The 12 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Best-Hypoallergenic-Dog-Food

If your dog has food allergies, you can find plenty of food designed to minimize the chance of him suffering an outbreak.

These foods typically come in one of two forms:

  • Limited ingredient diet (LID) foods
  • Hypoallergenic foods

You can also use prescription-based diets if you consult with your vet when all else has failed.

In most cases, though, using one of these options will pay dividends. Why is this?

Well, limited ingredient diet (LID) foods contain far fewer ingredients than a regular dog food. With less ingredients, there is less chance your dog will develop an allergy. You can easily buy these foods over the counter with no need to consult a vet or get a prescription.

Hypoallergenic dog foods are usually prescribed by vets, but you can also order these online or find them in pet food stores. These often split down the proteins of the food chemically. By reducing the proteins to their basic building blocks – these are known as amino acids – your dog’s immune system should not be inflamed by an allergen that will appear invisible in its hydrolyzed form.

These options means your dog should be less likely to experience an allergy.

So far, so good. What, though, causes food allergies in dogs in the first place?

Chicken and beef are the most common culprits. Dairy and eggs also trigger allergic reactions in many dogs. While you may think dogs are naturally allergic to these ingredients, they’re not. The truth is, these ingredients feature in most dog recipes, so it’s a numbers game leading to more allergic reactions rather than anything intrinsically wrong with those ingredients.

Ultimately, food is only responsible for around 10% of all allergies in dogs. Both fleas and environmental triggers leave dog food trailing when it comes to provoking allergies.

When you’re trying to determine whether your pooch has a food allergy, you should make sure not to confuse this with a food intolerance. A food intolerance occurs if your dog struggles to digest an ingredient. With a food allergy, your dog’s immune system reacts adversely to an ingredient it mistakenly identifies as harmful.

The common symptoms of allergies in dogs include:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Biting paws
  • Licking obsessively
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

OK, with that framework in place, it’s time for the main event. We review 12 of the best hypoallergenic dog foods to show you the finest food on offer that won’t trigger food allergies.

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I. The 12 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food

1. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Large Breed Bites

Natural-Balance-L.I.D.-Limited-Ingredient-Diets-Large-Breed-Bites-Dry-Dog-Food-with-Grains

  • Type: Dry formula with lamb meal and brown rice
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, brewer’s rice
  • Best for: For large breeds
  • Price: $$$

Natural Balance produces our overall favorite hypoallergenic dog food with this dry formula loaded with lamb meal and brown rice.

As with all limited ingredient diets, you’ll minimize the number of potential allergens that could inflame your furball.

Protein comes from a single premium source (lamb) that’s listed as the first ingredient. This means there’s no chicken and also fewer sources of food liable to trigger allergies in your pup.

With plenty of brown rice in the formula, your dog’s digestive process should be neatly streamlined.

Antioxidants in this food ensures the healthy support of canine immune systems, so you’ll be strengthening your hound all round while giving him some lip-smacking dry food.

This highly reputable brand has been making limited ingredient dog foods since the late 1980s, so you can buy with total confidence knowing your dog’s needs are fully catered for, even if he’s suffering from a food allergy.

Things We Like

  • Loaded with amino acids
  • Brown rice aids digestion
  • Limited ingredients and single protein source

Things We Dislike

  • Some changes to texture with new design

2. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food

Blue-Buffalo-Basics-Limited-Ingredient-Grain-Free-Formula-Salmon

  • Type: Dry formula with LifeSource Bits
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned salmon, oatmeal, brown rice
  • Best for: For adult dogs of all breeds
  • Price: $$$

The Blue Buffalo company is a heavyweight in the dog food space with good reason. This Basics line of limited ingredient diets (LIDs) for dogs gives your furball everything he needs and nothing he doesn’t.

This kibble is loaded with proprietary LifeSource Bits. These extra pieces of kibble are not to all dog’s liking, but they serve to restore oxidative balance while strengthening the immune system.

The dry food derives its protein from a single source in the form of salmon. You’ll get no chicken or beef – common canine food allergens. You’ll also get no cheap filling agents, no corn, no wheat, and no soy. There is no dairy in this stuff, and no eggs either. This formula eliminates almost all of the typical triggers for food allergies in dogs while delivering a balanced powerhouse blend of premium ingredients.

Aside from some scattered gripes about quality control, you’ll find this one of the best-received and most effective dog foods for treating dogs with allergies.

Things We Like

  • Protein from real salmon
  • No chicken or beef
  • Made with limited ingredients

Things We Dislike

  • Some snags with quality control

3. Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food

NUTRO-Limited-Ingredient-Diet-Adult-Grain-Free-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry formula with venison meal
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Venison meal, dried potatoes, lentils
  • Best for: For all life stages
  • Price: $

Next up comes another limited ingredient diet designed for dogs afflicted with food allergies. How does Nutro solve this age-old problem, then?

Off the bat, you get a formula with 10 key ingredients or fewer, stripping away possible triggers for allergies in your dog. These choice core ingredients are supplemented with all-natural flavors along with vital minerals and vitamins in balanced form.

The food is also grain-free, so you’ll be removing one more possible source of canine irritation.

Among a sea of positive user testimony, the only real snags we encountered were some isolated complaints about dogs experiencing skin issues after switching to this food.

Made from non-GMO ingredients and giving you an organic extravaganza for your furball, this is quite simply among the best hypoallergenic dog food you’ll find.

Things We Like

  • Made with less than 10 ingredients
  • Grain-free formula
  • No beef and no chicken

Things We Dislike

  • Some skin issues reported

4. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Blue-Buffalo-Basics-Limited-Ingredient-Diet

  • Type: Dry formula with LifeSource Bits
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned duck, tapioca starch, potatoes
  • Best for: For all life stages
  • Price: $$$

Blue Buffalo serves up another first-class formula for dogs with food allergies in the form of this limited ingredient diet dry food.

As long as your pup doesn’t turn his nose up at the LifeSource Bit in this formula, he’ll benefit from a powerful dose of antioxidants to bolster his immune system.

This basic formula cuts back on the total number of ingredients to reduce the chance of your dog developing an allergic reaction.

Protein is derived from the deboned duck that features as the primary ingredient here. This single source of animal protein is supplemented by peas, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes for clean sources of energy that your dog can readily digest.

The natural formula comes with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. There is no corn, no wheat, and no soy either providing Fido with a stripped-down source of nutrients and energy while minimizing the chances of him suffering an allergic reaction.

Things We Like

  • Real duck as first ingredient
  • All-natural formula
  • No chicken or by-product meals

Things We Dislike

  • Can cause dogs to drink lots

5. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dog Food

Purina-Pro-Plan-Sensitive-Skin-&-Stomach,-High-Protein-Adult-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry formula
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Salmon, barley, rice
  • Best for: For adult dogs with sensitive skin or stomachs
  • Price: $$

Purina is an industry heavyweight with a deep bench of highly effective dog food for all purposes. In this case, the food is designed primarily for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs. If your pooch is allergy-prone, read on.

Bypassing chicken, protein in this food comes instead from real salmon. This features as the first ingredient followed by barley and rice ideal for smoothing digestion. Prebiotic fiber helps further in this regard.

You won’t find corn, wheat, or soy in this food, all common allergens that are mercifully stripped away.

With no artificial flavors, colorings, or preservatives polluting the formula, you can give Fido an all-natural food that should minimize any chance of an allergic reaction. What’s not to love?

We found most customers appear happy with the results this food delivers for their dogs. The only meaningful complaints we could unearth center on some issues with hot spots. Setting this small gripe aside, the bulk of user testimony is effusively positive.

Things We Like

  • Real salmon as first ingredient
  • No wheat, soy, or corn
  • Prebiotic fiber promotes digestion

Things We Dislike

  • Some problems with hot spots

6. Canidae PURE Grain-Free Dog Food

CANIDAE-Grain-Free-PURE-Limited-Ingredient-Salmon

  • Type: Dry formula with salmon and sweet potato
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, fish meal
  • Best for: For all life stages
  • Price: $$

Next up comes an offering from another stellar presence in the pet food vertical. Canidae manufactures a variety of foods tailored for specific needs, in this case a grain-free formula well worth trying out if your pooch is plagued by food allergies.

Featuring no more than ten primary ingredients and no cheap filling agents, you’ll be pumping your pooch full of goodness while reducing his exposure to allergens in his food.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you’ll find the grain-free formula should help in this regard.

You’ll also find that his immune system is reinforced by the antioxidants crammed into this food.

Protein comes from the first ingredient, real salmon. Complemented by salmon meal and fish meal, you leave chicken and beef out of the equation, two of the most common culprits for triggering food allergies in dogs.

Things We Like

  • Grain-free formula
  • No soy or corn
  • Made with 10 key ingredients

Things We Dislike

  • Bag does not reseal

7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Rachael-Ray-Nutrish-Just-6-Natural-Lamb-Meal

  • Type: Dry formula with lamb meal and brown rice
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, ground rice
  • Best for: For adult dogs of all breeds
  • Price: $$$

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray brings her culinary expertise to bear on pet food with this limited ingredient formula ideal for dogs prone to allergies.

Choose from a variety of pack sizes to suit. We would recommend starting with a smaller bag until you’re confident your dog enjoys this food.

Protein comes from lamb meal, so you won’t have chicken inflaming your dog’s allergies. There is no poultry by-product meal either.

Not only is this is a limited ingredient diet, but it’s one of the starkest examples out there with just six core ingredients. This dramatically decreases the likelihood of your furball experiencing food allergies.

Loaded with flavor and containing nothing likely to provoke canine food allergies, this food might be the smartest investment you make for your pup this year.

Things We Like

  • Impeccable brand heritage
  • Lamb meal as primary ingredient
  • Made from just 6 ingredients

Things We Dislike

  • Can create skin issues

8. Merrick Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Merrick-Limited-Ingredient-Diet-Grain-Free-Real-Salmon

  • Type: Dry grain-free formula
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned salmon, salmon meal, sweet potatoes
  • Best for: For all life stages
  • Price: $

When you’re comparing the best hypoallergenic dog food, Merrick is a brand you can’t escape. How does it provide for dogs with sensitivities, then?

Kicking off, real salmon is the primary ingredient, sidestepping chicken and beef, common triggers for food allergies in dogs. This is followed up by salmon meal for even more fish protein.

Carbs come from sweet potatoes. These supply your dog with energy that will keep him going throughout the day, filled with slow-release energy.

There is no gluten in this formula, and no corn or soy either. All of these ingredients can create havoc for dogs with allergies.

Fiber in this recipe helps your dog to easily digest this premium formula, and the ingredients are all designed to give him a taste of the wild without provoking an allergic reaction.

Things We Like

  • Real salmon as first ingredient
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Contains no soy or gluten

Things We Dislike

  • Not to all dog’s liking

9. Solid Gold Large Breed Whole Grain Dog Food

Solid-Gold-Wolf-King-with-Real-Natural-Bison-&-Brown-Rice

  • Type: Dry formula with real bison and brown rice
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Bison, ocean fish meal, brown rice
  • Best for: Dogs of all breeds
  • Price: $$$

Solid Gold dog food isn’t cheap, but it’s extremely tasty according to legions of satisfied customers praising how their dogs wolf this stuff down.

It’s not just the taste your dog will love, though. The formula blends 20 superfoods. While this is more ingredients than you would typically find in a limited ingredient food, these are all thoughtfully chosen to minimize the chance of your dog suffering an allergic reaction.

Lean protein comes from the real bison in this formula.

This food gives your dog more than just the basics. There are antioxidants, prebiotics, and probiotics, combining to boost your pup’s immune system, while also aiding digestion.

Backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you have literally nothing to lose.

Things We Like

  • Blended from 20 superfoods
  • Protein from real bison
  • Probiotics lubricate digestion

Things We Dislike

  • Some complaints about vomiting

10. Zignature Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Zignature-Limited-Ingredient-Formula-Grain-Free-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry formula with kangaroo
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Kangaroo, kangaroo meal, peas
  • Best for: Dogs of all breeds
  • Price: $$

If you have tried switching up your dog’s food to combat allergies without any success, it could be time to try something different. Zignature provides that opportunity with this kangaroo dog food. If your pooch is allergic to common ingredients, trying something unusual might yield dividends.

The limited ingredient diet formula has no grains, catering for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

The food is tailor-made for all life stages, making this a smart choice if you have multiple pets at home.

When scouring through user reviews, we found most were overwhelmingly positive. A few isolated complaints about the consistency in multipacks aside, we feel you’re getting great value from a brand you can trust. See what Fido makes of the all-new kangaroo food in his bowl and let us know how you get on.

Things We Like

  • Grain-free formula
  • Protein from kangaroo
  • Limited ingredients

Things We Dislike

  • A few complaints about consistency

11. Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Wellness-Simple-Limited-Ingredient-Diet-Duck

  • Type: Dry formula with duck
  • Design: Adult
  • First 3 ingredients: Duck, oatmeal, peas
  • Best for: For dogs of all breeds
  • Price: $$

Wellness has been producing tasty and effective pet food for decades, and it’s no wonder this brand is beloved by vets and pet owners the world over. What do you get with this dry dog food, then?

Well, the Simple formula comes with limited ingredients specifically chosen to minimize outbreaks of allergies in dogs.

You get relatively few ingredients here, and you’ll avoid all the common allergens while benefiting from protein derived from duck. This is the primary ingredient.

Carbs come from peas and oatmeal, so you’ll give Rover the slow-release energy he needs to keep playing all day long.

As well as all the key macronutrients in the right proportions, this formula is also rich in antioxidants, glucosamine, and fatty acids. Not only will you stave off allergies in your dog, but you’ll also ensure his skin and coat are healthy, with his immune system strengthened at the same time.

Things We Like

  • Formula for whole body health
  • Glucosamine, probiotics, and antioxidants
  • Digestible carbs and no filler

Things We Dislike

  • Bland formula

12. Venture Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Earthborn-Holistic-Venture-Limited-Ingredient-Grain-Free-Smoked-Turkey

  • Type: Dry formula with LifeSource Bits
  • Design: Adults
  • First 3 ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, butternut squash
  • Best for: For dogs of all breeds
  • Price: $$

To round out our quest for the best hypoallergenic dog food comes another limited ingredient diet (LID) food, this time from Venture Limited.

This is a grain-free formula ideal for any dogs with allergies or intolerances in this area.

Protein comes not from chicken, a common allergen, but rather from turkey. This features as the first ingredient, followed by turkey meal. By reducing the number of protein sources in dog food, you’re making a positive step toward limiting potential allergens in that food.

95% of this protein is derived from just three of the ingredients here.

The squash in the formula is packed with vitamins while also providing a strong source of vitamins and minerals.

Overall, this no-nonsense hypoallergenic dog food should give your hound a taste sensation without inflaming any allergies.

Things We Like

  • Turkey meals sourced in USA
  • Central American squash
  • 95% of protein from 3 ingredients

Things We Dislike

  • Company has had a product recall

II. FAQs

1) What are some of the main symptoms of food allergies in dogs?

While gas, diarrhea, and vomiting can be indicative of food allergies, these are also common symptoms of food intolerances, gas especially. Look for itching or oozing skin, a patchy coat, or inflamed ears. Monitor closely if your dog seems to be obsessively licking, and check if he is licking his paws all the time. Red or irritated eyes are also common markers of food allergies in dogs.

2) How can I treat a food allergy in my dog?

You should always consult with your vet first. You can try an elimination diet – more on that below – to establish which foods your dog is allergic to. You could also switch to a limited ingredient diet, but see what your vet suggests rather than winging it alone.

3) What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

Food allergies and food intolerances are not quite the same. With an allergy, your dog suffers an immune system that can be severe, sometimes even life-threatening. From skin irritation through to coughing, wheezing, and even anaphylactic shock, allergies can be deadly. A food intolerance, by contrast, is confined to the digestive system, doesn’t involve the same immune response as an allergy, and can be remedied by eliminating that ingredient.

4) What are the main benefits of a hypoallergenic diet for my dog?

Hypoallergenic diets can be effective when dogs have multiple intolerances and allergies. Some breeds like chihuahuas, poodles, and Pomeranians are particularly prone to this, but it can occur in any dog at any time. Hypoallergenic diets can help to alleviate some symptoms like itching and bloating. They can also help to avoid lethal conditions like anaphylactic shock. You can use a hypoallergenic dog food for treating skin allergies as well as intolerance and more adverse allergies. When you switch your dog to hypoallergenic foods, he can continue eating a nutritious diet without the risk of intolerances, allergies, and other adverse outcomes triggered by many non-hypoallergenic foods. Allowing allergies in your dog to continue untreated can end up impacting his overall health, physical and mental. You want mealtimes to be pleasant and enjoyable for your furball. Neither of these is likely if he feels at risk of developing adverse symptoms after eating.

5) What is an elimination diet and can this form of diet work for treating food allergies?

Perhaps the hardest part of making a change to your dog’s food involves working out what it is provoking the allergy. An elimination diet is a systematic and thorough method of achieving this. First, you remove all the foods your dog was eating. In place, you feed him very limited base ingredients before you start gradually introducing him to different foods. When you begin the diet with base ingredients, use protein from a single source – lean meat like turkey or beef, pinto, or beans all work well. Continue using the base food ingredients for up to two weeks. Give your dog no other foods at all during this period. Check continuously for any allergic reactions. If you find that regular, non-hypoallergenic foods are triggering adverse allergic reactions, it’s time to explore hypoallergenic options like any of those on our shortlist.

6) Do I really need to take my dog to the vet if he is suffering from allergic reactions?

We would advise consulting your vet first. If you need to save money, you could try first removing the ingredients you are suspicious of, but this may very well not solve the problem. By consulting with the vet, you’ll be able to rule out any underlying health conditions that could be responsible for the symptoms you’re noticing. If there is nothing serious amiss, you can then go about switching up your dog’s food.


III. Conclusion

If you arrived here today distressed about your dog’s food allergies, you should now be better positioned to find him the right food to soothe that issue.

Stick with any of the best hypoallergenic dog foods we review today and you can buy with your eyes wide open and a full awareness of the benefits and drawbacks of these foods.

We understand that you may encounter dog food we haven’t reviewed. If so, we very much hope that the buying guidance we’ve peppered throughout today’s guide will help you to make the best-informed decision.

Ultimately, whether you need dog food for weight gain, dog food for specific breeds, puppy food, or hypoallergenic dog food, we’re here to guide you at BarkVA.

Bookmark our blog before you head off and pop back soon for more buying guidance and more informative content daily. See you soon!

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