Have you noticed that your dog is suffering from recurring ear infections or yeast infections? Does your dog seem to be excessively biting to scratching their skin, ears, or paws? Do they have a sensitive stomach or suffer from bloating, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your dog may be suffering from allergies. Allergies in dogs are often caused by an ingredient in their food, so trying a new food may help eliminate the cause of their allergies. Before trying new food, it is important to consult with your veterinarian if you think your dog is suffering from allergies. They can help you identify the cause of the allergies, so you can eliminate the right food(s) from your dog’s diet.
In most cases, veterinarians will recommend a limited ingredient diet with allergies. These diets include fewer ingredients, which can help you pinpoint the specific ingredient that is causing your dog such troubles.
If a limited ingredient diet is effective, a veterinarian may recommend switching to hypoallergenic dog food. Hypoallergenic foods are formulated with chemically split, or hydrolyzed proteins. This process prevents the allergen from irritating a dog’s immune system. In many cases, a veterinarian will need to prescribe hypoallergenic dog food, but there are a few that can be purchased online as well.
In the next few sections, we’ll outline our picks for the top foods for dogs suffering from allergies. Use our recommendations, along with the information your veterinarian shared, to help you find the right food that will ease your canine companion’s suffering and increase their comfort and happiness levels!
How to Determine What is Causing a Dog’s Allergies
Determining that your dog is suffering from food allergies is the first step. Figuring out what is causing their allergies is next and can take some time and effort. Many veterinarians recommend using an elimination diet to find out what is causing a dog’s allergies.
With an elimination diet, the first step is to stop feeding your dogs all the foods they currently are eating. Then, you’ll want to feed them a very basic diet by eating new food. Give the dog’s allergic symptoms from the old allergy time to clear up, then you can slowly start to reintroduce the old foods they were eating that may be responsible for the allergy.
If you notice a reaction to one of these foods, it will let you know that this was the cause of your dog’s allergies, and you should avoid giving them any foods with that ingredient.
While dogs could potentially be allergic to any ingredient in their food, some of the most common allergens for dogs include:
Food Allergies vs Food Intolerances
Oftentimes, food intolerances are mistaken for food allergies. While the two conditions can share some symptoms, they are not the same thing.
Food allergies are the result of a dog’s immune system acting as if an ingredient is dangerous. The immune system creates antibodies to fight off and protect itself against this danger. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways including itchy or sensitive skin, ear infections, yeast infections, red or irritated eyes, a sensitive stomach, or digestive issues.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, are the result of digestive problems. The dog is unable to properly digest an ingredient in the food, which can cause bloating, constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The Different Types of Dog Food for Allergies: Pros and Cons Compared
The two main types of foods available for allergies include limited ingredient diets and hypoallergenic foods.
Limited Ingredient Diets
|More readily available online||If you are unsure of your dog’s allergen, it could still be present in these foods|
|Numerous options to choose from|
Hypoallergenic Dog Foods
|The hydrolyzed proteins in these foods prevent a dog’s immune system from triggering an allergy||Often require a prescription|
|It may be a better option for dogs with multiple allergies||Fewer options are available online|
The Top Picks for Dog Food for Allergies: Ranked
#1 Overall Dog Food for Allergies: Canidae PURE Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Limited ingredient dog food filled with ingredients you recognize
- 10 Key ingredients or less
- Packed with the goodness of premium, clean proteins
- #1 Ingredient real meat, poultry or fish
- Beautiful skin & coat supported by Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids
Our overall pick for the best allergy-friendly dog food is the Canidae Pure Real Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe. This limited ingredient dry food is made using only 8 safe and natural ingredients. These ingredients are salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, and sun-cured alfalfa. Additional natural flavors vitamins, minerals, and probiotics are also added to the recipe to make it more appealing and healthier for dogs.
The limited number of ingredients in this food can help when you’re trying to identify an allergen for your pup. It can also be a good choice if they’re allergic to some of the most common allergens, like chicken, beef, dairy, or eggs since the formula for this food does not contain any of those ingredients.
The formula is rich in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids that will help improve your dog’s skin and enhance the shine on their coat. This can be especially beneficial if they have been dealing with skin allergies. Additionally, this formula is also antioxidant-rich to support a dog’s immune system.
Click here to check out Canidae PURE Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Best Novel Protein Dog Food: Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Meat First
- Limited Ingredient Formula
- Made in USA
- Single Protein Source
Dogs who are allergic to many of the typical proteins found in dog food might like the Zignature Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This food features more novel proteins that dogs are less likely to be allergic to. The available flavor options include Kangaroo, Catfish, Goat, Guinea Fowl, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Trout & Salmon, Whitefish, Duck, Venison, and Turkey.
Each flavor option features just one protein source and lists the meat (or fish) as the first ingredient. This dog food is designed to provide complete and balanced nutrition to keep dogs happy, healthy, and thriving. Common allergens, such a chicken, dairy, corn, wheat, soy, chicken eggs, and chicken-by products are excluded from the ingredient list for each of these novel protein flavors.
The formula for this food is enriched with taurine and L-carnitine. Taurine is an amino acid that supports a dog’s immune system, cardiovascular system, and eye health. L-carnitine helps a dog’s body convert fat into energy.
Click here to check out Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Best for Sensitive Stomach: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
- One (1) 30 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dog Food With Probiotics for Dogs, Salmon & Rice Formula
- Oat meal is easily digestible and gentle on the digestive system
- High protein formula, with real salmon as the first ingredient
- Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health
- Used to be known as FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
If your dog has a sensitive stomach or has been dealing with skin allergies, consider trying Purina Pro Plan’s Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula. This dry dog food has a delicious salmon and rice flavor that dogs are sure to love.
The formula is fortified with live probiotics to aid with digestion and support overall immune health. Oatmeal was also selected to include in this food since it is very easy to digest. Additionally, omega 6 fatty acid-rich sunflower oil is included in the formula for this food to help improve the health of a dog’s skin and coat.
The first ingredient in this high protein food is salmon. It does not contain any artificial colors or flavors. The ingredient list is also free of common allergens such as corn, wheat, soy, and poultry.
If you have a smaller dog, this food is also available in a small breed formula.
Click here to check out Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Best for Seniors: Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Food
- LIMITED INGREDIENT DIET: This grain free dog food features a single protein source of real turkey to support healthy muscle maintenance, contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and mobility and contains NO chicken or beef
- FEED THREE WAYS: BLUE Basics wet senior dog food makes a delicious treat, adds interest mixed into their favorite dry foods or can be fed as a meal on its own
- NATURAL DOG FOOD: All BLUE dog foods are made with the finest natural ingredients and enhanced with vitamins and minerals
- WHOLESOME INGREDIENTS: BLUE Basics wet dog food contains NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, NO corn, wheat, soy, dairy or eggs, and NO artificial flavors or preservatives
- Contains twelve (12) 12.5-oz cans of BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Turkey
Many seniors prefer wet food since it is easier to chew and digest. The Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Dog Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Food is our top pick for older dogs with allergies. This limited ingredient food offers turkey as its single protein source to help with identifying allergies or finding the right food for a dog suffering from multiple allergies.
The food is also grain-free to accommodate the needs of seniors with allergies or sensitivities to grains. Common allergens, such as chicken, corn, wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, and wheat, are left out of this food. Blue Buffalo chose only safe and natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals when formulating this food.
To support an aging dog’s mobility and overall joint health, this formula is also enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin. This wet food can be fed to seniors as a meal on its own, or you can choose to mix it in with your dog’s dry food.
Click here to check out Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Food
Best for Puppies: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Food
Even young puppies may develop an allergy. Finding a limited ingredient food that is specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of puppies is important. We recommend trying the Grain Free Duck & Potato Limited Ingredient Diet from Natural Balance. The first ingredient in this food, and the sole animal protein, is duck. Duck is not a common allergen and also can help dogs maintain their strong muscles through the amino acids it provides.
The other main ingredient in this food is potato. Potato was selected since it is a grain-free source of carbohydrates to help dogs maintain their energy levels. Sunflower oil can also be found in the formula to deliver omega-6 fatty acids to improve the health of a dog’s skin and enhance the shine of their coat.
Last update on 2021-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Dog Food for Allergies: Reviewed for 2021 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the best food to give dogs with allergies?
The best food to give your dog with allergies will depend on the specific foods he or she is allergic to. Since dogs can be allergic to many different foods, the first thing you should do is to work with your veterinarian to identify the ingredient or ingredients causing your dog’s allergies. Then you can choose a dog food that is made without this ingredient.
Does grain free dog food help with skin allergies?
Grain-free food can help with skin allergies for dogs caused by corn, wheat, or other grains. Some veterinarians will recommend switching to a grain-free diet to see if it is effective when a dog develops skin allergies.
What ingredient in dog food causes allergies?
Every dog is different and could potentially be allergic to any ingredients in their food. However, there are a few ingredients that are more likely to cause a reaction than others. These include wheat, corn, beef, chicken, egg, soy, lamb, pork, rabbit, and fish.
What foods to avoid for dogs with allergies?
Working with your veterinarian to identify the specific food that is causing your dog’s allergies can help you know which foods you should avoid. Some of the more common allergens for dogs include chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, wheat, corn, lamb, soy, pork, fish, and rabbit.
How can I help my dog with allergies?
If you think your dog is suffering from allergies, overall, the best thing you can do is to schedule an appointment with his or her veterinarian. They can help you determine whether the allergies are being caused by food or something else. If they believe their allergies are food-related, your veterinarian can work with you to determine what is causing your dog’s allergies.
In many cases, they may recommend using an elimination diet. For this diet type, you’d switch to a new food that uses a different protein than what was in your original food. This may help you determine if the protein, such as chicken, in your dog’s diet was the cause of the allergies.
Your veterinarian can work with you to eliminate other potential allergens from your dog’s diet until you determine which one is the culprit for their allergies.
What are some of the main symptoms of food allergies in dogs?
There are many different ways food allergies can manifest themselves in dogs. These include infections, such as ear infections and yeast infections, sensitive skin and itching, patchy coats, irritated eyes, diarrhea, vomiting, and gas.
What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?
With food intolerance, dogs may suffer digestive issues or a sensitive stomach. Food allergies, on the other hand, can be more serious. Food allergies can also cause a sensitive stomach, but since they are tied to the immune system, they may also cause a dog to wheeze, cough, or even go into anaphylactic shock.
What are the benefits of a hypoallergenic diet for my dog?
A hypoallergenic diet may be recommended for dogs that are allergic to multiple ingredients. Dogs that are suffering from allergies, can experience relief in their symptoms. Their skin will feel less itchy, their stomach won’t bother them as much, and they won’t be in danger of suffering from anaphylactic shock, which could potentially kill them. Switching from foods that are causing your dog allergies will not only make him more comfortable but can also help him live a longer and healthier life.
What is an elimination diet?
An elimination diet is used to help identify the cause of a dog’s allergies. To start an elimination diet, you should take away all the different types of food your dog was preciously eating and only feed him base ingredients for a few days. Then, you can gradually introduce new foods. After the introduction of each new food, look to see if they are causing an allergic reaction. This will tell you that the new food is causing your dog’s allergies.