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Best Dog Foods for Allergies

Dog Scratching Needs Best Dog Food for Allergies

On this page, The Dog Food Advisor takes an in-depth look at the best dog foods for allergies in 2022.

Plus… we’ll also review and rate each of our top picks.

But first…

What Types of Dog Food
Are Best for Allergies?

The best dog foods for allergies are available in 2 recipe designs:

  • Limited ingredient diets
  • Hypoallergenic dog foods

Limited Ingredient Diets

Limited ingredient diets contain fewer items, which can make it easier to pin down the specific ingredient (known as an allergen) to which your pet may be allergic.

Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

Hypoallergenic dog foods are different. They’re made with protein that’s been “split” into its basic nutrient building blocks. This “hydrolyzed” protein can make the allergen virtually invisible to your pet’s immune system.

So, your dog is less likely to have an allergic reaction to the food.

The Most Common
Food Allergens in Dogs

According to veterinarians at VCA Hospitals

The 6 most common food allergens in dogs include beef, chicken, chicken eggs, dairy, soy and wheat gluten.

Our Editor’s Top Picks

On the page below…

We’ll share The Advisor’s best dog foods for allergies. And we’ll show you which ones are suitable for the age and breed size of your particular pet.

We’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions we get about choosing and feeding limited ingredient and hypoallergenic diets.


Editors Choice Best Dog Food for Allergies

The Best Dog Food for Allergies
November 2022

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s 12 best dog foods for allergies for November 2022.



Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Turkey Dog Food

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet

Rating:

Turkey and Potato Formula is one of 6 recipes included in our review of the Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, potatoes, peas, dried ground potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adults only (not for puppies)
  • See all 6 available recipes

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Potato derives the majority of its animal protein from fresh turkey and turkey meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 14% fat and 49% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

An excellent limited ingredient option for adult dogs with food and skin sensitivities. Easily recommended.

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Nom Nom Pork Fresh Dog Food

Nom Nom Fresh

Rating:

Pork Potluck is one of 4 fresh human-grade recipes studied in our review of the Nom Nom cooked-then-frozen product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Ground pork, russet potatoes, green beans, squash, kale
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adults + puppies (including large breeds)
  • See all 4 available recipes

Nom Nom Pork Potluck derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh ground pork. Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 32% protein, 20% fat and 40% estimated carbs… with a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

If you’ve ever wished you could feed your dog a fresh, home-cooked meal… but you didn’t know how to make sure it was nutritionally complete and balanced… then Nom Nom makes a smart choice.

The first time you visit Nom Nom’s website, you’ll answer a few questions about your dog’s age, weight, breed and suspected allergies. Nom Nom will then create a customized, single protein diet designed to keep your dog at optimal weight.

Expertly designed by Dr. Justin Shmalberg, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist (DACVN).

An excellent limited ingredient recipe… and a solid place to start an at-home elimination diet. Enthusiastically recommended.

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Canidae Real Salmon and Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Limited Ingredient

Rating:

Real Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe is one of 10 formulas included in our review of the Canidae Grain-Free Pure dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adults only (not for puppies)
  • See all 10 available recipes

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Real Salmon and Sweet Potato gets the majority of its meat protein from fresh salmon, as well as salmon and menhaden fish meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 20% fat and 36% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

A high-quality recipe ideal for adult dogs.

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Taste of the Wild Prey Angus Beef Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Prey Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Rating:

Angus Beef Recipe is one of 3 dry formulas included in our review of the Taste of the Wild Prey Limited Ingredient product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, lentils, tomato pomace, chicken fat, natural flavor
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: All adults + puppies
  • See all 3 available recipes

Taste of the Wild Prey Angus Beef receives most of its animal protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 17% fat and 45% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Highly recommended.

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Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Chicken Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Chicken Flavor

Rating:

Chicken Flavor is one of 2 recipes included in our review of the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Dog Food dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Corn starch, hydrolyzed soy protein isolate, partially hydrogenated canola oil preserved with TBHQ, coconut oil, powdered cellulose,
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Hypoallergenic
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adults only (not for puppies)
  • See all available recipes

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Chicken Flavor gets most of its protein from hydrolyzed soy protein isolate. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 20% protein, 11% fat and 61% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

An exceptional selection for sensitive dogs. Highly recommended.

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Read Our Full Brand Review



Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Brown Rice Canned Dog Food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food

Rating:

Real Turkey and Brown Rice is one of 4 wet recipes included in our review of the Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet wet product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, brown rice, oatmeal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, oatmeal)
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adults only (not for puppies)
  • See all 4 available recipes

This Merrick Limited Ingredient formula derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh deboned turkey. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 27% fat and 28% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.

A balanced, wet alternative to dry kibble. A practical option for those seeking to pin down a possible offending ingredient. Plus it’s available in 4 other featured proteins. Highly recommended.

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Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein

Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP

Rating:

Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP is one of 4 recipes included in our review of the Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Protein dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brewers rice)
  • Design: Hypoallergenic
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: All adults + small or medium breed puppies
  • See all 4 available recipes

Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Protein draws the bulk of its protein from hydrolyzed soy protein. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 21% protein, 19% fat and 52% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 89%.

A solid all life stages option for dogs with allergies.

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Read Our Full Brand Review



Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Lamb Meal and Egg Kibble

Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Formula Dog Food

Rating:

Lamb Meal + Egg Formula is one of 4 dry recipes included in our review of the Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb meal, whole eggs dried, turkey meal, cassava root, peas
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: All adults + puppies
  • See all 4 available recipes

This Lamb Meal and Egg formula gets the majority of its animal protein from lamb meal and whole dried eggs, as well as turkey meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 16% fat and 38% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio (FPE) of about 42%.

A superior, grain-free, all life stages option. Readily recommended.

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Hills Prescription Diet Z/D Skin and Food Sensitivities Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Hill’s Prescription Diet Z/D Skin Food Sensitvities

Rating:

Z/D is one of 2 dry recipes included in our review of the Hill’s Prescription Skin Food Sensitivities product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Corn starch, hydrolyzed chicken liver, powdered cellulose, soybean oil, calcium carbonate
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Hypoallergenic
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adults only, including seniors (not for puppies)

This product gets the majority of its animal protein from chicken liver. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 19% protein, 14% fat and 59% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.

Hill’s Z/D is made with hydrolyzed protein derived from chicken to help avoid adverse food reactions and promote healthy skin.

A time-proven, hypoallergenic formula that’s been recommended by veterinary professionals nationwide for years. Ideal for dogs diagnosed with food and skin allergies. Highly recommended.

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Read Our Full Brand Review



Natural Balance Limited Ing Salmon and Brown Rice Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets

Rating:

This Salmon and Brown Rice Formula is one of 26 recipes included in our review of the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, brewers rice)
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adults only (not for puppies)
  • See all 26 available recipes

This Natural Balance Limited Ingredient formula derives most of its animal protein from fresh salmon and fish meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 17% fat and 49% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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Read Our Full Brand Review



Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach

Rating:

Sensitive Skin Salmon and Rice is one of 19 recipes included in our review of the Purina Pro Plan dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, barley, rice, oat meal, canola meal
  • Type: Includes grain (barley, rice, oat meal)
  • Design: Hypoallergenic
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adults only (not for puppies)

This Purina Pro Plan formula derives the bulk of its animal protein from fresh salmon. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 18% fat and 44% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.

We also note the inclusion of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from sunflower and fish oils… designed to help support dry, itchy skin.

An exceptional over-the-counter, non-prescription dog food that may provide symptomatic relief from chronic skin allergies. Highly recommended.

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Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Wet Dog Food

Zignature Turkey Formula Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Rating:

Zignature Turkey is one of 13 wet dog food recipes included in our review of the Zignature canned product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, peas, turkey meal
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Design: Limited ingredient
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: All adults + puppies
  • See all 13 available recipes

Zignature Salmon extracts the bulk of its meat protein from fresh turkey. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 52% protein, 23% fat and 17% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

An exceptional, simple ingredient formula. Recommended with confidence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about feeding dogs with food allergies:


How can I switch to a new food without making my dog sick?

In this video

Dr. Gary Richter shares a simple feeding tip that can help lower your dog’s risk of getting sick when you switch to a new recipe designed to help with food allergies.

It’s best to switch your dog to a new food gradually.

Start by mixing 20% “new” with 80% “old” food. Then, slowly increase that amount to a full 100% over the next 8 to 9 days.

Schedule Old Food New Food
Days 1 and 2 80% 20%
Days 3 and 4 60% 40%
Days 5 and 6 40% 60%
Days 7 and 8 20% 80%
Day 9 0% 100%

What are the most common causes of food allergies in dogs?

The 6 most common canine food allergens1 include…

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Chicken egg
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Wheat gluten

Keep in mind, dogs aren’t naturally more allergic to these items. It’s just that they are the ingredients most commonly found in many dog food recipes.

Which also makes them the ones dogs are most frequently allergic to.


What are other causes of allergies and dry itchy skin in dogs?

Dog food isn’t the only cause of dietary and skin allergies.

Truth is…

Food allergies account for just 10% of all canine allergies.2

They’re only the third most common cause, ranked well behind fleas and environmental allergies.

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


What’s the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

A food allergy occurs when a dog’s immune system identifies a particular ingredient as harmful.

And then creates defensive antibodies to fight the invading enemy (the food).

On the other hand…

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 digest lactose (a sugar found in milk).


How do the symptoms of dog food allergy and intolerance compare?

The symptoms of an allergy can include 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 milk allergy would produce an immune reaction (for example, itching or a rash).


A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM; Catherine Barnette, DVM; Ernest Ward, Food Allergies in Dogs, VCA Animal Hospitals
  2. Food Allergies and Food Intolerance, PetCoach.
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