Top 5 Hypoallergenic Dog Food for Dogs

Latest Update November 21, 2016

  • Wellness Simple
    Limited Ingredient
  • Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dog Food comes in a variety of options such as lamb, duck, turkey, and many others. You’ll find a number of healthy, safe ingredients listed that your dog will probably be able to tolerate.

  • Addiction
    Wild Kangaroo
  • Addiction Wild Kangaroo is in the novel ingredient category since it uses kangaroo as the main protein ingredient. It doesn’t contain unhealthy antibiotics or hormones. It even includes antioxidants and flavonoids that boost the immune system.

  • Holistic Select
    Grain Free
  • Holistic Select Natural dog food is our third pick due to the number of positive reviews we researched. They have spent a lot of time on research and development on this and that can be seen with their digestive health support matrix which includes probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, natural fibers and some plant botanicals.

  • AvoDerm Natural
    Chicken
  • AvoDerm doesn’t have any wheat, corn, or artificial flavors. It has pure, top-quality ingredients, antioxidant nutrients, and some added avocado. This will go easy on your dog’s stomach. It has a rich concentration of high-quality fats and oils with a balanced ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Blue Buffalo
    Basics
  • Blue Buffalo Basics focuses on making a well-balanced diet for dogs that have food sensitivities by having quality proteins with novel ingredients and easily digestible carbohydrates in a limited ingredient dog food.

Hypoallergenic Dog Food Guide - Choosing the Right Food for Dogs with Allergies

Some pet owners aren’t even aware of dog food allergies. So, they probably wouldn’t know how to tell if their dog had them.  Ask your veterinarian to run tests to see which foods your dog is allergic to. He will likely have you try an elimination diet, but he can also do some testing to see what your dog is not allergic to.

It is never wise to just guess that your dog has a food allergy. Your dog could be suffering from something much more serious.

Since there are no simple and easy tests for food allergies in dogs, it is going to require some work on your part. You are going to have to try and experiment with different diets and dog food formulas. There’s no need to panic. This guide will help you figure out what to do. We also list the five best hypoallergenic dog foods at the bottom of this guide. Go ahead and buy one for your pooch today. It could make all the difference in the world in how he looks and feels.

If your dog isn’t feeling or looking his best, then you owe it to him to try a hypoallergenic dog food to see if that is what is causing his symptoms. Your veterinarian will be the most useful help in ruling out a more serious cause, but pinpointing food allergies is very hard. That is why it’s up to you to try various hypoallergenic dog foods and to eliminate anything else from his diet that isn’t approved.

What is Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

You might’ve heard some of these terms when talking about allergic reactions to food “allergy”, “hypersensitivity”, or “intolerance”. The first two terms describe a negative immunologic reaction to a food allergen. When your dog eats a food allergen, he will have a bad reaction. There is also an “intolerance”, which doesn’t involve the immune system at all.

With food allergies in dogs it can often be attributed to proteins from either an animal or plant source. The proteins are broken down in the dog’s body and then are misrepresented as a foreign threat. Here are some of the most common allergens for dogs: beef, chicken, soy, wheat and dairy. Now, it’s important to remember that food allergies often develop over a long period of time. So, the dog may have been eating the food for some time before symptoms of an allergy develop. To make matters more complicated, food allergy symptoms often show up differently in dogs than they do humans. For example, a human with a food allergy to shrimp might get a swollen throat or worse. A dog might just present with itchy skin.

Let’s go into some more detail on hypoallergenic dog foods. They generally fall into three main categories:

  1. Limited ingredient
  2. Novel ingredient
  3. Prescription or veterinary diet

Limited ingredient dog food can be very helpful since you can limit the number of ingredients in your dog’s food and can help you pinpoint which specific allergen your dog might be allergic to.

Novel ingredient foods contain ingredients that your dog more than likely has never had before, such as kangaroo or ostrich. Since they have never eaten them before they will be less likely to have an allergic reaction to them.

Prescription or vet diets are exactly what you think they are. They are dog foods that only have hypoallergenic ingredients and are prescribed by a veterinarian. The downside to this type is that prescription dog food is usually very expensive.

Does Your Dog Need Hypoallergenic Food?

Whether or not your dog needs hypoallergenic food is something your veterinarian should determine. If your dog is allergic to any food, then he definitely needs hypoallergenic dog food. Making your dog eat food he is allergic to is just wrong.

Food Allergies vs Food Intolerance

Food allergies or food intolerance can happen at any age. Your dog could react as a young puppy or an old dog.

A food allergy is much different than a food intolerance. A food allergy is something that will provoke a symptom like skin rash, itching, nausea, or diarrhea. It is caused by an immunological response. A food intolerance is more of a digestive problem and not an immune response. A food intolerance is when a dog just cannot digest a particular ingredient. A food intolerance is more closely associated with vomiting and upset stomach. It’s similar to when you might have ate some spicy or fried food and couldn’t tolerate it and you end up in the bathroom all night.

Common Food Allergies For Dogs to Avoid

What are the most common dog food allergens? Dogs can be allergic to a number of foods, but some of the most common are fish, rabbit, soy, pork, lamb, chicken, egg, wheat dairy, and beef. What complicates matters is that most dogs are allergic to more than one food. It’s really hard to know what your dog has a problem with unless you take him into a veterinarian. You might notice symptoms, but you won’t be able to tie it to any particular food very easily. Allergic reactions are usually associated with protein sources – typically the meat present in your dog’s food.

You’ll need to work hard to figure out which ingredients are causing problems for your dog. An elimination diet can help you put your finger on it. Your dog will benefit from all the hard work you do to find out what is causing his food allergy symptoms. It might take months or more on your part, but it will be worth it. Your dog doesn’t deserve to live through years of food allergy symptoms because you can’t figure out which ones are causing his problems.

How to Diagnose a Food Allergy in Dogs

It could take months or even years before your dog develops an allergic reaction to a food. That can make it really hard to tell which food is causing it. It’s not like your dog eats a food one day, and then he reacts the very same hour or day.

Making a specific diagnosis of food allergies in your dog is extremely difficult. Some of the most common symptoms include stomach upset and skin rash. Itching, skin rash, and gastrointestinal distress is characteristic of a food allergy.

Other symptoms of canine food allergies include vomiting, farting, diarrhea, red inflamed skin, stunted growth, itchiness, coughing, and sneezing.

Yes, those symptoms can be symptoms of many other diseases (and even serious ones) as well which adds to the complexity of diagnosing a food allergy. Which is why it’s important to have a complete check-up by your vet. This can help eliminate any serious causes of the symptoms.

Now starts the long and painstaking process of finding out which food allergy is the cause. You will need to get your dog started on a food trial that will last from 8 to 12 weeks, and your dog will eat nothing but a simple elimination diet and water (no special treats, no flavorings, and no junk food).

Your veterinarian can explain to you what’s involved in a food trial and sell you the elimination diet you’ll need to go through with it. Or, you can get a recipe for a home-cooked elimination diet, but it’s probably easier to just buy an elimination diet. Elimination diets usually consist of a carb like sweet potato and rice since it is rarely allergic.

Feeding your dog an elimination diet seems pretty easy and on the surface it is, but the challenge is being sure no one else is giving your dog meat during the diet or making sure they don’t get table scraps from the kids.

If that is too much for you to do you can also talk to your vet and ask for a patch test to help determine which foods your dog is not allergic to. With that said though, a patch test isn’t the be-all end-all test for food allergies and a food trial is usually the best way to find which foods cause the food allergies.

Here’s a video that has some helpful information to help you control your dog’s food allergies.

What to Look For in Hypoallergenic Dog Food

You will want to find a dog food in one of the three categories we outlined earlier: limited ingredient, novel ingredient, or prescription diets. We recommend to stick with either the limited ingredient or novel ingredient as the prescription diets can get really expensive really quickly. If your dog has severe food allergies though, you will want to talk to your vet about a prescription diet.

Below we have outlined our top 5 picks for the best hypoallergenic dog food. We researched through thousands of reviews from dog owners and found these top 5 to be the best.

Difference Between Hypoallergenic Dog Food and Grain Free

Some grain-free dog food might not be hypoallergenic. Your dog might be allergic to a protein ingredient in a grain-free dog food. Some hypoallergenic dog foods are also grain-free, because some dogs are allergic to grain.

How Long Until You Can See Results of Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Theoretically, it should start working right away. As soon as you remove the bad foods from your dog’s diet, his symptoms will start to diminish. You want to get that hypoallergenic dog food into your dog’s diet as soon as possible.

Top 5 Best Dog Food for Allergies

1. Wellness Simple Natural Dog Food

Wellness Simple limited ingredient dog food

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dog Food comes in a variety of options such as lamb, duck, turkey, and many others. You’ll find a number of healthy, safe ingredients listed that your dog will probably be able to tolerate. Just double-check to make sure, though.

Let’s look at just one formula, Wellness Simple Natural Limited Dry Dog Food.  With the hundreds of reviews, we found the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. You couldn’t ask for any better proof that it works. Hundreds of dog owners say that it does. Again, this is a limited ingredient food that is one of the three main categories of hypoallergenic dog food. We also chose this dog food as our top pick for the best dog food for pitbulls with allergies.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient helps make it easier to find out what your dog is allergic to since it has only one protein source, easily digestible carbohydrate, and no extra fillers or additives. It also has gluten-free ingredients with no meat by-products, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.

2. Addiction Wild Kangaroo and Apple

Addiction's Wild Kangaroo and Apple

Addiction Wild Kangaroo and Apple falls in the novel ingredient category we discussed earlier. That is because it uses kangaroo as the main protein ingredient. It is advertised as hypoallergenic, grain-free, and holistic.

It doesn’t contain unhealthy antibiotics or hormones. It even includes antioxidants and flavonoids that boost the immune system.

During our research we have found this was one of the most recommended dog foods for dogs with allergies from other consumers.

A lot of people say their dog loves the taste of this food. Give it a try!

3. Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Natural dog food is our third pick due to the number of positive reviews we researched. It really isn’t a big name in dog food but many people have switched from other brands to this.

They have spent a lot of time on research and development on this and that can be seen with their digestive health support matrix which includes probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, natural fibers and some plant botanicals.

This food is a great pick for not only food allergies but digestive health problems as well.

Holistic Select works hard to only contain premium ingredients with no meat by-products, wheat or artificial flavors or fillers.

4. AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Formula

AvoDerm Natural Dog Food

Avoderm adult chicken meal and brown rice formula is an excellent dog food if you want to get your pet optimum nutrition.

Getting your dog the healthy, balanced nutrition it needs is essential if you want it to live a long, healthy life.

This dog food doesn’t have any wheat, corn, or artificial flavors. It has pure, top-quality ingredients, antioxidant nutrients, and some added avocado. This will go easy on your dog’s stomach.

It has a rich concentration of high-quality fats and oils with a balanced ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Dry Adult Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics

Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is a limited-ingredient, grain-free formula that will work well with many dogs with allergies and food intolerances.

Blue Buffalo Basics focuses on making a well-balanced diet for dogs that have food sensitivities by having quality proteins with novel ingredients and easily digestible carbohydrates.

They also make many other different types of dog food for all the important parts of your dog’s life.