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Best dog food for allergies: Keep your canine companion fighting fit with these hypoallergenic foods

A beagle scratching because he needs the best dog food for allergies
(Image credit: Getty)

The best dog food for allergies may be more expensive than the best dry dog food and the best wet dog food, but it’s essential if your dog reacts badly to common ingredients in commercial recipies.

Allergies are quite common in dogs, so special dry and wet food to cater for them is more widely available than you might think. However, before you choose any kind of specially prepared food for your pet, you must seek the advice of a veterinarian. Not only will it save you money, knowing what your hound is intolerant of, but it will also help you choose the right kind of food for their particular needs. Read four common allergies in dogs and what you can do about them for more information.

Much of the best dog food for allergies cuts out certain ingredients as standard. Peas are often the cause of digestive problems, as are the grains that are used to ‘fill out’ cheaper chums and kibbles. Premium dog foods have things like higher meat content (with some offering 100% meat and gravy), and they will attempt to exclude as many additives as possible, to appeal to a wide variety of intolerant dogs. Much like humans, dogs can even be allergic to things like gluten, so you’ll find GF dog food as well. Try taking a look at nine tips for coping with allergic pets to learn more.

If left untreated, dog allergies can manifest in skin problems (which your dog will scratch at, and damage themselves), upset stomachs, and a loss of appetite and energy. If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, again, take pooch to the vet first, and get a diagnosis before buying any specialized food. After that, well, there’s actually a great variety of dog foods for allergies, and we’ve listed the best below.

PetsRadar's pick of the best dog food for allergies

(Image credit: Royal Canin)

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat

Best overall dog food for allergies

Chewy Rating: 98% | Amazon Star Rating: 4.7 | High Fiber: Yes | Veterinarian Approved: Yes

Highly digestible proteins
Promotes healthy skin and coat
Antioxidants for a strong immune system
Contains grains and pork by-products

Dogs that love wet food but suffer from a sensitive stomach are often forced to miss out on their favorite fare due to the high-fat content. Thankfully, it’s Royal Canin to the rescue with this veterinarian-approved low-fat formula which is both tasty and gentle on the tummy.

Hailed as a lifesaver brand by many a pooch parent, Royal Canin has an outstanding reputation for delivering high-quality nutrition that you can trust and this offering is no exception. 

If your dog is prone to an easily upset stomach and bouts of vomiting and diarrhea then this is a great choice. Packed full of prebiotics to support the growth of good gut bacteria, dietary fibers for healthy digestion and Omega-3 fish oils to soothe the GI tract, this highly digestible formula is bound to get two paws up from your pooch.

Not only is this a great choice for supporting the stomach but it’s also a fantastic option if your dog suffers from frequent urinary tract issues as the formula works to prevent crystals from forming in the bladder. If you have an older dog that’s becoming more sedentary, you’ll love that the high-fiber and low-fat content boosts energy levels and prevents weight gain. 

The one drawback to this product is the choice to include grains and pork by-products. Grains can be hard to digest for dogs with more severe allergies and pork by-products do lower the overall quality of what is otherwise a great ingredient list. Those small issues aside though, and this is still the standout choice when it comes to the best dog food for allergies. 

(Image credit: Rachael Ray)

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Veggies Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best budget dog food for allergies

Chewy Rating: 92% | Amazon Star Rating: 4.6 | Gluten Free: Yes

Uses 100% farm-raised chicken
Made without poultry by-products
Free from gluten, artificial colors and preservatives
Contains ground corn as a filler

If you’ve ever watched Rachael Ray cooking up a storm then you know how mouth-wateringly good her dishes can be and guess what? Now your pampered pooch can get in on the action too. 

Available in a variety of different sizes, the 40lb bag offers great value for money compared to others on the market, especially given it’s chock full of high-quality ingredients.

With 100% farm-raised chicken taking out the number one spot, the list is rounded out by wholesome vegetables, like peas and crisp carrots, and high-fiber brown rice and beet pulp to aid digestion and provide a healthy dose of prebiotics for gut health. 

Food is love for this chef and that’s exactly the feeling your dog is going to get when they chow into this hearty and rich-tasting formula. The inclusion of plenty of poultry fat will give your fur baby a shiny coat and healthy skin and the omission of gluten and other known allergens makes this the perfect product for sensitive dogs.

The one thing worth noting is that corn is used as a filler in this formula. For most dogs that won’t be an issue and it’s certainly preferable to using animal by-products or some of the more common allergens but if corn is problematic for your pup then you may wish to look elsewhere. 

We love that a portion of the proceeds from every sale goes to The Rachael Ray Foundation, which helps animals in need. It’s a pretty great feeling to know that while you’re helping your dog, you’re also helping other animals receive the food, medical supplies and treatments that they need. Now that’s what we call a win-win. 

(Image credit: Purina )

Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin And Stomach Salmon And Rice Formula

Best science-backed dog food for allergies

Chewy Rating: 94% | Amazon Star Rating: 4.6 | Backed by Science: Yes

Includes easy to digest carbohydrates
Omega-6 fatty acids and zinc for healthy skin
Nutrient-rich salmon is the first ingredient
Aimed at adult dogs

Purina is world renowned for good reason, and with the creation of this sensitive formula it has hit the mark again. 

Salmon is a great choice as the primary ingredient, with its high combination of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which are gentle on the stomach and help to keep your dogs skin and coat in premium condition, being highly positive inclusions. They’re also great  for joint health and mobility so it’s a good choice whether your dog is young and energetic, or old and a possible arthritis sufferer. 

The inclusion of easy to digest carbohydrates like rice and oatmeal, which are kind to sensitive tummies and nourish the beneficial intestinal bacteria, also gets our seal of approval. Oatmeal is rich in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and maintains blood sugar levels while contributing long-lasting energy. 

Moreover, we like the presence of live probiotics and natural prebiotic fibers, which both promote good digestion and aid a healthy immune system. For better value, you also have the option of purchasing this in a variety of different sized bags, with the 5lb size being something we would choose if you would like to give this a trial before committing. 

This formula is primarily focused on adult dogs, so if yours is a youngster then you might want to leave this now. This aside, this a great product that is definitely worth your time should your pup fit the right age demographic.

(Image credit: Taste of the Wild)

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

Best grain-free dog food for allergies

Chewy Rating: 96% | Amazon Star Rating: 4.7 | Sustainably Sourced Fish: Yes

Sustainably sourced salmon
Powerful antioxidants from fruit and vegetables
Egg-free
More expensive than other brands

If you’re looking to treat your furry friend to one of the most premium products on the market then this offering from Taste of the Wild is sure to impress.

The ingredient list for this formula reads like a health lover's dream with red salmon leading the pack, a novel protein that’s great for dogs with allergies as it’s easy to digest. Sweet potato provides energy that is slowly released into the bloodstream and the antioxidants from the tomatoes, blueberries and raspberries help support the immune system and overall health and wellbeing. 

We love that this grain-free formula steers away from common allergens and instead chooses to go with fiber-rich alternatives like lentils, which are gentle on the digestive tract. The recipe also omits eggs, another common trigger for dogs with sensitivities, and the inclusion of chelated minerals help maximize the absorption of valuable nutrients.

This high-quality product uses chicory root as a prebiotic to support healthy digestion and comes packed with Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin E and Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, all of which will keep your mutts mane looking its best. The addition of Taurine is great for eye and heart health and also stimulates bile acid in the stomach to help break down and metabolize fat.

While more expensive than other brands, if ethical and sustainable food practices and quality of ingredients are an important consideration for you, then this is definitely a brand worth considering. Made in the USA by a family-owned and run company, Taste of the Wild has a standout reputation for ensuring their ingredients come from trusted and sustainable sources so you can rest assured you're giving your dog the best nutrition money can buy.

(Image credit: Hills)

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken and Barley

Best large breed dog food for allergies

Chewy Rating: 94% | Amazon Star Rating: 4.7 | Veterinarian Recommended: Yes | Satisfaction Guarantee: Yes

Clinically proven antioxidant blend
Supports healthy joints
Gentle and highly-digestible formula
Not recommended for large breed puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs

When it comes to their veterinarian-backed formulas, the team at Hill’s Science is so sure you and your dog will love their products that they offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Now that’s confidence for you.

It’s not hard to see why few people take them up on their generosity, pooches and pet parents alike rave over their clinically proven products and this one for large breed dogs is no exception. 

Large dogs require more energy than smaller breeds and higher levels of nutrients to ensure they remain in peak condition so choosing a product that’s been specifically formulated to meet their unique needs is worth the investment.

With real chicken as the first ingredient, this rich and flavorful recipe includes natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint and cartilage health and high-quality sources of protein for lean muscle. The clinically proven inclusion of Vitamins C and E work to support a strong immune system and the large kibble is perfect for keeping teeth clean and healthy.

You’ll want to avoid this product if your dog is pregnant or nursing and it’s also not suitable for large breed puppies but those things aside, this high-quality nutritionally complete and balanced formula is another fantastic offering from Hill’s Science that gets our tick of approval and is bound to be a huge hit with the larger members of your canine crew.

(Image credit: Royal Canin)

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein

Best easy to digest dog food for allergies

Chewy Rating: 97% | Lifestage: All | Breed Size: All

Great for skin, coat and digestive issues
Suitable for puppies and adults
Supports a healthy weight
Expensive

Royal Canin takes out another spot on our list thanks to their innovative hydrolyzed protein pieces, which break down into small morsels upon chewing, making them easily absorbed and less likely to trigger an immune reaction.

If your precious pup has food sensitivities that cause tummy troubles, itchy skin, hair loss or bouts of diarrhea, then this super gentle formula could be just the remedy you’ve been looking for. As well as being easy to digest, this highly palatable food contains a blend of B vitamins, amino acids and Omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat. 

You’ll love that this dry dog food is suitable for both puppies and adults so if your little one shows early signs of food sensitivities, allergies or intolerances, you can rest easy knowing you can keep them on this product over the course of their life without having to worry about getting them used to something new.

And as an added bonus, the kibble also acts as a toothbrush of sorts, sweeping your dog's teeth clean as they chew, reducing tartar buildup, and keeping their pearly whites sparkling. This is definitely a winning formula when it comes to looking after all your dog’s needs.

Right now you’re probably thinking this all sounds a bit too good to be true and there must be a catch, right? Well, yes, there is a drawback and as you’ve likely guessed, it’s the price. This is definitely an expensive purchase and it does require your vet’s authorization but if it helps keep your precious pooch happy and healthy then you may find it’s well worth the investment.

How to choose the best dog food for allergies

If your dog seems more interested in pawing at his ears or scratching her skin than hanging out with you and you’ve ruled out other causes, then it could be time to consider experimenting with their diet. 

But with as many free-from foods on the market for dogs as there is for people, knowing where to start can be daunting. Thankfully, we’ve come up with a few simple guidelines that will help point you in the right direction.

Look for products that have short ingredient lists, generally with one form of protein and one form of carbohydrate which makes it easier to identify the potential allergen. While there are both risks and benefits, raw dog food is another option worth looking into. With few ingredients and zero additives, our guide to the best raw dog food is a great resource if you’re not sure where to start. 

Novel proteins and other ingredients can work well for a lot of dogs as they won’t have been over-exposed to them in the past. Think venison, rabbit, kangaroo, pheasant and bison, and gluten-free ancient grains and seeds like quinoa, millet, and chia.

Look for added vitamins, minerals, prebiotics and probiotics. Vitamins C and E and probiotic strains like lactobacillus and acidophilus are great for soothing the GI tract and ensuring good digestive health. Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables and Omega-3 fatty acids are also great additions. 

Finally, if you’re noticing your dog displaying any of the symptoms of a possible allergic reaction be sure to consult your vet who will be able to help identify the cause and recommend the best course of treatment.