Hill’s z/d Dog Food Alternatives

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This is our review of the best alternatives to Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Dog Food in 2024.

When dogs have severe allergies, they need a diet that protects their immune system and keeps them from having allergic reactions. 

Hill’s Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities dog food is a popular formula prescribed by veterinarians.

It includes hydrolyzed chicken liver as its only protein source to keep your dog’s immune system from attacking the protein and reducing sensitivities. 

It also contains nutrients like omega fatty acids to nourish dry and itchy skin and B vitamins for energy and cell growth support. 

But this kibble can be expensive and requires vet authorization. And it isn’t certified grain-free. So we’re reviewing the best alternatives for fur health that will support your furry friend’s needs. 

Best Hills z/d Dog Food Alternatives

5 Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Alternatives Reviewed

Hills formulas are for dogs with severe skin and food sensitivities. But these recipes can add up in cost. 

Here are our top picks for the best Hills z/d dog food alternatives. Each of the formulas meets AAFCO’s nutrition recommendations for dogs. Please consult with your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet.

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Alligator Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet NP Novel Protein Alligator

Blue Buffalo’s Natural Veterinary Diet offers a recipe that provides nourishing ingredients. It’s a great Hills z/d formula substitute. 

This grain-free food starts with an almost unheard novel animal proteinalligator. This is the first ingredient, and your dog’s system is less likely to react to it.  

Blue Buffalo’s Alligator and the z/d diet share many standard features. They both need veterinary authorization. And they contain specific protein sources for reactive dogs and provide omega fatty acids to fight inflammation. 

If you’re looking for a novel food alternative to z/d dog formula, give Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Alligator dry dog food a try. 

Hills z/d dog food recipe contains hydrolyzed chicken instead of a novel protein like Blue Buffalo. But unlike Hills, Blue Buffalo doesn’t have soybean oil for pups who may be sensitive to soy. 

Instead, it provides canola oil for high-quality omega-3 fatty acids. These nourish dogs’ skin. And they provide gut support and reduce inflammation from potential reactions. 

Blue Buffalo also adds pumpkin and dried kelp to aid immune support and easier digestion. Plus, pumpkin provides dietary fiber that dogs need for proper bowel movements. 

Dog parents noticed a difference in their dog’s digestion and shiny fur once they switched to Blue Buffalo. But some note that the food breaks and turns into dust easily.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Chicken Flavor Wet Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Canned

If your dog is a fussy eater, a canned option may be better than Hill’s z/d dog food. 

Both recipes start with hydrolyzed chicken as the only protein source. This is essential for pups with immune systems that attack regular meat sources. But Purina Pro Plan’s wet food offers more protein — 20% instead of 19%. 

This formula still requires veterinary authorization. Both formulas contain fiber from natural starches like corn and pea starch. These provide prebiotics to promote the increase of friendly bacteria in the gut and boost your dog’s immune system. 

We recommend Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA wet dog food as a canned alternative to Hill’s z/d dog food. 

Purina Pro Plan contains coconut oil and fish oil instead of Hill’s soybean oil. And coconut oil offers medium-chain triglycerides. These healthier fat chains are easier to absorb and aid fur health. 

Like Hill’s formula, Purina provides supplemented B vitamins. These aid in energy production, brain development, and metabolic support. 

Finicky dogs love this recipe, and their parents are happy that the pate doesn’t cause digestive issues. But many note that they have to add water to get it to the right consistency and that it’s tough to work with. 

Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet d:d Skin Food Sensitivities Duck

Don’t want to stray to a new food brand but need to switch for your dog’s health? Hill’s offers a d/d formula that is like their z/d diet.

The most significant difference between these two foods is that the d/d recipe contains duck instead of chicken and is gluten-free. That means it doesn’t include wheat or grains that some canines react to.  Since this doesn’t include hydrolyzed protein, it is more affordable. 

Both dog foods offer vital coat-nourishing vitamins and minerals. This includes high levels of vitamin E and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help sustain your dog’s sensitive skin and coat and aid indigestion. 

Hill’s d/d formula contains one meat source and a single carbohydrate source. This keeps your pup’s immune system in check and avoids a potential allergic reaction that can cause dry, itchy, and red skin. 

Unlike their z/d formula, Hill’s d/d formula only contains 14% Crude Protein. If your canine needs a higher percentage of energy or lean muscle mass, this may not be the best replacement. But it is safe for dogs who are sedentary or older.

Like the other Hill’s recipe, d/d dog food contains supplemented taurine and beta-carotene. These aid in heart health and healthy cell growth, providing immune-supporting benefits. And neither have artificial colors. 

Dog parents note that this is the best dog food if your pup has allergies and sensitive stomachs with issues like inflammatory bowel disease. Some owners say that the recipe was recently changed, and now their picky pup doesn’t like it. 

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Ultamino Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Ultamino

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Ultamino dry dog food offers an affordable and prescribed option for dog owners on a budget. 

This natural formula works well as a short-term elimination diet or long-term diet. It was also tested to help reduce allergic reactions due to sensitivities. 

Both Royal Canin and Hill’s z/d provide formulas with hydrolyzed proteins. These are essential for dogs with severe food allergies and reactions. But it is important to note that Royal Canin’s comes from poultry by-products

While this may not be an issue for some pet parents, you may want to avoid it if you prefer to know the exact type of ingredients your pet food includes. 

Royal Canin’s approved dog food is lower in protein for pups who struggle with breaking it down; that way, it’s easier to absorb. And coconut oil and vegetable oil help to reinforce your dog’s skin barrier with omega fatty acids to make it supple and itch-free. It also supports a shiny coat. 

An exclusive blend of fibers like dried chicory root and corn starch aid gut health. They also support dogs prone to digestive upsets because of sensitivities. 

Unlike Hill’s, Royal Canin’s company follows strict manufacturing procedures. This is to avoid cross-contamination and causing an immune response in dogs prone to digestive upsets because of sensitivities

This dog food brand follows strict manufacturing procedures to avoid cross-contamination and cause reactions.

Many pups seem to enjoy Royal Canin’s Ultamino dry pet food, with their owners suggesting that it’s the only food that keeps the stink and itching away. If your sensitive to smells though, steer clear — many owners say the food smells like rotting eggs.

Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Dermo Dry Dog Food

Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Dermo

Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Dermo dry dog food is the perfect non-prescription choice for Hill’s z/d formula. 

First, you can get this recipe without authorization, which is great if you’re looking for a fast and affordable food switch. 

Like Hill’s z/d formula, Forza10 is a limited ingredient formula. This helps your pup avoid allergic reactions as much as possible. Unlike Hill’s, Forza10 is also chicken-free, soy protein-free, and grain-free. 

Both options offer omega fatty acids and amino acids for gut health and help with your dog’s food breakdown. But Forza10 includes vegetable oil and fish oil

Forza10’s Nutraceutic Dermo diet also contains a single-source, gluten-free carbohydrate. It’s free of wheat, soy protein or other soy ingredients, and corn. This helps cut potential allergens. 

Instead of a hydrolyzed protein like Hill’s z/d, Forza10 provides anchovy meal. While this may work for some dogs, those that need hydrolyzed food will need another option on this list. 

With medicinal plant extracts and nutrients like aloe vera, this food helps combat dogs’ most common skin issues. This includes dryness, red and inflamed patches, dandruff, and coat shedding.  

Dog parents exclaim that this company and food work wonders for their pup, and they recommend it to all dogs. But some picky pups wont eat it until their mom or dad adds a topper.

How To Transition To A New Dog Food

Once you find a substitute to Hill’s z/d dog food, you may be ready to switch your dog right away. But it’s crucial to transition your dog’s diet over time.

If not, the rapid change can cause tummy upset, allergy reactions, and symptoms like vomiting in extreme cases. 

You should always transition to new dog food slowly to avoid these potential problems. But it’s not as hard as it seems. This transition only lasts around seven to ten days for pups with food allergies or sensitivities.

To get started, feed a small amount of the new kibble to your dog’s current food. Every day you can increase the amount of new food and decrease the old formula. 

After around day seven, you should feed the new recipe to your pup. Of course, you should always consult your veterinarian before switching to a new diet.

Our Verdict

While Hill’s Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities Dog Food is perfect for dogs with severe allergies, there are other options. 

These dog food brands are our top choices. But the best dog foods will contain novel or hydrolyzed proteins, plenty of nutrients, and fatty acids, and avoid common allergens. 

Most of the formulas on this list need veterinary authorization. But we have options for pet parents who want non-prescribed dog food. 

Be sure to discuss the best dog food for food allergies with your veterinarian.  

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Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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