Skin rashes
- Scaly and/or oily skin
- Pigmented skin
- Leathery skin texture
- Eye discharge
- Red eyes
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Secondary yeast or bacterial infections (aka pyoderma) of the skin or ears
A small percentage of dogs will also have chronic gastrointestinal issues associated with their food allergies.
- Diarrhea with or without blood and/or mucus in stool
- Straining to pass stool
- Abdominal pain
Common Allergens for Dogs
According to studies, beef is the most common allergen for dogs.
- Dairy products
It is surprising given the items on this list and the order of the ingredients. Grains in general, and wheat and corn in particular, are often blamed for allergies. But they are not the worst offenders.
Allergens in the canine population change over time. This list might look different in 20 years. Ingredients that are used more often in dog foods will be more likely to elicit allergic reactions in dogs in the future. For example, many dog foods today use chickpeas as an ingredient. It’s possible that in the future, chickpeas could become an allergen for some dogs simply because so many dogs are eating them.
What all of this means is that the best dog foods for allergies can be very specific for an individual dog. What works for one dog might not work for another dog.
As you can tell, the best dog food for your dog will depend on his particular allergy or food sensitivity. There are some common allergens (beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, soy, lamb, corn, eggs, pork, fish, and rice), but some dogs can also have reactions to unique ingredients.
Once you know your dog’s allergens or sensitivities, you might start off feeding him a prescription diet. Many people transition to a limited-ingredient diet after a while.