The 4 Best Dog Food for Allergies (Adult, Puppy, Senior)

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Updated: September 5, 2022

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The Top Dog Foods For Dogs With Allergies – Limited Ingredient & Hypoallergenic

Have you noticed that your dog is suffering from recurring ear infections or yeast infections? Does your dog seem to be excessively biting to scratching their skin, ears, or paws? Do they have a sensitive stomach or suffer from bloating, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your dog may be suffering from allergies. Allergies in dogs are often caused by an ingredient in their food, so trying a new food may help eliminate the cause of their allergies. Before trying new food, it is important to consult with your veterinarian if you think your dog is suffering from allergies. They can help you identify the cause of the allergies, so you can eliminate the right food(s) from your dog’s diet.

In most cases, veterinarians will recommend a limited ingredient diet with allergies. These diets include fewer ingredients, which can help you pinpoint the specific ingredient that is causing your dog such troubles.

If a limited ingredient diet is effective, a veterinarian may recommend switching to hypoallergenic dog food. Hypoallergenic foods are formulated with chemically split, or hydrolyzed proteins. This process prevents the allergen from irritating a dog’s immune system. In many cases, a veterinarian will need to prescribe hypoallergenic dog food, but there are a few that can be purchased online as well.

For 2022 we’ve updated our rankings for the best dog food for allergies and replaced our previous ‘best for puppies’ choice with a new limited ingredient option.

Our Criteria

Having a dog with a sensitive stomach or even allergy to a particular ingredient in dog food can be very tricky, as many dog foods on the market don’t cater to these pups. Luckily, brands are adapting quickly or coming out with new products to better suit the different needs of dogs pretty much yearly. When looking into which food may suit your pup best, it is always important to discuss the change with your doctor, as there might be another, deeper issue going on. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, your veterinarian can help you come up with a plan to eliminate ingredients from the diet and narrow down which foods may suit your pup. While it may seem a long and arduous process, it is 100% worth it to keep your furry friend as healthy and happy as possible and to lessen your stress over potty issues or your pet’s discomfort.

In my personal experience, my dog can eat pretty much whatever he wants (and can get into). However, he will randomly have bouts of upset stomach for seemingly no reason. My veterinarian has helped me come up with a plan and simple diet to feed in these times of turmoil and is always willing to discuss a further plan-of-action if anything changes in his normal eating habits. Working as a veterinary technician, on the other hand, I have encountered many pups with sensitive skin or stomachs based on everyday proteins in their food that may be unsuspecting. So, while not too common, these issues definitely occur and I have seen so many be relieved through correct changes in diet.

  1. CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
  2. CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
    $71.27
    • The limited number of ingredients in this food can help when you’re trying to identify an allergen for your pup.
    • The formula is rich in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids that will help improve your dog’s skin and enhance the shine on their coat.
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. ZIGNATURE Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  4. ZIGNATURE Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
    • Dogs who are allergic to many of the typical proteins found in dog food might like the Zignature Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.
    • The formula for this food is enriched with taurine and L-carnitine. Taurine is an amino acid that supports a dog’s immune system, cardiovascular system, and eye health.
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. PURINA PRO PLAN Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
  6. PURINA PRO PLAN Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
    • The formula is fortified with live probiotics to aid with digestion and support overall immune health
    • The first ingredient in this high protein food is salmon.
    • It does not contain any artificial colors or flavors.
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Senior Canned Dog Food
  8. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Senior Canned Dog Food
    • Limited-ingredient diet for senior dogs with food sensitivities.
    • Serve as a special treat, mixed-in with other food or as an entrée.
    • Does not contain any chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, grain, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.


    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. 5Strands Pet Environmental Intolerance Test
  10. 5Strands Pet Environmental Intolerance Test
    • Test for 105 different environmental factors
    • Uses a hair sample
    • Fast results
    • Holistic approach
    Check Amazon

Our Top Picks for Best Dog Food for Allergies: Ranked for 2022

1. Best Overall: Canidae Pure Real Salmon

The best allergy-friendly, hypoallergenic dog food is the Canidae Pure Real Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe. The same dog food is also our top choice for puppies with allergies. This limited ingredient dry food is made using only 8 safe and natural ingredients. These ingredients are salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, and sun-cured alfalfa. Additional natural flavors vitamins, minerals, and probiotics are also added to the recipe to make it more appealing and healthier for dogs.

The limited number of ingredients in this food can help when you’re trying to identify an allergen for your pup. It can also be a good choice if they’re allergic to some of the most common allergens, like chicken, beef, dairy, or eggs since the formula for this food does not contain any of those ingredients.

The formula is rich in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids that will help improve your dog’s skin and enhance the shine on their coat. This can be especially beneficial if they have been dealing with skin allergies. Additionally, this formula is also antioxidant-rich to support a dog’s immune system.

Canidae offers other limited ingredient recipes including Duck & Sweet Potato, Chicken, Lentil, & Pea, Healthy Weight Chicken, Lamb & Pea, and Lamb, Goat, & Venison.

Best Grain Free
CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
$71.27
  • The limited number of ingredients in this food can help when you’re trying to identify an allergen for your pup.
  • The formula is rich in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids that will help improve your dog’s skin and enhance the shine on their coat.
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Novel Protein: Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient

Dogs who are allergic to many of the typical proteins found in dog food might like the Zignature Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This food features more novel proteins that dogs are less likely to be allergic to. The available flavor options include Kangaroo, Catfish, Goat, Guinea Fowl, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Trout & Salmon, Whitefish, Duck, Venison, and Turkey.

Each flavor option features just one protein source and lists the meat (or fish) as the first ingredient. This dog food is designed to provide complete and balanced nutrition to keep dogs happy, healthy, and thriving. Common allergens, such a chicken, dairy, corn, wheat, soy, chicken eggs, and chicken-by products are excluded from the ingredient list for each of these novel protein flavors.

The formula for this food is enriched with taurine and L-carnitine. Taurine is an amino acid that supports a dog’s immune system, cardiovascular system, and eye health. L-carnitine helps a dog’s body convert fat into energy.

Best Novel Protein
ZIGNATURE Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Dogs who are allergic to many of the typical proteins found in dog food might like the Zignature Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.
  • The formula for this food is enriched with taurine and L-carnitine. Taurine is an amino acid that supports a dog’s immune system, cardiovascular system, and eye health.
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Sensitive Stomach: Purina Pro Sensitive Skin & Stomach

If your dog has a sensitive stomach or has been dealing with skin allergies, consider trying Purina Pro Plan’s Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula. This dry dog food has a delicious salmon and rice flavor that dogs are sure to love.

The formula is fortified with live probiotics to aid with digestion and support overall immune health. Oatmeal was also selected to include in this food since it is very easy to digest. Additionally, omega 6 fatty acid-rich sunflower oil is included in the formula for this food to help improve the health of a dog’s skin and coat.

The first ingredient in this high protein food is salmon. It does not contain any artificial colors or flavors. The ingredient list is also free of common allergens such as corn, wheat, soy, and poultry.

If you have a smaller dog, this food is also available in a small breed formula.

Best for Sensitive Stomach
PURINA PRO PLAN Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
  • The formula is fortified with live probiotics to aid with digestion and support overall immune health
  • The first ingredient in this high protein food is salmon.
  • It does not contain any artificial colors or flavors.
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Seniors: Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Dog Limited Ingredient

The Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Dog Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Food is our top pick for older dogs with allergies. Many seniors prefer wet food since it is easier to chew and digest. This limited ingredient food offers turkey as its single protein source to help with identifying allergies or finding the right food for a dog suffering from multiple allergies.

The food is also grain-free to accommodate the needs of seniors with allergies or sensitivities to grains. Common allergens, such as chicken, corn, wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, and wheat, are left out of this food. Blue Buffalo chose only safe and natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals when formulating this food.

To support an aging dog’s mobility and overall joint health, this formula is also enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin. This wet food can be fed to seniors as a meal on its own, or you can choose to mix it in with your dog’s dry food.

Best for Seniors
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Senior Canned Dog Food
  • Limited-ingredient diet for senior dogs with food sensitivities.
  • Serve as a special treat, mixed-in with other food or as an entrée.
  • Does not contain any chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, grain, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.


Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best for Puppies: Canidae Grain-Free PURE Real Salmon and Sweet Potato

We recommend trying the Grain-Free Pure Real Salmon and Sweet Potato from Canidae for puppies struggling with food allergies or sensitivities.Even young puppies may develop an allergy. Finding a limited ingredient food that is specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of puppies is important. The first five ingredients in this food are salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, and peas.

The food is grain-free, which is a great choice for puppies with allergies. It has a limited ingredient profile and comes in 4, 12, and 24lb bags.

The Canidate Grain-Free PURE dog food also doesn’t contain soy, corn, wheat, and other fillers that other lesser brands will add and can often upset your dog’s digestion.

The food is produced domestically in the USA at a Texas facility, and has a robust dose of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for your growing pup.

Best Grain Free
CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
$71.27
  • The limited number of ingredients in this food can help when you’re trying to identify an allergen for your pup.
  • The formula is rich in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids that will help improve your dog’s skin and enhance the shine on their coat.
Check Chewy Check Amazon

How to Determine What is Causing a Dog’s Allergies

Determining that your dog is suffering from food allergies is the first step. Figuring out what is causing their allergies is next and can take some time and effort. Many veterinarians recommend using an elimination diet to find out what is causing a dog’s allergies.

With an elimination diet, the first step is to stop feeding your dogs all the foods they currently are eating. Then, you’ll want to feed them a very basic diet by eating new food. Give the dog’s allergic symptoms from the old allergy time to clear up, then you can slowly start to reintroduce the old foods they were eating that may be responsible for the allergy.

If you notice a reaction to one of these foods, it will let you know that this was the cause of your dog’s allergies, and you should avoid giving them any foods with that ingredient.

While dogs could potentially be allergic to any ingredient in their food, some of the most common allergens for dogs include:

Limited Ingredient Dog Diets

If your dog is demonstrating food sensitivity A-Z Animals recommends starting limited ingredient dog foods. Limited ingredient foods have fewer inputs and less harmful fillers. This makes it easier to identify fool intolerances and allergies. Limited ingredient foods are also usually healthier as manufactures focus more on primary inputs like animal protein (Salmon, chicken) or vegetables (peas, carrots).

There are many good options for limited ingredient food today. Unlike many hypoallergenic dog foods, limited ingredient options are available at most retailers like Amazon, Petco, and Chewy and do not require a prescription.

Treating Skin Allergies With Dog Food

If your dog is demonstrating skin allergy symptoms trying a limited ingredient dog food is a good first step in identifying the underlying cause. We recommend a dog food with the smallest number of ingredients, anywhere from 5-7 would be appropraite. Skin allergies can manifest in many ways, but the most common signs include:

  • Chewing or biting the skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Rubbing rear on the floor
  • Excessive licking (more than just the paws)
  • Unexpected hair / fur loss
  • Flakey skin
  • Red, irritated skin

If a limited ingredient dog food does not isolate or identify the problem, consult your vet about switching to a prescription hypoallergenic food instead.

Food Allergies vs Food Intolerances

Oftentimes, food intolerances are mistaken for food allergies. While the two conditions can share some symptoms, they are not the same thing.

Food allergies are the result of a dog’s immune system acting as if an ingredient is dangerous. The immune system creates antibodies to fight off and protect itself against this danger. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways including itchy or sensitive skin, ear infections, yeast infections, red or irritated eyes, a sensitive stomach, or digestive issues.

Food intolerances, on the other hand, are the result of digestive problems. The dog is unable to properly digest an ingredient in the food, which can cause bloating, constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea.

The Different Types of Dog Food for Allergies: Pros and Cons Compared

The two main types of foods available for allergies include limited ingredient diets and hypoallergenic foods.

Limited Ingredient Diets

ProsCons
More readily available online If you are unsure of your dog’s allergen, it could still be present in these foods
Numerous options to choose from
Less expensive

Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

ProsCons
The hydrolyzed proteins in these foods prevent a dog’s immune system from triggering an allergy Often require a prescription
It may be a better option for dogs with multiple allergies Fewer options are available online
More expensive

Summary

RankBest forProduct
1OverallCanidae Pure Real Salmon
2Novel ProteinZignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient
3Sensitive StomachPurina Pro Sensitive Skin & Stomach
4SeniorsBlue Buffalo Basics Senior Dog Limited Ingredient
5PuppiesCanidae Grain-Free PURE Real Salmon and Sweet Potato

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

The 4 Best Dog Food for Allergies (Adult, Puppy, Senior) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the best food to give dogs with allergies?

The best food to give your dog with allergies will depend on the specific foods he or she is allergic to. Since dogs can be allergic to many different foods, the first thing you should do is to work with your veterinarian to identify the ingredient or ingredients causing your dog’s allergies. Then you can choose a dog food that is made without this ingredient.

Does grain free dog food help with skin allergies?

Grain-free food can help with skin allergies for dogs caused by corn, wheat, or other grains. Some veterinarians will recommend switching to a grain-free diet to see if it is effective when a dog develops skin allergies.

What ingredient in dog food causes allergies?

Every dog is different and could potentially be allergic to any ingredients in their food. However, there are a few ingredients that are more likely to cause a reaction than others. These include wheat, corn, beef, chicken, egg, soy, lamb, pork, rabbit, and fish.

What foods to avoid for dogs with allergies?

Working with your veterinarian to identify the specific food that is causing your dog’s allergies can help you know which foods you should avoid. Some of the more common allergens for dogs include chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, wheat, corn, lamb, soy, pork, fish, and rabbit.

How can I help my dog with allergies?

If you think your dog is suffering from allergies, overall, the best thing you can do is to schedule an appointment with his or her veterinarian. They can help you determine whether the allergies are being caused by food or something else. If they believe their allergies are food-related, your veterinarian can work with you to determine what is causing your dog’s allergies.

In many cases, they may recommend using an elimination diet. For this diet type, you’d switch to a new food that uses a different protein than what was in your original food. This may help you determine if the protein, such as chicken, in your dog’s diet was the cause of the allergies.

Your veterinarian can work with you to eliminate other potential allergens from your dog’s diet until you determine which one is the culprit for their allergies.

What are some of the main symptoms of food allergies in dogs?

There are many different ways food allergies can manifest themselves in dogs. These include infections, such as ear infections and yeast infections, sensitive skin and itching, patchy coats, irritated eyes, diarrhea, vomiting, and gas.

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

With food intolerance, dogs may suffer digestive issues or a sensitive stomach. Food allergies, on the other hand, can be more serious. Food allergies can also cause a sensitive stomach, but since they are tied to the immune system, they may also cause a dog to wheeze, cough, or even go into anaphylactic shock.

What are the benefits of a hypoallergenic diet for my dog?

A hypoallergenic diet may be recommended for dogs that are allergic to multiple ingredients. Dogs that are suffering from allergies, can experience relief in their symptoms. Their skin will feel less itchy, their stomach won’t bother them as much, and they won’t be in danger of suffering from anaphylactic shock, which could potentially kill them. Switching from foods that are causing your dog allergies will not only make him more comfortable but can also help him live a longer and healthier life.

What is an elimination diet?

An elimination diet is used to help identify the cause of a dog’s allergies. To start an elimination diet, you should take away all the different types of food your dog was preciously eating and only feed him base ingredients for a few days. Then, you can gradually introduce new foods. After the introduction of each new food, look to see if they are causing an allergic reaction. This will tell you that the new food is causing your dog’s allergies.