Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods


Hypoallergenic dog foods usually share one of three basic designs. They are typically products made with:
Dog with Allergies and Scratching

  • Limited ingredients
  • Novel ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic recipes

First, because they do contain fewer components, limited ingredient dog foods can make it easier to pin down the suspected allergen to which a pet might be allergic.

Next, novel ingredient dog foods contain components the animal might not have been previously exposed to — so, therefore, less less likely to be sensitive to.

These foods contain relatively obscure ingredients — like buffalo, pheasant, kangaroo or millet.

And finally, hypoallergenic recipes avoid the use of ingredients most likely to provoke an allergic reaction. According to an article published by Drs. Foster and Smith, they include…

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Yeast

Surprisingly, dogs aren’t naturally allergic to many of these items. It’s just that these are the ingredients most commonly used in dog food recipes.

So, they’re simply the ones dogs are most frequently exposed to.

And many times, it’s not even the ingredients that are the problem. Dogs can also be allergic to what’s in the ingredients, too.

Why Food May Not Be the Cause
of Your Dog’s Allergies

Contrary to popular belief, food isn’t always the cause of a canine allergy.

According to an article by Drs. Foster and Smith, food allergies account for just 10% of all canine allergies. They’re only the third most common cause — ranked well behind fleas and atopic (non-contact) allergies.

Yet food is the first to be blamed whenever a dog shows any sign of an allergic reaction — like itchy skin.

And that begs the question: Is it really an allergy in the first place?

Food Allergy — or Food Intolerance?

Food allergies and food intolerances are considered two different issues.

A food allergy occurs when a dog’s immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food ingredient as harmful. And then creates defensive antibodies to fight the invading enemy (the food).

A food intolerance is a digestive problem rather than an immune response. An intolerance occurs when a dog’s digestive system is unable to digest a specific ingredient.

For example, lactose intolerance is a common condition in which a dog is unable to break down lactose (a sugar found in milk).

Different Conditions with Different Symptoms

The symptoms of an allergy can include (but are not limited to) skin rash, hives, itching, paw biting, obsessive licking and sometimes nausea or vomiting.

The signs of food intolerance include (mainly) digestive distress, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Again, let’s use milk as an example…

A milk intolerance would look more like gastric distress. This can include symptoms like gas, bloating or diarrhea.

However, a true milk allergy would produce an immune reaction (for example, itching or a rash).

The Bottom Line

If you believe your pet is suffering from a food intolerance or a food allergy, you may wish to consider feeding a commercial dog food that’s been specifically designed — by its manufacturer — to help.

At the end of this article, you’ll find a list of dog foods that meet two requirements. These are products that have been rated at least three stars by The Dog Food Advisor.

And they’ve been recommended by their manufacturers to be appropriate for dogs with food allergies or food intolerances.

Please keep in mind, of course, this list should not be considered a complete catalog of all the hypoallergenic foods on the market. We only provide this small group as a starting point.

As a matter of fact, if you know of a specific dog food you believe we should have included on this list, please feel free to share your recommendations in the Comments section below.

Or if you’re looking for some suggestions yourself, be sure to look through our readers’ comments below to find some good ideas.

A Final Word

The information included in this article is offered in good faith and represents the views and opinions of the author only.

Although it’s our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

  • Angel

    I have a 9 month almost 10 month old German Shepherd, I slowly switched him over form his crappy old food to a really good high quality brand a month and nearly 30lbs of food later he was getting diarrhea badly, he was also witching more and more and getting hot spots and rashes and was itching and chewing himself a lot more, well i stopped feeding him that and gave him a home cooked meal for at least a week later then i started to feed him another brand that is supposed to be good for dogs with allergies, 1 cup and 24 hours later he was getting diarrhea again but this time it had blood in it, i rite away stopped the food and went back to the home cooked meal, he is returning to normal and feeling much better but my question is after reading the ingredients on the two new food both had 2 things in it that were the same, both foods had, chicory root & canola oil, Could it be ether of those ingredients that were causing his reaction?.

  • theBCnut

    I know what you mean, I’ve got one dog that I no longer even blink when his food costs $90 a bag, but in the long run I’m saving money, because I haven’t spent one extra penny at the vet, and he won’t have the health problems that come from repeat doses of steroids and antibiotic.
    That sounds like a great food to start with. Just keep those ingredient lists. I now have a word document on my computer that I keep all that stuff in for my dog with issues, as well as notes on how he does with any particular food.

  • Kim L.

    Thank you so much! I shopped around and read all of the ingredients at the pet store and we’re going to give the Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient Sweet Potato and Salmon a try. I don’t mind spending more on our dog (the Simply Nourish was $16.99/5 lbs. compared to $11.99/4.5 lbs. for Science Diet) but unfortunately, we are a stay at home parent and a public school teacher so when I start hearing about $85 for dog food, I kind of panic!

  • theBCnut

    When you go looking for a new food, take the ingredient list from the old food with you and try to find a food that is as different as possible. Since you don’t want to go to high end foods, look at Natural Balance’s Limited Ingredient formulas. Always save ingredient lists of the foods you try so you can compare what works and what doesn’t to try to figure out what to avoid in the future.

  • dchassett

    Your dog may very well also have environmental allergies but one set of allergies does not preclude him from also having food intolerances and allergies. Mine does. Katie will be fine for most of the year except for Spring and Fall. She has no issues during Summer or Winter. She does have issues with foul in any form, corn, soy, grains (all), white potatoes, rice. All ingredients that are definitely not necessary for a dog to digest. They are not in their ancestral diet and as a matter of fact have difficult digesting these ingredients. These ingredients are also known intolerances and allergies in dogs so it’s the best place to start. Don’t forget that your dog can also have issues with too many peas. I recently figured out that Katie has developed an allergy to alfalfa. It is not surprising for a dog with food intolerances/allergies to develop allergies to other ingredients.

  • Kim L.

    Thank you so much! I have been reading quite a bit about allergens in foods and grains and poultry do seem to be the most common cause of problems. We have weaned our dog off of medications and will begin transitioning him to a poultry and grain-free food this week to see if that helps alleviate some of his itching and intestinal discomfort.
    Our puppy came to us at eight weeks old on Purina Puppy Chow. We transitioned him to Science Diet because that is what our vet recommends. Additionally, we have had other dogs (larger mixed breeds) that did well on it. Our vet does not think the food is the problem. He believes it is an environmental allergy. I am not sure I agree with his diagnosis. I feel like changing the food can’t possibly hurt and it may reveal that our westie does indeed have a food allergy.

  • dchassett

    Sorry to hear about your poor dog. In my opinion it is the food. I have 3 toy dogs one of which was a complete and total mess with food intolerances and allergies as well as environmental allergies. My vet also wanted to put her on prednisone to ease with the itching, etc. Having been on steroids for a long time myself due to an illness that I have I know the damage it has done and continues to do. Steroids and cortisone seems to be every western vets answer to allergies. It makes matters so much worse not to mention the damage it does over the long hall to the organs in the body. Please ween your dog off of cortisone and prednisone if you haven’t done this already. This is all horrible stuff and making matters worse. As far as food is concerned this is what I did…Slowly transition your dog off of Science Diet (horrible food by the way) very very slowly on to a grain, poultry (all forms of poultry in ingredients which means any type of foul at all), corn, soy, white potato, rice FREE food. Do the transition over at least a 10 day transition or longer. If you see that your dog starts to have loose stools or diarrhea slow down on the transition until stools are formed again and then continue on with the transition. Once the transition is complete and your dogs gut and digestive system have had a time to detox and heal you will see an amazing difference and your dog will feel so much better. You should also purchase a complete probiotic and a digestive enzyme. Follow the directions on each of the containers for dosage for your individual dog. This will help with the digestion and transition. So sorry that your dog has been suffering for so long. Please keep in mind that traditional vets are not nutritionists. They will always recommend foods they sell, be it Hills, Science Diet, Royal Canin, etc. None of which contain any ingredients that a dog should be eating. Oh! I feed my dogs a high protein, moderate fat and low carb diet. Also try to stay away from foods that contain too many peas. Some manufacturers will up the protein level in their food by adding lots of peas which contain quite a bit of protein. Good luck with your dog. I hope my experiences with Katie, my Maltipoo, have helped. Please feel free to ask for any more guidance you may want and keep us posted as to how your dog progresses. We’re here to help you and your dog.

    Kim, I forgot to ask…why has your dog been on Science Diet since he was 12 weeks old? This doesn’t make sense to me. What was the vets diagnosis?

  • Kim L.

    I have a two year-old Westie who has been on Science Diet since he was about twelve weeks old. He has always shown some signs of intestinal discomfort after eating (it seems like gas) and in the last six months, he has developed some severe skin issues. Our vet has been unable to pinpoint the allergies but does not think that his food is the issue. After six months of cortisone and prednisone, I’m willing to try anything. I think we’d like to try him on a new food and I’ve also heard that a little coconut oil in his food and rubbed onto his problem areas can help. Anyone have a recommendation on the best readily-available food to try? I do not want to get into special order or high-priced foods if possible. We have Petsmart and Petco locally. Thank you to everyone for their comments and suggestions!

  • aimee

    Unfortunately food allergy testing is not reliable. currently the only way to diagnose food allergy is by a carefully controlled elimination trial.

    Information can be found here:

  • Debra

    Just ran an allergy panel on my Westie. She is allergic to all meats except fish and lamb, and very allergic to yeast. Has anyone tried the Ultra dog food brands? On reading their ingredient list for gluten free foods, they are one of the few without yeast of any sort.

  • Elie Pallandre

    Thank you for taking the time to respond and suggesting the two books, which I will look up.

  • theBCnut

    Look for Dr Karen Becker’s book “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats.” There are others too, but that’s a good one to start with. Steve Brown’s “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” is an excellent book if you want to know more about why feed what particular things. He goes more into balancing types of fats and such, and really explains things very thoroughly.

  • Elie Pallandre

    I have a dog with food intolerance. We have been feeding him with hypoallergenic food for about two years. Since there does seem to be great variety of this type of food his diet his the same everyday made of processed food. I come from a country where a lot of people prepare the food for the pets (France) as we believe fresh ingredients are good for us and for animals. I am curious to know if there are recipes made with fresh ingredients that would be compatible with hypoallergenic objective. Elie Pallandre

  • Annette Inzinga

    I started my dog on the Nutrisca Salmon & Chickpea a year ago. I also supplement his diet with coconut oil, fish oil, and probiotics. There were many, many foods I had tried over at least a two year period. Dogswell’s Nutrisca has been the best. The past year he has had no flare-ups requiring a vet visit. First time in four years my dog has been so healthy. It isn’t easy to get in my area. One retailer carried it for almost a year and a half than suddenly discontinued it. Fortunately a local small pet biz agreed to ordering it for me every month. Since then she has had more ask for it and now carries it routinely.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Michael-
    Glad to hear your dog is doing better. I hope your post can possibly help someone else dealing with the same type of allergies. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michael Panter

    I never post comments, but because I know what it’s like to be dealing with a dog allergy (in our case, it was a food allergy) I thought I would share our solution. I’ve been working for 4-5 months on trying to alleviate a food allergy in my beagle, who was scratching/biting/licking around the clock unless she was on 5mg of Prednisone daily. Same as others, she was getting hotspots and giving herself ear infections etc. I had even resorted to keeping her in another room so I could sleep at night. I tried several “limited ingredient” unique protein diets (salmon, turkey) and then the vet put her on Science Diet z/D which is hydrolyzed chicken that is supposed to alleviate the allergic reaction by breaking the chicken into smaller, more digestible compounds. NONE of it worked at all and after 6 weeks I gave up on the Science Diet – which also contains soy and other common allergens so I’m skeptical about it. 12 days ago I went to a local pet supply store and the woman told me about a food that she said had gotten rid of all itching for every dog that had tried it, except one. I put my beagle on it and went off Prednisone the same day. She now has ALMOST NO scratching/licking/biting – about a 95% reduction from the very first day on the new food! I know all dogs are different, but given this small miracle, and the person’s statement that nearly every dog has had the same result, I thought I would share this. The food is Nutrisca (dry), and it is Salmon, chickpeas, cranberry, carrot and tomato puree – no other ingredients except for some vitamins. It is grain AND potato/tapioca starch free (the limited ingredient diets I tried had potato in lieu of grain) and it is LOW GLYCEMIC. I didn’t know what this meant until I researched it, but all I can say is that 12 days itch free has been incredible, and I can tell she feels great too. Good Luck.

  • Lipstic

    more $$ doesn’t always mean better food. Sometimes “they” use that thought process to fool you into thinking it’s a better food. Always read the entire package.

  • disqus_wvMLVA1hDr

    I would go with a grain-free, non-poultry food. The Simply Nourish Salmon and Sweet Potato from Petsmart did wonders for our dog, who was clearly allergic to poultry. So much better than he was when we got him. He arrived on kibbles and bits when we got him (worst food ever), but he was also allergic to Pro Plan large breed puppy, which has chicken in it. Now he hardly scratches or flaps at all on the Simply Nourish Salmon and Sweet Potato.

  • Regina Turpen

    Thank you for the input!!

  • theBCnut

    When I got my pup at 8 weeks old he was already showing signs of intolerance to certain ingredients. An unhealthy gut can cause these issues to show up much younger than they should. If I were you, I would try a grain free, chicken free food if this one doesn’t work for your dog.

  • Regina Turpen

    He was on Pro Plan for large breed puppy. My vet just wanted me to check him for mange and said to keep an eye on him. I never thought he would have an allergy at 5 months old. I just wanted to start somewhere.

  • theBCnut

    It took about 3 or 4 days for me to see a drastic difference in my dog when I got him off the things he was reacting to, but it took weeks for all of the symtoms to go away. What was your dog eating before? Chicken is a much more common allergenic food than grains, and Wilderness has chicken in it.

  • Regina Turpen

    My Bernewfie is about bald from the constant licking and scratching he does. I changed him to Blue Wilderness only 4 days ago. How long will it take for me to see a difference if it is grain that he is allergic too.

  • disqus_wvMLVA1hDr

    I’ve had great success with Petsmart’s house brand limited ingredient dry food, Simply Nourish Salmon and Sweet Potato. Cured the dog’s allergic ear flapping, bad smell, and skin problems. I think he was allergic to poultry. It’s not very expensive, got 4 stars on eval on this website.

  • disqus_wvMLVA1hDr

    Replying to my own post. In case anyone is interested, we have had fantastic success with Petsmart’s Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient Salmon and Sweet Potato dry dog food. No more scratching, flapping, no more bad smell, no more rash. Wonderful! We saw a difference within days. And it’s the cheapest limited ingredient dog food we found, but got 4 stars on this website’s eval. We supplement with washed canned peas or washed canned chickpeas on occasion.

  • Tim

    He was on the Science diet HD (because he has a heart murmur). I’m open to any suggestions on another limited ingredient food.

  • Tim

    I haven’t so there’s one option for me, thanks!

  • theBCnut

    What symptoms was he showing before that your vet thought he had a food allergy? Has they disappeared? My dog with food intolerances gets gassy on foods that don’t agree with him. Maybe it’s time to try a different LID food. What was he on before and which NB did you switch him to?

  • Crazy4cats

    Have you tried adding any digestive enzymes to his food? I think they work wonders for gas when feeding kibble.

  • Tim

    HELP! Our Vet switched our Golden to Natural Balance dog food. He has had some seizures prior to this and in addition to putting him on a medication, the vet was concerned he had a food allergy (and wanted him on a limited ingredient diet). He has had the absolute worst gas ever since we switched him over (it’s been a month). He sleeps on the floor in our room and we have had to open the windows completely every night and it still hasn’t gotten rid of the smell. Can someone suggest a different dog food. I’ve read from other owners that their dogs were find with this food, but started having problems when the company was bought out by Del Monte last year.

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  • inspector gat

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  • Julie Hickman-Rincon

    Hi. I have a 1 1/2 year old Boston Terrier and he is a typical pink skinned dog. I use Blue Salmon and Brown Rice and have had no problems with it. It has tremendously cut down on our gaseous production! But is it a good quality band. It does get a 3 1/2 stars is that the range I should look in or should I try for a higher quality food and if I do what brand would be best. Mind you I know the better the quality the more $$$$ it is.

  • Mike Sagman

    This comment has been removed because it is in violation of our commenting policy.

  • Mike Sagman

    This comment has been removed because it is in violation of our commenting policy.

  • dchassett

    I was having those problems with my dogs and what helped a great deal with my dogs was going to a formula that was free of grain, poultry (All types of Poultry not just chicken), soy, white potato and rice (white and brown) free food. The scratching pretty much disappeared except for Spring and Fall (one of them has seasonal allergies also). Yeasty ears disappeared and tear stains got much much better. What finally got rid of the tear stains completely was when I went to a commercial raw food. I started with Primal Pronto Beef (the Primal Pronto version is kept in the freezer at home and is small little nuggets that you scoop out as if it were kibble which, of course, it’s not put in your dogs bowl and let come to room temperature which doesn’t take long at all. It’s a complete and balanced food. I started with the beef because none of my dogs had ever had beef before so i thought they probably wouldn’t have an intolerance to. There are other proteins but i would stay away from poultry and all the other things I mentioned above. Basically your need to avoid all ingredients are pretty much known triggers for dogs with food intolerances and allergies. Good Luck and let me know if I can be of any more help.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Lucy’s Mom-
    In my opinion, it’s not about finding an organic or hypoallergenic food. It’s about finding a food without ingredients that your dog is reacting to. Have you tried a chicken free food yet? Also, I don’t really have any experience with tear staining, but I believe I’ve read that others say that beet pulp does not cause it. Hopefully, someone will jump in and help with that. My advise is to find a food with different ingredients than the one you are using. Good luck.

  • Lucy’s Mom

    Hello. I have a Bichon with two issues; tear stains and frequent scratching. She currently eats Simply Nourish Grain Free chicken, peas and potatoes recipe. I’m wondering if someone could suggest an organic or hypoallergenic dry food that may help resolve both problems. She does not have fleas or blocked tear ducts. I try to avoid ingredients such as dried beet pulp and tomato pomace since they can contribute to the staining. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!

  • InkedMarie

    It seems that they’re all mixers which is fine if you feed kibble, raw, etc with it. I have a dog with no teeth, she does best with canned. Too bad this isn’t a balanced diet.

  • Jorge G. Peredo

    Pet Kind dog food offers lots of exotic and delicious proteins to try with allergic, or intolerant dogs: My dog has done really well with them, plus he absolutely LOVES their taste!

  • Mike Sagman

    Per Our Commenting Policy, “We don’t allow flaming, name calling, cyberstalking, trolling or trashing. And we don’t accommodate people with a subversive agenda”.

  • D Stone

    The Beef & Egg currently being sold by Brothers Complete is over 1 year old! It was manufactured on 2/19/2013.

    I emailed Brothers Complete to ask what the date of manufacture and the expiration date are for the Beef and Egg Formula. Pierre Earling the CEO of Brothers Complete wrote that the Beef and Egg formula they are currently selling has an expiration date of 8/19/2014. This batch was delivered to Brothers by the people who make it for them on February 26 2013! Making it over 1 year old. It might seem I am overreacting but one of Brothers Complete marketing angles is how FRESH their foods are!

    This is from the Brothers Complete FAQ’s page.


    1) “… Within 24 hours of being made, the small batches of Brothers are delivered to it’s warehouse where it is kept cool and fresh for the short period of time we have it before shipping it directly to our customers.”

    If you make a claim like this then how can you sell dog food that is over 1 year old?

    I went to their so called open chat room to ask them why they are selling OLD dog food and they deleted my questions. I also went to The Dog Food Advisor to let people know that Brothers is selling OLD Dog Food and they deleted my comment! Maybe they have an agreement because the Brothers Chat room and The Dog Food Advisor both delete bad reviews for Brothers Complete!

  • D Stone

    Hi Mike

    I just commented that I emailed Brothers Complete and Pierre Earling told me that the Beef and Egg currently being sold was manufactured on 2/19/2013 making it just over 1 year old.

    Why did you delete that comment and then block me from posting under my old account?

  • derrick

    I posted this in the Brothers chat room and they immediately deleted my comment.

  • derrick

    I contacted Brothers by email. I asked when the Beef and Egg that is for sale right now will expire. Pierre Earling responded that it will expire 8/19/2014.

    This Beef and Egg was produced on February 18 of 2013. It is now over 1 year old.

  • Gary Alan

    I don’t really think commercialized dog food would help. In my experience, it would even make things worse for your dog. Consult with a veterinarian to discover what is causing the allergy and hear out what are the possible solutions. After the, you can cook home made dog food with the ingredients that will counteract the allergy and eventually help your dog get well. Commercialized dog foods contain considerable amount of chemicals and preservatives which will shorten the life of your dogs and can even make the allergy worse.

  • Mike Sagman

    You have not yet been banned from posting (as you can obviously see).

    However, if you do continue your provocative behavior, you will forever forfeit your posting privileges on this website.

  • Smitty


    You deleted my response to your accusations where I showed they were false.

    You left your false accusations without allowing me to defend myself.

    You banned me from posting.


  • smitty


    You accused me of being obsessed with Brothers and ceaselessly criticizing your moderation. Then I posted proof that your accusations were false and you deleted my comment and left your unfounded accusations.

    If you won’t let me respond to your accusations then be fair and remove them!

  • Mike Sagman

    Please consider this discussion now closed.

  • smitty

    Restoring wagsandgiggles post was the right thing to do. Thank you so much for pointing out you didn’t do it for me!

    “Also, your ceaseless criticism regarding the way I moderate this community has become offensive and unacceptable.”

    I have “criticized” your moderating in exactly TWO of my thirty five posts!

    “By the way, your own personal obsession with this brand as evidenced by the many times that you have intentionally provoked these same arguments or piled on after any mention of the company’s name has not gone unnoticed.”

    I have mentioned Brothers in Exactly four of my previous thirty four posts.

    That leaves the remaining twenty eight of my posts about the welfare of ALL animals not just the canine!

    Please don’t try to mis-lead people about why I post here!

  • Mike Sagman


    Due to the private appeal I received from its author (and not your remarks), I have restored the comment in question.

    However, the simple fact I interceded in this latest attempt to use this forum as a place to conduct a personal battle that had actually spilled over from another website does not make me “complicit in a cover up”.

    By the way, your own personal obsession with this brand as evidenced by the many times that you have intentionally provoked these same arguments or piled on after any mention of the company’s name has not gone unnoticed.

    Also, your ceaseless criticism regarding the way I moderate this community has become offensive and unacceptable.

    Posting here is a privilege. Please consider yourself duly warned.

  • derrick

    I been following this discussion on both forums. They attacked wags over there and now she provided Mike with proof that she/he was telling the truth and Mike deletes the comment anyway. It aint right.

  • smitty

    Dear Mike

    I always thought that the Dog Food Advisor was the one place where you could read an honest review about a dog food.

    This poor wagsandgiggles who is a customer of Brothers gets called a liar and a coward by Richard Darlington on the Brother’s website and then he deletes all her comments so she can’t defend herself and you deny her the opportunity to report her experience here? Where else should she report her horrific experience if not here?

    Did she send you proof of her purchase of a 13 lb bag of Brother’s Complete Beef & Egg like she said she did?

    If she did and you deleted her comment anyway then you have just helped Brother’s Complete and Richard Darlington cover up their false accusations about her.

    I never thought you would be complicit in a cover up for Brother’s.