Best Dog Food With Limited Ingredients


Are you looking for a dog food with limited ingredients?

If so, you’re in the right place.

You might be wondering what exactly “limited ingredients” means and how it affects your dog’s health. The answer is that dogs are built to thrive on certain foods, but when those foods are altered or combined in ways that don’t work with their natural systems, they can develop serious stomach problems.

This is why we recommend that you stick to dog foods with limited ingredients—foods that contain as few extraneous ingredients as possible.

The best dog food with limited ingredients will usually be grain-free and high in protein, which helps keep your dog’s digestive system in tip-top shape.

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Best Dog Food With Limited Ingredients

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LID dog foods for allergic dogs

Some dogs have food allergies and dietary sensitivities that make finding the right food tricky.

Luckily, there are limited-ingredient dog foods now available to aid in the process. By reducing the number of ingredients and often sticking to a single protein source, a limited ingredient dog food let you worry less about scouring miles-long ingredient lists and more about the important things, like belly rubs.

Below, we’ll share some of our favorite limited-ingredient dog foods and discuss food allergies and intolerances.

Best Limited Ingredient Dog Foods: Quick Picks

  • #1 JustFoodforDogs [Best Overall LID Food]: A tasty LID option that’s made with fresh, human-grade proteins, and formulated to meet your pet’s specific needs. This is easily the best option for dogs with food allergies.
  • #2 Zignature [Best Premium LID Kibble]Zignature offers a variety of single-protein recipes that are ideal for dogs suffering from food allergies. These recipes are perfect for owners who want fantastic quality at a lower price point than fresh foods.
  • #3 Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 [Most Affordable LID Option]: An affordable, yet nutritious choice, this dog food is made with only six core ingredients, along with vitamins and minerals. It’s the perfect choice for cost-conscious owners of dogs with food allergies.

What Are Dog Food Allergies?

food allergies cause itchy skin

Like us, dogs can have food allergies and intolerances. While these conditions sound similar and can cause similar symptoms, they’re different issues.

Food allergies trigger an immune response in your dog’s bodywhile food intolerances are simply the result of your dog’s system not handling a particular food well

With an allergy, you’ll see symptoms similar to a human allergic reaction, like a rash, itchy skin, or inflammation. 

And these symptoms can be pretty severe, especially around the ears, inner thighs, or paws. Your dog may also vomit or experience severe diarrhea or eye discharge. 

With a food intolerance, your dog may experience diarrhea, vomiting, or putrid gas. However, offending food items don’t trigger immune responses (such as itchy skin) in intolerant dogs.  

For example, think of a person with lactose intolerance versus a shellfish allergy. Someone allergic to shellfish can wind up seriously ill or even dead if they ingest crab. Meanwhile, a sufferer of lactose intolerance won’t die if they eat cheese, but they’ll likely wind up in a bathroom somewhere feeling pretty crummy.

The most common food allergies for dogs are:

  • Primary Proteins: Beef, lamb, and chicken are the most common meat protein culprits that trigger food allergies in floofs. 
  • Eggs: Egg product is often included in kibble as a protein source. But while it’s a nutritious ingredient, it can trigger allergic reactions in some pups. 
  • Dairy Products: Dairy products aren’t very common in dog foods (though a few foods do contain cheese), but they can still cause a reaction.
  • Soy: Soy is commonly used to boost the protein content of foods, but it can trigger allergic reactions in some four-footers. Accordingly, many foods are being made without soy.
  • Wheat: Wheat can be a problem for some dogs, but fortunately, gluten-free foods are on the rise.
chicken is a common allergen

While recently shunned in the canine kibble world, it’s important to note that grains are not a common trigger for allergies or food intolerances. In fact, there’s some research that has found a correlation between grain-free dog foods and dilated cardiomyopathy, so it is generally wise to select a grain-inclusive recipe unless your dog has a specific intolerance or allergy to grains.

If your veterinarian suspects a food allergy or intolerance, he or she may recommend an elimination diet to pinpoint the problem ingredient. Any type of protein can cause an allergic reaction, however, so finding the exact one can take time. SOME BREEDS ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES THAN OTHERS

Any breed or mixed-breed mutt can suffer from food allergies. However, they’re more common in some breeds, including dachshunds, pit bulls, golden retrievers, pugs, and German shepherds, among others.

Have a Dog with Food Allergies? You Have Two Choices

LID or Hydrolyzed dog foods for food allergies

Unfortunately, dogs who have food allergies or intolerances will need a different dog food, which won’t cause them any discomfort or stress. 

You’ll essentially have two options for feeding your dog and preventing issues:

  • Limited Ingredient Diet (LID) Dog Foods: LID foods contain fewer ingredients than traditional kibbles, allowing you to avoid the items your dog is allergic to or intolerant of.
  • Hydrolyzed (Hypoallergenic) Dog Foods: These feature proteins that have been chemically split up, letting your dog ingest them without triggering an immune response. These hypoallergenic dog foods can also be useful for dogs with simple intolerances, but given their cost, this is generally overkill. 

Which is better for you depends on several factors, including:

  • Vet’s recommendation: Oftentimes, hydrolyzed dog food requires a prescription. This isn’t always the case, as sometimes you can purchase them directly from the manufacturer.
  • Pricing: Hydrolyzed dog food is more expensive, whereas LID diets come in at several price points, some of which are more affordable than others.
  • Availability: LID foods are generally easier to find than hydrolyzed options.
  • Past experience: If your dog has had poor results with LID dog food, hydrolyzed food may be a better option.

If you suspect food allergies or intolerances, discuss the issue with your vet. It’s always best to do so before making any dietary switch just to make sure it fits your dog’s unique case, and nutritional needs can vary significantly from dog to dog. 

For example, a large-breed puppy dog food will have a composition that’s vastly different than a dog food designed for a senior pug with kidney disease.NOVEL PROTEINS FTW!

In addition to having fewer ingredients than conventional dog foods, LID recipes often include novel proteins, such as venison, kangaroo, alligator, goat, or bison.

Because your dog has probably never consumed these types of meats, he’ll be very unlikely to suffer allergic reactions after eating them.

The 7 Best Limited Ingredient Dog Foods

The limited ingredient market has been flooded with options, but we’ve run through them and grabbed the best, whether you’re looking for a fresh food, a premium kibble, or a canned chow.

1. JustFoodForDogs 

Fresh dog foods that’s custom-blended for YOUR dog and made with a limited number of human-grade ingredients.


  • Custom formulated for your specific dog
  • Real, human-grade protein always included
  • Grain-free and grain-inclusive options available
  • Zero preservatives or hormones
  • Made in the USA

Options: There are six daily meal recipe options, including beef and russet potato, venison and squash, and chicken and white rice. You can also opt for veterinary-specialty diets under your veterinarian’s guidance, with recipes for renal, hepatic, and skin support among their offerings. Available in 7.8, 23.6, and 31.5-pound boxes.Ingredients List

(Beef and russet potato): Lean ground beef, Russet potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Carrots, Green beans…

Protein Content for: 8.5%


  • JFFD makes it easy to avoid triggering your dog’s allergies or intolerances
  • Highly palatable, even among pickier dogs
  • Can be purchased online for convenience or picked up in-store at CA retail locations or limited Petco locations across the US
  • Offers a money-back guarantee 


  • Refrigeration or freezing required
  • Quite expensive

2. Zignature



Featuring your choice of exotic meats, Zignature’s line of LID kibbles are great for dogs who’re allergic to common proteins.


About: Zignature is the top-tier price point among LID dog food recipes, but it sure delivers when it comes to quality and safety. With an impressive range of protein options, there’s something for every sensitive pup’s palate. 


  • High-quality meat is always the first ingredient
  • Single-source protein recipes ideal for sensitive systems
  • Ingredients are sourced from Australia, France, the USA and similar countries
  • Made in the USA

Options: Zignature dog food is available in a wide variety of common and rare proteins, including kangaroo, salmon, venison, and more. Also offered in small bites form for little doggos.Ingredients List

Kangaroo, Kangaroo meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower oil, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal…

Protein Content for Kangaroo Recipe: 28%


  • Wide offering of exotic proteins excellent for dogs with sensitivities to standard fare
  • Contains zero chicken, potatoes, corn, soy, or wheat
  • Flavor is a favorite among many doggos


  • One of the more expensive options
  • No grain-inclusive recipes

Special Note: Zignature’s Kangaroo Recipe cannot be shipped to California.

3. Blue Buffalo Basics


Blue Buffalo Basics

An LID dog food that’s great for dogs with sensitive systems and owners looking for a combination of value and quality.


About: Blue Buffalo Basics is a high-quality dry dog food kibble made from a limited slate of ingredients that aid in digestion, making things a little easier for sensitive systems with easy-to-digest legumes and other produce.

This dog food even contains probiotics, so you don’t need to worry about including added supplements. With all single protein recipes, you don’t have to worry about hidden chicken or other meaty surprises.


  • Protein is always the first ingredient
  • Grain-free and grain-inclusive versions available
  • Plenty of probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Made in the USA

Options: Canned and kibble versions are available along with specialty recipes, including healthy weight, senior, puppy, large breed, and small breed.Ingredients List

(Salmon and Potato): Deboned salmon, Oatmeal, Brown rice, Salmon meal, Peas…

Protein Content for Salmon and Potato: 20%


  • Contains none of the most common sensitivity triggers like corn, chicken, egg, soy, or wheat
  • Specialty recipes available for puppies, seniors, and more


  • Larger bag sizes would be ideal for families with big dogs
  • Not every dog is a fan of the included LifeSource Bits, a hallmark of Blue Buffalo recipes 

4. Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d



Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d

A prescription LID recipe that’s great for owners who are serious about nutrition and not triggering their dog’s food allergies.

About: Hill’s Prescription Diet is a great kibble for dogs with extreme dietary sensitivities. Developed by veterinarians and dog nutritionists, this prescription-only dog food is designed for safe eating by the most delicate of digestive systems, making it a great dog food choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.


  • Made with a single intact protein source
  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Tested for adverse reactions in sensitive dogs during the product’s development
  • Made in the USA

Options: Available in 8, 17.6, and 25-pound bags.Ingredients List

Potatoes, Potato starch, Venison, Potato protein, Soybean oil…

Protein Content: 19.1%


  • Specially formulated by experts for dogs with the most sensitive of systems
  • Backed by a money-back guarantee
  • Hill’s donates dog food regularly to shelters AND helps in doggy adoption (a win for every dog lover)


  • Veterinary prescription required
  • Kibble size can be too large for small breeds
  • Pretty pricey compared to mainstream kibbles 

5. Natural Balance L.I.D. With Grains


Natural Balance L.I.D. With Grains

An LID kibble made with healthy grains, this food provides the things your dog needs, without including any triggering ingredients.


About: Natural Balance’s LID With Grains provides the limited ingredient list sensitive dogs require with quality carbohydrates to aid in energy and digestion. With its added omega-3s, your dog’s skin and coat will thank you.


  • Single protein source in every recipe
  • Grain-inclusive, but a grain-free option is also available
  • Contains no corn, soy, or wheat
  • Made in the USA

Options: Available in five standard protein options, including chicken, beef, and lamb. Bag sizes range from 4 pounds to 26 pounds. Small-breed bites are also available.

Protein Content for Salmon & Brown Rice: 24%


  • Every batch is rigorously tested for safety
  • More affordable than most  other LID kibbles
  • Company offers a UPC charity rebate program for qualified dog rescues


  • Larger bag options would be nice for families with large dogs
  • No exotic protein options available

7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6

Rachael Ray Just 6

Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6

An LID kibble providing the nutrition your dog needs with just six main ingredients, allowing you to quickly spot any potential triggers.


About: Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 eliminates guesswork by including just six core ingredients, along with vitamins and minerals. Added beet pulp aids in digestion, giving your doggo a fiber boost.


  • Concentrated protein meal is always the first ingredient
  • Grain-free and grain-inclusive options available
  • Contains no corn, soy, or wheat
  • Made in the USA dog food

Options: Available in grain-free turkey and pea and grain-inclusive lamb and rice. Bag options vary from 5 to 28 pounds, depending on recipe.Ingredients List

Turkey meal, Dried peas, Pea starch, Dried plain beet pulp, Chicken fat…

Protein Content for Salmon & Brown Rice: 21%


  • Affordable
  • One of the truly shorter ingredient lists to weed through among LIDs
  • Every bag sold includes a donation to the Rachael Ray Foundation, helping pets in need


  • Limited protein options
  • Small bag sizes are a bummer for large breed owners

7. Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula


Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula

Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula

A limited-ingredient canned food available with several novel proteins that’s great for dogs with allergies who prefer wet foods.


About: Zignature’s Limited Ingredient Formula canned dog food lets dogs with sensitivities enjoy a balanced, healthy meal, whether eaten on its own or added to kibble for enticement. Made with high-quality ingredients sourced from the US, France, Australia, and New Zealand, this LID option takes safety seriously.


  • Meat is always the first ingredient
  • Wide array of protein options
  • Single protein source recipes that are potato-, grain-, and chicken-free
  • Made in the USA

Options: Each 12-count case features 13-ounce cans offered in thirteen recipes using unique proteins, including salmon, duck, and goat. Ingredients List

Duck, Duck broth, Peas, Duck meal, Chickpeas…

Protein Content for Duck: 8%


  • Many rare protein options are available
  • Can be fed on its own or used as a topper
  • Flavor is a hit compared to most other LID options


  • Expensive
  • Texture can be an issue with pickier pooches


Is your doggo on a limited ingredient diet? Do you feed him one of the dog foods on our list, or does he enjoy another? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear. 

affordable limited ingredient dog food

For dogs with allergies, limited ingredient dog foods can be a lifesaver. Limited ingredient dog foods are exactly what they sound like – dog foods made with very few ingredients. Because they contain few ingredients, there is less of a chance dogs with allergies will react to them.

However, even if your dog doesn’t have allergies, they may benefit from a limited ingredient dog food. For example, some dogs experience gastrointestinal symptoms when given certain ingredients, even if they aren’t genuinely allergic to them. A limited ingredient dog food can be great for these canines too.

Not all limited ingredient dog foods are made equal, though. For this reason, we reviewed some of the best limited ingredient dog food on the market. You’ll find out the reviews below.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022

BEST OVERALLWinnerNom Nom Dog FoodHuman-grade food qualityNutrition established by AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles4 recipes to choose fromCheck Price
BEST VALUESecond placeRachael Ray Nutrish LimitedWhole grain, brown rice includedLamb meal as the first ingredientFree from allergensCheck Price
BEST FOR PUPPIESThird placeSimply Nourish Limited PuppyHigh in protein and fatDoesn’t contain fillersFree from common allergens, like chickenCheck Price
American Journey Limited DryProtein and fat content are highSalmon as the first ingredientFree from artificial ingredientsCheck Price
Natural Balance Limited IngredientSalmon as the first ingredientFull of omega-3sHigh-quality veggies includedCheck Price

The 11 Best Limited Ingredient Dog Foods

1.Nom Nom Dog Food – Best Overall


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Nom Nom’s dog food is our top pick as the 1st best overall limited ingredient dog food. This company currently has four dog food flavors available, each containing limited ingredients and a single protein source, making this a good option for dogs with food sensitivities, especially to specific proteins.

Each food meets the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles recommended nutrition levels, and Nom Nom employs two Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists to ensure their foods meet or exceed the nutritional needs of the average adult dog. These foods may not be suitable for dogs with specific nutritional or medical needs, though, including puppies and elderly dogs.

Each dog food formula is made from human-grade ingredients and is prepared to the same standard as human foods. Nom Nom uses a subscription-style ordering service that can be canceled anytime at no charge to you. They even offer a sample pack that features each dog food flavor, allowing you to determine which is your dog’s favorite. Due to the high quality of the food and the subscription-style ordering process, this food retails for a higher price than many other dog foods.Pros

  • Four flavors available
  • Good option for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Meets or exceeds AAFCO dog food recommendations
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Subscription-style ordering process


  • May not be ideal for all nutritional needs or medical conditions
  • Premium price

2.Rachael Ray Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food – Best Value

Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Limited Ingredient Recipe Dry Dog Food

Out of all the dog foods we reviewed, Rachael Ray Nutrish Limited Ingredient Recipe Dry Dog Food rose to the top of our list as the best limited ingredient dog food for the money. This dog food is high-quality and much cheaper than most of the competition. It includes just six ingredients, such as lamb meal, brown rice, ground rice, dried plain beet pulp, chicken fat, and natural pork flavor. Almost all of these ingredients are high-quality options.

The only ingredient we didn’t like was the ground rice, mostly because we don’t know whether this rice is whole grain or not. Whole grain rice is very nutritious for dogs, but white rice isn’t.

We liked that this food is free from common allergens, including corn, wheat, and soy. Chicken fat is included. However, when a dog is allergic to a type of food, they are allergic to the protein found in that food. Chicken fat does not include any proteins, so your dog will not be allergic to it – even if they are allergic to chicken.Pros

  • Lamb meal as the first ingredient
  • Whole grain, brown rice included
  • Only ingredients
  • Free from allergens


  • Low in protein at only 20%

3.Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient – Best for Puppies

Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food

If you have a puppy, you need to feed them food specifically designed for puppies, since they have particular nutrition requirements. Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Dog Food is designed specifically for puppies and only includes a few ingredients.

The first ingredient is deboned salmon, which is followed by salmon meal. Both of these ingredients are high-quality. The “meal” signifier only means that the salmon has been cooked to remove much of the moisture, which is a requirement when you’re putting it into dry food. Otherwise, the food wouldn’t be very dry.

We also loved that this food is high in protein at 29%. Fat is pretty high as well at 16%. For a dry dog food, that is fantastic. This dog food also includes plenty of fatty acids, which contain DHA and EPA – two types of fat that are important for brain development.

This food doesn’t contain anything your puppy doesn’t need either. It is made in the USA without fillers, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.Pros

  • High-quality salmon as the first ingredient
  • High in protein and fat
  • Doesn’t contain fillers
  • Free from common allergens, like chicken


  • Contains dried peas

4.American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry

American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is made from a single animal protein and is grain-free. Both grain and various kinds of animal protein are common allergens, so this feature makes this food perfect for dogs with allergies. The animal protein used is salmon, which appears as the first and second ingredient.

Salmon is a high-quality ingredient and full of vitamins and minerals your dog needs to thrive, like omega-3 fatty acids. Because of the high amount of salmon used, this food is also high in protein at 25%. Fat is decently high at 12% as well. This food is also free of ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors.

The only ingredient we didn’t like was peas, which shows up multiple times in the ingredient list. Peas may be connected to a particular health problem in dogs, though researchers are still investigating the matter. They are also high in protein but do not include all the amino acids our dogs need. Because of this, this can artificially inflate the food’s protein level, which can be misleading for buyers. This food is high in protein, but not all of that protein is complete.Pros

  • Protein and fat content are high
  • Salmon as the first ingredient
  • Free from artificial ingredients


  • Includes peas

5.Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Salmon & Sweet Potato Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food is made with premium, high-quality ingredients. Salmon is the first ingredient listed. This is a novel protein, which means it is not commonly used in dog food. Because of this, dogs are unlikely to be allergic to it, making this a good option for dogs with allergies.

As the second ingredient, this dog food includes menhaden fish meal, which is another high-quality ingredient. This is full of omega-3s and other healthy fats, which is exactly what our dogs need to thrive. The last few ingredients before the added vitamins are all veggies, which add quite a few vitamins and minerals to this dog food.

We loved that this dog food did not include any pea, pea protein, lentils, legumes, corn, wheat, or soy. The only thing we didn’t like about this dog food is that it is a bit low in protein. 24% protein is a bit low when it comes to dry dog food, especially when the moisture content is only 10%. Still, almost all of the protein included does come from animals, which is more than we can say for most dog foods on the market.Pros

  • Free from pea, pea protein, lentils, and other low-quality ingredients
  • Salmon as the first ingredient
  • Full of omega-3s
  • High-quality veggies included
  • Produced in the USA


  • A bit low in protein

6.Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

For dogs who can’t handle salmon, Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food may be your best choice. It isn’t favorite on the list, but it doesn’t rely on salmon. Instead, it uses turkey as the first ingredient, as well as turkey meal as the third. Turkey is a high-quality ingredient that isn’t often found in dog food, so the odds of your dog being allergic to it is low.

This dog food is free from common allergens, including chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, and eggs. It is free from artificial flavors and preservatives as well. (But not artificial colors, as you might have noticed.)

This food is a bit lower in protein at 20%, which is one reason it was scored lower on our list. It also includes quite a few peas on the ingredient list, including whole peas, pea starch, pea fiber, and pea protein. That is a lot of peas. Peas may be connected to DCM, a heart condition in dogs. FDA is currently investigating the issue and has not concluded yet.Pros

  • Turkey as the first ingredient
  • Free from common allergens
  • Free from artificial preservatives and flavors


  • Low in protein
  • Contains a lot of peas

7.Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Dry Dog Food

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Dry Dog Food is not all bad, but it isn’t our favorite dog food on this list. It is grain-free and made with only a few ingredients, which may make it the right choice for dogs who are sensitive to specific ingredients.

We did like that this dog food includes farm-raised turkey from within the USA. Turkey is a good source of protein that is also rich in selenium and phosphorus. It is low in saturated fat as well, making it a good choice for most dogs. This food is also free from common allergens, like corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and chicken. Plus, this food is formulated for both adults and puppies.

The protein content is exceptionally high at 35%, and the fat content is high at 15% as well. This is precisely what most dogs need to eat to thrive.

Our main turnoff for this food was the inclusion of peas as the fourth ingredient. These may be linked to certain heart conditions in dogs when eaten in high amounts. The brand itself has also been linked to these heart conditions by the FDA.Pros

  • High in protein and fat
  • Includes high-quality turkey
  • Free from common allergens


  • Includes peas
  • Brand is linked to certain heart conditions by the FDA

8.Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

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Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is designed for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs. It includes added probiotics and prebiotics, which may help dogs who are prone to gastrointestinal discomfort. Like many limited ingredient dog foods, this one is made with salmon as the first ingredient. This is a suitable protein as long as your canine is not allergic to salmon. It is high in healthy fats, which our dogs need to thrive.

This food does not include grains, gluten, or wheat. These are common allergens, and their absence makes this a suitable dog food for those with allergies. It does include flaxseed, which can improve the health of your dog’s skin.

This dog food does include peas fairly high on the list, as well as a few other controversial ingredients, like tomato pomace. While some dogs do fine with these ingredients, others do not. Their inclusion does make this dog food a bit less high-quality, though.Pros

  • Salmon as the first ingredient
  • Free grain, gluten wheat
  • Flaxseed included


  • Peas included
  • Tomato pomace included

9.Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Lamb Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food

As far as dog foods go, Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food probably isn’t your best option out there. It is quite a bit expensive, despite not having any apparent benefit. We didn’t find the elevated price worth it in the least, which is one of the reasons it is rated much lower on our list.

This dog food’s ingredient list is okay. It does include lamb meal and lamb as the first two ingredients, which are good protein sources for most dogs. However, it also includes peas and pea protein. Pea protein does not contain all the amino acids your dog needs to thrive, but it does raise the protein content of the food. Overall, that makes the protein in this food lower-quality.

Furthermore, this food doesn’t include much protein either at only 24%. That is quite a bit lower than we would like to see. The fat is very high, though, as 21.5%.

We did like that this food is made in the USA and that it is free of many of the common allergens found in dog food. It is full of omega fatty acids and antioxidants as well. However, overall, we just can’t recommend this dog food for most pet parents.Pros

  • High in fat
  • Lamb as the only protein source
  • Free of common allergens


  • Low in protein
  • Peas and pea protein included
  • Expensive

10.Earthborn Holistic Venture Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Earthborn Holistic Venture Rabbit Meal & Pumpkin Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

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Earthborn Holistic Venture Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food is one of the most expensive dry dog foods on this list. It is much more expensive than most of the competition. This is likely because it includes rabbit as the first ingredient, which is a more expensive option. However, most dogs don’t need rabbit unless they’re allergic to everything else, which is very unlikely. Because of this, most pet owners do not need to spend the extra money on their dog’s food.

We did like that this dog food was free from grains, gluten, peas, legumes, lentils, potatoes, chicken, and eggs. These are common allergens in dogs and lower-quality ingredients. This dog food also included added taurine, which can help support your dog’s heart health. One of our favorite things about this dog food was the resealable bag, however.

The fat and protein content in this food is a bit low. Fat is only at 13%, while protein was at 26%. We would have liked to see them a bit higher, especially for the price of this dog food.

Overall, while this dog food wasn’t awful, it just isn’t worth the high price, in our opinion.Pros

  • Free of common allergens
  • Added taurine
  • Resealable bags


  • Low in fat particularly
  • Very expensive
  • Doesn’t seem to work for dogs with sensitive stomachs

11.Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Adult Large Breed Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

While most limited-ingredient dog foods do tend to be a bit expensive, Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is incredibly expensive. It isn’t the most expensive one on the list, but it is pretty close. Furthermore, it is smaller than most larger bags.

One of the reasons this dog food is the last on the list is because it is only designed for larger dogs. That is not going to fit the needs of most people reading this article. Another reason is that this food includes quite a few ingredients, even though it is technically “limited ingredient.” In total, it includes ten different ingredients. While this isn’t necessarily too high, it may be a turnoff for dogs with lots of allergies.

The ingredients used are decently high-quality. Deboned lamb is included as the first ingredient, with lamb meal as the second ingredient. However, some possibly troublesome ingredients, such as lentils, are included as well. The ingredients are non-GMO, however, which is always a good thing.Pros

  • Uses lamb as the first ingredient


  • Expensive
  • Many ingredients
  • Low protein
  • Includes some low-quality ingredients


Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food

There is a lot that goes into choosing the perfect dog food for your pup. It can be quite complicated, in fact, especially for the uninitiated. To help you make the best decision possible, we explain some of the critical factors to keep in mind when choosing a dog food below.

Protein and Fat Content in Dog Food

Our dogs are made to thrive on a diet that is mostly made up of protein and fat. Studies have shown that dogs choose to eat mostly fat and protein when allowed to choose their own diet. Typically, when given the option to select their own food, animals choose a composition that they’ll strive on. Because of this, this study likely gave us a good idea of what diet we should feed our pooch.

Because of this study, we put a heavy emphasis on how much protein and fat are in commercial dog food, and you should too. How much protein is in dog food is essential and should be taken into consideration when choosing a dog food for your canine.

However, it is surprisingly difficult to find a dog food that is high in protein and fat. Most commercial dog foods are high in carbohydrates, which is not something our dogs thrive on. Because of this, it is essential to check any dog food before you purchase it. You should find a dog food that contains as much protein and fat as you can.

When it comes to commercial dog food, you are not going to find a dog food that is too high in protein.

dog eating scattered food
Image: Pixabay

The FDA Investigation and Peas

The FDA is currently investigating an increasing number of canine dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a severe heart condition that leads to death without treatment. This disease occurs in some dogs and has been occurring for some time. However, the recent increase has been linked to diet, particularly “grain-free” foods.

When the FDA looked at the cases closer, canines seemed to be at a higher risk if their food included peas, lentils, potatoes, or other similar foods. It is unknown why these foods are linked to CDM (or if they are connected to the disease at all). However, at the time, there does seem to be some correlation.

This is troublesome because MANY grain-free dog foods include peas. They are cheap veggies that are also high in protein.

Dog Food Ingredient Quality

The quality of ingredients is also essential to consider when you’re choosing a dog food. Preferably, you want some form of meat to be listed as the first ingredient. Our dogs evolved to eat mostly meat, and they continue to thrive off of it today.

Meat should also be as high-quality as possible. Whole meat is always the preferable option. However, meat meal is also okay as long as the source is listed. “Chicken meal” is fine, but “meat meal” is not. This is because it could be anything. Let’s not feed our dogs mystery meat.

By-products are okay as long as their source is listed, but they are a bit lower quality than other options. They aren’t preferably. However, they are not harmful to your pup either.

The quality of veggies is also essential. As we have previously discussed, peas, potatoes, and lentils have been linked with a severe canine heart condition, so they should be avoided if possible.

White, processed grains are also a poor option. These grains do not include very many nutrients in the least. However, whole grains can be nutritionally helpful for our dogs and are a good choice for many canines. Dogs evolved to eat grains and can digest them just fine – you just don’t want grains as the main ingredient in your pet’s food.

How Dog Allergies Work

If you’re looking for a limited ingredient dog food, the odds are that your puppy has allergies. Allergies in dogs develop differently from allergies in people. Dogs develop an allergy to protein after they have been exposed to it chronically for an extended period. For example, a dog that has been fed the same chicken dog food for his whole life is likely to develop a food allergy to chicken.

Some breeds are more prone to developing an allergy than others. However, any dog can develop a food allergy if they are exposed to the same protein over and over again.

When a dog does develop a food allergy, symptoms are usually skin-related. The dog may get very itchy, especially on their paws. They may insistently bite and chew their paws, which can create sores. These sores will likely not heal without treatment, since your dog is still licking and chewing them. A secondary development can set up in these sores, which can cause even more problems.

After being diagnosed with a food allergy, dogs will need to avoid their allergen. They will probably need their dog food changed to one that does not include whichever protein they’re allergic to. Luckily, there are many different limited ingredient diets out there for these dogs.

The best way to prevent food allergies is to feed your dog with a variety of different foods. Because food allergies occur after repeated exposure, it is usually in your dog’s best interest to switch their food often. This will diversify their diet and prevent them from being overexposed to a specific protein.

FAQ: Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Below, you’ll find the answers to some of the most common questions regarding limited ingredient dog foods.

What is a limited ingredient dog food?

These dog foods are made with very few ingredients. They’re aimed at dogs with allergies. Some dogs will allergies have significant problems finding food they can eat. These limited foods help with that.

However, there is no strict definition of what “limited ingredient” means. It may mean a dog food has ten ingredients or four. It just depends on the brand. Furthermore, the counted ingredients do not include added vitamins and minerals. Dogs cannot become allergic to these things, though, so you don’t have to worry about them.

Is a limited ingredient dog food good for dogs?

Not all dogs. This food is for dogs who can’t eat anything else without developing allergies. If you have a dog without allergies, eating a limited ingredient dog food may cause them to develop allergies. This is because these foods usually only include one source of protein. Because of the lack of diversity in their diet, your dog may eventually develop an allergy to the main protein in their limited ingredient dog food.

For dogs without allergies, we recommend not choosing a limited ingredient diet.


Conclusion: Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food

The best limited ingredient dog food on the market is the Nom Nom’s dog food. Each food not only meets the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles recommended nutrition levels, but Certified Veterinary Nutritionists ensure their foods exceed the nutritional needs of the average adult dog.

For those who need to save a bit of money, the Rachael Ray Nutrish Limited Ingredient Recipe Dry Dog Food is also a good option.

We hope this article helped you find the best limited ingredient dog food for your canine. Finding food for a dog with allergies can be difficult, but it is possible when you use our reviews and buyer’s guide.

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