Does your German Shepherd scratch and chew constantly? This can be licking their paws, scratching their face, or biting at hot spots. If so, there’s a chance your German Shepherd is experiencing an allergic reaction to their food. Dry kibble dog foods contain a variety of ingredients and German Shepherds are a dog breed that is known to have allergic reactions. Sometimes the ingredients, even healthy ingredients, can cause an allergic reaction which results in skin allergies that are difficult to soothe and heal.
We created a list of the best dog food for German Shepherds with skin allergies that are void of common allergens ingredients and prevent your dog from scratching.
In a rush? Here are the top picks!
Hill’s Science special recipe promotes digestive health while at the same time nourishes and maintains healthy skin. The ingredients include a source of prebiotic fiber that is responsible for supporting a healthy and balanced gut microbiome.
This specially formulated dog food is easy to digest and helps your German Shepherd produce stools that are easy to pick up. This is an excellent food for German Shepherds with skin allergies that cause sensitive skin. It’s packed with Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E that helps nourish the skin and create a lustrous coat. You’ll definitely notice less itching if your dog has a food intolerance.
This veterinarian-recommended dog food is ideal for German Shepherds with skin or stomach issues. It’s also our top recommended product for German Shepherds with skin allergies.
Lucy Pet Formulas specially formulated dog food is ideal for German Shepherds in all life stages. It contains healthy ingredients such as pumpkin, salmon, and quinoa that your dog won’t be allergic too.
The combined ingredients support digestive health and maintain gut health for sensitive stomachs. This dog food is a grain-free formula and includes wild-caught and deboned Alaskan Salmon that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin. Typically, German Shepherds can have a grain allergy which causes their itchy skin. We recommend that you try a dog food that is grain-free if you noticed your dog itching a lot.
The unique design of the kibble contains all the nutrients your dog needs for a balanced and complete diet. This veterinarian approved dog food is used by breeders, trainers, and pet parents across the globe.
Purina Pro Plan is arguably the most popular dog food in the world. This high protein formula contains real salmon as the #1 ingredient and is specifically designed for skin allergies. You’ll find in the ingredients that this recipe includes oatmeal that is easy to digest and an excellent source of carbohydrates. If your German Shepherd is constantly licking their paws, you might want to try this dog food.
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach doesn’t contain wheat, soy, or corn and is specially formulated to maintain a healthy gut and keep skin healthy. It’s made in the United States for quality control and you one of the best solutions for your German Shepherd dog food allergies.
This Nature’s Recipe formula was created specifically for healthy skin and less itching. This nutritious dog food contains vegetarian ingredients only and is made with protein-rich soybean meal. It has added minerals, nutrients, and vitamins such as linoleic acid, zinc, copper, and Omega 6 fatty acids. Sometimes your GSD skin allergies are coming from meat intolerances so it is worthwhile to try out an all-vegetarian dog food like Nature’s Recipe.
The combined ingredients produce a shiny coat and support healthy skin that doesn’t itch. It doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, or artificial flavors or colors. These all-natural ingredients help naturally to relieve itchy skin in your German Shepherd.
This Blue Buffalo limited ingredient and grain-free dog food contains real turkey as the first ingredient as its only animal protein source. Other healthy ingredients include pumpkin, peas, and potatoes that support gentle digestion without exposing your dog to grains or gluten. This dog food does not contain corn, soy, wheat, by-product meals, or artificial preservatives and flavors.
The limited but nutritious ingredients include LifeSource Bits that are a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of the ingredients in the bits are specially selected by holistic animal nutritionists and veterinarians and created to support a healthy immune system, healthy oxidative balance, and life stage requirements. It’s also enhanced with minerals and vitamins that help provide a complete and balanced diet for your German Shepherd.
Does your German Shepherd have a sensitive stomach and itchy skin? If so, this specially formulated dog food is a must-have and it’s another popular option among Purina Pro Plan lovers! It contains probiotics, salmon, rice, sunflower oil, and omega-6 fatty acids that are responsible for creating and maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat.
This protein-rich dog food features salmon as the #1 ingredient and provides essential oils and nutrients needed for a balanced and healthy diet. In addition, the Purina Pro Plan dog food has plenty of antioxidants to help support your dog’s immune system.
This dog food has a high meat and low carbohydrate formula that is 80% animal-based protein. It’s a perfect dog food for active puppies like German Shepherds because it promotes muscle growth. This grain-free recipe doesn’t contain soy, corn, wheat, tapioca, potatoes, or any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
The formula includes probiotics that support healthy gut flora that aids digestion. DHA is also an ingredient found in canine mother’s milk and helps with natural cognitive development which prevents destructive behaviors from developing. The combined ingredients make this a good puppy food for German Shepherds with allergies.
This limited ingredient dry dog food is excellent for German Shepherd food allergies because the special formula lessens the risk of allergic reactions. Since there is only 6 main ingredients in this dog food, it’s unlikely that your German Shepherd continues to scratch or itch.
This tasty dry dog food features lamb meal as the #1 ingredient and does not contain any by-product meal or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Typically, dogs aren’t allergic to lamb which is good meat to test if you’re trying to figure out what dog food your German Shepherd is allergic too.
The easy to digest formula contains only six natural ingredients and added essential vitamins and minerals that create a balanced and complete diet. The only downside of the Rachel Ray dog food is that it isn’t made in the United States.
How to Choose a Dog Food for German Shepherds with Allergies
Once you realize your German Shepherd has skin allergies, it’s often difficult to narrow down the ingredient that’s causing the reaction. A helpful tip to do is to write down all of the ingredients in your dog’s current food and see if the dog food contains any common allergens.
The ingredients that German Shepherds are commonly allergic to include soy, wheat, chicken, gluten, grain, and soy. While these ingredients are often used in a variety of dry kibble dog food it doesn’t mean your dog is allergic to all of the ingredients. Typically, a dog will only be allergic to one or two of these ingredients.
For example, your dog might be allergic to chicken. Many dog foods often include a small percentage of chicken, chicken meal, or chicken by-product. These products can cause allergic reactions in dogs that are allergic to chicken. However, this doesn’t mean that your dog has to stay away from the grain, gluten, wheat, or soy unless they are allergic to those ingredients as well.
Discussing your dog’s allergic reaction with a veterinarian is insightful and helpful. Some veterinarians can narrow down the ingredients causing the food allergy while at the same time offering a soothing and healing treatment for their skin. However, sometimes your German Shepherd’s are so tricky not even an experienced veterinarian can pinpoint the exact ingredient without using the trial and error method.
The easiest way to choose a dog food for your German Shepherd is to make sure the new dog food doesn’t include the ingredient or ingredients that cause your dog’s allergic reaction. However, if you’re not sure which ingredient your dog is allergic to its best to choose a limited ingredient dog food that usually only has 6 ingredients.
Choosing a limited ingredient dog food often stops the allergic reaction while still providing a complete and balanced diet. It’s also a great place to start adding more ingredients by trying different dog food options with more ingredients.
Always remember when changing your dog’s food to do it in a gradual process to help prevent stomach upset.
What are dog food allergies and food intolerance?
As a pet parent, you might be wondering what the is difference between food intolerance and food allergies. Food intolerance is when your dog eats something that doesn’t agree with their stomach. For example, your dog might have gotten into the trash can and eaten an old piece of chicken from last night’s dinner that made their stomach sick.
Generally, food intolerance causes sickness in the stomach that may lead to diarrhea or vomiting. The good news is it usually only lasts 24 to 48 hours or less.
However, on the other hand, food allergies are an abnormal reaction to a specific ingredient in dog food. For example, when your dog eats their food there’s a specific ingredient that causes their immune system to misjudge the substance as a safe thing to eat. The body’s response system thinks it’s under attack by the disease-causing invader. it doesn’t mean that the food is contaminated or bad in any way, it’s just your dog’s immune system going haywire and seeing nutritional ingredients as an enemy.
What are the most common food allergies in German Shepherds?
The most common GSD allergy symptoms include itchiness, swelling of the face, hives, inflamed skin, red skin, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of the ears and ear flaps, swelling of the lips, swelling of the eyelids, itchy ears, sneezing, runny eyes, excessive itchy skin and constant licking of the paws, and other areas of the body. Any of these symptoms could mean your German Shepherd has food allergies.
What to Look for in High-Quality Dog Food
Finding high-quality dog food is easier than you would expect for German Shepherds. The following information is going to help you pinpoint the best high-quality dog food for your pet that meets their specific needs.
Reading nutrition labels located on the dog food bag or online before purchasing is essential to learning as much detail and information about the food you are about to purchase. Keep in mind that pet food manufacturers list ingredients by weight.
The first ingredient that is listed on the label is the largest percentage of the overall ingredients. For example, if the first ingredient is real chicken, the majority of the kibble contains chicken as well as the other ingredients in lower quantities.
When looking closer at the label you will see the guaranteed analysis where they list the percentages of fiber, fat, protein, and moisture. Pet food manufacturers are required to include minimum percentages of crude protein and fat on the pet food labels. They are also required to include maximum percentages as well.
Chances are you’ve already had a debate with other dog owner’s about whether dogs are carnivores omnivorous or carnivores.
Whatever the results of your discussion, the truth is dogs need a lot of protein for a complete and balanced diet. This nutritional requirement is why most food labels list a protein source as the first ingredient. Since German Shepherds love to exercise, we do recommend a dog food source that is high in protein.
Some manufacturers make vegetarian dog food that uses soy protein as their first ingredient. Whether you choose to feed your German Shepherd animal protein or soy protein is your personal choice and decision. When reading the label beware of filler ingredients such as grains and corn. Grains can be a nutritional benefit to most dogs in moderation, but high grain and corn levels can trigger food intolerance and food allergies. Grains are also a dog food that German Shepherds are prone to being allergic too.
Carbohydrates are necessary to fulfill the nutritional needs of dogs but it does not need to be in excessive amounts. Always read the label carefully to ensure you are not providing your dog with too many carbohydrates vs. protein.
Grain-free dog foods are recommended for dogs that have food allergies to a particular ingredient. Normally, grains are healthy ingredients that provide essential nutrients, but unfortunately, dogs tend to be allergic to them. When choosing grain-free dog food read the ingredient label carefully to ensure that unhealthy products such as fillers in excessive amounts have not taken the place of the grains.
Sometimes pet parents become concerned when they see added vitamins and minerals in the ingredients. There’s no need to be alarmed as these healthy and necessary supplements are required to provide your pet with a balanced nutrition.
When to Talk to the Veterinarian
At least 10% of German Shepherds with allergies have food-related allergies. If you have already changed your dog’s food and eliminated the ingredients that you think are causing the allergic reaction, but your dog is not showing any improvements then it’s time to speak to the veterinarian.
It’s wise to bring along a picture of the dog food label that you are currently feeding your pet. Also, make a list of any symptoms that your dog is exhibiting to help the veterinarian narrow down the origin of the allergic reaction.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to ask the veterinarian questions to help you understand how to provide your dog with the best dog food for their specific needs. Many pet parents find themselves feeling shy or embarrassed when asking simple questions regarding food for their German Shepherd.
Veterinarians are happy to answer questions and provide nutritional information that is ideal for the German Shepherds breed, size, weight, and life stage.
Choosing a dog food that prevents your dog from experiencing allergy symptoms is essential to their overall well-being. Allergic reactions such as the ones mentioned earlier also interrupt the digestive process and can cause internal inflammation making your German Shepherd feel uncomfortable and unhappy.
The most difficult part of eliminating the allergen is finding out the exact product causing the problem. Some dogs are allergic to a variety of ingredients which makes it incredibly difficult to pinpoint. If you think your dog has an allergic reaction to a wide range of ingredients, contact the veterinarian to schedule an office visit.
Once a veterinarian can assist you with narrowing down the allergen you must remove it from your dog’s diet and surroundings. Some allergens are related to the environment as well and not just their dog food. Some dogs like to chew on the grass in the yard and carry sticks in their mouth which can also lead to some type of allergic reaction. If your German Shepherd consumes grass or any other item that is not their main food source it’s important for you to look at the ingredients.
Tasty bacon treats and other types of packaged food items need to be inspected before giving them to your dog. Read the labels of all treats and if it doesn’t have a label do not give it to your dog.
There have been reports that some pet parents have purchased dog treats at craft festivals and farmer’s markets without knowing the actual ingredients. If you prefer to purchase dog treats at farmer’s markets you can always ask the vendor that you are dealing with for the ingredient information.
Most vendors are happy to discuss the ingredients while others might feel protective to prevent copying of their special treats. If you come across a vendor that does not want to share all the ingredients, you can be very specific and ask if the treats include the exact ingredients such as chicken or soy that your German Shepherd is allergic to.
Table scraps are also important and need to be reviewed as well. If you are the type of pet parent that enjoys sharing a few bites of your lunch and dinner with your dog, make sure you are not accidentally feeding your German Shepherd the allergen. This will give them major skin allergies and itching later on.
For example, if you or your children tend to share a few pieces of whole-grain cereal with your German Shepherd, but your pet is allergic to grains it might cause an allergic reaction. This type of situation is one of the main reasons pet parents are not able to easily narrow down the allergen. They often forget that on occasion the dog eats a few pieces of cereal that can lead to an allergic reaction even though the dog food no longer contains grain.
Always keep in mind that your dog requires a complete and balanced diet that includes a wide range of nutritional sources. If you have any trouble narrowing down your choices you can trust the dog foods mentioned on this list. They provide excellent nutrition as well as prevent allergic reactions and skin allergies in dogs. Choose the right one from the list for your dog today!
Conclusion for Best Dog Food for German Shepherds with Skin Allergies
Find a dog food for your German Shepherd with skin allergies is actually not that difficult. The difficult part is finding out what the specific allergen is. We’ve recommended 8 great dog foods for allergies that should cause your German Shepherd to itch and chew at their paws less.
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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