Best Food for Dogs with Skin Allergies

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Helping you pick the best dog food for your dogs with food allergies and skin issues. Includes every price point and type of food to feed to help your dog be happy and healthy! 

Food allergies are one of the most common allergies for dogs to get. The immune system jumps into overdrive when they eat a certain food and that is what makes the dog sick. To understand more about general food allergies, check out this food allergy 101 article here

ceramic dog food bowls that read food and water

Choosing the right food is the most important thing you can do for your dog when they have food allergies or skin issues. 

This article walks you through how to pick the right food for your pup, understanding raw vs cooked foods, different price point foods to purchase, and even treat and chew ideas. All to help you keep your dog happy and healthy! 

For more on understanding food allergies in dogs, make sure you check out my Dog Food Allergies 101 article here

Types of Allergies in Dogs

In dogs, there are three main types of allergies: food allergies, skin allergies, and anaphylactic allergies. 

Food allergies are when your dog is allergic to a specific type of food. 

Skin allergies include things like indoor, environmental, and flea allergies. 

Anaphylactic allergies are just like in people where your dog can have an acute anaphylactic reaction to a trigger. Bee stings and vaccine reactions are the most common causes of this. Thankfully, these reactions are extremely rare in dogs. 

Common Dog Food Allergies 

The most common allergens in dogs are:

  • Beef
  • Dairy products
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy

A lot of these ingredients are in a lot of dog food! Scientists and veterinarians now believe that this is not a coincidence. They believe that a food allergy is an overreaction to a specific ingredient in their food, especially if it is one they have been exposed to many times. 

Allergy vs intolerance

Many times, people use these words interchangeably to describe what is happening to their dog. However, there is a slight difference between the two. 

A true allergy in dogs and a food intolerance are different things, just as they are in people. The dog’s immune system is activated, causing the true food allergies to happen. That is because just as in humans, the food produces an immune system response of elevated IgE levels. 

A food intolerance is more likely to cause a reaction of vomiting and diarrhea, as it does in humans with a food intolerance. 

Thankfully, both food allergies and food intolerances can be simply solved by removing the food causing the issue. 

Dalmatian dog with a food bowl being handed to it by a woman

Food Allergy Symptoms 

Most dogs will have a reaction either immediately or a few hours after coming into contact with their allergen. Oftentimes, the reaction builds up over the course of weeks or months before appearing in symptoms. 

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t notice any of these symptoms right away. The important thing is to keep track of them and make an appointment with your vet if you notice any of the following symptoms: 

  • Skin Issues
  • Itchy skin affecting the face, feet, ears, legs, armpits, or around the anus
  • Chronic or recurrent ear infections
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive scratching
  • Hot spots
  • Skin infections, especially yeast infections on the skin
  • Increased bowel movements
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea 
  • General discomfort in the abdomen 

Diagnosis & Treatment 

The best way to know if your dog has food allergies is to talk with your vet. There are many other diseases that can mimic food allergies so it is best to speak with your vet to eliminate those other possibilities. 

The diagnosis for a food allergy is simple: You eliminate the suspected food for about 12 weeks from your dog’s diet. After then, you add the food back in and see if/how the dog reacts. 

The best way to manage your dog’s food allergies is to avoid any and all forms of their allergen in their food, treats, chews, and toys. 

For example, my dog is allergic to beef. He does not get any food with beef as an ingredient, eats beef free treats, does not get any rawhide, and I purchase speciality beef free chews for him to enjoy in the evenings. They are expensive so I only give them to him to enjoy being supervised for about 30 minutes in the evenings. 

Antihistamines are available for dogs, however, they are not to be used as a method of controlling a food allergy. They are great medications to help with seasonal and indoor allergies for your dogs. 

Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Hypoallergenic dog food is a vet prescribed diet. What makes it a good choice for dogs with food allergies is that the proteins in the food have gone through a special manufacturing process that breaks down all the carbs and proteins. 

The proteins have been split (aka hydrolyzed) into their basic amino acid building blocks.

That means the food is easier to digest and should not cause an allergic reaction. 

It’s important to remember that there are no dog food diets that are truly hypoallergenic in that they will prevent allergies. This diet is prescribed to dogs with severe food allergies in an attempt to give them as safe a food as possible.  

However, it’s important to remember that any dog can develop an allergy to any protein or carbohydrate at any time. 

The best hypoallergenic dog food is to feed your dog a diet that has totally eliminated any and all forms of the food they are allergic to. 

As they are vet prescribed foods, I won’t be giving them a rating. Talk with your vet if you think these are good options for you and your pup. 

Hypoallergenic Foods to Look at:

Royal Cainn Veterinary Hydrolyzed Protein in Adult or Small Dog 

Pruina Pro Plan Diets HA in Chicken, Vegetarian, or Salmon 

Best Raw Food

Raw dog food is highly concentrated food filled with nutrition and is one of the healthiest options for your dog. It is not filled with filler, preservatives, by-products, or additives, many of which can cause issues for dogs with food allergies. 

The best way to introduce raw food into their diet is slowly. Start by replacing 10% of their meal with raw and over the course of 2 or more weeks, switch over. 

My own dog developed a beef food allergy suddenly when he turned 3 years old. I switched him to raw food and his health improved almost overnight. He no longer has skin issues, his ear infections have cleared up, he no longer licks his paws, and his poops have become normal. 

If you are uncertain about a raw food diet for your dog, I recommend that you check out the Forever Dog book by Dr. Karen Becker. She goes into great detail about the ins and outs of a raw food diet and how it is a good choice for helping your dog achieve optimal nutrition. 

My new puppy has been fed raw exclusively and my older dog has been on raw for almost 1 year now. I don’t foresee switching anytime soon. 

Stella and Chewy Rabbit Freeze Dried Patties 


  • Farm raised rabbit
  • Organic fruits and veggies
  • Single source protein
  • No peas, lentils, or potatoes 
  • Taurine added
  • Probiotics added 
  • Formulated to exceed AAFCO recommendations 


  • Can be expensive 

Stella and Chewy’s is one of the first raw food companies to be widely available. They make several varieties of food including chicken, turkey, beef, rabbit, venison, salmon, and a few surf & turf options. They are rated safe for all life stages including puppy, adult, and senior dogs. 

Stella & Chewy’s undergoes High Pressure Processing (HPP) to naturally destroy harmful bacteria while leaving the food whole and raw. This means that even dogs with a compromised immune system can safely enjoy these products because they carry such a low risk of bacterial contamination. 

The ingredients are all safe, using animal protein that has never been on added hormones or antibiotics. I also appreciate they are open about their sourcing for all their ingredients so you always know exactly where your dog food came from. 

As for this Rabbit flavor, the rabbit is the first ingredient and includes both the muscle and muscle tissues. It naturally contains all 10 essential amino acids for optimum health. 

The next ingredients are organ meat, bones, and marrow. This is a powerhouse of nutrition for your pup! These ingredients are filled with essential vitamins and minerals; vital to your dog’s well being. 

Olive oil, pumpkin seeds, and organic fruits and vegetables are next. 

Finally, there are added vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. They add nutrition, help with absorption, and the probiotics are essential for balancing your dog’s gut health. 

This food is a single novel source protein, is completely balanced, and is a good choice for dogs with food allergies! 


Tucker’s Raw Frozen Turkey + Pumpkin 


  • Limited ingredients
  • Single source protein 
  • No lentils, peas, or potatoes
  • Formulated to exceed AAFCO recommendations 


  • Frozen 
  • Can be expensive 
  • Not available everywhere 

Tucker’s company makes 9 varieties of food including chicken, turkey, beef, pork, salmon, and a few surf & turf combos. They are rated safe for all life stages including puppy, adult, and senior dogs. 

Similar to Stella & Chewy, Tucker’s also uses HPP processing on their raw food, making it safer for both humans to handle and for dogs to enjoy. This HPP processing also makes it safer for dogs with compromised immune systems to eat. 

For this, let’s look at the turkey and pumpkin flavor. Turkey is the first ingredient, and includes the muscle and muscle tissues from the turkey. It naturally contains all 10 essential amino acids for optimum health. 

The next ingredients are turkey organ meat, bone, and marrow. While not exactly appetizing to us, this is where the powerhouse of this food is seen. Filled with the essential vitamins and minerals for optimum health, these ingredients are vital to your dog’s well-being. 

Next is pumpkin, known for helping dogs with gut issues, it is a complex-carb that doesn’t contain any known allergens. 

Finally, we have added vitamins and minerals. They are additional nutrition for your pup and help with absorption. 

This food is a single source protein, is completely balanced, and is a good choice for dogs with food allergies! 

Best Limited ingredients

Limited ingredient dog food is exactly what it sounds like – dog food made with only a few ingredients. This is a great option to feed your dog when living with food allergies because the ingredients are simple. Due to their smaller ingredient list, there is less of a chance your dog will react to them. 

When you are first starting to figure out your dog’s food allergies, these limited ingredient diets can be a great option. 

Nom Nom Review: Our Pets Dig the Cat and Dog Food Delivery Service

Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food 


  • Subscription service 
  • Human grade food
  • Added taurine 
  • Freshly made and shipped to your door
  • Environmentally conscious company 
  • No preservatives, fillers, by-meal or by-products
  • All US products for ingredients 
  • Formulated to exceed AAFCO recommendations 


  • Subscription service 
  • Only 4 flavors to choose from 

Nom Nom Food makes 4 flavors of fresh and cooked food: Chicken, Beef, Pork, and Turkey. They are rated safe for all stages of life including puppy, adult, and senior. Since the food is cooked, it is a good choice for dogs who have a compromised immune system. 

The ingredients start with a single source of protein, for this let us look at the Turkey flavor. Turkey is the first ingredient, meaning muscle meat. Brown rice, eggs, carrots, and spinach round out the first 5 ingredients. 

The rest of the ingredients are vitamins and minerals to help boost the nutritional value. Of note, the fish oil and taurine are important additions. Fish oil has been proven to help dogs with food allergies in regards to their skin issues. And taurine is an important amino acid to help with heart function. 

This is a single source dog food with common proteins but is cooked making it healthy for dogs with a compromised immune system. If you wish you had time to cook for your pet, this is a great option! 

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Real Salmon and Sweet Potato 


  • Wheat, corn, and soy free 
  • Kibble, shelf stable for weeks
  • No animal by-products in any foods
  • Formulated to exceed AAFCO recommendations 
  • Environmentally focused on using sustainable protein sources 


  • Only for adult dogs, not recommend for all life stages
  • Kibble, some people don’t like to feed this

Canidae Pure line is a limited ingredient dry dog food that has fewer than 10 main ingredients per bag. The first ingredients are meat, followed by fruits and vegetables. This makes this meal a good choice for dogs with allergies. 

The first ingredient in the Salmon and Sweet Potato formulation is salmon followed by salmon meal. Next is Menhaden fish meal, which is a mid-water fish from the oceans. They are related to herrings and since they are a mid-water fish, are not exposed to high levels of mercury like other deep water fish. 

Next is sweet potatoes and peas. These are good complex carbs that also provide proteins, rich in fiber and beta carotene. Potatoes, canola oil, and alfalfa round out the list of main ingredients. These ingredients are easy to digest and provide things like omega-3s which have been proven to help dogs with allergies recover quicker. 

Finally, there are added vitamins and minerals to make this a complete and balanced food. This food contains chelated minerals, which means the minerals have been bonded to the proteins. That makes them easier to absorb, potentially helping your dog have better nutrition. 

This is a limited ingredient dog food that is in a kibble, making it shelf-stable and a good option for people who need a quick and easy means of feeding their dog with food allergies. 

Best Single Protein and Novel Protein Source 

For dogs with a lot of allergies or complex allergies, it can be helpful to have a single or novel protein source. 

These are exactly what they sound like: Dog food that has a single source of protein in the food, or, food that has a novel, or unique, protein source. Remember that many dogs are allergic to common proteins like beef or chicken. This method of feeding dogs switches up the protein to one that is new to their bodies. This makes it less likely for the dog to be allergic. 

Many of the foods on this list have single source proteins, such as Stella & Chewy, Answers, NomNom, and Canidae. 

Zignature Kangaroo Formula 


  • Novel proteins for super sensitive dogs
  • Complex & Low glycemic index carbs 
  • Recommended for all life stages 
  • Similar food recipes between flavors making it easy to rotate flavors to prevent new sensitivities forming 
  • Shelf stable for weeks 
  • Formulated to exceed AAFCO recommendations 


  • Kibble, some people avoid this
  • Expensive 

Zignature offers over 16 types of flavors to choose from, making this a good choice for a novel protein source for your dog. Additionally, they offer different kibble sizes so that your large or small dog can enjoy the food with bites suited for their size. Let’s look at the Kangaroo formula for this review. 

Kangaroo is the first ingredient and it is a lean red meat with only 2% fat but twice as much vitamin B as other meats. The second ingredient is kangaroo meal, which is meat from the kangaroo that has been dehydrated and added back to the food, making it more concentrated. 

Chickpeas and peas are next, both are legumes filled with good fiber. Safflower oil, alfalfa, and flaxseeds round out the list of ingredients. 

Finally, they have vitamins and minerals. It is good to note that taurine has been added. The minerals also are chelated which means they are easier to absorb for dogs, thus increasing the nutritional value. 

This is a protein heavy dry food made with a super novel protein, making it a good choice for dogs with food allergies. 

Best Treats for Dogs with Allergies 

Treats can be an overlooked hidden source of food allergens for your pup! Many store bought treats are packed with grains, fillers, and common protein sources that may be triggering your dog’s allergies. 

These are the dog treats I feed my dogs and would recommend to you! 

  • Wagatha’s Biscuits – My dog loves the pizza and maple bacon the most!
  • Stella & Chewy’s Wild Weenies 
  • Dehydrated sweet potatoes 

Safe fruits and veggies like: Apples, blueberries, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, strawberries, watermelon bites (without the rind)

More Articles on Dogs and Allergies

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