The 15 Best Dog Foods for Allergies in 2019

1. Brothers Complete Allergy Care Dog Food 

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PetListed Verdict:

Brothers Ultra Premium dog food avoids including a majority of the ingredients known to cause allergies. With goat meal and egg as the foundation, this food has proteins that many dogs haven’t eaten before, so they haven’t yet developed sensitivities to them. The brand also promotes healthy weight and balanced nutrition along with providing all amino acids.

Key Features:

  • Limited ingredients
  • Includes eggs, which have all 23 amino acids, including the 9 “essential” amino acids
  • Encapsulated probiotics deliver live, good bacteria to the gut 
  • Naturally preserved for maximum freshness without bha, bht, or ethoxyquin in high-quality

Pros:

  • Limited ingredients
  • High in amino acids
  • Probiotics also included 

Cons:

  • Still includes eggs, which is one of the known most common allergens for dogs.

2. Nulo Small Breed Freestyle Limited

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PetListed Verdict:

Featuring a single protein, Nulo small breed freestyle is available in either turkey or salmon. The brand also boasts a patented probiotic to promote digestive health. Several size bags are available for purchase and the product line features options for larger and smaller breed dogs, making it a versatile brand.

Key Features:

  • Single protein (your choice of turkey or salmon)
  • Patented probiotic in the recipe

Pros:

  • The smaller bags have a ziplock top to keep the food fresh
  • Made with Non-GMO canola oil
  • No artificial preservatives or colors

3. P.S. Grain Free Complete Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

The founder of P.S. dog food created his own line of dog food based on his personal experiences with dog allergies. Each purchase is accompanied by several emails that give more details about transitioning your dog to a new food, as well as tips and practices to help dogs who suffer from allergies. As an added bonus, the company offers a satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your purchase, you can return it for a full refund.

Key Features:

  • Features lamb as the single source of protein
  • Informational emails about dog food allergies are included with purchase
  • Satisfaction guaranteed

Pros:

  • Money back guarantee
  • Added information about dog allergies included

Cons: 

  • Expensive. At only 2 pounds of food per bag, some customers are saying this brand is a better option for a treat rather than meals or should be used for small dogs

4. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet

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PetListed Verdict:

This limited ingredient food features salmon as the single protein source and potatoes as the main supplier of carbohydrates. The brand also contains their patented “LifeSource Bits” – a blend of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that will support a healthy immune system. These added bits of kibble are created using a lower temperature than the other parts of the food, which helps preserve the potency and integrity of the nutrients.

 Key Features:

  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Gluten free carbohydrates
  • Additional antioxidants, vitamins and minerals included which support immune system health
  • A single protein food that uses salmon as the main ingredient

Pros:

  • Single protein used
  • Gluten free
  • Fortified with supplements your dog needs for peak health

5. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Sensitive Systems Formula

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PetListed Verdict:

Salmon is the protein of choice in Purina ONE SmartBlend dog food. With limited ingredients, the food will be easier to digest for dogs with food sensitivities. High amounts of protein in the food promote heart and joint health while chewing through the dry food aides in clean teeth and healthy gums. 

Key Features:

  • Single source of protein from salmon
  • Antioxidant Blend To Help Support A Strong Immune System
  • Natural Sources Of Glucosamine Help To Support Joint Health

Pros:

  • Included prebiotic helps your dog’s digestive system more efficiently absorb nutrients

6. Lucy Pet Formula Limited Ingredient Food

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PetListed Verdict:

Lucy brand dog food is made using duck, a novel protein source for dog food. Since most dogs haven’t developed a sensitivity to duck, Lucy is an exceptional choice for ensuring you’re giving your dog food with ingredients they haven’t already been exposed to. Additionally, only grain-free carbohydrates are used. Even better, a portion of each sale goes to the Lucy Pet Foundation.

Key Features:

  • Single protein food made with duck
  • Antioxidant included to support a healthy immune system

Pros:

  • Bag has resealable velcro top
  • Your purchase helps animals through the Lucy Pet Foundation

7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

Rachel Ray’s Just 6 brand food provides a limited ingredient diet for your dog with, as the name suggests, just 6 ingredients. With a celebrity chef founder, you can be sure the food is tasty and you’ll also feel good knowing part of your purchase goes to The Rachel Ray Foundation to help animals in need.

Key Features:

  • Limited ingredient diet, with a choice of lamb or turkey as the main ingredient
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Added vitamins and minerals

Pros:

  • A portion of your purchase goes to the Rachel Ray Foundation, which helps animals 

8. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

Wellness Simple dog food, is just that, simple! A limited ingredient food, the brand contains only all-natural ingredients and it’s made in the USA. Salmon is the protein used, with easily digestible carbohydrates added. The food also contains prebiotics and probiotics to promote a healthy digestive system while the addition of flax seed nourishes the skin.

Key Features:

  • Single source protein from salmon 
  • Easily digestible formula with probiotics and prebiotics
  • No Gluten, wheat, fillers or artificial additives

Pros:

  • Made in the USA by a family owned company
  • Satisfaction guarantee

9. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach and Skin Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Adult Dog Food includes prebiotic fiber for healthy gut bacteria. The added vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids promote a shiny, healthy coat as well as nourishing skin. 

Key Features: 

  • Prebiotic fiber supports a balanced gut microbiome 
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Made in the USA 
  • Contains grain

Pros:

  • Your purchase supports Hill’s Food Shelter and Love Program, which benefits shelter dogs
  • Hill’s Science employs over 220 vets, PhD’s, scientists that help formulate the perfect nutritional balance for each of the company’s dog food products

Cons:

  • The main protein is chicken, a very common ingredient in all dog foods, and a common source of food allergy

10. Diamond Care Sensitive Stomach Formula 

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PetListed Verdict:

This grain-free, gluten-free dog food includes proprietary probiotics guaranteed to survive in your dog’s GI tract and encourage a healthy digestive system. Antioxidants have also been included to support a strong immune system. As an added bonus, the company is family owned and the food is made in the USA.

Key Features:

  • Limited ingredient food
  • Grain-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Fortified with antioxidants and probiotics

Pros:

  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives 
  • Family owned and made in the USA

Cons:

  • With chicken and eggs included for proteins, ingredients that are recognized food allergens are present in the food

11 – CANIDAE Pure Grain Free Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

Made with a limited number of ingredients, as the name suggests, CANIDAE Pure is also a grain free option. Several varieties are available, each featuring a different single protein and carbohydrate. Added probiotics and antioxidants round off this formula, to promote digestive health for sensitive stomachs.

Key Features:

  • Single source of protein
  • Grain free option
  • Made with only 7 ingredients

Pros:

  • Made with lamb, a protein most dogs aren’t sensitized to
  • Includes probiotics and antioxidants

Cons:

  • Recipe includes chicken meal, which is one of the known allergens in dog food

12. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach

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PetListed Verdict:

With salmon as the main source of protein in this food, Purina Pro Plan Focus also contains easily digestible carbohydrates, making it a good choice for dogs with a sensitive stomach. Prebiotic fiber and fish oil promote healthy gut bacteria as well as nourish your dog’s joints.

Key Features:

  • Real salmon is the #1 ingredient
  • Prebiotic fiber promotes digestive health 
  • Antioxidants help maintain your dog’s immune system health
  • Contains grain

Pros:

  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • No corn, wheat, or soy

13. AvoDerm Natural Chicken Formula Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

Featuring avocados as an essential ingredient for coat and skin health, AvoDerm Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula is a protein rich food. The food is pressure cooked in order to make it more easily digestible for your pup and is made with all natural ingredients.

Key Features:

  • Includes California avocados that promote healthy skin, coat, and immune system functioning
  • High in protein
  • All ingredients are natural
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Contains grain

Pros:

  • Contains avocado for healthy skin and coat
  • Protein rich
  • Pressure cooked for easy digestion

Cons:

  • Food is made with chicken as the protein, a common dog food allergen
  • Not gluten free

14. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient – Potato and Duck Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

Made with potatoes and duck, this limited ingredient formula is intended specifically for small breeds. The food is also grain free. The company tests each batch of dog food 9 times and posts the results on their website to ensure your pet gets the quality food it deserves.

Key Features:

  • Single protein
  • Grain free
  • Limited number of ingredients
  • Smaller kibble for smaller breed dogs
  • No artificial ingredients, flavors, or colors

Pros:

  • Food is vigorously tested to assure quality
  • Duck is a protein many dogs haven’t been exposed to before, making it a great protein for sensitive or allergic dogs

15. Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food

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PetListed Verdict:

The Nutro brand creates limited ingredient dog foods with 10 ingredients or less so you can really know exactly what’s in your dog’s food. It’s also made without any of the ingredients that are common causes of food allergies for dogs. The food is available in a variety of flavors, all of which feature proteins that aren’t known allergens.

Key Features:

  • 10 ingredients or less
  • Money back guarantee
  • Grain free

Pros:

  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
  • Ingredients support healthy skin and coat
  • Boosts immunity 
  • Aids digestion

FAQ and Buying Guide for Hypoallergenic Dog Food

If you’ve ever experienced allergies you know how miserable they can make everyday life. But did you know that just like people, dogs can be allergic to a variety of substances? Dogs can experience skin or food allergies that can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms.

As responsible pet owners, we all want our pets to live their best and happiest lives. If your dog has food allergies, a specialized diet can help to control or eliminate their allergic reaction. 

Luckily, there are many dog foods available that are designed specifically for dogs with allergies. However, since these brands are specially formulated with higher quality ingredients, they’re often quite a bit pricier. In order to ensure you’re choosing the best food for your dog’s specific needs, having a basic understanding of allergies in dogs is essential. Before plunking down your hard-earned money, check out our buying guide for the 15 best dog foods for allergies.

How common is it for dogs to have food allergies?

According to WebMD, approximately 10% of dogs have food allergies, which is a reaction to one or more of the ingredients in dog food. Allergic symptoms are caused when a protein from your dog’s diet is mistakenly flagged by their immune system as an invader, instead of nutritional content, and their body creates an immune response. A true allergy can cause symptoms all over the body, such as skin, ear, or  eye infections as well as digestive trouble.

There are also dogs who have food intolerance. These dogs are more sensitive to some ingredients in dog food and will experience stomach or bowel upset. Food intolerance is different than an allergy though and causes tummy trouble only, versus the skin and other symptoms shown by dogs with a true allergic reaction to food.

In either instance, changing your dog’s diet can greatly relieve their symptoms and lead to a happier, healthier pet.

How can I tell if my dog has a food allergy or just a food intolerance?

Unfortunately there’s not a definitive test that can determine if your dog has a food allergy. Many of the symptoms overlap with food intolerance or with other ailments. In general though, a food intolerance only involves tummy upset, whereas an allergy will also cause skin issues. 

The good news is that both can be effectively treated with the right dog food. As with all concerns though, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis and before you take any steps for treatment.

What are symptoms of food allergies in dogs?

If your dog is experiencing a food allergy they may exhibit any of the most common symptoms:

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Hives 
  • Itchy skin, ears, or eyes
  • Facial swelling including the ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Inflamed, irritated, red skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Runny or goopy eyes
  • Impulsive licking of irritated areas

It’s important to note however, that these symptoms can also be associated with other issues and may not be caused by allergies. Always see your veterinarian for accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

How are food allergies triggered?

Food allergies are passed on genetically and are activated by exposure. The more ingredients your dog has eaten in his food, the more he’s been exposed to things that may trigger an allergy. 

After they’ve been exposed to various ingredients, dogs with allergies will have a hyperactive immune response. This reaction causes inflammatory substances, such as histamine, to be released and causes allergic symptoms.

What are the most common ingredients in dog food that cause allergies?

Most dog food allergies are in reaction to a protein.  The most common protein allergens include:

  • Beef 
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Soy
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • fish

How can food allergies be treated?

The best way to treat a food allergy is to make sure you don’t feed your dog the ingredient they’re allergic to. Since it can be hard to pin down exactly which component of the food your dog is reacting to, many owners opt for feeding their dogs a food which has completely new ingredients that they’ve never eaten before. This may be hard to accomplish since dog foods often contain a number of common ingredients that you’ll find in any commercially produced food. 

If you don’t want to commit to feeding your dog totally raw, homemade food, another option is to implement a limited ingredient diet. With fewer components that go into the dog food, it’s easier to identify which item is causing your dog’s reaction and then avoid it moving forward. This is where limited ingredient dog foods provide a great option for your pooch.

How will I know which food is best for my dog?

Finding the best food for your dog is really a matter of trial and error. There’s no “one fits all” answer for this question. A food that works for one dog may not be good for the next one.

Factors to consider in choosing a food include cost, your vet’s recommendations, and your pet’s reaction to the food. A good starting place is to find a food with totally different ingredients than the food your dog was eating when the issue started.

If you’re unable to do that, the next best thing is to select a food with a new protein and a limited number of ingredients. That way, if your dog continues to have issues, it becomes easier to compare the few ingredients in the new food to those in the dod’s previous food. If you find any ingredients are in both foods, you then have your suspect list for which item your dog is reacting to.

Why is dog food designed for pets with allergies so expensive?

Keep in mind that food created for the specific purpose of preventing allergies involves more effort on the part of the manufacturer. There are research and development costs in order to find formulas that both contain all the necessary nutrients your dog needs in his diet, as well as in sourcing higher quality ingredients than are found in regular dog foods. In other words, the manufacturer spends more money making the food, and that cost is then reflected in the price. 

There’s a wide range of prices that can be found when purchasing limited ingredient or hypoallergenic food so it’s likely you can find one that fits your budget and keeps your pooch allergy free at the same time. However, when you take into consideration the vet bills you end up paying when your dog experiences severe allergies, it can actually end up being more cost effective to proactively invest in a high quality dog food. Not only does it make your dog feel better, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your best friend is feeling good, and you won’t end up with as many visits to the vet.