Treating a dog with allergies is never easy since they often times have a loss of appetite, digestive issues, excessive skin itching, hair loss, and ear infections being common.
The best dog foods for allergies can be either a limited ingredient list or hypoallergenic dog food. In this review, we’re going to discuss the best hypoallergenic dog foods and what makes them so good. If your dog licks his paws often or is excessively scratching and having digestive issues, you should explore our six best dog foods for allergies.
The most important aspect to keep in mind when choosing a good hypoallergenic dog food formula that is balanced and complete. If a dog food formula has deficiencies or excesses in specific nutrients, your dog may get ill. The same concept applies to all types of dog food recipes, regardless of whether they’re grain-free or not.
Dogs with allergies are usually allergic to a protein which may be an animal-based protein or plant-based one. It’s good to keep in mind that although dogs tend to do well on grain-free diets, these diets were first formulated in response to consumer demands.
Today, grain-free dog food is being marketed as dog food that minimizes your dog’s chances of having ingredient sensitivities. Most of these recipes will feature meat, duck, venison, bison, or salmon as the first ingredients. Formulas also include quinoa seeds for amino acids, kelp meal for antioxidants, and ingredients like flaxseed for omega fatty acids.
Most of these grain-free pet food brands use high-quality natural ingredients and are costlier than regular pet food formulas. They also meet the nutritional demands of the specific life stage and are balanced and complete formulas.
Hypoallergenic Dog Foods
Although veterinarians usually prescribe hypoallergenic dog foods, they can also be ordered from Amazon directly by pet parents. Many of these brands are crafted using proteins that have been chemically “split” (hydrolyzed) into their essential amino acid building blocks… which can make the original allergen virtually “invisible” to your pet’s immune system. So your dog is less likely to have an allergic reaction to the food.
Finding the best grain-free dog food for your puppy may be difficult. Dogs have different nutritional requirements depending on breed, age, weight, and activity level. You’ll find that a specific dog food may work for one pup but not for another dog.
That said, it’s always best to discuss dietary changes with your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet! Keep in mind that the F.D.A. is currently investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs.
When it comes to dog food formulas, understanding your puppy’s current health and nutritional needs is key to feeding correctly. There is no “best diet” because all dogs are individuals. A diet that works for one pup may not be suitable for another. Age, energy level, and individual health needs play a critical role when choosing hypoallergenic dog food for your dog.
In a rush? Here are the top picks!
Taste of the Wild High Prairie with roasted bison and venison has an optimal amino acid profile and protein-rich formula for lean and strong muscles. This dog food formula is crafted with high protein ingredients and added vitamins and minerals, fruits, and vegetables for optimal nutrition.
This is a good dog food formula for dogs suffering from digestive health issues. It contains sweet potatoes, which are a good source of dietary fiber as its third ingredient. Taste of the Wild is packed with antioxidants. It also features a high source of vitamin E. Sweet potatoes have many essential nutrients and offer many vitamins like A, B6, and C, calcium, folate, copper, thiamine, iron, and potassium. Taste of the Wild Roasted Bison & Venison features over 11,597 positive ratings. It’s manufactured in the U.S. and remains one of the most trusted dog food brands around.
- Real salmon as the first ingredient
- Real chicory root as a prebiotic fiber
- Balanced levels of omega 3 and 6’s
- Species-specific probiotics
- Over 11,597 positive ratings
Natural Balance Limited Ingredients dog food formula features a single animal protein source. This is a grain-free limited ingredients formula that minimizes the number of raw ingredients that dogs are exposed to. This formula features venison, and sweet potato. Natural Balance also has other little ingredient formulas with chicken, duck, and salmon. Every Natural Balance formula is tested for safety and considered a good hypoallergenic dog food.
This formula helps to minimize digestive issues in dogs with sensitivities and supports healthy skin and coat. We like this brand because it’s reputable and provides complete and balanced high-quality dog food formulas. Natural Balance was founded in 1989 and remains one of the most popular dog food brands due to its balanced and wide range of dog food formulas for all life stages. This is an allergy-friendly dog food due to its limited ingredients.
- Limited ingredients (Limited protein & carbs)
- Grain-free diet
- Made in the U.S
- Priced affordably for multi-pet homes
- High-quality ingredients
- Over 4,300 positive ratings
- No recalls
Candidae is another limited ingredient dog food diet that features over 3,500 positive ratings. This formula is suitable for dogs with ingredient sensitivities, with the first ingredient being real salmon.
We like this formula because it has no soy, corn, or wheat. It is also priced affordably and Canidae features numerous hypoallergenic formulas all made in Texas, U.S.A. There’s also added alfalfa for diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant purposes. Here’s the take with Candidae grain-free hypoallergenic dog food:
- Added probiotics for healthy digestion.
- Contains antioxidants for a healthy immune system.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Beneficial to all dog breeds with gastrointestinal and other sensitivities or allergies
- Made in the U.S.
- Priced affordably
- Over 3,500 positive reviews
This is biology-based nutrition that is #1 veterinarian recommended. Hills’ Science Diet formula is crafted clinically with proven antioxidants for optimal immune health; all the while formulated for dogs with sensitivities and allergies.
We like Hill’s Science Diet because it features precise nutrition to target precisely what your dog needs nutritionally. This is another formula with no corn, no wheat, and no soy ingredients. Science Diet also helps shelters with beneficial nutrition for all dogs. We like this hypoallergenic dog food for itchy skin because it’s specifically formulated to reduce allergies.
- Formulated for maximum digestibility for optimal nutrient absorption & easier stool pick-up
- Priced well
- Loaded with vitamin E & Omega-6 fatty acids to help adult dogs get a lustrous coat and healthy skin
- Made in the U.S.
- Veterinarian recommended
- Over 4,900 positive ratings
Blue Buffalo is one of the leading brands of dog food and manufactures high-quality formulas that pet parents rave about. They do not use by-products like corn, wheat, soy, or food coloring.
Blue Buffalo features two grain-free hypoallergenic dog food lines and an antioxidant dog food line called Life Protection. We like this brand because it’s priced well and uses a limited number of carefully selected ingredients that provide complete and balanced nutrition.
- Deboned turkey with potatoes, peas, and pumpkin
- Added Omega 3 and 6 for skin and coat health
- Priced well
- Over 3,000 positive ratings
- Pea fiber & pumpkin to promote gentle digestion
- Popular dog food brand
- For adult life stage & all breed sizes
This is one of the best hypoallergenic puppy food formulas for puppies that have sensitivities. Wellness Core is a popular dog food formula for puppies because it uses no meat by-products, no fillers, no corn, soy, or wheat.
It is 100% natural hypoallergenic puppy food and is formulated for growing pups with smaller kibble sizes for those small teeth. This dog food formula is also fortified with antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. Here’s the take on this brand.
- Gluten-free ingredients
- The first ingredient is deboned chicken.
- Includes fresh fruits & veggies like blueberries, kelp, and papaya
- Priced well for multi-puppy households
- No added beet pulp, which may constipate
- Good for gastrointestinal and brain health
Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs
Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor, and Chief of Dermatology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Small Animal Clinic, adds that “Food allergies in dogs present themselves quite differently than food allergies in humans. For instance, a person who is allergic to shellfish may experience throat swelling and possibly a critical or fatal reaction, but in dogs, the allergy is expressed through the skin and seen most often as itch,” via PetMD.
PetMD also explains that “it is important not to assume that a grain-free diet is a low carbohydrate diet. In fact, some grain-free pet foods contain carbohydrate levels similar to or even higher than diets containing grains. In many grain-free diets, ingredients such as potatoes replace the grains in the food and often these ingredients have more carbohydrates than the common grains used in pet food. As a result, grain-free and low carbohydrate pet foods are not always synonymous with one another.”
Pet Food Ingredients to Avoid
When choosing high-quality hypoallergenic dog food for your pup, you’ll need to educate yourself about which ingredients to avoid. The easiest way of doing this is to read the ingredients list to eliminate any ingredients that your dog should not be consuming.
Whole food ingredients should include fresh fruits and veggies and meats or wild fish like venison, duck, salmon, or beef. You won’t find healthy ingredients in cheap dog food, and it’s essential to keep in mind that many cheap commercial dog foods may contain the following:
- Artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors
- Rendered fat and meat meals
- Propylene glycol
- Corn & soy
Limited Ingredients List
These diets have few ingredients that make it so much easier to pinpoint an allergen. You can find limited ingredients dog food at any pet store and even at your vet. You should also keep in mind that in 2019 the F.D.A. starting exploring the connection between grain-free dog foods.
The F.D.A. adds “that these dog food formulas featured a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first ten ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals). Many of these case reports included breeds of dogs not previously known to have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and D.C.M. in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.”
Top Hypoallergenic Dog Food Ingredients
Like pet parents, dogs do well on and enjoy fruits, vegetables, liver, duck, wild salmon, venison, oats, and eggs. Your dog’s skin and coat health rely on what you’re feeding him, with fruits and veggies work from the inside out. Here’s the take on how to give your dog a rich shiny coat and healthy skin and eyes.
- Quinoa-This is one of nature’s perfect grains and is loaded with plenty of nutritious protein. It contains all ten essential amino acids. This grain contains increased amounts of iron, dietary fiber, manganese, copper, and phosphorous.
- Carrots– Carrots contain more alpha-carotene than other fruits and vegetables. It also promotes eye, heart, and lung health and is high in vitamins B6, C, K, potassium, niacin, and folate.
- Cranberries– have been used to help with rheumatoid issues, skin wounds, eczema, scurvy, and fever. They have a variety of bioactive components, which include antioxidant proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid. Anthocyanins works against inflammation and may be beneficial in reducing allergic reactions in dogs.
- Sweet Potatoes- are superfoods for the skin and yield a high level of vitamin A and beta-carotene. They also contain vitamin E. Besides that, sweet potatoes feature calcium, potassium, copper, thiamine, and folate.
- Coconut-This is a wonderful ingredient that has medium-chain saturated fats that get transformed into energy. Coconut has anti-inflammatory agents to combat bacterial growth and inflammation. Raw coconut is good for skin and coat health in dogs.
- Salmon-cooked wild salmon is a good form of omega 3’s and provides selenium as well. Salmon has protein and an amino acid content with numerous health benefits for pets.
- Oats- are low in starch and features a high mineral content, especially in potassium and phosphorus. It also has calcium, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins to support healthy skin and hair. Oats promote healthy digestion and help to remove toxins from the body.
- Chickpeas- The soluble fibers help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Chickpeas keep your dog’s arteries and heart-healthy. They also promote digestion and may be beneficial in fighting cancer because they contain antioxidants.
Common Dog Food Ingredients That Dogs Are Allergic To
The American Kennel Club’s (A.K.C.) Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein says that “True food allergies may not be as common as people think, True food allergies result in an immune response, which can range in symptoms from skin conditions (hives, facial swelling, itchiness), gastrointestinal signs (vomiting and/or diarrhea) or a combination of both. In some rare cases, a severe reaction resulting in anaphylaxis can occur similar to severe peanut allergies in humans,” via A.K.C.
He goes on to add that “Food sensitivities, unlike true allergies, do not involve an immune response and are instead a gradual reaction to an offending ingredient in your dog’s food, for example to beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, or milk.”
Today we know that there is a connection between food allergies and your dog’s immune system. When considering the best hypoallergenic dog food for your dog with allergies or sensitivities, you should opt for a balanced and complete dog food formula for your dog and ensure that the quality and type of dog food benefits him.
If you have a senior dog, his diet will differ from a puppy because each dog’s immune system is different, and each dog’s immune system will respond in another way to the proteins in his diet. It’s best to work together with your vet before switching diets, most especially when you suspect an allergy or sensitivity. Here’s the take on the most common dog food allergies:
Gastrointestinal issues are common in dogs and may be difficult for vets to diagnose. Another factor that plays a significant role in your dog’s health is that diets need to be tailored individually toward a dog’s life stage, activity level, and health issues. Antigens are proteins in your dog food formula that could stimulate an immune response and result in intestinal inflammation.
Conclusion for Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods
When making dog food choices for dogs with sensitivities or allergies, purchase high-quality dog food that is crafted with plenty of animal-based protein as the first ingredient. You should also try to avoid formulas that rely on potatoes or legumes as primary ingredients. With this in mind, you’ll see that looking for the best hypoallergenic dog food is very simple.
Look for high-quality ingredients that may reduce inflammation in the intestines’ lining and consider topping them with fresh organic blueberries or lightly steamed veggies. You can also add supplements to help fight free radicals that damage healthy cells. There are so many beneficial nutrients that you can add to your dog’s diet to help him live a long and healthy life. Finally, only opt for balanced and complete pet foods and work together with your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has a dog food allergy.
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