Is your furry friend itching his body or feet whenever he takes certain foods? It could be a sign that your pup has a food allergy and can benefit from eating hypoallergenic dog foods. Food allergies could also cause recurring ear or skin infections and excessive gassiness in dogs. In this guide, we shall look at some of the best dog food for allergies and useful tips in choosing the right hypoallergenic dog food brands.
What Causes Food Allergies in Dogs?
Food allergies in dogs can go undetected for several months since their symptoms are often similar to other health conditions. Food allergies can be triggered by environmental factors other than food. If your pup is experiencing allergy symptoms, you should first visit your veterinarian to confirm what is causing the problem. Sometimes, dogs can exhibit allergic reactions due to fleas, some toys, or even collars made of certain materials.
However, if your dog exhibits allergies or sensitivities to food, there are numerous hypoallergenic dog foods to consider. Although hypoallergenic dog foods are often prescribed by vets, there are great options you can purchase from online stores. The brands we’ve reviewed are made using proteins that are chemically split (hydrolyzed) into basic amino acid building blocks, making the original allergen virtually invisible to your dog’s immune system. As a result, your pup won’t likely experience allergic reactions to these foods.
Did you know that food allergies only make up about 10 percent of all triggers of atopic dermatitis? Please consult your vet before you switch your pup to a hypoallergenic diet to see if they are other causes of the allergy, like flea allergy dermatitis. But if your vet suspects food allergies, they’ll recommend a hypoallergenic elimination diet to isolate the allergen in your pup’s food.
Other symptoms of food allergies in dogs include:
- Excessive itching
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Non-seasonal itching
- Chronic skin infections, mainly localized to the ear and feet
- Sores and scabs
- Gastric problems like flatulence
How to Tell When Your Dog Needs Hypoallergenic Food
Food allergies should never be confused with food intolerance. While food allergies occur when your dog’s immune system identifies specific food ingredients as harmful, food intolerance is more of a digestive problem.
If your dog is itching and shaking his head more than usual, it could be a sign of food allergy. Your dog may also exhibit constant diarrhea or gas, gastrointestinal issues, and sometimes skin problems. Excessive itchiness, shaking of fur, and licking of paws are other symptoms of food allergies in dogs. Sometimes, food allergies can trigger warts growth and other skin-related problems. Food intolerance, on the other hand, only causes digestive problems and not skin issues.
Trial by Elimination
Elimination diet is the best way to diagnose dog food allergies. You can take your dog off all foods he’s been eating and give him foods he’s never had before. After the symptoms have improved, begin reintroducing the old foods one by one, starting with the one you believe is causing the problem.
Veterinarians recommend performing the elimination trial for 1 to 3 weeks. Observe your pup’s reaction to one ingredient for a couple of days before introducing a new ingredient.
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Allergies
Hypoallergenic dog foods are simply anti-allergenic foods that contain a new source of protein that your dog has not been previously exposed to as well as a new source of carbohydrate. There are several hypoallergenic dog food brands like lamb and rice, peas and duck, venison and potato, etc.
These new protein sources don’t trigger your dog’s immune system, making them perfect for dogs suffering from food allergies. But with the myriad of varieties on the market, how can you choose the best dog food for allergies?
The right hypoallergenic dog food should not contain the following ingredients:
- Meat by-products (fillers)
- Artificial flavoring
- Artificial coloring
The best hypoallergenic dog food brands often avoid ingredients that could provoke allergic reactions. Some of the ingredients to avoid include:
Are Hypoallergenic Dog Foods Helpful?
Feeding your dog hypoallergenic foods can help keep their allergy symptoms to a minimum. However, there are several other benefits of hypoallergenic dog foods, such as improved overall health and longevity.
Although hypoallergenic dog foods are a little more expensive, you can feed smaller portions since they’re rich in nutrients. Plus, you’ll save significant money down the line by reducing the number of visits to the vet.
Home Made Hypoallergenic Dog Foods
If you have the time to prepare healthy homemade dog food, you can improve the health and happiness of your pup with some nutritious treats. Just be sure to use healthy ingredients such as duck, fish, lamb, and turkey – and avoid wheat, yeast, soy, corn, and yeast.
Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Allergies
1. Best for All Stages: Brothers Complete Lamb & Egg Formula
The Brothers advanced allergy care dry pet food provides full nutrition that imitates your dog’s natural diet. Small-batch recipes contain high-quality proteins like dried whole eggs and free-range lamb, which are easily absorbed. It has no white potatoes or grains, making it great for dogs suffering from food allergies.
Every ingredient in this advanced formula hypoallergenic dog food is carefully selected through advanced nutritional concepts to promote healing and balancing and maintaining a healthy gut. It’s great for every life stage and helps your dog avoid skin problems and allergy-related tummy issues.
- A natural recipe made with low-glycemic carbs from cassava roots and free-range lamb.
- Eggs contain all 23 amino acids, including 9 “essential” amino acids that the body cannot produce.
- Digestive enzymes to help break down food, boost immunity, reduce allergy risks, and increase nutrient absorption.
- Encapsulated probiotics to deliver live, good bacteria to your pup’s gut.
- Naturally preserved for prolonged freshness without BHT, BHA, or ethoxyquin.
First 5 ingredients: Lamb meal, turkey meal, whole eggs dried, peas, and cassava root.
Brothers Complete Lamb Meal and Egg contains 38% protein, 38% carbs, and 16% fat, creating an impressive fat-to-protein ration of 42%.
2. Best for Adult Dogs: Earthborn Holistic Venture Turkey Meal & Butternut Squash
You can pamper your pooch with this lip-smacking hypoallergenic dog food while addressing his digestive sensitivities or food allergy. The irresistible taste of the Earthborn Holistic Venture turkey & butternut meal will keep your pup dashing to his bowl every mealtime.
It doesn’t contain any corn, grain, gluten, or soy fillers or additives. Your furry friend will draw superior ingredients from the meticulously formulated formula that supplies all your pup’s nutritional needs. This limited ingredient diet is a rich source of fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients for better digestion, optimal health, and lustrous skin.
- Made with carefully sourced turkey from Midwestern farmers and handpicked by Honduran butternut squash.
- 100% gluten-free and grain-free, providing complete nutrition for adult dogs of all sizes.
- Packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, beta-carotene, and folate.
- Non-GMO formulation, free of fillers, artificial colors, by-products, or preservatives.
- High-quality Plant Bag made with 30% plant-based plastics that can be easily resealed to keep food fresh.
First 5 ingredients: Butternut squash, turkey meal, flaxseed, chickpeas, and sunflower oil.
The Earthborn Holistic Venture Turkey Meal & Butternut Squash draws most of its animal protein from turkey. The recipe is estimated to contain 34% protein, 43% carbs, and 14% fat, giving a fat-to-protein ration of 42%
3. Best Limited Ingredients: Zignature Turkey Formula Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Fill your pooch’s bowl with the nutritious Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Dog Food. Your furry friend will enjoy a delicious meal made with real, farm-raised Turkey from the American Midwest, chickpeas, wholesome peas, and carrots. This meaty recipe gives pups the protein they need to thrive while the limited ingredient recipe eliminates troublesome ingredients such as soy, wheat, and corn. It’s among the best dog foods for allergies and combines essential fatty acids, key antioxidants, and a complete spectrum of vitamins.
- The grain-free, limited ingredient formula comprises of a single protein source and just a handful of other ingredients, making it clean and safe for dogs exhibiting food allergies.
- Made with farm-raised turkey sourced from the American Midwest.
- Low in saturated fat, rich in Riboflavin and Phosphorus, and contains Selenium.
- Free of common potential canine allergens such as corn, soy, wheat, dairy, and chicken.
- Wholesome fruits and vegetables in the recipe provide powerful antioxidants, and low-glycemic, fiber-rich carbohydrates.
First 5 ingredients: Turkey, turkey liver, turkey broth, peas, turkey meal
Zignature Salmon draws the bulk of its protein from turkey. The recipe contains 52% protein, 17% estimated carbs, and 23% fat, creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 43%.
4. Hill’s Dog Food for Sensitive Skin and Stomach
Tested by veterinary nutritionists and endorsed with scientific rigor, Hill’s dog food for allergies is ideal for pooches with sensitive skin or stomach. It is made of real chicken meat as the main ingredient. Additionally, Hill’s dry food contains antioxidants that control bowel movements and treat underlying skin reactions. The formula is extremely easy-to-digest and free from artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. If you are seeking a skin and stomach-friendly pup food on a budget, Hill’s dry variety is your ideal choice.
5. Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Similar to Hill’s nutritious formula, Wellness’ limited ingredient formula contains healthy ingredients on a budget. Many vets now prescribe feeding dogs with sensitive skin and stomach high-quality meats and no fillers. This nutritious formula comes in five different formulas, including duck and oatmeal, lamb and oatmeal, salmon and potato, and turkey and potato.
Wellness also makes an extra variety with flaxseed oil and grain-free formula, so you can choose an option that does not trigger allergy symptoms on your pet. All the formulas are specially formulated to make them easily digestible by pets with sensitive stomachs. The protein sources are also selected carefully to avoid residual contamination from meat leftovers. Similarly, carbohydrates are carefully picked to avoid gluten contamination.
Other Best Dog Food for Allergies
We also found the following hypoallergenic dog food brands effective and cost-effective:
PS for Dogs 100% Hypoallergenic Dog Food
PS for Dogs has become one of the best dog foods for allergies, thanks to its tailor-made minimal ingredient recipe. Its highly effective as it uses high-quality raw, air-dried jerky with a single source of protein from 90% grass-fed, free-range lamb sourced from New Zealand. Secondary ingredients include minerals and vitamins.
PS for Dogs takes a personalized approach towards its customers. You will receive a series of emails from the company to guide you on how to introduce the formula to your dog and best the practices to help reduce allergy triggers.
Purina HA Vegetarian Dog Food
When it comes to the best hypoallergenic dog food brands, Purina HA tops the list. The vegetarian dog food breaks down the proteins in the food into smaller amino acids, which helps to support receptors in your dog’s intestinal wall and mitigate allergenic reactions. Purina HA also helps to ease symptoms of tummy disorders as well as itchy skins. However, it takes time for a dog’s system to adapt to this food variety and stop allergic reactions.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient
If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic dog food that stops allergic reactions almost immediately, Natural Balance’s limited ingredient dog food is your ultimate choice. The brand uses the best ingredients to make high-quality dog foods for pups with skin and stomach sensitivities. You can trust their hypoallergenic dog foods as they use sweet potatoes as a source of carbs and not just potatoes.
You can also find salmon and flaxseed nutritional blends. The reason for using flax seeds alongside salmon and sweet potato is to improve the content of omega-3s, DHA, and fatty acids in your dog’s diet.
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food
Finally, the Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food is a nutritious hypoallergenic dog food designed to mimic a balanced nutritious food your dog would find in the wild. The protein sources are quite diverse and tend to lean towards exotic. You can choose between pacific stream canine mixed with smoked salmon, roasted bison and roasted venison, smoked salmon, and wetlands canine with roasted fowl.
To boost the nutritional value of this hypoallergenic dog food, it’s blended with fruits and vegetables. The dog food is 100 percent grain-free and offers a great taste that your dog will instantly love. These novel protein sources eliminate any risks of allergic reactions.
Best Dog Foods for Allergy Brands
At Tuscan Natural, there’s always a new adventure waiting to unfold. The company understands how pet lovers hate seeing their furry friends suffer from health complications. They strive to put so much in every bag of dog food. By combining traditional culinary philosophy with advanced and modern nutritional knowledge, Tuscan Natural has been creating high-quality and nutritious pet foods you won’t find anywhere else.
Midwestern Pet Foods
As the parent company of the Earthborn Holistic, Sportmix, ProPac, and Propac Ultimates, Midwestern Pet Foods offers a broad range of quality pet foods. Founded in 1926, the company has been consistently producing canned cat and dog foods in a human-grade facility.
Brothers Complete Dog Food
Brothers is a family business inspired by a total love of dogs and a genuine desire to improve the overall health of dogs by making healthy dog foods. The company is dedicated to creating delicious and nutritious dog foods to improve your furry friend’s health and happiness.
Several internal and external factors can trigger allergies in dogs. Whenever you detect any unusual behavior or symptoms in your furry friend, schedule an appointment with your vet for proper examination and diagnosis. Through professional examination, you can identify the specific factors responsible for the allergy and take necessary precautions. Try out one of the best dog food for allergies reviewed here and see how your dog responds.
Is lamb and rice good for dogs with allergies?
Lamb has always been the best dog food for allergies since beef and chicken are common in most regular dog foods. However, if you’ve been feeding your dog lamb for a while now, it could be just as likely to trigger food allergy in your pup. If your dog has been feeding on chicken and rice-based foods, a novel hypoallergenic option could be turkey and potato.
How can you tell if your dog is allergic to food?
The most common signs of food allergy in dogs include itching, sneezing, hot spots, itchy paws, skin rashes, pigmented skin, scaly or oily skin, and leathery skin texture.
What is the best protein for dogs with allergies?
Dog foods with fish as the primary source of protein are a great choice for pets with allergies. Many dogs enjoy salmon as it’s distinctively different from beef and chicken. For dogs with chicken allergies, you can opt for turkey and duck.
What is the most common food allergy in dogs?
The most common allergens in dogs are beef, egg, dairy, wheat, lamb, chicken, pork, soy, rabbit, and fish. In most cases, your dog can be allergic to more than one ingredient.
What can I give my dog for allergies?
Other than feeding the best dog food for allergies, there are medications that help alleviate allergy reactions. Under the guidance of your vet, you can give your dog antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratadine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine). Antihistamines are generally safe but can make some dogs drowsy or hyperactive.