You have just visited your vet and she said that your dog is suffering from food allergies. And as you drive back home you are wondering where to start and what dog food is good for allergies. Relax! For a dog parent to identify the best dog food allergies, you must understand what food allergies are and what triggers them.
I once had this yellow Labrador with allergies and he would itch like crazy and shake his head repeatedly. After visiting my vet, she told me that Baxter could be suffering from food allergy. At first, that scared the hell out of me until I learnt that 10% of allergies in dogs are food related. Now what was troubling me is getting the best dog food for yellow lab with allergies.
From environmental allergies to skin allergies, these are dog food allergies most common in many canines. Given my experience with Baxter, I understand the challenges you may be facing especially when it comes to choosing quality dog food for allergies. Whether you have a puppy, small breed, medium-size, or large breed, there is food prepared with your dog in mind.
My quest in this extensive research and review of the 10 best dog foods for allergies is to offer a solution to your dog’s food allergy problem and help reduce the symptoms. But before that…
What are Dog Food Allergies?
There are many terminologies that have been used to describe the strange reactions to food, including hypersensitivity and allergy. Both names refer to an immunologic reaction to food allergens and are triggered by previous contact with the allergen.
It is worth stating that dog food allergies can develop at any time even from food your dog has been eating for years just because of changing his diet. When thinking about what dog food is best for allergies, you must be aware that food allergy symptoms are very similar to those of food intolerance. As such, consult a vet for guidance.
Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs
According to Dr. Adam Patterson, food allergies in dogs present themselves differently than in humans, as it expresses itself via the skin and comes as an itch. While symptoms in dogs differ, the most common factor is non-seasonal itching in the whole body or the feet and ears. Other typical signs include frequent or chronic skin and ear infections.
In some dogs, the signs of food allergies include excessive gas, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Causes of Food Allergies in Dogs
Plant-based or animal-based proteins are the major ingredients in dog food that cause dog food allergies. The most common protein sources of dog food allergies include chicken, dairy, beef, and wheat. Basically, the immune system of dogs with food allergies misidentifies the protein as a probable threat. That triggers the allergen reaction even when your dog has been eating the food for a long time.
It is also worth mentioning that food allergies in dogs are a genetic problem. Right now, study is in progress as researchers try to determine what makes the immune system exhibit these allergies during puppyhood.
According to Susan Wynn, a globally known holistic pet care specialist, an undergoing immune education process being carried out in the first weeks of life reveals that pups treated with antibiotics causes issues later in life, especially due to ecological changes thus starting allergens.
What to Feed a Dog with Food Allergies
Several dog foods are prepared for all kinds of dogs with allergies in mind and here are the 4 that I know of:
1) Limited ingredient dog food
This has become the go-to option because of the concerns dog parents and experts have over allergens existing in many dog foods. The dog food includes a single protein source and might also have one carb source and should have authorization from AAFCO.
2) Novel ingredient dog food
This refers to dog food that contains a source of protein your dog has not eaten before. Such less common protein sources include venison, salmon, or duck. These novel protein sources are also present in limited dog diets.
3) Grain-free dog food
These foods (along with grain-free treats – known as hypoallergenic treats) are for dogs with grain sensitivities like rye, wheat, barley, and corn and are always gluten-free.
4) Prescription dog food
These dog foods are an excellent option for dogs with extreme allergic reactions and are only bought from a vet. It is good to consult your vet before introducing your dog to prescription dog food and be willing to dig deeper into your pockets.
Now, with that knowledge so far, we can confidently go over the review of the best dog diets for allergies.
Our 10 Best Dog Food for Allergies 2021 Reviews
Here is a review of the 8 best dog foods for allergies that you will find in the market in 2021:
1. Taste of the Wild Prey (Trout) – Best for Novel Protein Diets
First five ingredients: Trout, Lentils, Tomato Pomace, Sunflower oil, and Natural Flavor
Our overall best dog food for allergies is the Trout Limited Ingredient flavor from Taste of the Wild. This recipe uses real trout as the first ingredient which is why I categorized it as the best for novel protein diets which is ideal for dogs with food allergies with 3,592 calorie content.
What I like most about this dog food is that it is rich in proteins to support lean, strong muscles and has been formulated with no meals. Also, this simple dog food is made with limited ingredients which makes it easy to digest and is balanced with added micronutrients. In addition, it has omega fatty acids that promote skin health and shiny coat.
This dog food for allergies contains no GMO ingredients, synthetic additives or preservatives. It has 27% protein, 15% fat, 5% fiber, and 10% moisture and is endorsed in 4.7/5 client reviews.
- Uses novel protein
- Supports healthy digestion
- Palatable flavor
- Quality kibble
- Added flavor from savory seasoning might affect some breeds
2. Blue Buffalo Natural – Best for Dogs with Food Sensitivities
First five ingredients: Salmon Hydrolysate, Pea Starch, Potatoes, Peas, and Canola Oil If you are looking for the best dog food for food sensitivities, dog food allergies Blue Buffalo is a fantastic choice. This veterinary diet uses hydrolyzed salmon as the first ingredient which is a readily digestible protein source that helps reduce the likelihood of adverse reactions to food.
To support a healthy immune system, this dry dog food for allergies contains antioxidant-rich ingredients such as cranberries and blueberries plus a blend of vitamins C & E. This grain-free recipe is the best dog food for allergies and digestion that you will find in the market today. It is a healthy, natural diet with beneficial nutrition and palate that your dog will enjoy.
It has 3,529 kcal/kg caloric content boasting 4.3/5 ranking in 75 global ratings, and contains 24% protein, 12% fat, 5% fiber, and 10% moisture.
- Best for food sensitivities
- Good for picky eaters
- Healthy ingredients
- Palatable & nutritious
- High price tag
3. Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredients – Best for Sensitive Stomachs
First five ingredients: Salmon, Potatoes, Peas, Tomato Pomace, and Ground Flaxseed
This limited ingredient dog food from Wellness is our third-best dog food for allergies in the list. The LID recipe ranks as the best dog food for allergies and sensitive stomach as it is prepared using one animal-based protein source from salmon. It has 3487 kcal/kg calorie content.
Well-balanced with digestible carbs and natural prebiotics, this dog food helps promote a healthy digestive system and includes antioxidants for a strong immune system. In addition, the diet includes omega fatty acids that support a healthy skin and lustrous coat. So, if you are struggling with dog food for allergies what is best in the market, Wellness got you covered.
To ensure they meet the specific needs of different dog’s needs, Wellness makes four grained and four grain-free dog food varieties with either high protein or LID options. It boasts 4.7/5 ranking in 680 global ratings with 25% protein, 12% fat, 5% fiber, and 11% moisture.
- Ideal for sensitive tummies
- Healthy digestion
- Good quality & palatable
- Excellent value for money
- Inconsistent batches
4. Purina Pro Plan Hydrolyzed – Best for Vegetarian Diets
First five ingredients: Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein Isolate, Coconut Oil, and Partially Hydrogenated Canola Oil (preserved with TBHQ).
Our fourth-best dog food for allergies is yet another vet diet that best for vegetarian diets. This dog food for allergies uses one hydrolyzed protein source that has been broken down into small components. As such, it is less expected to cause an adverse food reaction in some dogs.
This dry dog food formula is prepared using high-quality ingredients and contains one carb source making it easy to digest to support optimum nutrient absorption. So, if you are looking for the best dog food allergies licking feet solution, this HA hydrolyzed canine formula is ideal.
It boasts 4.5/5 customer reviews, 3723 kcal/kg calorie content with 18% protein, 8% fat, 4% fiber, and 10% moisture.
- Palatable & easier to store
- Ideal for licking feet allergies
- Vet recommended
- High price tag
5. Hill’s Prescription Diet – Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food
First five ingredients: Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Oil, and Calcium Carbonate.
Do you want the best dog food for allergies for your young-adult? This dry dog food has been formulated by expert vets and nutritionists and is ideal for dogs with skin and food sensitivities. It is made with one source of hydrolyzed animal protein and single purified carbs source to avoid common food allergies.
Even best, this dry dog food for allergies has been enriched with vital fatty acids to promote skin health and a shiny coat, plus clinically-proven antioxidants for a healthy immune system. It is the best dog food for allergies ear infections as it has select ingredients that relieve the symptoms.
This dog food has been clinically tested to support healthy digestion, boasts 4.7/5 stars ranking in client reviews with 19.1% protein, 14.4% fat, and 4.4% fiber. Caloric content is 354 kcal/cup.
- Vet recommended
- Ideal for allergies & sensitivities
- Inconsistence in ordered batches
- Vet’s approval affects purchase capabilities
- High shipping costs
6. Diamond Care Dog Food – Best for Skin Allergies
First five ingredients: Peas, Pea Flour, Hydrolyzed Salmon, Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), and Flaxseed.
If you are looking for the best dog food for allergies skin, Diamond Care got you covered with this dry dog food formula. Specifically made for sensitive skin in dogs, this dog food features high quality protein from hydrolyzed salmon making it ideal for skin allergies.
This nutrient-rich dry dog food for allergies has added omega fatty acids to promote skin health and shiny coat, as well as vitamin E antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system. It is also highly digestible with proprietary probiotics and contains no gluten, corn, fillers, wheat, or artificial flavors and colors.
This dog food has 4.5/5 stars rating on 401 global reviews ratings, has 3510 kcal/kg caloric content, plus 22% protein, 12% fat, 4.5% fiber, and 10% moisture.
- Ideal for skin allergies
- Sensitive tummies solution
- Supports healthy digestion
- None so far
7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Salmon & Sweet Potato – Best for Allergies without Chicken
First five ingredients: Salmon, Chicken Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Dried Peas, and Pea Starch.
Are you looking for the best dog food for allergies without chicken? This salmon & sweet potato flavor recipe from Rachael Ray Nutrish is a perfect choice! With real salmon as the first ingredient and source of protein, the food supports growth of lean, strong muscles.
What I like about this dog food is that it is prepared with simple, natural ingredients and a blend of wholesome veggies and extra vitamins and minerals. This ensures palatability and quality with no synthetic flavors, colors, and no grains. Sweet potatoes also make it highly digestible.
This dog food has 4.6/5 stars rating in customer reviews, has 3,475 kcal/kg caloric content with 26% protein, 14% fat, 5% fiber, and 10% moisture content.
- Vet approved
- Good for chicken allergies
- Good value for money
- Brand lawsuit poses threats
8. NULO Puppy & Adult Small Breed Freestyle Plus Grain-Free – Best for Small Breed
First five ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chickpea Flour, and Canola Oil (preserved with Citric acid & mixed tocopherols)
If you have been struggling with the best dog food for allergies for your small breed – both pups and adults, this salmon flavor from NULO is an ideal choice. This dry dog food for allergies has high protein and lower carb to fit dogs that favor simplified diets.
Even best, this dog food is prepared using a single animal-based protein source for optimal nutrition, probiotics for digestive health, especially on dogs with food sensitivities. This also makes it ideal dog food for allergies to chicken. You can pick from their four recipes including puppy & adult turkey or salmon, puppy & adult Alaska Pollock, and Small Breed & Turkey.
This dog food boasts 4.7/5 stars review, 3,712 kcal/kg caloric content with 30% protein, 18% fat, 5.5% fiber, and 10% moisture.
- Ideal for tummy issues
- Highly digestible
- Good option for puppies
- High price tag
- Inconsistent batch quality
9. Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult – Best for Large Breed
First five ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Whole Dried Eggs, Potatoes, Peas, and Potato Flour.
Are you looking for the best dog food for allergies large breed? I have a fresh solution for you with this recipe from Now Fresh. This dry dog food for allergies formula includes fresh turkey as the first ingredient to promote the growth of lean, strong muscles and avoid food reactions.
In addition, there are omega 3 & 6 fatty acids from coconut and canola oils that support skin health and a lustrous coat in dogs. If you need the best dog food for unknown allergies, this recipe would do as it also contains salmon and duck which are ideal novel proteins. Other ingredients include wholesome veggies, fruits, and berries for immune health.
This dog food has 4.6/5 stars rating on customer reviews, 3,573 caloric content with 27% protein, 13% fat, 4% fiber, and 10% moisture.
- Healthy antioxidants
- Balanced fats & proteins
- Promotes digestive health
- Grain & gluten-free
- Cases of excessive wet gas
10. Merrick Limited Ingredients Diet Turkey & Rice Dog Food – Best Canned Dog food for Allergies
First five ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Brown Rice, and Oatmeal.
This review cannot be complete without this LID turkey & rice recipe dog food for allergies from Merrick. Prepared with deboned turkey as the first ingredient, it is the best canned dog food for allergies that you will find out there in the market.
This wet dog food for allergies is specifically formulated for dogs with sensitive tummies or food sensitivities with limited ingredients. It is also potato-free, chicken-free in case you dog is allergic to chicken, and contains no soy or grain. If you want good dog food for allergies and picky eaters with a complete and balanced nutrition for your adult dog(s), this is an ideal choice.
It has 4.8/5 stars rating in customer reviews, has 1,119 kcal/kg caloric content with 8% protein, 6% fat, 1.4% fiber, and 78% moisture.
- Good quality
- Ideal palate for picky eaters
- Promotes good health
- Inconsistent quality
What to Look for when Buying Dog Food for Allergies
Check out this buyer’s guide below before you decide to go shopping for the best dog food for allergies.
1. Food allergy culprit
Understanding the food allergy culprit is essential before purchasing dog food for allergies so you can know what you are dealing with. And since it is not easy, you can consult your vet who will conduct dog food allergies test before giving a prescription. This way, you will avoid the culprits of food reaction.
2. The ingredients list
After consulting with your vet, make sure that you check the ingredients list for what causes food reactions in your allergic dog. This will prevent you from exposing your dog with allergies to that ingredient making his health better and reducing symptoms.
3. Check customer reviews
Before making a purchase, I first go through different and honest customer reviews about a product. This equips me with almost all the information I need about dog food allergies and their experience with the brand. This way, I can make informative decisions when spending my cash.
4. Your dog breed
Different dog breeds have different food allergies. Is your dog a small, medium, or large breed? This info is helpful as you will buy food for dog allergies based on it. The last thing you want is to make his health miserable by feeding the wrong type of food.
7 Tips on How to Deal With Allergies in Dogs
Since allergies are difficult to get rid of, I have listed 7 tips on how to deal with the condition as I learnt during my experience with Baxter – my yellow lab with food allergies:
- Give the correct nutrition
- Keep your dog off the garbage
- Buy the proper type of food
- Promote effective protein digestion
- Feed novel proteins
- Don’t quit on your dog
Consult with your veterinarian
Dog Food Allergies Treatment
Most people ask: how are dog food allergies diagnosed? To be honest, diagnosing food allergies in dogs is not an easy process. The best dog food allergies cure is changing their diet. Also, you can conduct a dog food allergies test to tell if your dog suffers from any food allergies at all and what he is allergic to.
The most dependable method for diagnosing food allergies in dogs is conducting a food trial using a hypoallergenic dog food. You can either use the novel protein source or hydrolyzed diets technique.
§ Option 1: Novel Protein Source
This technique involves using a new protein source to help reduce the possibility of an immune response and should also include a new, single source of carbs. Examples of these protein sources include venison, rabbit or options like duck & pea, potato& venison, or salmon & potato.
§ Option 2: Hydrolyzed Diets
This method involves breaking down the proteins in the dog diet so that the immune system does not recognize them as a possible threat. As such, this eliminates the likelihood of any adverse reactions. Examples of carb sources with low allergic reaction include rice or starch.
Where to Buy
There are many places where you can buy the best dog food for allergies including Amazon and Chewy which are my best places and I recommend my clients to shop. You can also try the pet food store at your local area or other places such Walmart.
Are dog food allergies genetic?
Yes, dog food allergies are a genetic problem that is triggered through exposure to what the dog is allergic to. In fact, food allergies account for 10% cases of dogs with allergies which is why it is common condition. The best thing is that it can be treated with proper nutrition.
Can dog food allergies cause blood in stool?
Yes, dog food allergies can cause blood in stool and it can also be a result of other problems such as parasites, foreign body ingestion and impaction, poisoning, cancer, autoimmune disorders, colitis, or even viral & bacterial infections. Visit your vet to be sure what the cause of bloody stool in your pooch is.
How do I determine if my dog has food allergies?
The best and most reliable diagnosis to determine if your dog has food allergies is through elimination diet and challenge. You do this by introducing new diets and reintroducing the old ones after noticing an improvement. Any reaction will prove the presence of food allergies.
Will changing my dog’s diet trigger a food allergy?
In a way, yes, changing your dog’s diet would trigger a food allergy but only if he has been exposed to an ingredient in the diet.
It can be demanding and annoying when dealing with dog food allergies for both parties. Just keep in mind that dog food allergies are common and do not pose a life-threatening risk to your pooch. It is manageable with proper diet and nutrition, especially with an alternative protein source.
Personally, I fed Baxter, my yellow lab with food allergies, Taste of the Wild Prey which uses novel proteins from trout as the first ingredient. Despite enjoying the palate, this high-quality dog food for allergies, it soothed his digestion and I had a happy pooch. Whether you are looking for vegan dog food for allergies, dry or wet dog food for allergies, there is always a solution for your problem.
Hi there! My name is Ben Walker and I am the editor here at 10PetFood. I have 7 years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition or walking my dog.