Last Updated on
Just so you know, this post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through links on this page, Canine Weekly may collect a share of the sale or other compensation. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
If your dog suffers from allergies, finding the right dog food for them can be difficult – and expensive.
But man’s best friend deserves healthy anti-allergy dog food that doesn’t cause itching, irritation, inflammation, and overall make them uncomfortable.
You need to know the best hypoallergenic dog food for allergies to feed your pup to keep them healthy, happy, and well-fed – while saving money and having peace of mind in a brand you can trust.
We created this mega guide to hypoallergenic dog food in order to help you learn everything you need to know about finding the best hypoallergenic food for dogs with skin allergies, in order to help you get great deals on trusted brands.
In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of anti-allergy food for dogs, discuss the things you’ll want to look for when picking one for your canine, and learn more about 7 of the best dog foods for allergies and where to find them.
P.S. Grain-Free Complete Dog Food
|Check on Amazon|
Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6
|Check on Amazon|
Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dog Food
|Check on Amazon|
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dog Food
|Check on Amazon|
Instinct Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Recipe
|Check on Amazon|
It’s important to understand that dog foods are only hypoallergenic if they feature hydrolyzed proteins or they don’t contain ingredients that act as a trigger for your dog’s reactions.
Because hydrolyzed protein foods are not widely available without a prescription and cost significantly more than typical foods, we’ve selected only limited ingredient dog foods for our recommendations.
Nevertheless, these hypoallergenic dog food brands are some of the best choices on the market for dogs with all types of allergies. Treat your pup to a food that doesn’t give them allergic reactions anymore with these trusted brands.
P.S. Grain-Free Complete Dog Food is specifically designed to help put an end to your dog’s food allergies, and it also seeks to prevent yeast infections and other problems that cause itchy skin.
Lamb, Lamb Lung, Lamb Liver, Lamb Heart, Parsley, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Inulin (from Chicory Root), Ground Lamb Bone, Vegetable Glycerin, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Source of Vitamin E), Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Selenium Yeast, Copper Sulfate, Nicotinic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide (source of iodine), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid
P.S. Grain-Free Complete Dry Dog Food received plenty of praise from most owners, and it clearly ranks among the best dog food for allergies available.
Several reported that it was not only effective for resolving their dog’s itchy skin and paws, but it also appears to be quite palatable to dogs. However, a few noted that it is very important to transition to this diet carefully to avoid intestinal upset.
P.S. Grain-Free Complete Dog Food is clearly one of the best hypoallergenic dog foods available without a prescription, and its formula is designed to address itchy skin in several different ways. It won’t work for all dogs, but the vast majority of owners reported that it was very effective for their pet. The only real drawback to the food is its high price.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 is a limited ingredient dry dog food, primarily based on six items. It is an excellent choice for owners who are looking for one of the top dog foods for allergies available, or those who simply like to feed their dog food that doesn’t contain a lot of unnecessary ingredients.
Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Ground Rice, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Chicken Flavor, Poultry Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.
Most owners who tried Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 were very pleased with the product. Most reported that it helped to soothe their dog’s itchy skin and many dogs who had trouble digesting other foods were able to eat this without any problem. The most common complaints related to palatability concerns, but most dogs seemed to love the taste.
Why should you pick this for your dog? It is made without corn, wheat, soy or gluten. More importantly, it is completely free of poultry by-products. It contains no artificial flavors or preservatives and for those who want to buy American, it is made in the USA. This makes it a perfect dog food for dogs with many of the most common allergies, and all-around a high protein food that is very healthy for any pup.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 is a good choice for owners who want a dog food for allergies that is also easy for dogs to digest. Made without the common allergens, this dry food appeared to help alleviate a wide variety of health problems from dog food allergies and food intolerances to IBS.
Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dog Food is a nutritious and delicious recipe, which is comprised of a relatively small number of primary ingredients. This makes it a helpful choice for many dogs who suffer from food allergies.
Ground Rice, Lamb, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Tomato Pomace, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Beta-Carotene, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Folic Acid], Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Choline Chloride, Taurine.
The user reviews for Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dog Food are overwhelmingly positive. Most owners reported that the recipe not only relieved their dog’s itchy skin, but it helped improve their elimination habits and a few owners even reported improved energy levels. Additionally, the recipe appears very palatable to dogs, so you shouldn’t have any issues getting your pet to switch foods.
Not only is it made with all-natural ingredients, but it has no gluten, wheat or artificial additives. Moreover, dogs suffering from beef or fish allergies can rest easy, as this dog food is made with a single protein source (lamb and lamb meal). On top of all this, it’s made right here in the USA.
The bottom line is that if your dog has any allergy to beef, chicken, fish, even eggs, this dog food will give your furry family friend a lamb based protein source exclusively doing away with extra additives or multiple protein sources. It’s slightly troubling that rice leads the ingredient list instead of lamb and we’d have liked to see probiotics included in the recipe.
However, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dog Food is clearly one of the best dog foods for skin allergies on the market, and it’s priced very reasonably, given its quality. It deserves serious consideration by any owner trying to address dog food allergies or itchy skin.
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dog Food is a limited-ingredient diet that is formulated from seven primary, whole foods to help alleviate problems with food allergies. This recipe includes two primary proteins, which are both typically good options for dogs with food allergies.
Bison, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas, canola oil, sun-cured alfalfa, natural flavor, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols (a natural source of vitamin E)
Most owners reported great results after switching to CANIDAE Grain Free PURE Dog Food. It not only helped to alleviate the itchy skin from which many dogs suffered, but it also helped to promote proper digestion and regular eliminations. Most owners also reported that their pet seemed to love the taste.
Bison is the first listed ingredient, and it is fortified with five probiotics to support healthy digestion. Moreover, it is made without corn, wheat or other grains which makes it applicable to a wider range of dog allergy issues.
CANIDAE’s Grain-Free PURE Dog Food contains more ingredients than many other hypoallergenic dog food options, but it still appeared to alleviate most dogs’ food allergy problems.
We’d have preferred if the recipe only included one protein, but lamb and bison are typically good novel proteins. This isn’t as big of a problem as it would be if the proteins were more common items, such as chicken and beef.
About: Instinct Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Recipe is a high-quality hypoallergenic dog food designed to keep dogs nourished without including any of the most common allergic triggers. However, despite being a limited ingredient diet, it includes a number of rarely incorporated yet health-supporting items, such as freeze-dried organ meats and pumpkin seeds.
Lamb Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Lamb, Natural Flavor, Montmorillonite Clay, Coconut Oil, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Lamb, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Lamb Liver, Freeze Dried Lamb Spleen, Freeze Dried Lamb Heart, Freeze Dried Lamb Kidney, Rosemary Extract
Most dog owners were very happy with Instinct Limited Ingredient Grain Free dry dog food and reported that it helped to alleviate their dog’s itchy skin. Most dogs appear to love the taste, likely because of the meats included at the end of the ingredient list.
It doesn’t contain any grains, dairy, eggs, chicken, beef, fish, sweet potato, potato, chickpeas, or soy. It is also free of artificial additives, colors, and preservatives.
We’d have liked to see this hypoallergenic recipe include real lamb meat at the top of the ingredient list, but the organ meats help offset this concern somewhat. As long as your dog doesn’t turn out to be allergic to lamb, this dog food will likely help put an end to his itchy sensitive skin, as it avoids some of the triggers (such as potatoes, dairy, and eggs), which are still contained in many other LID foods.
Taste Of The Wild Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food Pacific Stream Adult – Salmon is one of the best dog food brands or any dog with a lamb allergy. Most alternative foods for those with animal protein allergies use lamb so if your dog is allergic to lamb, it can be hard to find great food that they enjoy. But this one relies heavily on salmon to deliver a healthy.
Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, canola oil, lentils, salmon meal, smoked salmon, potato fiber, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid. Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.
Many dog owners reported significant improvements in the health of their dogs when they made the switch to this label. Dog owners whose pets suffered from serious gastrointestinal distress or who had pre-existing heart conditions showed signs of improvement when they started consuming this food over previous foods.
Salmon is the main ingredient which means your dog not only reaps the benefits of few ingredients, less likely to exacerbate allergies, but it reaps the benefits of the essential oil which is great for the skin, the fur, and helps to settle the stomach.
Smoked salmon is the number one ingredient which means optimal amino acids and proteins for stronger muscles. There are added vitamins and minerals as well as fruits and vegetables that specifically have antioxidants for doggie skin and coat health.
There is no grain, no corn, no wheat, no filler products, no preservatives or artificial flavors. It is highly digestible with proprietary probiotics that help improve the overall health of your dog’s GI tract.
This dog food contains fewer ingredients than most on the market which means it will alleviate many allergy based problems that dogs have. the recipe being fish-based also eliminates the risk of multiple animal protein sources which might otherwise exacerbate allergies.
There are four different varieties that fall under this manufacturer one of which is the grain-free turkey and potato recipe. All four recipes have limited ingredients without chicken so you can choose the fish version if you prefer.
Turkey, Turkey Broth, Potatoes, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Pumpkin, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Cranberries, Blueberries, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).
Dog owners are saying that the food has helped reduce the number of ear infections and skin infections in their dogs with more complicated allergies. Dogs seem to love the taste and the limited ingredients do well to ease the otherwise easily upset stomachs..
This food uses a single animal protein source as well as pumpkin, peas, and potatoes to gently support the digestive tract of your dog without any grains or gluten.
There is no chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy or egg which makes it an ideal solution for dogs that have a range of related food sensitivities. More importantly, it is formulated with all of the essential carbohydrates and proteins necessary to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.
This dry dog food is formulated for the overall well-being and health of your dog with only the finest natural ingredients, no by-products, artificial flavors, or preservatives. It is very gentle on sensitive stomachs and has limited ingredients so even the most complicated of dog allergies can still get by with this food.
Dog food allergies occur when a dog’s immune system mistakes a harmless ingredient for a dangerous one. This causes the body to release antibodies to fight off the invader, and these in turn release histamines, which cause allergic reactions such as inflammation, itchy skin, irritation, and stomach problems.
Histamines lead to sensitive skin allergy symptoms like skin redness, swelling and – most commonly for dogs who suffer from food allergies – itchy skin.
To treat food allergies and help your dog feel better, you’ll need to identify the problematic ingredient through an elimination-challenge diet.
Once identified, this ingredient can be avoided when selecting a new dog food. This should stop the allergic reaction and allow your pet to enjoy some relief from skin allergies.
However, for a variety of reasons, it can sometimes be difficult to determine the ingredient that causes your dog’s problems. In such cases, you’ll need to select a “hypoallergenic” or limited ingredient dog food.
Dog foods for specifically for treating allergies typically come in two different versions:
As it turns out, dogs tend to be allergic to a relatively small number of common ingredients. This includes things like chicken, dairy, eggs, beef, and fish, as well as corn or wheat.
Limited ingredient dog food (often abbreviated LIDs) are typically made without these ingredients. In fact, they’re generally made with relatively few ingredients at all and are often grain-free.
LIDs generally feature an unusual protein (often called a novel protein, as your dog is unlikely to have eaten it before, and therefore it will not trigger an allergic reaction).
Such foods, like salmon, also generally include low-risk carbohydrates (rice, for example, rarely triggers allergic reactions in dogs) and a small number of fruits and vegetables to supply the vitamin and mineral content.
Limited ingredient dog foods are often the first option for owners of dogs with food allergies. They frequently provide relief of skin allergies, don’t require a prescription, and are usually priced comparably to typical premium dog foods.
Note that while LIDs are often helpful for treating dogs with food allergies, and they’re often marketed as “hypoallergenic” dog foods, they can still trigger allergic reactions if your dog happens to be allergic to one of the included ingredients.
The only truly “hypoallergenic” dog food is one made with hydrolyzed proteins. Hydrolyzed proteins have been chemically altered to change the size and shape of the constituent protein molecules.
This helps prevent the immune system from recognizing the offending common allergen and prevent the allergic response from happening. Like limited ingredient diets, these recipes typically feature low-risk carbohydrates like rice.
Typically, foods with hydrolyzed proteins are very effective in treating dog food allergies. But, they present two significant challenges:
If you’d like to try a hydrolyzed protein food for your dog, we’d recommend Royal Canin HP Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food. However, most owners will likely prefer to try an LID first, given the lower price point.
When looking for the best dog food allergies, you’ll want to look for a product that satisfies the following criteria:
Making sure you find a dog food that meets these standards will help you to make sure that you choose the best meal for your pooch.
The fewer ingredients contained in a dog food, the lower the odds are that one of those ingredients will trigger an allergic reaction from your dog. It’s still important to provide your dog with all of the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and calories they need, so be sure to select only high-quality, nutritious foods that have been formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition.
The best LID options are made with unusual protein sources, to which your dog has not developed an allergy. Some of the most common examples include kangaroo, lamb, rabbit, salmon, venison and bison/buffalo.
In the interest of limiting your dog’s exposure to a common allergen, most hypoallergenic dog foods are made with only a single protein source. However, multiple protein sources are not necessarily a problem if they are both from novel sources. For example, you’ll want to avoid foods that contain chicken and beef, but lamb and bison or salmon and rabbit are probably not a problem.
Although it isn’t very common, some dogs suffer from allergic reactions when exposed to artificial additives, such as artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Accordingly, most high-quality hypoallergenic dog food is made without these types of items. Generally speaking, you’ll want to avoid foods that contain anything unnecessary.
The best hypoallergenic dog food brands are based in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Western Europe, as these countries maintain stricter quality-control and safety standards than many others.
This is especially important for owners seeking a quality dog food for skin allergies, as low-quality manufacturers often produce foods that contain tainted ingredients.
For example, the manufacturer may make a batch of standard dog food and then switch to making a hypoallergenic alternative.
However, if they failed to properly sterilize the machinery between batches, the hypoallergenic food may contain trace amounts of your dog’s trigger. This could be enough to counteract the benefits provided by the allergy dog food.
It’s important to know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. A food allergy is something that causes a severe physiological reaction usually the result of genetics.
For Example: A dog that is intolerant of wheat has trouble digesting it, breaking it down, and processing it and it can lead to a histamine reaction but a dog with a gluten allergy has a genetic condition that prevents its body from doing so. With serious allergies, you want to take good care of your dog by avoiding the allergen entirely.
An intolerance may put a strain on the system as well, but if there are dog foods processed in facilities with the allergen in question, the slightest bit of exposure won’t be as harmful to a dog with an intolerance compared to a dog with a severe allergy.
Want to learn even more about nutrition for dogs, including the best foods, tips, tricks, and more? At CanineWeekly, we are constantly creating new and informational content to help you be a better owner, and help your dog live a happier, healthier life. Our blog has tons of resources on dog nutrition, to help you learn everything you need to keep your little buddy in shape and enjoying their meals.
Have even more questions about your dog’s food allergies in order to find the best hypoallergenic dog food? We’ve got answers:
All dog breeds have the potential to suffer from some form of allergy. What’s more important is the breeding quality and standards. If you are looking for a new dog to add to your home, make sure you get it from a reputable breeder and that you know its family history. Your family health history is important in determining what potential allergies you might have down the line, and so are your dogs.
There are a lot of dog allergies out there, but the most common include food allergies. Of these, you might have a family friend with an allergy to:
In most cases, you will have to do an elimination to figure out what your dog is allergic to. If you see the signs of an allergic reaction, those of a histamine reaction, you can narrow down what it was in the environment during the food that your dog may have responded to. The most common reactions for dogs include:
Dogs that have food allergies are typically allergic to the proteins in the food and that can be plant proteins or animal proteins. Proteins for your dog just the same as for yourself get broken down into molecules and sent throughout the body. But sometimes the body misidentifies certain protein molecules and sees them as a potential threat and when that happens it initiates an allergic reaction.
If your dog has skin allergies, the best food is really going to be the one your dog responds to successfully. Again, it’s important to do an elimination diet and to test different foods with the health of your veterinarian to figure out which one works best for your sweet dog.
Realistically, the best way to tell if your dog is allergic to food is to monitor them when they eat to see if they did it signs of a reaction. These include the same allergic reaction symptoms that you might face such as itching or sneezing. On a dog, you might notice itching paws, skin rashes, pigmented skin, or hot spots.
If your dog suffers from digestive problems, you will want to limit their diet to foods that have fewer ingredients. The fewer ingredients in the dog food, the faster you and your dog will be able to go through an elimination diet to find the main culprit.
This is going to be based on the type of dog you have. The best dog food if your dog has itchy skin is going to be one that doesn’t have the allergen causing the itchy skin. Itchy skin is one of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction to dog food, so if you notice your dog exhibiting the symptoms, you will have to work carefully to undergo an elimination process to figure out what ingredient is causing an allergic reaction. Then you can find dog food that doesn’t have those ingredients.
This depends entirely on the allergen that is causing so much anxiety for your dog. If your dog is allergic to beef protein, salmon would be a good alternative. Of course, if your dog is allergic to fish, you want to steer clear of salmon.
The most common food allergies include animal-based protein allergies. Dog food allergies have to do with either a plant-based protein or an animal-based protein and in most cases, if your dog has an allergy it’s probably allergic to more than one thing. It might be allergic to beef and wheat or chicken and soy.
The most common symptoms of wheat allergies include itchiness which presents itself in the form of your dog excessively scratching over its body, licking itself, even biting at its paws. You might also notice chronic skin infections or ear infections.
This depends on the type of protein to that your dog is allergic to. Most of the time food allergies in dogs are caused by an allergic reaction to a protein either a plant protein or an animal-based protein. So, if your dog suffers from a beef protein allergy the best protein source would be something other than beef. This is something you will have to figure out with your dogs specifically.
If your dog is excessively itching, it may be a sign of an allergic reaction. You will have to work hard to go through an elimination process in order to find out what ingredient in your current dog food is causing the reaction. Once you have that you can find a dog food that does not contain the allergens.
Grain-free dog food is good for dogs with grain allergies. Dogs typically have food allergies to either a plant-based protein or an animal-based protein. If your dog is allergic to plant-based proteins and has trouble breaking down grain, a grain-free dog food is going to be the best solution.
You can tell if your dog is allergic to dog food if they exhibit symptoms of an allergic reaction. The biggest symptom of an allergic reaction is itching. Obviously your furry pet can’t tell you if it has an itch but you’ll know as soon as they start to excessively scratch, look at their paws, even bite themselves. You might also notice skin blotchiness or irritation, as well as chronic ear infections.