Just like humans, dogs can be susceptible to all kinds of allergies. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, bee sting allergies, and medication-related allergies – dogs can have it all.
Dogs who suffer from food allergies can be especially problematic for their owners, as they also tend to have much more sensitive stomachs. Dogs who are sensitive to certain foods may also suffer from other issues, like digestive upset, stinky gas, and excessive shedding and itching.
There are lots of remedies available to us to help our dogs with allergies, but one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways to help your dog overcome his food allergies and sensitivities is to get him on the proper diet.
So today, we are going to talk all about hypoallergenic dog foods and help you and your dog find the best hypoallergenic dog food to help alleviate at least some of those pesky symptoms of food related allergies.
Let’s get started.
Is There Really Such A Thing As Hypoallergenic Dog Food?
Hypoallergenic dog food is typically a dog food that is made with limited ingredients.
The term “hypoallergenic dog food” may sound far fetched, but there are certain foods out there made specifically to help dogs with certain food allergies and sensitivities.
So, what exactly is hypoallergenic dog food? For the most part, hypoallergenic dog food is dog food made with basic or limited ingredients. Most of these dog foods are poultry free, grain free, dairy free, and gluten free – all of which can trigger allergies or symptoms of allergies in dogs with sensitivities.
Hypoallergenic dog food is also often loaded with nutrients and may be higher in protein, include probiotics and prebiotics, and have lots of fatty acids to help reduce skin allergies and improve digestive health.
Limited ingredient diet dog foods, or L.I.D dog foods, are also known to typically contain higher quality ingredients. For this reason, some of them may be more expensive.
The good news is that most dog food brand companies make these types of dog foods and you can get them in wet, dry, or even dehydrated or freeze dried options.
But before you change your dog’s diet to a limited ingredient or hypoallergenic dog food, it’s important to understand the basic nutritional needs of dogs, which we will talk more about below.
Understanding Your Dog’s Basic Nutritional Needs
Dogs have basic nutritional needs that help keep them healthy and happy.
All dogs have basic nutritional needs that must be met in order for them to remain healthy and thrive.
Dogs need a healthy balance of six essential nutrients, including:
- Healthy fats
The most important nutrient on this list is arguably protein, which is why many experts recommend looking for dog foods that are high in protein to help encourage healthy bone and tissue growth.
It’s also important to note that large breed dogs have different nutritional needs than small breed dogs, and puppies have different nutritional needs than senior dogs.
For the best results, we recommend getting dog foods that are specified for your dog’s age, weight, and activity level.
That said, not all dogs can eat the same types of dog food. Some dry kibble can cause dogs to have serious digestive problems while other dogs are more sensitive to raw dog foods or freeze dried dog foods.
Just because you are feeding your dog a balanced diet does not mean he is getting everything he needs, and that is where limited ingredient diets come in. But why do some dogs seem to be much more sensitive to certain foods than others?
Let’s find out.
Why Do Some Dogs Have Food Allergies And What Are The Symptoms?
Food allergies are more common in dogs than you might think.
The most common cause of food allergies is genetics, and dogs who are allergic to one type of food are usually allergic to more. This means if you have a dog who is sensitive to beef, he may also be sensitive to chicken and dairy, and so on and so forth.
Does your dog suffer from food allergies? It’s important to recognize the symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of food allergies in dogs are:
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive licking
- Bald patches in the coat
- Hot spots
- Ear infections
- Skin infections
As we mentioned above, some of the most common culprits of food allergies in dogs are chicken, beef, wheat and dairy.
This is why hypoallergenic dog foods or limited ingredient diet dog foods are so effective when it comes to treating dogs with allergies. That said, not all limited ingredient dog foods or hypoallergenic dog foods are going to be effective in treating your unique dog’s allergies.
Do you know what to look for in a hypoallergenic dog food for your dog? Let’s take a look.
Picking The Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food For Your Unique Dog
Dog foods come in all different kinds, from wet to raw to dry to canned. Which type of dog food is best for your dog?
Some owners perform an elimination diet with their dogs to try and find the specific ingredient that is causing the reactions. Others just skip straight to hypoallergenic dog food options.
When you’re on the hunt for a good hypoallergenic dog food for your dog, look for foods that contain ingredients your dog hasn’t had before.
Most hypoallergenic dog foods are limited ingredient diet dog foods that are made with simple and very few ingredients to decrease the chances of your dog having a reaction.
Steer clear of dog foods made with beef or poultry, and if your dog has very serious food allergies, you may also want to try grain free options.
Dog foods that contain protein like salmon, lamb, duck and venison are some of the most popular recipes for hypoallergenic dog foods, although they can also sometimes cost a bit more.
We also suggest you try and find hypoallergenic dog food that is breed specific, although that may be more difficult when it comes to Limited Ingredient Diet dog foods. That said, always read the feeding instructions to make sure you are able to give your unique dog the right amount of food so he can get the optimum nutrition he needs.
And when in doubt about which hypoallergenic dog food is best for your pooch, you can always speak with your veterinarian about how to go about choosing the right diet for your sensitive dog.
Now, let’s take a look at some of our favorite hypoallergenic dog foods below.
PS For Dogs 100% Hypoallergenic Dog Food
PS for Dogs offers a dog food that is made specifically for dogs with skin and food allergies. The limited ingredient, grain free recipe promotes healthy digestion and reduces itching and licking due to allergy-related discomforts in your dogs.
It also helps reduce stinky odors caused by allergies and will help improve your dog’s coat. But this food isn’t just for dogs with skin issues – it is a great food for dogs who are picky eaters or who need a mixer to top off their regular dog food to encourage them to eat with a better appetite.
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Dog Food
We know that limited ingredient diets are the way to go for dogs who have digestive issues or allergies. This is why we love Blue Buffalo Basics so much. It offers a high quality dry kibble that is no muss, no fuss for picky eaters or dogs with some allergies or sensitivities.
It is free of chicken, which can trigger allergies or digestive issues in some dogs, and is made with high quality salmon instead. This is a high-protein, super nutrition dog food to help boost your dog’s immune system while helping ease food allergies.
Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Another limited ingredient food we like for dogs with allergies is the all natural recipe of Wellness Simple Dog dog food.
This is a great hypoallergenic dog food because it is made with simple, natural ingredients, is free of any by-product or poultry, and is made with salmon and potatoes as the first ingredient. It is high in protein and good fatty acids to help reduce allergies and support a healthy skin and coat in dogs while also being easy on their digestive system.
Diamond Care Specialized Diet Dog Food
We are also fans of Diamond Care Specialized Diet dog food for dogs with sensitivities and allergies. This dry dog food is excellent not only for dogs with skin issues, allergies, or digestive sensitivities, but it is also a wonderful diet food for dogs who need help managing their weight.
You can order it based on your dog’s specific needs as well, which is always a plus. This is a high protein dog food rich in fatty acids to help reduce skin allergies and itching. It also promotes a healthy skin and coat.
The recipe is easy to digest and is gluten free and free of corn, wheat, and other fillers.
Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food
Nutro provides another Limited Ingredient Diet dog food we love that helps reduce skin allergies and promote a healthy skin and coat.
This recipe is highly digestible and completely poultry free. It comes in several recipe options to give variety to your dog, including lamb, salomon, duck and venison. You can also order this dog food in small bites for small breed dogs.
The limited ingredient recipe means this hypoallergenic dog food is made with less than ten ingredients and will help reduce allergies in your dog and promote a healthy immune system and digestive tract.
Instinct Limited Ingredient Grain Free Dog Food
Instinct limited ingredient dog food is also grain free and all natural, meaning it makes for a great hypoallergenic dog food for pups with allergies and skin issues.
You can order it in dry kibble or canned wet food, and it comes in three flavors including duck, lamb, salmon, or turkey. This hypoallergenic dog food helps promote a healthy digestive tract while reducing food allergies. It is highy lisgestivvale and is high in protein and all the good ingredients your sensitive dog needs to thrive.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Small Breed Bites
We talk a lot about how breed size matters when it comes to diet, so we love this Natural Balance limited ingredient dog food for small breed dogs.
Small breed dogs have a higher metabolism than their large breed counterparts and need more calories in order to feel their best throughout the day. Sometimes it can be hard to combine these needs in a limited ingredient diet.
Natural Balance offers a great hypoallergenic dog food option for little dogs that is both effective in reducing allergies and assisting with digestion while keeping your tiny pup feeling energized and full throughout the day.
It comes in several recipes but we do recommend dogs with allergies and sensitivities stay away from poultry recipes and stick with salmon or lamb.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dog Food
We are big fans of Rachael Ray Nutrish for our dogs and really love this grain free option hypoallergenic dog food for dogs with certain sensitivities.
Grains can be a big source of food allergies for some dogs, so Rachael Ray Nutrish offers a dry dog food option that is completely grain free and full of digestible, gluten free nutrients to help reduce dog allergies and sensitivities.
We love the salmon recipe above and the fact that you can order the bag of dog food in several sizes, which is great for those of you with multi-dog households.
Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian Dog Food
This is a good hypoallergenic dog food for dogs with real skin allergy issues. This dog food promotes healthy skin and coat by offering a balanced diet rich in omega 6 fatty acids and other ingredients like copper, zinc, and linoleic acid to help reduce skin allergies and itching.
It is also free of any wheat, corn, or artificial coloring of flavors. However, this is a vegetarian dog food option, and while it is still rich in protein, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian before putting your dog on a completely vegetarian diet.
CANIDAE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
CANIDAE dog food is one of my favorite brands for dogs with sensitivities. I trust their high-quality ingredients and like that their pure limited ingredient recipe is made with ten ingredients.
It does come in several different recipe and flavor options, but for dogs with serious skin and digestive issues, we suggest staying away from poultry or chicken, as this can be a trigger for allergies in some dogs.
For us, we prefer the salmon recipe which is rich in fatty acids to help promote a healthy skin and coat and reduce itching and licking due to allergies. The probiotics in each recipe also promotes a healthy digestion and ensures your dog will feel good and look good when eating this hypoallergenic dog food.
Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Dog Food
Whole Earth Farms isn’t necessarily a hypoallergenic dog food but it is entirely grain free and made with all natural ingredients for dogs with minor to moderate skin allergies or digestive issues.
You can get it in four different recipe options and trust that it is made free of anything your sensitive dog may have a reaction to like corn, wheat, by-products, poultry, preservatives or artificial colors and flavors.
This is a great dog food for homes with multiple dogs as it offers a wide range of nutrition for adult to senior dogs and is rich in vitamins and minerals, and is high in protein and fatty acids.
AvoDerm Healthy Skin And Coat Dog Food
AvoDerm just sounds like it’s going to be good for a dog with skin issues, and it is. This hypoallergenic dog food is made specifically for dogs who need a boost in skin and coat health and you can order this dog food in both wet and dry options.
It is ideal for dogs with skin allergies and is a great source of protein and fatty acids. It is also free of corn, wheat, and soy and doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial flavors or additives.
Best of all, this hypoallergenic dog food option helps promote and support your dog’s immune system, which is always a plus when dealing with dogs who have sensitivities.
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Ziwi Peak hypoallergenic dog food gives us an air-dried dog food option that helps keep all the nutrients and flavor inside the recipe to encourage picky eaters to eat.
The recipe is also ideal for dogs with allergies and sensitivities as it is a limited ingredient diet that is made with 96% meat and other superfoods that help reduce licking, itching, and rashes.
We also like that it is ethically made, with all the meat sources coming from free range farms in New Zealand.
Along with allergy relief, Ziwi Peak Hypoallergenic dog food helps with digestive issues and can be a good option for dogs who need help with weight management and senior dogs with joint issues. And, due to the levels of Taurine in this dog food, it is also a good food for pups with heart issues.
Halo Grain Free Dog Food For Small Breed Dogs
This is another hypoallergenic dog food option for small breed dogs we love. It is made with smaller kibble sizes so it’s easier for tiny dogs to chew and digest while also being grain free and using natural ingredients that help promote a healthy digestive system.
The salmon recipe is high in good fatty acids to help reduce skin allergy irritations and create a healthier coat and skin for your pup, and L-carnitine helps to boost metabolism for those dogs who need a little extra help maintaining a healthy weight.
That said, this may not be the best option for young and active small breed dogs or senior small breed dogs who are thin and need to put weight on. Make sure you read feeding instructions and talk to an expert or your veterinarian about this type of dog food for small breed dogs before purchasing it for your pet.
I and Love and You Nude Superfood
Lastly we have superfood dry dog food by I and Love and You. This “nude superfood” hypoallergenic dog food is rich in prebiotics and probiotics, making it an excellent source of nutrition for dogs with digestive issues and food sensitivities.
It is also grain free, which is helpful for dogs with skin allergies, and comes in a variety of flavors. Of course, if your dog does have serious allergies, stay away from the poultry flavor, as this can be a trigger.
That said, this high-protein hypoallergenic dog food is also high in fatty acids to help keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy while also ensuring your dog has a happy immune system.
Other Ways You Can Help Soothe Allergies In Dogs
Baths with special shampoos can also help soothe dogs who suffer from allergies.
Dogs with food sensitivities and allergies usually tend to suffer from chronic ear infections, hot spots, itchy skin, and excessive shedding.
Along with feeding your dog a high quality, hypoallergenic dog food, you can also help to treat your dog’s allergy symptoms by giving him baths with special shampoos made for dogs with allergies.
However, be sure not to bathe your dog too much or too little, as doing so can strip his coat of its natural oils and lead to a worse problem.
You can also add supplements to your dog’s meals or buy special treats for your dog that help to support a healthy skin, coat, and digestive system.
For dogs who suffer from ear infections due to allergies, make sure to constantly clean their ears with a high quality ear cleaner to help reduce the amount of infections they get over time. And when it comes to hot spots, we recommend investing in a high quality hot spot treatment or ointment to help alleviate any pain or itching.
Do you have other ideas on helping your dog through food allergies? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.