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Best Foods for Dogs with Allergies (Chosen By a Vet)

Our veterinarians research and recommend the best products. Learn more about our process. We may receive a commission on purchases made from our links.

Just like in humans, allergies aren’t uncommon in dogs and require special diets. There are plenty of special foods for dogs with allergies on the market, but they’re not all of equal quality. To help you sort the good from the bad, we’ve put together this guide.

Our vet advisor, Dr. Danielle Morosco, selected all of the products we recommend here. Dr. Morosco’s top pick is Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food because it’s made with ingredients that are rarely allergens, plus it’s packed with healthy ingredients to help your pet’s digestion and overall health.

Our Vet’s Top Pick

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food is the best food for dogs with allergies.

Of course, allergies aren’t the only reason you need to be careful about what your dog eats. Make sure you also know what foods are and are not safe for dogs in general too.

Our Vet’s Top 5 Foods for Dogs with Allergies

Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different models.

Editor’s Picks Brand Rating Wet or Dry Life Stage-Specific Formulas Weight Management
Best Overall Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food 4.7 Dry
Best Budget Buy Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Whitefish & Sweet Potato 4.6 Dry
Best for Skin Allergies Royal Canin Ultamino Dry Dog Food 4.6 Dry
Best Single Protein Purina HA Hydrolyzed Protein 4.6 Dry
Best Wet Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Wet Dog Food 4.3 Wet

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Who Should Buy Food for Dogs with Allergies

  • Owners of dogs with food allergies – Obviously, if your dog has food allergies, a food that doesn’t contain your dog’s allergen or allergens is essential. There are many foods on the market that are formulated to include as few common allergens as possible. Always check the ingredients list of the food before buying, though, just to be sure, especially if your dog has a less common food allergen.
  • Owners of dogs with sensitive skin or environmental allergies – Environmental allergens are actually more common than food allergens in dogs. For most dogs with environmental allergens, the most prevalent symptom is itching. Foods for dogs with allergies often contain nutrients like fatty acids that help soothe itchy, dry, or irritated skin. However, there are other skin conditions that can cause these same symptoms and benefit from these same ingredients, so owners of dogs with these conditions may also want to look into a food for dogs with allergies.
  • Owners of dogs with sensitive stomachs  Similarly, because digestive problems are a common symptom of allergies, especially food allergies, dog foods for allergies frequently contain ingredients that are easy for dogs to digest. Therefore, dogs with sensitive stomachs, even for reasons other than allergies, may benefit from these easy-to-digest foods.

Who Should Not Buy Food for Dogs with Allergies

  • Dogs without sensitivities – If your dog doesn’t have allergies or other sensitivities, there’s probably no reason to buy them allergy-friendly dog food. There’s no benefit to going with these foods if your dog doesn’t need the special diet and they’re often pricier than other foods. You can just go with whatever healthy dog food they enjoy and meets their needs. If you have questions or concerns about what food to feed your dog, talk to your vet.

Research Tips from a Veterinarian

As a veterinarian, I get a lot of questions from pet parents on what they should feed their dogs, especially if their dog has dietary restrictions and other health issues like allergies. When deciding what to feed your dog, don’t forget to consult other pet owners, your own veterinarian, and other reputable resources. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a food for your dog with allergies:

  1. Look for foods that are either a hydrolyzed protein or a novel protein if you have a dog with a suspected food allergy – Novel proteins are those that are not typically found in dog foods and will be less likely to trigger an immune response in your dog. Rabbit, venison, kangaroo, and duck are good choices if looking into novel proteins.
  2. Don’t worry about by-products – Don’t shy away from high-quality foods with by-products. These ingredients don’t necessarily mean that food is of lesser quality. Dogs in the wild and their ancestors ate all parts of the animal, including what we label today as a “by-product.”
  3. Avoid grain-free unless your dog is known to have a grain allergy – While grain-free diets have come into fashion for dogs, the FDA has issued a statement on the potential link between grain-free diets and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a potentially fatal heart disease. Grain allergies in dogs are quite rare. Sensitivities to proteins, especially poultry and beef, are far more common.
  4. Check for credentials – Always check dog foods for an AAFCO statement and if it meets WSAVA guidelines. You can read more on AAFCO statements here and check out the WSAVA guidelines here.

How Much Do They Cost?

$2-6/pound

Food for dogs with allergies can cost anywhere between about $2 and $6 per pound depending on a few different factors. For one, wet food is more expensive than dry food. The extra weight of it makes it more expensive to transport, so you have to pay the difference. In addition, larger packages of food cost more overall, but cost less per pound, so buying in bulk is a great way to save money in the long run if you can justify ponying up for the higher initial price. Finally, specialty marketing allows manufacturers to justify a markup, so foods specifically marketed for dogs with allergies generally cost more (though less than prescription diets) than regular dog foods that happen to contain allergy-friendly ingredients.

Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily

As a veterinarian, I spend a lot of time talking with both pet owners and other veterinarians about the best, healthiest diets for dogs. That includes a lot of time talking about specialty diets, such as diets for dogs with allergies. The products I’ve chosen here were all selected based on that experience, as well as my own experience as a pet owner. I chose these dog foods because of their allergy-friendly and easy-to-digest ingredients, nutrient-rich formulas, and other features. – Dr. Danielle Morosco, DVM

The Best Foods for Dogs with Allergies: Full Reviews

Our Vet’s Top Pick

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food is the best food for dogs with allergies.

Our top pick is Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food. Salmon is the first ingredient and main protein. Salmon isn’t a common allergen so it’s far less likely for dogs to have an allergic response than with other protein sources. It also doesn’t contain wheat, corn, or soy, which can also be allergens for dogs.

This food does contain fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and sunflower oil, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids support healthy skin and joints. It’s also rich in antioxidants to support a  healthy immune system and both prebiotic fiber and live probiotics to help with digestion. Unlike more specialty dog foods, this dog food doesn’t require a prescription from a veterinarian.

Pros
  • Salmon is the first ingredient and main protein
  • Rich in omega fatty acids
  • Contain prebiotic fiber and live probiotics
  • Doesn’t require a prescription
Cons
  • Contains beef fat in small amounts
  • Higher fat content may not be good for all diets
Best Budget Buy

Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Whitefish & Sweet Potato

Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Whitefish & Sweet Potato is a great option for dog owners on a budget.

Unfortunately, specialty diets for dogs can often cost a lot of money, which not all dog owners have. Fortunately, Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Whitefish & Sweet Potato is a high-quality, allergy-friendly dog food that doesn’t cost a lot. The first ingredient and main protein source of this food is whitefish, which is not a common allergen and is a high-quality source of protein.

Sweet potatoes and oatmeal provide healthy sources of fiber, while flaxseed and vitamins E and A promote healthy skin. It contains no fillers or artificial preservatives and is made in US facilities from globally sourced ingredients.

Pros
  • Whitefish is the first ingredient and is a high-quality protein source
  • Contains sweet potatoes and oatmeal as excellent sources of fiber
  • Added Vitamins A and E, plus flaxseed to promote healthy skin
  • Doesn’t require a prescription
Cons
  • Pieces may be too large for small dogs
  • May not appeal to picky eaters
Best for Skin Allergies

Royal Canin Ultamino Dry Dog Food

Dogs with allergy symptoms that effect their skin will do great with Royal Canin Ultamino Dry Dog Food.

Check Price

Royal Canin Ultamino Dry Dog Food is one of the most hydrolyzed diets on the market with healthy poultry by-products as the main protein. Hydrolysis is a process that uses water to break down proteins into smaller pieces so that the immune system will no longer react to them, preventing an allergic reaction. This is helpful for dogs with food allergies, as well as dogs that suffer from inflammatory bowel disease.

This food contains added omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and amino acids to support healthy skin and prevent irritation caused by allergies and sensitivities. It also contains a blend of fibers that helps promote healthy digestion and prevent upset stomachs, a common symptom of allergies. You do need to get a prescription from your vet to be able to purchase this food, however.

Pros
  • One of the most hydrolyzed diets on the market
  • Added omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin
  • Strict manufacturing procedures prevent cross-contamination
  • Supports healthy digestion with a blend of fibers
Cons
  • Requires a prescription
  • Pricey
Best Single Protein

Purina HA Hydrolyzed Protein

Purina HA Hydrolyzed Protein contains just a single protein source.

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Purina HA Hydrolyzed Protein was specially formulated by nutritionists, veterinarians, and researchers to be easy to digest and support the best possible nutrient absorption. It contains a single hydrolyzed protein source, chicken, though there are also salmon and vegetarian formulas.

This food also contains a single carbohydrate source to limit the number of ingredients to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction. All in all, this good is formulated to promote nutrient absorption and be as easy to digest as possible. However, it does require a prescription from a vet for purchase.

Pros
  • Single hydrolyzed protein source
  • Single carbohydrate source
  • Chicken flavor that dogs will love
  • Great for sensitive skin and stomachs
Cons
  • Requires a prescription
  • Pricey
Best Wet

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Wet Dog Food

For owners who want to provide their dog with wet food, Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Wet Dog Food is a great choice.

Most dogs love wet food and it’s also a great additional source of hydration for dogs. If you’re looking for a wet food that’s suitable for dogs with allergies, Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Wet Dog Food is the wet food version of our overall top pick and is our recommended wet food for dogs with allergies.

Like our top pick, it’s salmon based and contains no corn, wheat, or soy as well as no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It also contains easily digestible rice and oatmeal for carbohydrates and both prebiotic fiber and live probiotics to make the food easier to digest and promote overall digestive health. Linoleic acid promotes healthy skin and coat.

Pros
  • Main protein comes from fish
  • Rich in omega fatty acids
  • Contain prebiotic fiber and live probiotics
  • Doesn’t require a prescription
Cons
  • Strong small which humans may not like
  • Wet food can cause digestive problems in some dogs, especially if suddenly added to their diet

Frequently Asked Questions

What food is best for a dog with allergies?

Our vet’s top pick for dogs with allergies is Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food. Its first ingredient is salmon, which is healthy and much less common allergen than chicken or beef. It’s rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and contains both prebiotics and probiotics. Unlike more specialty foods, you can get Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach without a prescription from your vet.
What is the best food for a dog with itchy skin?

Itchy skin is a common symptom of allergies. If a food allergy causing your dog’s itchy skin, any food without your dog’s allergens in them should help improve their skin. However, some foods contain extra ingredients that can help soothe itchy skin caused by environmental allergies. For example, Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food is salmon-based, so it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains sunflower oil, which provides omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids promote healthy skin. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Wet Dog Food also contains omega-6 fatty acids, plus the extra hydration from the wet food can help with dry skin.
What foods should dogs with allergies avoid?

Dogs with allergies should avoid common allergens like beef, dairy, wheat, and eggs. Unfortunately, a lot of dog foods contain one or more of these ingredients, so owners of dogs with allergies should carefully check the label of any food or treat before they buy it. Other common allergens in dogs include chicken, lamb, soy, and corn.
What is the most common food allergy in dogs?

Beef is the single most common food allergy in dogs, but many dog foods are beef-based. Obviously, if your dog has a beef allergy, you’ll want to avoid foods and treats that contain beef. However, if you suspect your dog has food allergies but aren’t sure what they’re allergic to, eliminating beef from their diet is a good place to start.

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If you have additional questions about the right dog food for your new puppy, we’ve created a series of resources to help you get the information you need:

A series of deep dives on different categories of dog food, including: