Best Dog Food for Allergies in 2022

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golden retriever licking paw

Sensitivities aren’t always related to the food your dog eats, but certain ingredients can trigger symptoms. The best dog food for allergies won’t give your pup stomach or skin issues.

Have you noticed that your dog has been scratching, has bloat or gas, or licks their paws? If so, it’s essential to get your dog food that meets their needs. 

My favorite choice is Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free dry dog food. It has a simple and limited ingredient list, and is easy to digest. 

While it’s a great option, we have also listed other choices as well for all life stages — from puppy food to an option that aids in weight loss.

Our Best Dog Food for Allergies

  1. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Overall for Allergies)
  2. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Puppies With Allergies)
  3. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Senior Dry Dog Food (Best for Seniors With Allergies)
  4. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food (Best for Small Breeds With Allergies)
  5. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Large Breeds With Allergies)
  6. American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Dog Food)
  7. ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Dog Food)
  8. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Dog Food)
  9. FirstMate Weight Control Limited Ingredient Diet Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Weight Control Dog Food)
  10. My Ollie Dog Food (Best Fresh Dog Food)

10 Best Dog Foods for Allergies Reviewed 

The dog foods and brands listed below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog’s food, please see your veterinarian as they will be able to help with allergy testing. 


Best for Adults

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance LID Grain Free Salmon
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava Flour, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 373 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free dry dog food for adult dogs with allergies

One of the easiest ways to avoid allergens is to choose a dog food with as few allergens as possible. 

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets dry dog food is the perfect choice for adult dogs. It has only 12 ingredients (plus vitamins and minerals), and it’s free of wheat, soy, corn, peas, and chicken. 

It also features real salmon as the very first ingredient. This offers a terrific source of protein for adult dogs and provides omega fatty acids, which can help soothe sensitive skin as well as lubricate joints for movement. 

This formula is grain-free and includes sweet potatoes as an easy-to-digest source of carbohydrates. These provide prebiotic fiber for digestion, and vitamin C to boost your dog’s immune system. 

Natural Balance L.I.D is formulated by a team of veterinarians and animal nutritionists with over 125 years of combined experience. It’s produced in the USA and doesn’t contain pea protein, lentils, legumes, or artificial preservatives. 

Pet owners love that this food offers a single source protein for their food-sensitive dog. However, they do recommend the kibble for medium or large dogs since the size can cause smaller pups to choke.


Best for Puppies

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 408 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Gluten-free puppy food with probiotics and essential acids for immune support

Food allergies typically surface during puppyhood. Because of this, you’ll want to feed your young dog balanced nutrition without the biggest allergen culprits — poultry, beef, and wheat.

But you’ll also need an option that supports healthy and consistent growth. 

That’s where Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy dry dog food comes in. This grain-free formula gives puppies the vitamins and minerals they need without the ingredients they don’t. 

This recipe starts with red salmon — a novel protein that’s easy to digest, and that includes a healthy dose of Omega-3s for skin and coats. 

Sweet potatoes and peas provide a boost of energy and fiber for healthy digestion all day long. Plus, peas include vitamins C and E. These help with a healthy immune system and help prevent inflammation. 

Tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries include high sources of antioxidants too. These help support your pup’s immune system and sensitive skin. And, by building their immune system, you’re also helping them fight allergy symptoms. 

Owners noted a positive change in coat health — along with reduced itching and scratching. 

This food also seems like a great alternative for dogs that like chicken but can’t eat it due to allergies.


Best for Seniors

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Senior Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics LID Senior Turkey
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Potatoes, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 18% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 348 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient dry dog food with antioxidants for senior dogs

Dogs have lifelong allergies. If that’s the case for your furry friend, many dog foods can support their aging while avoiding top allergens. 

Our favorite choice is Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Senior dry dog food. It’s made with just 12 ingredients, not including vitamins and minerals. And, it consists of all of the nutrients that senior dogs need. 

This recipe starts with real turkey. While chicken is a common allergen, turkey is usually safe and is rarer for your pup to react to. Plus, turkey has taurine, chondroitin, and glucosamine — which help with joint health, mobility, and heart health. 

Pumpkin, potatoes, and peas offer easily digestible carbohydrates. Pumpkin also includes natural probiotics for metabolism support and immune function. 

Blue Buffalo is crafted with their exclusive “LifeSource Bits”. These ingredients are a combination of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins which boost the immune system and nourish the brain. 

This formula is free from chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs. 

Pet parents have mentioned that this food helped their dog with incontinence issues due to age, as well as making their coat shinier. However, since this is a higher fiber diet, be sure to not overfeed your pooch. 


Best for Small Breeds

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Grain Free PURE LID Bison
  • First 5 Ingredients: Bison, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Lentils
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27.5% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 445 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free dog food with small kibble size for toy and small breeds

Smaller breeds need kibble that they can chew. If they need to avoid allergens, finding something that fits both may be challenging. But CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient dry dog food fits the bill for both needs.

This formula is made for dogs with sensitivities. It includes only 10 wholesome and nutritious ingredients. And, it’s free of corn, wheat, soy, and chicken.

Real bison is the first ingredient. This high-protein ingredient helps with muscle support, and includes B vitamins for energy and essential fatty acids for joint health. 

Sweet potatoes and carrots add pre and probiotics to aid digestive health. And, they both include vitamins A and C for eye health and immune system support. 

After cooking, CANIDAE Grain-Free Pure is fortified with their “HealthPLUS” blend. It includes probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 acids. 

It is important to note that this food isn’t super popular amongst many picky eaters. Many pet owners have noted that their dogs were fussy, even with this option.

However, if you’re willing to take the chance, many owners love that it helps soothe their pup’s skin and keep them from feeling itchy. 


Best for Large Breeds

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct LID Grain Free Real Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Lamb, Tapioca, Peas, Canola Oil
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 21.5% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 447 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient and grain-free formula for large breeds

This kibble has a super simple ingredient list and contains just one animal protein and one vegetable, ideal for any dog with allergies. 

It starts with lamb meal and real deboned raw lamb. This protein is gentle on digestion and is chock full of vitamins. It includes selenium, iron, and B vitamins, all of which help support your dog’s heart health, immune system, and even energy levels. 

Peas are the only vegetable added to this formula. These provide easy-to-digest carbs that regulate digestion and help with a sensitive stomach. 

This formula is free of grain, dairy, eggs, chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, and preservatives. It’s made in the US using premium ingredients from around the world. 

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet is incredibly helpful for dogs with yeast overgrowth, according to many reviews and ratings. And, it includes montmorillonite clay as a more natural anti-secretory agent option.


Best Budget Food

American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 327 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and limited ingredient formula for dog owners on a budget

Supporting your dog and helping them avoid allergens may seem like an expensive feat — but it doesn’t have to be. There are many options for dog owners on a budget who need to avoid certain ingredients. 

American Journey Limited Ingredient dry dog food is my favorite choice. It includes a high-quality and single animal protein source — real deboned salmon. This helps maintain lean muscles and is an easy-to-digest meat source. 

To nourish your dog’s skin and coat, flaxseed and sunflower oil supply essential amino acids. They deliver fuel for energy and help your dog avoid itchy skin. While coconut or salmon oil would be better, these options can still supply omega-3s (and are more budget-friendly ingredients). 

Peas and sweet potatoes make this formula grain-free. But, they offer prebiotic fiber for digestion and to help nourish sensitive stomachs.

American Journey Limited Ingredient dry dog food doesn’t include corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meals. It’s also free of artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. 

While this is a budget option, many owners loved that their picky dogs found the food delicious. Many of them mentioned that the food also doesn’t smell and naturally contains taurine.


Best Premium Food

ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Six Fish Grain Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Whole Mackerel, Whole Herring, Monkfish, Acadian Redfish, Flounder
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 468 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-quality and premium grain-free and chicken-free dog food

Want to spoil your pup with high-protein food that nourishes their skin? ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free dry dog food is a premium choice that has raw protein which provides a nutrient-dense diet. 

The first five ingredients are fresh or raw animal protein. These include whole raw mackerel, whole herring, and monkfish.

These WholePrey animal ingredients also include organs and bone, and this delivers 85% quality fish ingredients and offers 38% Crude Protein — perfect for active dogs that can’t eat common allergens like chicken or beef.

Whole red lentils and pinto beans aid in healthy digestion and also include protein, providing additional muscle and joint support. 

While lentils aren’t a common allergen, some dogs can be sensitive to them. So keep that in mind and make sure to watch for allergy symptoms if you choose this food. 

This formula is made in the US with sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients.

Pet parents have complained that this food is highly fishy, and they have to hide it away or keep it completely covered to keep it from smelling.

However, the fish ingredients do help keep their dog’s coat healthy, and many recommend it for dogs with itchy skin or shedding coats.


Best Wet Food

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Wellness Simple LID Grain Free Turkey Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Potatoes, Ground Flaxseed, Carrageena
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 469 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-protein wet food with 4 ingredients to reduce allergy symptoms

Not all dogs enjoy kibble. If your pup is picky, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet wet food is a great option. 

This grain-free recipe features a single source of protein and easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Plus, it’s free of fillers and additives that can affect sensitive dogs. 

First, it starts with real turkey and turkey broth. While turkey is poultry, it’s not as common of an allergen, and — for many dogs — it’s a safe alternative to chicken. It also includes natural sources of glucosamine and taurine for joint and heart health. 

Potatoes are high in prebiotics and fiber. This makes them an excellent addition for gut health. And, flaxseed provides omega-3s to reduce skin allergies. Since these cause itchy and dry skin, this anti-inflammatory ingredient is essential.

This formula contains no meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives. It’s also free of wheat, corn, soy, peas, and chicken. 

Owners of picky dogs love that this food keeps their pup’s tummy troubles at bay. And many note that it helps with loose stools and constipation, keeping their dog’s routine regular.


Best for Weight Loss

FirstMate Weight Control Limited Ingredient Diet Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

FirstMate Weight Control LID Senior Pacific Ocean
  • First 5 Ingredients: Potato, Pacific Ocean Fish Meal, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat, Fish Oi
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 18% Crude Protein, 8% Crude Fat, 8% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 474 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-calorie limited ingredient dog food for metabolism control and weight loss

If your pup struggles with their weight and needs allergy-free nutrition, it may seem almost impossible to find them a great food. 

FirstMate’s Pacific Ocean Fish Weight Control formula helps overweight dogs shed extra pounds. And, it does so without using triggering ingredients like beef or wheat.

This formula starts with wild fish from the herring family as a single source, novel protein. This protein also helps reduce calories and fat while still offering glucosamine and omega fatty acids for joints and healthy skin. 

It also has a single carbohydrate source — potatoes. These offer a grain-free and easily digestible fiber for sensitive tummies. 

FirstMate Pacific Ocean Fish Weight Control is an excellent option for dogs who need an elimination diet. With less than 5 ingredients, it’s perfect for owners who aren’t sure what allergies their dog may have. 

All FirstMate formulations are manufactured at their plant located in Chilliwack, B.C. Canada. 

While this food was made to help dogs lose and maintain a healthy weight, there are other benefits too. Owners who have dogs with kidney issues love that this food is lower in protein — keeping their dog’s health issues in check.


Best Fresh Food

My Ollie Lamb

Ollie Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Butternut Squash, Lamb Liver, Kale, Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 341 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Fresh food customized to your dog’s needs

Looking for fresh and human-grade dog food to spoil your pup with? Why not try a brand that’s customized to your dog’s individual needs? 

To make sure your dog is eating the best food for them, you’ll start with Ollie’s quiz. They’ll ask about your dog’s weight, allergies, and if they’re spayed or neutered. They’ll also ask about their activity level and other environmental questions. 

Once you fill out the quiz, Ollie will calculate the perfect diet for your pup. 

They have four different recipe options — beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey. Of course, the best option for allergies would be lamb, but turkey may work well too. The lamb recipe includes kale and butternut squash for antioxidants and rice as a wheat-free grain.

After you’ve chosen your dog’s favorite recipe, Ollie will ship out fresh food every two weeks. It will come with a feeding guide, storage container, and scoop. 

Owners love that this food is made with human-grade ingredients and say this is the only formula that their picky dogs gobble up.

But, many of them also mention that instead of feeding the food straight out of the package, you should add a bit of warm water to it. 


dog on bed licking paw

Guide to Buying Dog Food for Allergies

It can seem difficult to stick to a specific diet if your dog has food allergies. But, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what to look for. 

Dog Food Allergies

The most common allergens for dogs are chicken, beef, wheat, soy, and preservatives like BHT. But, your dog may be allergic to other ingredients as well.

Eliminating their trigger foods upfront can be helpful, but you may find that your dog still shows allergy symptoms — even after switching their food. 

Top symptoms include constant scratching, licking their paws, and watery or red-rimmed eyes. If you’ve already removed the top allergens from your dog’s diet, the next step is an elimination diet. 

How does this diet work? You’ll get a prescription for special food or a recipe to make at home from your veterinarian. 

From there, you’ll keep your dog on the diet for a few weeks. Then, you’ll reintroduce different ingredients back into their diet. If they start having reactions, you’ll know which components they’re allergic to.

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

While people use these terms interchangeably, there’s a difference between allergies and intolerances.

A food allergy happens when the immune system reacts to generally harmless food. For example, some dogs are allergic to chicken, even though many can eat it fine. But, an allergy can cause extreme symptoms, like rashes and even difficulty breathing. 

An intolerance is more like a chemical reaction. When this happens, your dog may get tummy troubles at worst. This is similar to humans having a lactose or gluten intolerance.

While it may not cause a life threatening symptom, it can cause discomfort and other symptoms like diarrhea.

And, because items like dairy, wheat, and soy can cause intolerances, they can be hard for your dog to digest. 

To sum it up, common allergens will never go away, but food intolerances are more acute. A food intolerance won’t cause a reaction in their immune system, but it can have moderate symptoms like a belly ache if a food intolerance is consumed too much.  

Different Types of Dog Food for Allergies

Most dog food choices for common allergens will fall in one of two categories: limited ingredient or hypoallergenic. 

A limited ingredient diet is what it says — limited ingredients in one bag of food. Most of these diets drop most allergens by keeping their ingredient list short. But, this doesn’t mean that they get rid of all possible sensitivities. Some foods still include eggs or soy, which dogs can be allergic to. 

If your dog has a lot of allergies, a hypoallergenic diet may be the better option. These usually cut all possible allergens, even those that may not be very common. And, they tend to have even fewer ingredients than limited diet options.

What to Look For in Food for Allergies

When looking for allergy-friendly food, you should focus on novel proteins. These ingredients haven’t been over-exposed to dogs in the past. A few examples are bison, lamb, venison, rabbit, or even insects!  

If your dog is allergic to wheat or grains, a grain-free diet is helpful as well. There are many options on the market today, including ingredients like potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, and peas as better alternatives. 

Coconut oil, fish meal, fish oil, and flaxseeds are great ways to nourish and protect dry or itchy skin. Plus, these ingredients offer essential fatty acids and other vitamins for joint and muscle health as well. 

Last but not least, avoid fillers like artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. And, even if your dog isn’t allergic, avoiding corn and soy can also be helpful. 

Our Verdict

The best dog food for allergies will provide quality nutrition without flareups. 

Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a great choice that can work for many dogs — no matter what they’re allergic to, or what their daily activities consist of. 

However, the other options on this list are great too! From food for different life stages, to dogs that need something a little extra. No matter what your dog needs, any choice on this list is a good one.

FAQ 

Want to know more about how allergies may affect your dog? Here are some questions and answers!

What foods should dogs with allergies avoid?

Dogs with allergies need to avoid foods that can cause reactions. These include poultry, by-products, and artificial ingredients. Depending on your pup’s needs, there may be other foods and ingredients to avoid as well. 

What are the most common types of allergies in dogs?

The top allergens include chicken, beef, soy, wheat, eggs, and dairy. Chicken and beef are the top offenders and can usually be eliminated right away. 
How common are food allergies in dogs?

How common are food allergies in dogs?

More common than you think! Food allergies can affect a wide array of dog breeds. This is why grain-free and limited ingredient diets are becoming popular. 

And, some breeds are more prone to allergies. These include Shih Tzu, Dalmatians, Boxers, and Golden Retrievers.

What is the most common food allergy in dogs?

The food allergy that most dogs come in contact with is protein. The biggest culprits in this category are chicken and beef. But other common allergies are to wheat, soy, and corn. So your dog’s carbohydrate sources are important to check as well. 

What is the best protein for dogs with allergies?

Fish (especially salmon), lamb, and bison are all great options for dogs with allergies. 

Does grain-free dog food help with skin allergies?

It can — especially if wheat or grains trigger your dog’s symptoms. Most limited ingredient diets automatically eliminate grains. It’s essential to do an elimination diet or keep watch over your dog’s symptoms. If you notice feeding them grains makes them sick, remove them. 

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AUTHOR
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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