Best Dog Food For Dog Allergies


Looking for a guide to help you pick the best dog food for your dog’s allergies? Before you start, you should learn a little bit about my qualifications and industry experience. I’m a dog trainer/behaviorist/online business consultant and I’ve been working in this industry for over 7 years.

The Best Dog Food For Allergies

Itchy skin and stomach upset could be allergic reactions to your dog’s diet.

But what is the best dog food for allergies?

Finding the right dog food to treat your pet’s allergies can seem like an uphill battle. With all the different types of hypoallergenic dog foods on the market, how do you know which dog food brands to trust?

At Rick’s Dog Deli, we believe that healthy dog food is the best way to treat dog allergies of any kind, whether you’re dealing with itchy skin or GI issues. Just like humans, dogs deal with the uncomfortable effects of allergies. And, just like humans, a nutritious diet made up of real food is the key to alleviating their symptoms.

The trouble is that dog allergies can be a complicated issue to untangle. From identifying your dog’s allergies to treating them, many pet parents find themselves in a never-ending cycle of symptoms, new brands, and calls to the vet. Here at the Deli, we aim to make things a bit easier so your dog gets the relief s/he craves.

Types of Allergies In Dogs

What we call an “allergy” is simply the immune system showing a response to a substance that is not inherently harmful. The body recognizes the substance as a potential threat, and takes actions to contain the foreign invasion.

There are several things that can cause your dog to suffer from allergic reactions, but they can be broken down into two main types: environmental allergies and food allergies.

puppy scratching ear

Environmental Allergies In Dogs

An environmental allergy is a reaction to things found within the dog’s external environment. (Pollen, grass, and household dust are common allergens.) Symptoms typically include itchy skin, hotspots, runny eyes, poor coat health, and a low quality of life.

Environmental allergies are somewhat difficult to control, since they are present in every aspect of a dog’s life and—in many cases—inescapable. Frequent baths and medication can help, but in many cases, switching away from highly processed commercial dog food helps eliminate the majority of symptoms.

Food Allergies In Dogs

Food allergies, on the other hand, are reactions to ingredients in the dog’s diet. Common symptoms are stomach upset, weight loss, lethargy, and itching.

In recent years, food allergies have become a growing problem for dogs. The cause of this problem is still to be determined, but most believe it to be a result of inbreeding and over-vaccination.

Regardless of the cause, food allergies can be treated by simply eliminating the offending ingredient from your dog’s diet and switching to a high-quality dog food that doesn’t cause the reaction.

Dog eating from dish

What Is Causing My Dog’s Allergies?

Because allergies vary from dog to dog, it is rare for a single brand or formulation of dog food to be universally hypoallergenic to all dogs at all times.

For example, a product labeled “allergy-friendly” that contains lamb as the first ingredient won’t help if your dog is allergic to lamb. As a result, you would either find yourself right back where you started or end up bouncing around from brand to brand.

The best dog food for allergies is one that doesn’t contain the allergen. The problem is, how do you figure out what that ingredient is?

Although allergy testing is readily available, it is also unreliable and inconclusive. The only way to be sure of your dog’s suspected allergies is to use the elimination diet as a tool to identify these intolerable foods.

Dog Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is a simple and effective way of determining your dog’s allergies.

You start by giving your dog limited ingredient foods (and nothing else!) to allow the reaction to subside. Limited ingredients are important, as this makes it easier to narrow down the potential allergens. If the food contains a blend of proteins and ingredients, it will be nearly impossible to find out which one is causing the reaction.

At Rick’s Dog Deli, we recommend using goat meat as the main source of protein. Since goat meat is uncommon in the United States (and most dogs have not been exposed to it), goat allergies are extremely rare. This gives us a constant in a world full of variables.

dog licking lips

Once the dog’s system has removed the last remnants of every other protein, we can go back and introduce various proteins to determine if they cause an allergic reaction in the body.

For example, after following the Goat Protocol for a period of eight weeks, we reintroduce chicken into your dog’s diet. If we see a reaction, we can safely determine that the dog has a chicken allergy.

This is a great food for dogs with skin allergies as well, as many food allergies manifest as itchy skin, ears, and paws.

In the (rare) occasion that your dog is sensitive to goat, we also offer a limited-ingredient dog food made with lamb. (Grain-free goat and grain-free lamb formulations are available as well.)

What Is the Best Dog Food For Allergies?

The best diet for dogs with allergies—whether environmental or food—is a species-appropriate diet that consists of real meats (not “meal!”), fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates/grains mixed in the proper ratios.

Science is realizing more and more that a healthy diet is the foundation for overall health in humans, and your dog is no different. Feeding your pets fresh dog food will keep them happy, healthy, and allergy symptom-free so they can keep being your best friend.

If you’re looking for allergy relief on behalf of your canine companion, you’ve come to the right place.

At Rick’s Dog Deli, we put your dog’s health and well-being first at every step. From choosing only USDA-inspected ingredients to carefully blending Custom Meals, we guarantee that you and your best friend will enjoy every mealtime!

Stop by our College Park location to say “hi” (dogs are welcome!) or give us a call at 407-505-2839 to see how we can help.

What’s the Best Dog Food for My Dog’s Allergies?


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Published: 4/7/2021
If your dog has recently been diagnosed with a food allergy, a diet change is usually recommended to help relieve their itchy skin, sneezing, wheezing or runny nose, or digestive complaints. The good news is there’s a lot of commercial dog food on the market to help with your furry pal’s allergy symptoms- a lot, in fact! While once, pet pawrents were limited to a few prescription formulas, today there’s so many different kinds of hypoallergenic foods to cure every dog’s needs.

To help you navigate these furbulous dog foods for allergies, we’ll show you the differences between these foods, how to choose the right one, and showcase our top picks to help get your pup back on the road to feeling pawsome! But first, let’s explore just what a food allergy is.

Food allergies in dogs

For many pet pawrents, an allergy in their pet is discovered when asking their veterinarian about their dog’s itchy, irritated skin, sneezing and cold-like symptoms, or prolonged vomiting and diarrhea. Once environmental allergies, flea allergies and contact allergies are ruled out, a food elimination trial is often begun to see just what food your dog may be reacting to.

An allergic reaction to a food occurs when your dog’s immune system targets it as a dangerous invader, and end up causes the symptoms your dog experiences while trying to get rid of it. A food can become an allergen either from a genetic factor passed down from a pup’s parents, or it can be developed over a long period of exposure. And since many of us tend to stick with whatever food our dogs like, that means that many of our pooches have been eating the same protein or carbohydrate for years.

There are a lot of foods that can become allergens. The most common ones seen in dogs include:

  • Dairy
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Soy
  • Wheat Gluten

Choose the right hypoallergenic dog food

Now that you know what your dog shouldn’t be eating, it’s time to look for what they can eat to remedy their dog food allergies. There are a few terms you should know when navigating dog foods for allergies that will help you make a decision, and sometimes, several can be listed for the same food.

  • Hypoallergenic diet– Any dog food made for allergies that can include a novel protein, limited ingredients or hydrolyzed proteins.
  • Limited ingredient diets– These foods contain a limited amount of specific ingredients that are not commonly allergens, and often contain a novel protein.
  • Novel diet– This is a food made with one protein and one carbohydrate that is uncommonly given to dogs, and which their immune system has not yet encountered.
  • Hydrolyzed diet– These diets use a process that breaks down an offending protein into tiny pieces that can go undetected by the immune system, and usually don’t cause an allergic reaction.

All dog foods add in extra vitamins and minerals to ensure dogs receive proper nutrition, but there are certain supplements that can reduce allergy symptoms and are often added into these hypoallergenic diets. These can include:

  • Probiotics that decrease the immune system’s response to allergens, including inflammation.
  • Omega-3s that calm the immune system’s reaction to allergens.
  • Vitamin A that helps to repair skin damage and promotes hair growth.
  • Zinc that also reduces immune reactions, and helps to maintain skin and hair health.

Best dog foods for allergies

When shopping for hypoallergenic dog foods, you will find many that can fit your dog’s needs. While we’ve listed our top choices for you to explore, always be sure to read all the ingredients of any food you consider to make sure they are right for your dog’s specific allergies.

#1 CANIDAE Pure Dog Food

This limited ingredient dog food line comes in a whopping 12 varieties, each made with only 8 ingredients. Novel proteins and carbs include duck, wild boar, bison, peas, lentils, garbanzo beans and more. The salmon and sweet potato formula is pawfect for sensitive stomachs.

#2 Blue Buffalo Basics

Another limited ingredient dog food that comes in various food combinations and life stage formulas, it can include novel proteins like turkey, duck, lamb, salmon and whitefish. All types include potato, and several formulas are available as wet foods and treats too.

#3 Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diets

Available in duck or lamb with oatmeal, or in grain-free salmon or turkey with potato formulas, these foods also include probiotics, prebiotics and omega-3’s to help sensitive stomachs and decrease immune reactivity. They are also free of 6 other common allergens.

#4 Merrick Limited Ingredient

For dogs who aren’t allergic to chicken or beef, these proteins are available in formulas with novel carbs. For other dogs, though, there are salmon, lamb and turkey formulas, as well as grain-free varieties in dry and wet foods for adults.

#5 Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Protein

Like most hydrolyzed diets, these are only available through your veterinarian. Several varieties target adults and growing puppies, small dogs, sensitive stomachs and overweight pooches, and contain hydrolyzed soy proteins, as well omega-3 fatty acids and several other vitamins and minerals.

With knowledge, and the right food, your dog will be feeling great and back to their wooftastic self in no time!

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