The 5 Best Dog Foods for Allergies (Adult, Puppy, Senior)

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: January 6, 2023
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall dog food for allergies is the Canidae Pure Real Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Food.
  • Dogs can develop allergies, just like us. Some dogs can be allergic to an ingredient in their food, while others can be allergic to something else — such as pollen.
  • There are several different types of dog food available which are suitable for pets with allergies — including limited-ingredient and hypoallergenic food.

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 sensitive stomachs 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 to treat 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 not 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 dogs with allergies and replaced our previous ‘best for puppies’ choice with a new limited ingredient option. Here are the best dog foods for dogs with allergies.

  1. CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
  2. CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
    $71.27
    • Canidae PURE Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
    • Contains real salmon, menhaden, fish meal, peas and sweet potatoes
    • 10 or fewer key ingredients for sensitive dogs
    • Antioxidants and probiotics to support healthy digestion and and immune health
    • Vitamins and minerals to support healthy joints, skin and 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. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Puppy Dry Dog Food
  10. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Puppy Dry Dog Food
    • Tasty salmon and oatmeal recipe
    • Made from only nine ingredients
    • Formulated with antioxidants and probiotics for a healthy immune system
    Check Amazon

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

#1 Best Overall: Canidae Pure Real Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food

Our selection as the best allergy-friendly dog food is the Canidae Pure Real Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food.

This limited-ingredient dry food is made using only eight 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 promote good health.

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 — such as chicken, beef, dairy, or eggs since the formula for this food does not contain any of these ingredients.

This food is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which are formulated for healthy skin and coat. This can be especially beneficial if your dog has been dealing with skin allergies. Additionally, this formula is also antioxidant-rich to support your pet’s immune system.

Canidae offers other several other limited ingredient recipes so you can choose one that suits your pet the best. However, although this food has a lot going for it, paying more than $70 for a bag of food might be difficult to stomach.

Pros and Cons of Canidae Pure Real Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This food is made using only eight safe and natural ingredients.At more than $70, this food is expensive.
This food is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which are formulated for healthy skin and coat.
This food had added vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to promote health.
There are several flavors available.
Best Overall
CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
$71.27
  • Canidae PURE Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Contains real salmon, menhaden, fish meal, peas and sweet potatoes
  • 10 or fewer key ingredients for sensitive dogs
  • Antioxidants and probiotics to support healthy digestion and and immune health
  • Vitamins and minerals to support healthy joints, skin and coat


Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for 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.

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 and 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 as 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.

However, some owners have reported that not every dog likes this food.

Pros and Cons of the Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This food features more novel proteins that dogs are less likely to be allergic to.Not every dog likes this food.
This food includes taurine and L-carnitine to promote a healthy immune and cardiovascular system.
This food does not contain any common allergens — such as dairy, wheat and soy.
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 Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

If your dog has a sensitive stomach then consider trying Purina Pro Plan’s Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula Dry Dog Food.

This food is fortified with live probiotics to aid with digestion and support overall immune health. Oatmeal is also included in this food since it is very easy to digest. Additionally, omega-6 fatty acid-rich sunflower oil is included in the formula 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 from common allergens such as corn, wheat, soy, and poultry. This means that you can be certain that your beloved pet is not ingesting many of the things that typically cause allergies in dogs.

If you have a smaller dog, this food is also available in a small breed formula. Additionally, it is available in several different flavors. However, some pup parents have reported that their pooches don’t like the salmon and rice flavor as much as the others.

Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This food is fortified with live probiotics to aid digestion and immunity.Not every dog likes the salmon and rice option.
It includes sunflower oil which is rich in omega-6 to promote healthy skin and coats.
This food does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
This food is completely free from common allergens such as soy, wheat, and dairy.
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 Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Senior Canned Dog Food

Sometimes seniors dogs can require a little extra help, and the Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Senior Canned Dog 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.

This 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. This means that you have complete peace of mind knowing that your pooch is only eating the very best ingredients.

Additionally, this food is enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin to support your aging dog’s mobility and overall joint health. 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. However, some owners have reported that their pets can sometimes be fussy about eating this food.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Senior Canned Dog Food

ProsCons
This food is grain-free to accommodate the needs of seniors with allergies or sensitivities to grains.Not every dog likes this food.
Turkey is the single protein source in this food.
This food is completely free from common allergens such as soy, wheat, and dairy.
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 Pure Limited Ingredient Puppy Dry Dog Food

For puppies that are struggling with food allergies we have selected the Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Puppy Dry Dog Food.

Even young puppies can develop allergies, but this food is made using only nine simple ingredients which are perfect for puppies who struggle with a sensitive stomach. It is completely free from the most common allergens — such as soy, dairy, and wheat. It is also formulated as a tasty salmon and oatmeal using real salmon. This means that you can trust that the newest member of your family is only eating the very best ingredients.

This food includes antioxidants and probiotics which are specially formulated to support your pup’s digestive and immune system, while the added vitamins and minerals promote joint health.

However, the only drawback to this food is that sometimes it can be a little crumbly for some pup’s liking.

Pros and Cons of Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Puppy Dry Dog Food

This food is made from only nine simple ingredients.It can be a little crumbly for some pup’s liking.
It includes antioxidants and probiotics which are specially formulated to support the digestive and immune systems.
The added vitamins and minerals promote healthy joints.
Best for Puppies
Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Tasty salmon and oatmeal recipe
  • Made from only nine ingredients
  • Formulated with antioxidants and probiotics for a healthy immune system
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:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Rabbit

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, or vomiting.

Our Criteria

Having a dog with a sensitive stomach or even an 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 your pet’s discomfort. Let’s learn more about the type of diets that are good for dogs with allergies and how they can help.

Limited Ingredient Dog Diets

If your dog is demonstrating food sensitivity then you can use limited-ingredient dog foods. Limited-ingredient foods have fewer inputs and fewer harmful fillers. This makes it easier to identify food intolerances and allergies. Limited-ingredient foods are also usually healthier as manufacturers 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. Dog food with the smallest number of ingredients, anywhere from five to seven would be appropriate. Skin allergies can manifest in many ways, but the most common signs include:

  • Chewing or biting the skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Rubbing the 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.

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 onlineIf 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

Best Dog Food for Allergies: Summary

Dogs can develop allergies just like us and one way of relieving the symptoms or eliminating the cause is to feed you pet food that is specifically developed for dogs with allergies. There are many different types of such food on the market today, and the most important thing to do before purchasing is to consider your dog’s individual needs. We hope that this product review has provided some insightful information for you which will allow you to make an informed choice for your pet.

Up Next…

About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

The 5 Best Dog Foods 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.

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.

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