featured image showing a puppy eating hypoallergic food

Hypoallergenic dog diet is a must for every pet that may have food allergies. These kinds of foods help minimize the triggering of an allergic reaction in highly susceptible breeds and help prevent the development of itchy and dry skin, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive gassiness as well as skin and ear infections. Choosing the best nutrition type and products is thus, important if we want to ensure optimum gastrointestinal, immunologic, and overall health for our furry friends.

Unfortunately, not all products can provide such guarantees. There are certain brands that contain substances that can somehow trigger an allergic reaction. This can be particularly frustrating especially for the new pet owner who has very limited knowledge about canine allergies, much less its management. While there are plenty of products on the market to choose from, one of the major issues that every pet owner has to confront is choosing which product is the right one for their respective dogs. Each dog is inherently unique and may respond to a particular product differently. This can complicate the selection process as owners will have to jump from one brand to the next until they’ve found the “ideal” food for Fido.

It is for this reason that we’re sharing with you the results of our extensive research in the hope of making it a lot easier for you to make the correct decision when it comes to choosing the right and most appropriate type of diet or product for your pet. We spent considerable time reading through the hundreds of consumer reviews as well as technical papers written about these products, analyzing each entry to help guarantee that you’re getting only the best ones your puppy deserves. 

Our Top 5 Picks Compared

NameMain FeatureOur RatingPrice
Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient DIetSingle-protein source food with added probiotics9.5 out of 10$$ (Varies)
Holistic Select Natural Dry FoodHigh-quality protein sources with omega 3 and probiotics9.8 out of 10$$ (Varies)
Instinct Limited Ingredient DietSingle-protein source food with fatty acids and vitamins9.2 out of 10$$ (Varies)
Royal Canin HP Hypoallergenic HPSoy-based amino acids9.7 out of 10$$ - $$$ (Varies)
Orijen 6 FishFish-based hypoallergenic proteins9.4 out of 10$$ (Varies)

Top Rated Dog Food For Allergies Reviewed

1. Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Food

Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient came up as one of our top picks and the highest rated hypoallergenic dog food that you can give to your beloved pet. Each formulation of this product consists only of two ingredients – a protein source and a carbohydrate source, either potato or oatmeal.

Being a single-protein source, Wellness gives you the ability to determine which among the different kinds of protein sources your beloved pet is particularly reactive to. This essentially gives you the power to identify which proteins are healthy for your dog and which ones are not.

Image of Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Diet
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Furthermore, since Wellness Simple doesn’t contain wheat-gluten, corn, dairy, soy, eggs, and artificial preservatives or fillers, you can help ensure a healthier digestive system for your canine friend while also ensuring a much more functional immune system.

Unfortunately, if your pet happens to be allergic to duck, salmon, lamb, or turkey, then this is not for your Fido. Nevertheless, being able to identify that your pet is allergic to these protein sources is already a significant step towards the determination of a more gut-friendly diet for your dog.

Another important issue raised by concerned pet owners is the significant difference in the quality of the Wellness Simple. Most of the incredible products were supplied by online retailers that promise substantial savings for each purchase. Sadly, it may not be of the same quality as those supplied by legitimate sellers and from the official company site itself. As such, to help avoid these problems, it is a must that Wellness Simple be bought only from highly reputable sources.

PROS:

  • Single-protein source
  • Added prebiotics and probiotics

CONS:

  • May not be ideal for dogs with sensitivities to such protein sources

2. Holistic Select Natural Dry

Holistic Select offers a variety of special formulations designed specifically to tame the hyperactive immune system and bring a much-needed rest for the digestive tract. It boasts of a unique formulation that includes omega-3 essential fatty acids derived from flaxseed as well as glucosamine which mostly helps strengthen the joints of your beloved canine. At any rate, not only are you ensuring a healthier digestive system for your pet, but you’re also decreasing the incidence of hip and joint problems especially among highly susceptible dogs.

While the Holistic Select is not necessarily a single-protein source type of kibble, often depending on the variant that you purchase, it is nonetheless, packed with gut-friendly prebiotics and probiotics that help provide for a healthier canine digestive system. All of the formulations are also ensured not to contain meat by-products as well as highly allergenic ingredients such as wheat or wheat-gluten.

image of editors choice holistic select
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One of the major drawbacks of Holistic Select, as observed by some dog owners, is that it doesn’t allow for the efficient identification of a possible allergen, especially if you purchase non-single-protein source variants like salmon and anchovy and anchovy, sardine, and salmon. This has led to some  cases of worsening of allergic symptoms in dogs. Nevertheless, you still have single-protein choices in turkey, lamb, duck, and chicken.

PROS:

  • Use of high-quality protein sources
  • Addition of omega-3 essential fatty acids and glucosamine
  • Addition of prebiotics and probiotics

CONS:

  • Not ideal for dogs with allergies to such proteins
  • Determination of allergen may be quite tricky for certain variants

3. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry 

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet from Nature’s Variety is the third on our list and one of the most delicious foods if your dog is a picky eater. It boasts of being a single-protein source kibble for your beloved pets making it super easy to identify which type of protein your pet will be allergic to. This can significantly help dog owners in coming up with more sensible nutrition for their respective pets.

While Instinct Limited only has single protein sources, it nevertheless, makes sure that each formulation has all the right amounts of protein, fats, and fiber to make for a well-balanced and gut-friendly diet for your pet. Additionally, it has incorporated essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to further aid in the control of oxidation reactions as well as taming the immunologic response to allergies. Also added are Vitamin C and Vitamin E for optimum cellular and immune system functioning, respectively.

image of instict grain-free nurition bag
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What many dog owners noted is that their pets have become less prone to diarrhea and itching and showed signs of continuously improving overall health. The moisture content of Instinct is also noteworthy, allowing for greater skin health.

Unfortunately, the new formulation of Instinct Limited has substantially less animal protein component than its previous versions leading to some dog owners to comment that it is a very bad move for the company, destroying a credible product just to cut down on manufacturing costs. Sadly, too, the new formulation has produced some allergic reactions in a few dogs. Nevertheless, it should still be a very formidable diet to give to your canine friends what with the long history of Instinct’s high animal protein content.

PROS:

  • Single-protein source
  • Fortified with essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals

CONS:

  • Substantially less animal protein than it used to have
  • May cause allergies in dogs that are sensitive to plant-based proteins

4. Royal Canin HP Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

First and foremost, the Royal Canin HP Hydrolyzed Protein is a prescription canine diet that’s specifically designed for dogs with food allergies.

Its formulation requires the breakdown of major plant-based proteins – mostly soy – into smaller substances known as amino acids. This essentially takes the work of the digestive system in breaking down the large protein molecules by supplying it with readily-available, readily digestible amino acids. Royal Canin HP also comes with essential fatty acids from animal sources to help provide additional health benefits. Supplying energy to your dog is rice that is also easily digested, further improving overall digestive health.

Royal canin hydrolyzed protein product image in a white bag
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Regrettably, since it is a highly engineered canine diet that’s designed specifically for certain dogs with definitively-diagnosed allergies, you’d have to pay more, and this is what’s bothering a good number of pet owners. However, on the brighter side, once your dog has completely recuperated from its illness and its digestive system has fully recovered, you can always slowly make the transition to other diets that are less expensive than the Royal Canin HP.

PROS:

  • A prescription diet for dogs
  • Soy-based amino acids as main components

CONS:

  • Very pricey

5. Orijen 6 Fish Grain-Free Formula Dry 

Orijen has been consistently producing high-quality pet products that are best characterized as truly high in protein. They use their resources in supplying them with the raw ingredients that they put into each package. The Orijen 6 Fish Grain-Free Formula is no exception as it contains 6 different saltwater and freshwater fishes that are known to be very good.

One of the most remarkable observations that owners have about the Orijen 6 Fish is that they can see noticeable improvements in their pet’s health in just a couple of weeks. Additionally, since the formulation contains whole foods, many observed that their pets required substantially less feeding. Moreover, this also allows dogs to process nutrition a lot better, often leaving behind more tolerable, smaller stools.

product image of orijen six fish
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There are three things that some pet owners are quite concerned about the Orijen 6 Fish. First, it’s a bit pricey. However, considering that only high-quality ingredients are put into each formulation, essentially eliminating fillers that do nothing for your puppy’s health, pound-for-pound the Orijen 6 Fish still comes out as a product of exceptional value.

Secondly, since it’s packed with high protein, it may pose some problems in dogs that may have existing liver problems as they will not be able to process the extra protein. This can be best avoided by having your pet regularly checked for their liver enzymes.

Thirdly, if you have a breed that is sensitive to any one of the component fishes of Orijen, then try to avoid it. Nevertheless, with exceptionally high-quality protein and whole foods packed into each bag, the Orijen 6 Fish remains a favorite.

PROS:

  • Fish-based high quality proteins
  • Fortified with essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins
  • Pound-for-pound value for your money

CONS:

  • May not be good for dogs with known allergies to fish, although rare
  • May require regular monitoring of liver enzymes
Visual Presentation of the highest rated hypoallergenic pet food

How to Choose the Right Diet for Pet’s with Allergies?

Choosing the right food for your pet dog requires a careful understanding of how food allergies occur in the first place. Since dog allergies have the same physiology as in human allergies, it is important to take note that any food item that may have a particular protein molecule to which your dog’s immune system cells are particularly reactive to has the potential to cause an allergic reaction. As such, here are some things you need to consider.

* Always check with your veterinarian about the most appropriate type of diet.

* Choose a product that contains a single protein source and one that is highly uncommon, known as novel proteins, such as turkey, duck, bison, rabbit, venison, and fish. Lamb used to be a novel protein. However, because it is now increasingly used in a lot of commercially available dog foods, it has somehow lost its hypoallergenicity.  

* Choose one that contains hydrolyzed proteins as these avoids immunogenic detection by immune system cells, thus, not triggering any allergic reactions.

* Choose kibbles that contain starches since these are known to be less allergenic than other types of carbohydrates. Excellent examples are rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and sweet peas.

* Choose kibbles that do not contain animal- and plant- proteins that are known to be allergenic including chicken, beef, and now, even lamb.

* Choose products that does not contain any of the ingredients that are commonly found in ordinary products including fillers, preservatives, and artificial colorings and flavorings.

* Pick the products that are free from grains such as soy, corn, wheat, and yeast.

boxer puppy on a leash

The Main Benefits of Hypoallergenic Products

Aside from the fact that you will be effectively ensuring their optimum health, you will also be able to provide a much safer environment for them just by knowing what to avoid. Here are some of the benefits:

* Helps identify allergenic triggers in your dog’s diet – When used as part of a hypoallergenic trial you can use these types of kibbles to identify the different allergenic triggers in your pet’s diet. While it usually takes a few months before you can expect the results, at any rate, you will be glad to learn which type of food your pooch is allergic to.

* Improves digestive health – Giving your pet hypoallergenic kibbles essentially rests its digestive system. This is especially true if you give hydrolyzed proteins as the digestive tract no longer has to work as hard to digest and process large protein molecules. This allows your digestive tract to rest and recuperate, leading to optimum digestive health. This translates to better nutrient absorption and healthier elimination of wastes.

* Enhances immune responses – By slowly removing the allergenic substance from your dog’s system, the immune system is thus, primed for optimum functioning since it doesn’t have to constantly mount an allergic response every time a potential allergen is detected.

* Supplies the canine body with needed vitamins and minerals – Many of these products come fortified with essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that are essential in the promotion and maintenance of optimum canine health.

a dog waiting for some afternoon snacks

FAQs

  • What is a hypoallergenic type of diet?

This kind of diet consists of products that have a decreased tendency to stimulate or provoke an immune response that leads to an allergic reaction.

  • Why does my pet need it?

Like allergies in humans, allergic reactions can produce a variety of problems that can ultimately affect the overall health and wellness of the dog. By providing a special diet, the symptoms are minimized, the digestive tract is rested and allowed to recuperate, and the immune system is tamed for more appropriate immunologic responses.

  • What are the symptoms of food allergy in dogs?

The symptoms can include, but not limited to, itching, chronic ear inflammation, poor quality of coat, skin rashes, paw biting, obsessive licking, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, hives, chronic gas, and even itchy rear end.

  • Why is my dog allergic to some types of food?

Allergic responses are triggered by the recognition of the body’s immune system cells of the presence of a substance that is considered to have a certain protein marker that is deemed as “harmful” by the immune system cells. Any protein source that carries this “marker” can eventually trigger an allergic response. It is also because of this that some ingredients are known to be more allergenic than others because of the way their proteins are structured.

  • How is allergy diagnosed in my dog?

It can be diagnosed in one of two ways. The first is the introduction of a novel protein source to help reduce the incidence of an allergic response. The second is the introduction of hydrolyzed proteins which effectively bypasses the recognition of these molecules by the immune system as allergenic. In either method, the dog should be fed these hypoallergenic dietary products for a minimum of 8 weeks to assess the pet’s immunologic response. Confirmation is needed by feeding your puppy with the regular diet again for about 2 weeks upon which the usual allergic reactions should be observed. In such cases, you can say your dog has a fair case of food allergy.

  • What are the best food options for your dog with allergies?

Novel proteins and hydrolyzed proteins are two of the currently recognized types of diets that are specially designed for this. However, it should be understood that those brands that are prescribed by veterinarians are often better and more effective, albeit more expensive than those that can be bought off the shelf.  

woman with golden retriever showing him some snacks

Conclusion

Meeting your pet’s dietary needs helps ensure optimum health by facilitating the recuperation and return to optimum health of its digestive system. It is also beneficial in the sense that the canine immune system will be better equipped to respond to other immunologic insults to further improve the overall health of your dog. These types of kibbles also help in the promotion and maintenance of optimum canine health through the inclusion of other helpful nutrients in their formulation. Best of all, these types of food allow you to identify the best and most appropriate nutrition for your best friend.

In choosing the best one though, it is important to always seek the advice of a veterinary professional since he is in the best position to determine whether your dog really has an allergy or some other health condition that mimics the signs and symptoms. As a general rule, choose products that do not contain anything commonly found in ordinary kibbles, are free from grains and gluten, and are composed of only a single-protein source, preferably one that is considered as novel protein.

In our research, we found two products that were neck and neck whenimage of editors choice holistic select dog food it comes to effectiveness. However, because of serious quality issues brought about by some unscrupulous companies wanting to take advantage of one of the product’s increasing popularity, we were compelled to award the title of the best hypoallergenic dog food product to Holistic Select Natural. It provides exceptional choices when it comes to different flavors and specific sizes and breeds, giving the owners absolute control on what to give to their beloved pets. All of the formulations are also grain- and gluten- free and contain novel protein sources. The Holistic also provides additional nutrients for optimum dog health. It also offers the best value for your money. With all these huge pluses, the Holistic Select truly deserves being called the best choice.

Sources and References:

  1. Jennifer Coates – The Best Food Options for Your Dog with Allergies – Pet MD
  2. Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott – Food Allergies in DogsModern Dog Magazine
  3. Juliana Weiss-Roessler – Most common food allergies in dogs – Cesars Way

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