The 7 Best Dog Foods for Allergies of 2023

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The Spruce Pets / Lecia Landis

A food allergy may be to blame for your dog's ongoing or re-occurring bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, or skin issues, such as itching, rashes, redness, and hair loss. From chicken to wheat, it’s not uncommon for dogs to be allergic to one or more of the ingredients commonly found in dog food. If you notice that your furry friend is having an adverse reaction to their food, first talk with a veterinarian. If it is the result of an allergy, you'll be given dietary guidelines for your dog to ultimately help them live their best life.

“The most common food allergy which afflicts dogs is the protein source,” says Dr. Michelle Burch, a Veterinarian and Veterinary Consultant with Safe Hounds Pet Insurance. “The most common allergies include beef, chicken, lamb, and wheat.”

To supplement your veterinarian's guidance on the ingredients your dog should avoid, we've researched and evaluated a variety of dog foods to find the best selections. “A family who can maintain nutritional restrictions will find their dog has an excellent prognosis," added Burch. Each dog food we've identified is made with a limited list of ingredients and formulated to avoid specific allergens.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Dry

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Duck & Oatmeal Recipe

Wellness Simple Limited IngredientDuck & Oatmeal Recipe


What We Like
  • Formulated for dogs with food allergies or sensitive stomachs

  • Good for dogs with beef or chicken allergies

  • Contains probiotics

  • Provides glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for dogs with grain or pea allergies

This single-protein dry food is formulated with allergy-prone dogs in mind to help give them complete nutrition with less of the ingredients that can upset their system. It's also designed to be easily digestible, with fiber and probiotics.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient dog food takes its animal protein from ducks, providing an alternative to common beef, chicken, and lamb allergies. After duck, its main ingredients are oatmeal, peas, ground rice, and potato protein, with no meat by-products, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, or artificial preservatives.

While it doesn't contain wheat or gluten, Wellness Simple's oatmeal and ground rice may make it inappropriate for dogs with grain allergies. Wellness also makes versions of this limited ingredient diet for small breeds and maintaining a healthy weight.

Price at time of publish: $76 for a 26-pound bag

Key Ingredients: Duck, oatmeal, peas, ground rice, potato protein | Flavors: Duck and oatmeal, turkey and potato, lamb and oatmeal, salmon and potato | Package Size: 26 pound bag

Best Overall Wet

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Canned Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Canned Food


What We Like
  • Contains both grains and proteins

  • Supplemented with key nutrients

  • Made in the United States

  • Provides vitamin E and omega fatty acids

What We Don't Like
  • Still has some chicken ingredients

  • Expensive

Most dogs love wet food, and you can buy it either as a dense paté or as a thick stew. This recipe from Hill’s Science Diet comes as a rich stew that can be given alone for dinner or deliciously poured over dry food. This highly-palatable recipe is designed specifically with sensitive tummies in mind. Turkey is the lead protein instead of chicken, but there are still some chicken ingredients. It's also supplemented with a number of key nutrients, including vitamin E, vitamin B12, and vitamin D3.

Price at time of publish: $69 for a pack 12 cans, each 12.5 ounces

Key Ingredients: Chicken broth, turkey, carrots, pork liver, rice | Flavors: Turkey and rice, salmon and vegetable, chicken and vegetable | Package Size: 12.5 ounce can

Best Budget

Nature's Recipe Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe

Nature's Recipe Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe


What We Like
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient

  • No corn, wheat, or soy protein

  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

  • Fiber from sweet potatoes and pumpkin

What We Don't Like
  • Contains peas (a legume) as a protein source which is under investigation by the FDA as a potential link to heart health complications in dogs

Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is made with real animal protein—Chicken, Lamb, or Salmon— as the first ingredient. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin provide carbohydrates, antioxidants, and fiber to give your dog energy and aid their digestion.

The formulation also includes garbanzo beans and peas which are in the legume family. Legumes in grain-free dog foods are common, but the FDA has issued an ongoing investigation potentially connecting certain legumes to heart health issues in dogs, particularly larger breeds, If your veterinarian recommends a grain-free diet for your dog, and they are not sensitive to any of the ingredients in this dog food, then this option is a nutritionally sound, reasonably priced kibble that is readily available.

Price at time of publish: $46 for 24-pound bag

Key Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch, canola meal, garbanzo beans, peas, chicken fat, pumpkin | Flavors: Chicken, sweet potato, and pumpkin; Lamb, sweet potato, and pumpkin; Salmon, sweet potato, and pumpkin| Packaging Size: 4, 12, and 24-pound bag

Best for Senior Dogs

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Senior Dry Dog Food Turkey & Potato

Blue Buffalo Basics

Blue Buffalo

What We Like
  • Limited ingredient list

  • Peas and pumpkin promote healthy digestion

What We Don't Like
  • More expensive

We all want our pets to have a long, healthy life and a big part of that is changing their diet to match their needs as they get older. The older a dog gets, the important healthy digestion becomes, and this blend of Blue Buffalo turkey and potato is designed to do just that. Using turkey as the primary ingredient gives your senior doggy the protein boost that they need while avoiding the ingredients like chicken and beef that are common sources of allergies. This recipe also contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that help overall skin and coat health.

Price at time of publish: $63 for a 23-pound bag

Key Ingredients: Deboned turkey, oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes, peas | Flavors: Turkey and potato | Packaging Size: 4 or 24 pound bag

Best for Skin Allergies

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food


What We Like
  • Widely backed by certified veterinarians in the United States

  • Goes a long way toward improving a dog's skin and coat

  • Made in the United States

What We Don't Like
  • Dogs may not like the taste

If your dog is scratching themselves a lot more than usual or having other skin issues, may recommend making an adjustment to their food. Hill’s Science Diet has been one of the most trusted brands of dog food and has the recommendation of countless veterinarians behind it. This particular blend is made with chicken as the primary ingredient and doesn't require a prescription. It also contains vitamin E, as well as omega-6 fatty acids that are good for your dog’s skin.

Price at time of publish: $75 for a 30-pound bag

Key Ingredients: Chicken, brewers rice, chicken meal, yellow peas, cracked pearled barley | Flavor: Chicken | Packaging Size: 4, 15.5, or 30 pound bag

Best For Wheat Allergies

Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food With Chicken Protein

Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food With Chicken Protein


What We Like
  • Free of legumes, including peas and lentils

  • Made with real chicken, brown rice, and oatmeal

  • Provides taurine for hearth health

  • Available in three flavors Chicken, Lamb, and Salmon

  • Suitable for adult dogs of all sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Not widely available at major online retailers

  • Only sold as 30 pound bag

Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food is made with real chicken, brown rice, and oatmeal, and also provides your dog with supplemental taurine, an amino acid connected to heart health. This dry dog food is made in the United States and is free of commonly used starches and legumes, particularly corn, potatoes, peas, and lentils. Always consult with your veterinarian before selecting a new diet for your dog, but if you are exploring wheat-free varieties, Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food is also available in salmon and lamb flavors to suit your dog's palate.

Price at time of publish: $45 for a 30-pound bag

Key Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, ground rice, chicken fat, pearled barley, flaxseed, dried beet pulp, rice Bran, dried egg  | Flavors: Chicken, Salmon, Lamb | Packaging Size: 30 pound bag

Best for Chicken Allergies

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet with Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet with Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food


What We Like
  • Limited ingredients list with no chicken

  • Contains supplemental vitamins

What We Don't Like
  • May not appeal to picky eaters

Many dog foods that don’t mention chicken on the front of the package may still contain chicken by-products hiding in the ingredient list. For dogs who are the most sensitive to chicken, even these by-products may cause an allergic reaction. Merrick’s limited-ingredient diet is a good option for dogs that don't favor poultry. This dry dog food is created using nine key ingredients including salmon, brown rice, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes—and most importantly no chicken or chicken by-products. It's also free of soy, corn, wheat, and eggs.

Price at time of publish: $70 for a 22-pound bag

Key Ingredients: Deboned salmon, salmon meal, brown rice, oatmeal, barley | Flavors: Salmon and brown rice | Packaging Size: 4, 12, or 22-pound bag

Final Verdict

If your dog is experiencing food allergies it’s very likely to be from the protein source, which is why we recommend a limited ingredients recipe like Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Lamb & Oatmeal Dog Food as our best overall dry dog food. Another good option is a salmon-based recipe like Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet with Healthy Grains for a successful, irritation-free mealtime.

Or, if your dog prefers wet food, we recommend Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach Canned Food.

What to Look for in Dog Food for Allergies


Before purchasing a new dog food you must carefully scan the full list of ingredients, which is typically located on the backside of the packaging. It is very common for dog foods to focus on a specific attribute or ingredient in their marketing while the formulation includes additional protein by-products and other ingredients. These additives are not explicitly mentioned on the front of the bag and may be the culprit for your canine's discomfort.

Signs of an Allergic Reaction

When looking for the right dog food, it’s important to first know what an allergic reaction looks like. “Symptoms of a food allergy can affect multiple organ systems in your dog, but the skin tends to be the most affected,” says Dr. Michelle Burch, a Veterinarian and Veterinary Consultant with Safe Hounds Pet Insurance. “Skin symptoms include severe itching along the face, paws, rear, and underbelly. Other signs can include fur loss from around the eyes, repeated ear infections, and secondary skin infections.” When you know the signs of an allergic reaction to look out for, you will be able to better pinpoint what’s causing their discomfort.

Vet Consultation

Always consult with your veterinarian before changing your dog's food, and when changing your dog's food, it should be done gradually, as abrupt changes can also be the cause of digestive issues. “Dogs diagnosed with a food allergy may need to be fed a prescription diet,” explains Burch. These prescription dog foods are made with strict protocols so there is no possibility of cross-contamination. If your dog is extra sensitive to a certain ingredient, prescription food may be your best bet to ensure the allergen is not present in their food.


Grains that are commonly found in dog food include barley, corn, oats, rice, wheat, rye, and sorghum, but this is not an exhaustive list. To create grain-free food for dogs, legumes (e.g. peas, lentils) and starches (e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes) are often used in place of grains. The FDA is currently investigating a potential link between "grain-free" labeled dog foods and heart health issues, primarily dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). From the FDA's report, grain-free dog foods with peas and/or lentils were more prevalent in cases of DCM. A direct connection has not yet been established. With the information we have, we do not recommend feeding your dog a diet of grain-free food unless you have been directed by your veterinarian.

  • Are grain-free foods better for dogs with skin allergies?

    When considering what dog foods are best for skin allergies, it is recommended to try changing up the protein source first before going completely grain-free. This is because current research shows a possible link between some heart disease and certain ingredients that appear in a higher concentrations in grain-free dog foods.

    “I currently do not recommend feeding grain-free food to dogs due to the increased risk of developing nutritional dilated cardiomyopathy,” says Burch. “If you are interested in providing a grain-free diet to see if your dog responds positively to skin allergies, I recommend speaking with your veterinarian before switching.”

  • Can I test my dog for food allergies at home?

    There are a few home test kits for allergies but they may not be as effective at determining your dog's allergies. “I do not recommend using blood, hair, or saliva tests for food allergies,” explains Burch. “These products can have a high number of false positives and negatives.” The best way to test your dog’s allergies is through an at-home food trial under the guidance of a vet, so you can monitor the ingredients in your dog’s food and how they react to it.

Why Trust The Spruce Pets?

Steven Rowe has experience caring for two nervous, picky-eating beagles. When he noticed that his dog started to chew his front paws after mealtime he tried out different proteins and discovered his little guy had a chicken allergy.

When writing this article, he chose products based on what he feeds his own tummy-sensitive doggos, his personal experience with the products, customer reviews, product ingredients, and recommendations from veterinarians.

Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hunter, Tammy, DVM. The Importance of Your Pet's Skin and Coat and the Role of Diet. VCA Hospitals.

  2. Medicine C for V. Fda investigation into potential link between certain diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy. FDA. Published online December 23, 2022.

  3. Q&AS: FDA's Work on Potential Causes of Non-Hereditary DCM in Dogs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.