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Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies — Buyer’s Guide

When you see itchiness, hot spots, and vomiting in your dog, it can be a sign that your dog is suffering from a food allergy. Often, these types of allergic reactions can be the result of the food they are eating. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best dog food for skin allergies as well as a helpful buyer’s guide.

Best Choice
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
The Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies
Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that this dog food provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance intestinal balance and promote digestive health of adult dogs.
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Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies in 2020

This can be an easy fix with a balanced and nutritional diet. There are many dog foods on the market that are specially designed to help prevent skin issues and sensitive stomachs.

ImageProduct 
Best Choice
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon & Rice Formula review
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon & Rice
  • Real Salmon Is The First Ingredient
  • No Corn, Wheat Or Soy
  • No Artificial Colors Or Flavors
  • Omega-6 For Skin & Coat
  • Nourishment

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Vegan
V-dog Kind Kibble Vegan Dry Dog Food review
V-dog Kind Kibble Vegan Dry Dog Food
  • 100% Plant-Based, Vegan
  • Contains All Essential Amino Acids
  • With 24% Protein
  • No Wheat, No Corn, Or Soy
  • Easily Digestible

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Very Good
AvoDerm Natural All Life Stages Dry Dog Food, Grain Free, Salmon & Vegetables Recipe review
AvoDerm Natural All Life Stages Dry Dog Food, Grain Free, Salmon & Vegetables Recipe
  • All-Natural, No By-Products Meals
  • Salmon Is The 1St Ingredient
  • Protein Rich For All Life Stages
  • Wheat Free, Corn Free And Soy Free
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors Or Preservatives

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Also Great
Hill
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin, Chicken Recipe
  • All-Natural Ingredients
  • Vitamin E & Omega 6s For Skin Nourishment
  • Prebiotic Fiber To Fuel Beneficial
  • Gut Bacteria
  • High Digestibility

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Excellent
Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Duck Dog Food Recipe review
Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Duck Dog Food Recipe
  • All-Natural
  • Vitamins, Minerals & Trace Nutrient
  • Grain-Free Ingredients
  • No Preservatives, By-Products Or Fillers
  • No GMO

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1. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dry Dog Food

Not only can Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Dry Dog help to nurture your dog’s sensitive skin, but it can also help with his stomach issues. This is a nutrient-rich salmon dog food whose formal is a primary source of protein. It contains prebiotic fiber making it a highly-digestible formula that is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Helping to promote digestive health, Purina Pro Plan FOCUS nourishes the good bacteria in your puppy’s intestines using ingredients like oatmeal and rice. Providing easy to digest sources of carbohydrates, this dog food also features fish oil that helps to support healthy mobility and joints. And, zinc along with Omega-6 fatty keeps his skin and coat healthy-looking.

With no soy, corn, or wheat, you won’t have to worry about allergic reactions. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS also features a great variety of meat choices in this brand that also contains no flavors or colors.

Pros
  • This is a great product for dogs that have a sensitive stomach
  • Easy to digest and doesn’t cause dogs diarrhea
  • Very affordable dog food in comparison to others on the market
Cons
  • The salmon flavor really stinks

2. V-dog Kind Kibble Vegan Dry Dog Food

Totally plant-based, V-dog Kind Kibble Vegan Dry Dog Food is packed with protein. It is formulated to meet all nutrition guidelines for AAFCO adult dogs while containing the right balance of minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. Without wheat, corn or soy, this is a great choice for dogs prone to allergies.

Using clean protein that is plant-powered, V-dog is great for itchy and sensitive pups. Plus, V-dog is great for the environment by allowing your dog to leave a smaller footprint. Totally vegan, this product is rich in minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

Pros
  • This food makes dogs happy and healthy
  • It is great for your dog and the planet
  • This is a totally vegan product that doesn’t have any possible allergens
Cons
  • It gives dogs severely dry skin

3. AvoDerm Natural All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Providing protein variety, AvoDerm Natural Grain-Free Salmon & Vegetables is flavorful and grain-free. These simple ingredients are slow-cooked allowing for easy digestion, which is great for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The premium formula guarantees that your pet will get the necessary nutrients that he needs to stay active and healthy.

Designed for every life stage, your dog will get those vital antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in every bite. Not only will this satisfy your puppy’s appetite, but the real ingredients like salmon will ensure that he is receiving those necessary proteins and grain-free carbohydrates that he needs for sustained energy. On top of the premium formula are delicious avocados that are omega-rich.

Rich in nutrient-dense superfoods, this formula promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat all year long. Dogs love the taste of AvoDerm, which is easy for them to digest. With no preservatives, artificial flavoring, meat-by-products, or grain, this is a healthy meal that you will feel good serving.

Since AvoDerm is pressure-cooked, your dog will receive the most nutrition from these high-quality ingredients. Perfect for picky eaters and dogs with sensitive stomachs, this is a great choice for both puppies and adult dogs.

Pros
  • It clears up a soft stool and itchy areas
  • This is a highly rated dog food that has had few recalls
  • Prevents dogs from smelling bad
Cons
  • The food is really hard and could hurt a dog if eaten too fast
  • Some dogs don’t like the taste and have to have something else mixed in

4. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin, Chicken Recipe

Perfect for skin issues and sensitive stomachs, the Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Adults features a chicken recipe that is created specifically for optimal digestive health. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you need food that uses prebiotic fiber to increase gut bacteria while supporting a balanced microbiome. Plus, this food is made with natural ingredients that give your dog a great source of Omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E that nourish their skin and help them to keep a shiny, healthy coat.

Formulated with cutting edge research, the Hill’s Science Diet not only helps a dog’s digestive tract, but it also tastes good. Suppliers of Hill’s Science Diet meet tough quality standards and each ingredient is inspected to guarantee the safety and that it has an ingredient profile that includes the essential nutrients your dog needs. Only high-quality ingredients like salmon, lamb, and chicken are used.

Featuring quality proteins, Hill’s Dry Pet Food is also clinically proven to have antioxidant benefits. It also never uses chicken by-products, preservatives, flavor, and artificial colors. It only includes ingredients that feature amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.

Plus, they’re made with natural ingredients (plus vitamins, minerals & amino acids) and never contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or chicken by-product meal. Promoting digestive health and also nourishing the skin, Hill’s Dry Pet Food is designed to be very digestible allowing for maximum nutrient absorption and easy stool pick up.

Pros
  • Improves bowel movements and GI issues
  • The food isn’t too small for a dog to choke on it
  • It helps improve skin issues
Cons
  • Dogs don’t like the taste of it

5. Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Duck Dog Food Recipe

Made of a delicious and cage-free duck the Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Beef dog Food Recipe is perfect for dogs that have ingredient sensitivities. Using a unique protein that won’t both your pup’s sensitive stomach, this is a simple recipe that is not only easy on the digestive tract but is a great tasting. Include six grain-free ingredients, this recipe creates a balanced and complete meal with a limited number of ingredients for those dogs that need a minimalist diet.

100% human-grade ingredients, House Kitchen does not use preservatives, additives, fillers, or by-products. Suppliers for Honest Kitchen must certify that they meet strict standards for health, food safety, fair-trade practices, and sustainability. You can tell by the fresh smell and true colors that this dog food retains nutrients, natural vitamins, and minerals through a dehydrated process that removes water from the food making sure it is nutrient-dense and compact.

Made in the USA, Honest Kitchen produces all-natural, non-GMO food that just requires a little water to create a delicious meal for your dog. This is a human-grade food that meets rigorous FDA safety standards. With the limited number of ingredients in this dog food, it is a good choice for any dog breed or age as well as dogs that have simplified diets or food allergies.

Pros
  • It prevents soft stool issues
  • The dog’s coat will become noticeably softer, and it will clear up any skin issues
  • It prevents gas issues
Cons
  • The food is too watery when you follow the directions

Grain-Free Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Veggie

This all-natural dog food meets human-grade FDA safety standards. This mix of dehydrated fruits and vegetables lets you create a unique meal for your dog by re-hydrating the base then adding the protein your dog most likes. This is a wonderful solution for folks who prefer to make their own dog food since much of the prep work has been done already.

Additionally, the base is a balanced nutritional option once the protein has been added, so dog lovers don’t have to wonder if they are getting all the important components into their dog’s diet. Ingredients include apples, spinach, peas, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin which are finely diced making digestion easier for your pup.

Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon

As its name suggests, Holistic focuses on the whole dog by using prebiotics, natural fibers, digestive enzymes, and other natural ingredients to help your dog’s digestive system. The protein in this food comes from fish. What is not in this food is artificial flavors or colors, meat by-products, or wheat, and all this combines to help your dog absorb the nutrients they need without triggering allergic reactions. Reviewers note that their dogs have experienced less itching, fewer ear infections, and a healthy digestive system while eating this food.

For Pitbulls

Bully Max High-Performance Super Premium

With extensive testing and a no-recall record, this high-performance food gives dogs more calories per cup of food than other leading dog foods in its class. The first ingredient of this high protein option is meat and is suitable for all dogs over 4 weeks old. Owners who have used this premium food report they have seen a marked difference in their dogs’ weight and health after incorporating this food into their diets.

For German Shepherds

Victor Purpose

Focusing on building a healthy immune system in your dog, this grain-free food specifically helps dogs that may face joint issues as they get older since it contains glucosamine and chondroitin. Dogs who woof this down will get a good mix of premium fish, pork, beef or chicken along with essential fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals. Reviewers have noticed their older dogs are active on this diet and seem to have fewer skin issues. Additionally, both big dogs and little dogs seem to enjoy this food equally.

Buyer’s Guide

There are several helpful tips for choosing dog foods that are designed for dogs with allergies of all kinds:

  • Becoming more popular recently, limited ingredient dog food usually only has one protein source like lamb or chicken and also one carbohydrate source. Make sure to look for a balanced and complete in a limited ingredient dog food as well as an endorsement from the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO).
  • For dogs that are sensitive to grains like rye, corn, barley, or wheat, grain-free dog food and treats are gluten-free and corn-free. Keep in mind that not every grain has gluten in it, so a gluten-free dog food may not be grain-free. While completely switching foods may not be your dog’s favorite choice, you can mix in a grain-free or gluten-free wet food that might be tastier for your dog.
  • Novel diets may also be suggested where the dog’s diet is centered around a less-common protein like salmon, venison, or duck. This type of dog food is based on the theory of using a protein your dog hasn’t had before instead of a common protein like chicken or beef that could be causing your dog’s food allergies. You will also find novel proteins in limited ingredient dog foods.
  • While prescription dog food can be expensive, it is worth the price if your dog is suffering from a severe reaction. You can only get prescription dog foods from a veterinarian, and a veterinary nutritionist will often suggest making other dietary changes before going the route of prescription dog food. Make sure you consult your veterinarian and discuss whether it is necessary to switch to prescription dog food.
  • Dog treats that are hypoallergenic typically have limited ingredient treats and you can usually find them in most pet food stores.

Why Do Dogs Develop Food Allergies?

Food allergies in a dog is a genetic issue that is from parents to pups. Varying from dog to dog, the allergen can be something that comes in contact with their skin, something they ate, or something they breathed in.

The most common reason your dog can develop a food allergy is due to prolonged consumption of the same dog food for years and years that result in an allergic reaction.

Another trigger is food additives. Typically, food additives are often blamed for the beginning of a food allergy or intolerance. This has yet to be proven, but it is a common theory.

What Signs Should You Look For?

Dog Is Itching

Animals can suffer from allergies just like humans. They can also have a food sensitivity which can cause a reaction to their immune system. These symptoms can be a sensitive stomach, itchy skin, and sneezing. Regardless of what caused it, an allergic reaction is typically noticed on the dog’s skin. This is where you can see a visible sore or a bald patch from scratching.

What is the most common food allergy in dogs?

Ranked third in causes of skin sensitivity reactions, food allergies follow fleas and parasites as well as environmental triggers such as pollen and grass. But typically, the reactions are triggered by a specific protein food or carbohydrate that is found in the food that they are eating.

Here are the most common causes of food allergies:

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

How can you tell if your dog is allergic to food?

You will find several commercial blood and skin allergy tests on the market. Your veterinarian may recommend that you start your testing there. However, the best way to figure out which foods your dog is allergic to is through an elimination diet.

First, you take the dog off the food that he is currently eating and feed him food that he has never eaten before. After you have seen improvement in your dog, reintroduce the old food that you believe has been causing the problem and see if there is a reaction. This will typically take a couple of days to a few weeks to get a definite answer on whether he has a food allergy.

The Importance of Veterinary Care

dog at the vet

Not as well studied as human allergies, dog allergies can be just as varied as ours. Finding a food allergy in a dog can be hard since the symptoms may be similar to another type of disorder. You can easily mistake a symptom associated with food intolerance with another disorder and vice versa.

If you think that your dog has had an allergic reaction to something, contact your vet right away. The veterinarian is the right person to discuss what is going as since they will have the ability to test your dog and find out what is causing the allergy. That way, you can help your dog avoid it and stop future allergic reactions.

How to feed a dog with food allergies?

After you are sure your dog has an allergy and you know definitely what that allergy is, your next step will be avoiding this allergen as much as you can. Typically, dog owners will get a prescription food from their veterinarian or you can try a limited ingredient commercial food.

Here are a few helpful tips to help manage allergies in dogs:

  • Use the prescription you get from your veterinarian.
  • When you change dog foods, mix a little of the new food with their current food and then gradually increase the dog’s new food over the next seven days.
  • Always read the label and look to see if the food has common allergens such as beef, wheat, dairy, eggs, and chicken.
  • Do not give your dog people food or unnecessary treats.
  • It will typically take about 12 weeks before you will see improvement. This will be due to your dog’s body trying to adjust to the new foods. This also means that you can track whether they are developing any allergic reactions and if you are seeing any progress with the new food.
  • As you go through the process, remember to update your veterinarian.

How to Treat Food Allergies in Dogs?

Typically, you should get the advice of a veterinarian when determining if your dog has a food allergy or food intolerance. Usually, they will tell you to switch out your dog food brand when you see an allergic reaction.

Often, a veterinarian will recommend a grain-free diet or another type of product that has a limited number of ingredients that will prevent any allergic sensitivities or reactions that can harm your pet over time. With grain-free foods, you won’t see wheat, corn, or soy that are typically linked to an allergic reaction. When you see a product with limited ingredients, this means that they use a special type of protein-rich foods like salmon, bison, or duck or even a simple carbohydrate source that can further lessen the possibility of a food allergy.

What can you give a dog for severe itching?

If your dog is severely allergic, the veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines, but usually just changing their diet will give them a lot of relief.

Another thing that improves skin allergy symptoms is fatty acids like omega 3 and 6. They help your dog maintain healthy skin and reduce the chance of a secondary infection.

Conclusion

It’s not surprising to learn that dogs can have allergies too, especially to certain foods. Fortunately, this is something that can be easily remedied by choosing a good dog food that not only removes the allergen itself but also helps to relieve symptoms with nutrients like fatty acids.

Whatever is causing your dog’s allergies, you should have no problem finding the dog food out there to help him be happy and healthy again.

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