best-dog-food-for-allergies

5 Best Dog Foods For Allergies

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for allergies.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Allergies?

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Vet’s Advice

Rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs)

Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are essential to support a healthy skin barrier, something that is usually disrupted in dogs with allergic skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis (atopy). EFAs are also well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The types of essential fatty acids that may be beneficial for skin and coat are found in fish oils (as EPA and DHA), as well as vegetable or plant-based oils, such as sunflower oil, borage, flaxseed, and evening primrose (as linoleic acid).

Uses a hydrolyzed protein source

Though less common than environmental allergies, some dogs may be allergic to specific food ingredients. Food allergies may affect the skin (‘cutaneous adverse food reaction’), the gut, or sometimes both!

Dogs with a suspected food allergy should undergo a food trial with a hypoallergenic diet based on a hydrolyzed protein. A hydrolyzed protein has been broken down to such a small size, that it is unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction.

Contains balanced fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics

The correct balance of soluble and insoluble fibers is also beneficial for dogs suffering from digestive issues associated with a food allergy. They help maintain normal gut motility and certain soluble fibers, known as prebiotics, can help promote a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria within the gut (microbiome).

Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) are examples of beneficial prebiotics commonly found in dog food. Probiotics, on the other hand, are live strains of beneficial bacteria that are also used to promote a healthy balance within the gut.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Allergy Dog Food Reviews

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon
    2. Ocean Fish Meal
    3. Sweet Potatoes
    4. Potatoes
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 360 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 3%

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a diet of exceptional quality that has been formulated to address the needs of dogs suffering from skin or stomach sensitivities. A diet based on highly flavorful salmon and ocean fish meal, these meats are rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to soothe upset tummies and provide relief for irritated skin.

A grain-free food with a fairly limited ingredients list, the carbohydrates in Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream are taken from fruits and vegetables that contain a plentiful concentration of antioxidants to boost a dog’s immune system. Chelated minerals have been included to ensure dogs receive the maximum absorption of vital nutrients.

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, one of the best dog foods for allergies, is free from such common allergens as grains, corn, wheat, fillers, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Pros

  • Owners reported that dogs that regularly struggled with licking and itching found complete relief when fed a steady diet of Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream.
  • The emphasis on high quality fish proteins makes this food formulation very flavorful. Most dogs love the taste of this food and eat their meals with hearty enthusiasm.
  • Dogs fed Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream in proper proportions were able to shed their excess weight and maintain a healthy body condition.
  • The coat quality of dogs fed this food regularly is excellent. Their fur is soft, healthy, and shiny.
  • Owners love the price of this food, feeling they are able to provide their dogs with top tier nutrition for an affordable cost.

Cons

  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this food and will not eat it. Taste of the Wild has many different formulations with other protein bases. One of these diets may be a better fit for those dogs.
  • Some owners indicated they had to mix in some canned food, meat, or a topper in order to entice their dogs to eat this diet.
  • A few owners expressed they would prefer to feed a diet that includes some whole grains in its recipe.
  • This diet includes potatoes, peas, and lentils in its formula. Some owners feel these ingredients are not of sufficient nutritional quality to support their dogs’ daily needs.
  • This diet contains no supplements to support joint health in dogs.

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CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon
    2. Salmon Meal
    3. Menhaden Fish Meal
    4. Sweet Potatoes
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 496 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 4%

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE, a diet that prioritizes a limited ingredients list, is rated one of the best foods for dogs with allergies. A food that contains a singular protein, salmon is the first ingredient in this diet, a meat that is high quality and rich in essential fatty acids to provide support for coat and skin health.

This powerhouse food contains only eight ingredients, making it an excellent selection for dogs that have previously displayed food sensitivities. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE contains no grains, soy, wheat, corn, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

This diet includes a potent probiotic blend known as HealthPLUS to help dogs achieve and maintain excellent digestion.

Pros

  • Dogs that regularly struggled with itchy skin found complete relief from their symptoms when fed a steady diet of CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE.
  • Most dogs really enjoy the taste of this food. It is jam packed with flavor to encourage hearty eating in even the pickiest of eaters.
  • Owners are pleased with the size of the kibble pieces in this diet, feeling confident they are unlikely to pose a choking hazard for their dogs.
  • Owners like that this diet is calorie-dense, meaning they need to feed less of it for their dogs to reach full eating satisfaction. This increases the value of the food.
  • Dogs that consumed this diet consistently displayed coats that were healthy, shiny, and soft.

Cons

  • In rare cases, some owners noted their dogs’ stool took on a very strong and unpleasant smell when fed this diet regularly.
  • Some owners expressed they felt the kibble pieces in this diet were too small for medium, large, and giant breeds.
  • A few dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress when fed this diet on a consistent basis. This is likely the result of too quick a transition period and will resolve given more time.
  • A few owners felt this diet was very costly.
  • Some owners indicated this food had a very strong and off putting smell in their opinion.

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Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Salmon & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Salmon
    2. Peas
    3. Potatoes
    4. Pea Starch
    5. Salmon Meal (Source of Glucosamine)

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 349 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 20%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 6%

For families looking for the best dog food for allergies, it’s hard to go wrong with Blue Buffalo’s Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula. Salmon is the main ingredient in this food, a meat that is of exceptional nutritional value and that is packed with the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids dogs need to fuel their energy reserves and nourish their coat and skin.

A diet that is grain-free, Blue Buffalo Basics LID has been formulated specifically to address the challenges dogs with allergies face including irritated skin and sensitive stomachs. Among the powerhouse ingredients known to boost digestion that are included in this recipe are potatoes, peas, and pumpkin.

Blue Buffalo Basics LID, rated one of the best dog foods for allergies, contains no chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs. It is also free from by-products, artificial flavors, and preservatives, all ingredients associated with stomach distress in many dogs with food sensitivities.

LifeSource Bits have been added to this diet to increase the food’s antioxidant profile to support strong and healthy immunity to help fight against disease.

Pros

  • Owners like that this diet is based on a limited list of ingredients, all of which are of exceptional quality. They feel this food is an excellent choice for dogs suffering from food-based allergies.
  • Owners noted dogs that previously suffered from excess flatulence and poor digestion saw a reduction in gas and a return to excellent stool quality.
  • Even picky eaters love the taste of this food. They eat their meals with hearty gusto, licking their bowls clean.
  • Several owners indicated they liked that this diet is grain-free. They feel a diet that includes no whole grains in its recipe is an excellent choice for dogs with ongoing allergies.
  • Owners indicated that they felt this diet was reasonably priced given its exceptional nutritional quality.

Cons

  • Several owners expressed they prefer to feed a diet that includes some whole grains in its formula.
  • Some owners questioned whether or not this diet actually did limit the number of ingredients in its recipe. They felt there were too many things included in this food to truly have earned the title of a limited ingredient diet.
  • A few owners felt this diet was too high in dietary fiber for their dogs. These owners shared that their dogs suffered from excess flatulence and poor stool quality when fed this diet regularly.
  • Some dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it.
  • Several owners shared that their dogs would not eat the LifeSource Bits included in this diet. They would pick them out and refuse to consume them.

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Brothers Complete Turkey Meal & Egg Formula Advanced Allergy Care Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Turkey Meal
    2. Whole Eggs Dried
    3. Pea Starch
    4. Cassava/Tapioca
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 415 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 36%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Fiber: 4%

Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Care has been carefully crafted to help owners provide relief for dogs that suffer from allergies. A diet that takes only one meat-based protein as its basis, turkey is the first ingredient in this powerhouse food. Eggs have also been included to boost the antioxidant profile of the diet thus organically providing support for strong and healthy immunity.

The carbohydrates in Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Care, considered to be one of the best foods for dogs with allergies, were selected for their low glycemic index, making them unlikely to feed yeast problems, a common issue dogs with allergies face.

Digestive enzymes have been included to assist with proper digestion. To help with the development of excellent gut flora, probiotics have also been added to this diet.

Pros

  • This food places a high emphasis on a recipe that is rich in flavor. Dogs look forward to their every meal, consuming each morsel with hearty enthusiasm.
  • Dogs that consumed this diet regularly found relief from licking their paws and itching their skin, two conditions commonly associated with food allergies.
  • Owners are pleased to report that their dogs were easily able to transition to this diet without suffering any ill effects.
  • Dogs that regularly experienced gastrointestinal distress saw a return to proper digestion when fed this diet regularly.
  • Owners love that this diet comes in several different flavors, allowing them to offer their dogs some variety in their diet without sacrificing any nutritional quality.

Cons

  • Several owners indicated that they found this diet was very expensive.
  • In rare cases, some dogs saw a return of their allergies after several weeks of eating this food.
  • Some dogs did not find any relief from their itching when fed Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Care. A switch to another Brothers formula with a different protein base may help with this.
  • This diet contains both pea starch and peas, two ingredients of questionable nutritional value and that may be linked to such health problems as poor fertility and rapid spikes in blood sugar.
  • This diet is grain-free. Some owners prefer to feed a food that includes some nutritious whole grains in its recipe.

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Go! Sensitivity + Shine Duck Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Duck Meal
    2. Oatmeal
    3. Potatoes
    4. Whole Oats
    5. De-Boned Duck

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: All stages
  • Calories: 438 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 22%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 3.5%

Go! Sensitivity + Shine is a high quality diet that has been designed to assist dogs suffering from skin and stomach sensitivities. A food with only one meat-based protein in its ingredients list, Go! Sensitivity + Shine lists duck meal as its primary ingredient.

Prebiotics and probiotics have been included in this recipe to provide a vital help to support digestion.

Among the best dog foods for allergies on the market today, this top quality food contains no by-product meals, preservatives, wheat, corn, or soy.

Pros

  • Dogs consistently fed this diet enjoyed excellent digestion and optimal stool quality.
  • Owners like that this food is available in a wide range of sizes, making it possible for them to buy as little or as much as they need.
  • Go! is available in many different flavors, providing owners with the opportunity to give their dogs greater variety in their diet.
  • Owners are very pleased with the price point of this dog food. They are happy that they can feed their dogs a premium quality diet for an affordable cost.
  • This diet is rich in animal and plant-based oils to help boost joint health in dogs suffering from arthritis.

Cons

  • Some dogs do not like the taste of this food and will not eat it. Go! manufactures many different dog food formulations with other proteins as their base. One of these diets may be a better solution for those dogs.
  • A few owners expressed that this food crumbles easily.
  • In rare cases, some dogs became itchy after a steady diet of Go! Sensitivity and Shine. This may be the result of a sensitivity to one of the ingredients found in the recipe.
  • In a few instances, some dogs found this food difficult to break down well.
  • Some owners indicated this food is challenging to find in their local stores. Thankfully, it is available online and can be delivered.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Allergies

Dogs that suffer from allergies struggle to maintain good quality of life. Allergies can be inherited from the dog’s parents and can be environmental or food-related or even a combination of the two. Unfortunately, pinpointing the specific allergy causing the reaction in a dog can be quite difficult, and in the case of environmental allergies, it often is impossible to avoid even if identified.

Though some tests can be conducted by veterinarians to help determine allergens that affect a dog, they are not always conclusive, leaving owners feeling frustrated. Today, there are several medications dogs can take to help alleviate the symptoms of allergies. These can help provide relief from constant itching, irritated skin, hot spots and more, but are most effective when combined with a change in diet and often carry very serious side effects.

Allergies, whether to food or an environmental stimulus, are often first evidenced by a rash or irritation of the skin. This can take some time for an owner to notice depending on the length of the dog’s coat. Since dogs do regularly groom themselves, it can be difficult for an owner to determine if the dog is simply cleaning its body or is licking to soothe its inflamed or itchy skin.

Some of the most commonly seen issues associated with allergies in dogs include:

  • Out of season itching
  • Skin rashes or infections
  • Inflammation of the face or within the ears
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Redness and swelling of the ears, paws, and/or bum

Sometimes allergies bypass the skin altogether and are expressed through gastrointestinal distress which results in vomiting or diarrhea. More severe allergic reactions are often accompanied by poor appetite and lack of energy.

Since many allergies are directly related to food, it is important to switch the dog’s diet to a formulation that has limited ingredients. The best dog foods for allergies are free from some of the most common allergens including corn, wheat, and soy.

Many veterinarians also recommend the use of an elimination diet, a homemade food that is based on a singular protein accompanied by a very restricted number of additional ingredients. The purpose of this type of food is to pinpoint what foods the dog can eat without fear of ill effects to the skin or stomach.

Oatmeal baths can help bring some relief to inflamed or itchy skin. In addition to this, feeding the dog fish oils or rubbing the affected areas with coconut oil can help alleviate some discomfort and promote healing.

For dogs with very severe reactions or that see only nominal relief from symptoms through a change of diet, it is a wise idea to visit a veterinarian who can help to address the problem. Some dogs cannot be treated through diet and supplements alone and will require a medication to find permanent relief from the ill effects of allergies.

When selecting a diet for dogs that suffer from allergies, it is always a good idea to choose a food that contains a novel meat-based protein. Unusual proteins are meats that the dog has not been introduced to in the past. This typically means that an unfavorable immune response has not been seen, and thus, the protein is less likely to cause an allergic reaction in the dog.

Among the rare proteins to consider for dogs with food allergies are:

  • Venison
  • Elk
  • Herring
  • Duck
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Rabbit
  • Buffalo
  • Bison
  • Kangaroo

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dog Foods for Allergies

The amount fed of the best dog food for allergies is as important as the nutrition that goes into each bag. Overfeeding a dog can easily lead to weight gain, and thus, free feeding should be strictly avoided to prevent this problem from occurring.

To determine how much food a dog should receive, it is a good idea to consult the suggested serving sizes listed on the bag. These can be used as a starting point and adjusted until the dog’s appetite is satisfied by the portion size given, and its weight is easily maintained.

Adult dogs require a high quality diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat while puppies do best on a food comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat.

Dietary Requirements for Dog Foods for Allergies

One of the biggest priorities expected of the best dog foods for allergies is an emphasis on ingredients that are natural and of the highest quality. Human grade foods are best. Any diet to support relief from food allergies should not contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or filler foods that could contribute to negative immune responses and the development of recurring sensitivities.

Protein is of the utmost importance in any diet for dogs with allergies. Whole meats are best with novel proteins such as rabbit, elk, kangaroo, rabbit, or fish being the ideal choices. Meat meals are also acceptable, but by-products and plant-based proteins are common allergens. Foods containing them are best left on the shelf.

However, it is important to note in dogs that are highly allergic to both food and environmental triggers, meat meals are not the optimal choice. Since meat meals are essentially extremely concentrated sources of meat products, they can be subject to various different stimuli during their processing. This exposure may further exacerbate an existing allergy as it is impossible to know what alternative items the meal may have come in contact with during manufacturing.

Dogs with food allergies can greatly benefit from a diet with a limited ingredients list. The fewer items contained in a food, the less likely a dog will have an adverse reaction to it. If a dog does respond poorly to a limited ingredients diet, it is far easier for a family to determine which ingredient caused the problem when the list of items found in a food is quite small.

Many dogs express sensitivities to grains. For this reason, a grain-free diet that focuses on highly digestible, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables is highly recommended for dogs with allergies. These types of foods support excellent digestion and also help with the development of strong immunity to fight disease.

Healthy fats play a vital role in any well-rounded diet for dogs but are particularly important for dogs with allergies. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids support good coat and skin health. These are best obtained from animal sources such as oily fish. Chicken fat also has excellent health benefits to offer but should only be fed to dogs that have not expressed any sensitivity to poultry.

Digestive supplements can be of great benefit to dogs suffering from allergies. Among the best to look for are prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.

Apple cider vinegar and coconut oil are two ingredients that have a soothing effect on tender tummies. Foods containing either of these items are highly desirable for dogs with allergies.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Allergies

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best dog food for allergies:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health
  • Is based on a novel meat protein

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