Has your dog been diagnosed with food allergies and as a consequence, IBD (inflammation of the digestive tract)?
There aren't many clinics you can do a proper test for each ingredient in a dog's food that can identify the allergen that's causing your dog to react so you can never be sure about everything that is causing the inflammation or sensitivity to it.
Vets and breeders will vouch for fresh human grade food as the best you can give your furry friend!
But if you don't have the time to prepare each and every meal have a look at these hypoallergenic range of blends designed specifically to help dogs with food sensitivities and skin allergies.
Best Dog Food For Dogs With Allergies
1. Blue Buffalo Dog Food (Best For Skin Allergies)
First Five Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine), Peas, Pea Protein, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids).
Blue Wilderness Salmon Recipe is a great hypoallergenic dog food that is high in protein, with salmon as its main source of protein. It has high proteins (crude) of 34% and low fats (crude) of 15%, with 415 kcal/cup.
This vet recommended fish based food for skin allergies has decent protein levels with three quality sources at the top of the ingredients list which only gives it more credibility and doesn't compromise on nutrition.
Wilderness contains special LifeSource bits formulated with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to cover all of dogs’ health needs. If your pup has a grain-allergy, this is grain-free, with no chicken or poultry by-product may just be the best dog food for chicken allergy.
Other notable ingredients include, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, cranberries, and blueberries. Calcium and phosphorus are present in this blend to give dogs strong bones and teeth, while the added glucosamine is used to promote healthy joints.
A regular top choice with dog owners as the best dog food for dogs with sensitive skin at a great price.
Pros: free of corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors, chicken-free formula, multiple size bags, healthy carbs, for all breed sizes
Cons: grain-free, may not be suitable for picky eaters, adult formula only
2. Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal & Brown Rice (Best Grain-Inclusive Dog Food For Dogs with Allergies)
First Five Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Lactic Acid).
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is made with lamb meal as its unique source of protein and brown rice as its source of carbohydrates to provide dogs with energy throughout the day. This dry kibble is great for dogs with tummy issues and itchy skin since it's made with highly digestible ingredients that won’t cause stomach issues in sensitive dogs.
There are no by-products or hidden chicken to be found in this recipe. Proteins are 21% (crude) and fats 12% (crude), with 355 kcal/8 oz cup.
This recipe uses no artificial flavors, colors, bleached ingredients, and preservatives. Canola oil is used as this blend’s source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which help give dogs healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Natural Balance is a trusted pet food brand that has been around since 1989 tied to actor Dick Van Patten. They state they make sure that dogs’ safety is a top priority by testing all of their dog food for nine known contaminants before they are distributed and sold to customers.
It’s another good choice for the money and you won’t find any trouble locating it either as it’s for sale all major pet food stores. Natural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice is also available for puppies, smaller breeds or larger breed adult dogs.
Overall a great choice of low fat hypoallergenic dog food made with wholesome grains for dogs with food allergies.
Pros: uses whole grains and legumes, complete and balanced formula, non-allergic protein, made in the USA, free of filler foods or chemicals
Cons: adult only formula
3. Acana Hypoallergenic Dog Food (Best For Sensitive Stomachs)
First Five Ingredients: Deboned duck, duck meal, whole lentils, whole peas, duck liver.
Acana is produced by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian food manufacturer that also make Orijen. If you're looking for the best Acana dog food food for allergies, we recommend the Duck and Pear Singles Formula.
High and quality protein (31%) rich food that is grain-free and excludes rice, potato and tapioca - ingredients that can cause skin irritation and flare ups. Carbs are complex carbs - a better source of slow-burning energy, and makes up 26% of the formula and the remaining 42% are healthy fats. It has 409 kcal per 8 oz. cup.
The Duck and Pear uses duck as its single source of unique animal protein. Since duck is rarely used in dog foods, it is less likely to trigger allergic reactions.
This kibble uses only cage-free Canadian duck, with a balance of 50% duck ingredients and 50% healthy fruits and vegetables.
Freeze-dried duck liver is used to give dogs more of the flavor that they love. Other notable ingredients include: Bartlett pears, whole pumpkins, chicory, and ginger root.
Owners who have dogs with allergy symptoms including loose stools, frequent bowel movements, and itchy fur have seen almost immediate improvements after switching their dogs to Acana.
Pros: suitable for all types of breeds and ages, healthy firm stools, USA made
Cons: pricier than our other options
4. Wellness Simple Grain-Free +LID Salmon & Potato Recipe (Best for a Health Coat and Skin)
First Five Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal (source of Omega 3,6 Fatty Acids), Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes.
Wellness Simple is a family-owned brand that uses limited ingredients. This recipe’s two main ingredients are salmon for protein and potato for carbohydrates.
We're not overly impressed that potatoes are included so high up on ingredient list, especially since they are reported to being a common food allergen. This salmon dog food for skin allergies has 446 kcal/cup so it’s dense in calories and nutrients.
This recipe though should be easy to digest, due to the addition of prebiotics and probiotics so that's good for dogs with gastro-intestinal problems. Flaxseed is great for your dogs’ skin and coat health and canola oil as its source of healthy fatty acids.
What’s more, they are attentive to using Omega fatty acids which promotes healthy heart and if that wasn’t enough, the array of vitamins and minerals is plentiful. Owners have been impressed with the quality of this kibble and many report firm stools and all the gas being gone after making the transition.
It's grain free, with no meat by-products, dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten, corn soy, or artificial colors and flavors.
Pros: USA made, single-source protein, affordable, for a healthy coat and skin
Cons: only 2 size bags available (24 and 40 lb), causes stinky breath
5. Nature's Variety Instinct LID Turkey Meal Recipe (Best For Sensitive Digestion)
First Five Ingredients: Turkey Meal, Peas, Turkey, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid).
Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free LID Turkey Meal Formula is a grain free, limited ingredient dry dog food that uses turkey meal as its only source of animal protein. To avoid triggering allergies, this recipe doesn’t include any of the common food allergy culprits such as corn, wheat, soy, beef, chicken, dairy, eggs, gluten, potato, or fish.
It has 466 kcal/cup, with 29% crude proteins and 18% crude fats.
The Instinct recipe includes Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to help give dogs shiny coats and healthy skin. The kibble is coated with green tea extract to give it a unique taste that dogs love.
If you are looking for great dry dog food for dogs with food sensitives, reading the rave reviews this brand receives, you won’t go wrong if you want to test it on your pup.
Pros: Made in USA, strengthens immune system, LID recipe, popular with dogs
Cons: Only available in 2 size bags (4 and 22 lb bags)
6. Nutro Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Sensitive Support with Real Venison Meal & Sweet Potato (Best For Itchy Skin and Constant Licking)
First Five Ingredients: Venison Meal, Dried Potatoes, Lentils, Chickpeas, Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols).
A limited ingredient diet recipe that is specially designed to provide allergy relief in all breed sizes. If you pup suffers from bad digestion, itchy skin, constant licking and poor coat health, Nutro uses New Zealand venison meal as its source of unique animal protein.
Nutro dog food for allergies is fortified with highly soluble fiber (lentils, sweet potato and chickpeas) to ease digestion and antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system.
Vitamins and minerals have been added to ensure dogs with allergies and sensitivities are having all their dietary needs met. It has 20% crude proteins, and low fats of 14% crude proteins and only 373 kcal/cup, which will help keeping your dog maintain a healthy weight while on this blend.
This dry dog food is also recommended by veterinarians for dogs with allergies.
Many pet parents claim coat is softer, clear ears and skin is rescued. Numerous owners claim that even the pickiest of dogs love this hypoallergenic dog food as the best dog food for itchy skin.
Pros: uses a novel protein, only 10 ingredients or less, uses non-GMO ingredients
Understanding Allergies in Dogs
Out of all the different types of allergies that dogs can suffer from, about 10% of them are food related.
That’s why it is important as owners to be careful what we feed our furry companions if we want them to live a long and healthy life. Inexpensive dog food brands often contain a lot of harmful ingredients that cause allergic reactions in dogs.
Clearing up a dog’s allergy symptoms can really be as easy as changing the food they eat to a better brand, making sure to take a close look at the ingredients before buying. You should remember that the higher an ingredient is on the list, the more of that ingredient there is in the dogs’ food.
Luckily, a lot of information is available on the types of foods that tend to trigger allergies in dogs and how to find out what is really contributing to a dog’s allergies.
It is never fun for as pet parents to watch our pets suffer from allergy symptoms.
Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint what is causing the dog’s allergies, and it can take some time until the problem is resolved. That’s because a lot of allergy symptoms can also be related to other health concerns.
Diagnosing a dog’s symptoms as allergies usually requires ruling other causes out first.
Dogs can develop allergies at any age.
The main symptom that is seen in most dogs with food allergies is itchy, dry skin and loss of fur. You should pay close attention if your dog spends a lot of time scratching their anus, face, ears, feet, and legs.
Frequent ear infections and gastro-intestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting are two other common indicators of food allergies in dogs.
Common Food Culprits
There are several well-known food culprits that are responsible for most food related allergies in dogs.
A few of the main ones are corn, wheat, and soy ingredients. Others include common protein sources like beef, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, and fish.
Unfortunatelly, it just happens that these ingredients are frequently found in commercial dog food, especially inexpensive brands.
Luckily, there are plenty of grain-free dog food options that don’t contain wheat, corn, or soy products. Several premium dog food brands offer unique protein options like duck, rabbit, venison or kangaroo dog food for allergies and limited ingredients to avoid common allergy triggers.
Brands like Wellness, Blue Buffalo and Nature’s Variety focus on using fresh, healthy, sustainable ingredients instead of fillers and chemicals that have no business in a dog’s diet.
Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance
Food allergies and intolerances in dogs are both unpleasant, but there is a distinction between the two that you should be aware of.
Food allergies result in a reaction from the immune system and can affect several of the body’s organs, like the skin, heart, liver, and bowels. Food allergies can be life threatening and produce a long list of symptoms.
In comparison, a food intolerance is usually much less severe and limited to one area. Food intolerances generally lead to digestion problems in dogs like bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea but not much more.
If you notice your dogs’ sensitivities are mostly related to their digestion, you can try to isolate the ingredient causing the intolerance and adjust your dogs’ diet accordingly.
Food allergies can require more work to identify and fix.
Since allergies are often worse and can lead to a lot of issues if they are left untreated, you should consult with your vet and act quickly when you first suspect that your pup is suffering from allergies.
Food Trials and Elimination Diets
A food trial is a two-step process for pinpointing the source of a dog’s allergies. Putting a dog on an elimination diet is the first step of a food trial, followed by provocative testing.
Starting with an elimination diet, you must feed your dog only hypoallergenic dog food for 12 weeks.
It can be hard for some owners to keep their dogs on such a strict diet, especially if they are usually liberal with feeding their dog scraps and treats. The truth is that it will be a lot healthier for dogs this way and it will make identifying the allergy source much easier.
To choose a suitable hypoallergenic dog food for your canine friend, you should find a source of protein that you dog hasn’t been exposed to before.
- Lamb is a popular option, but since it is more common in dog food now it can also be a cause of allergies.
- Rabbit and kangaroo are two other, less common options.
The second main ingredient in hypoallergenic dog food is generally a source of carbs like rice, oats, or potato.
You should keep your dog on this hypoallergenic food until their allergy symptoms disappear completely. Once your dog is doing better, you should slowly start to re-introduce ingredients into your dog’s diet to test what might be causing the allergies.
This way, owners can avoid that food in the future and regain the ability to feed their dogs other acceptable foods.
Some dogs have food allergies that are severe enough that owners need to make them home-cooked meals, which should to be carefully planned with the help of a veterinarian.
Dog allergies can be tricky.
Sometimes it takes owners switching from brand to brand until they find something that works.
The thing is, if you know how dog allergies work and stick to a strict food trial starting with a 12-week elimination diet, you can find the source of your dogs’ allergies and clear up those symptoms.
All the brands mentioned above use unique protein sources and carbohydrates that are less likely to trigger allergies in dogs and would work well in an elimination diet.
Most of these recipes are suitable for all breeds and ages since they focus on whole, natural ingredients to give dogs the best nutrition possible.
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