Featured image of two dogs with bandanas waiting for food

Is your pet sensitive to particular ingredients and requires specialized nutrition? Do need a complete and balanced meal to satisfy his nutritional needs? Is so, then switching to a limited ingredient diet, or LID might be a smart decision to make.

This food is formulated to target various breeds and their health issues. Therefore, it might be perfect for canines suffering from allergies and digestion disorders.

In today’s article, we will analyze and review some of the best limited ingredient dog food. All recipes claim to have excellent properties. But let’s see whether these brands are true to their word.

Top Simple Ingredient Dog Food Reviews

IMAGEPRODUCTINGREDIENTS 
Best Overall

Small Product image of Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Grain Free
Natural Balance
Best Overall
Sweet Potatoes
Salmon
Menhaden Fish Meal
Canola Oil
Potato Protein
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Sensitive Stomach

Small Product image of American Journey Limited Ingredient
American Journey
Sensitive Stomach
Deboned Salmon
Peas
Salmon Meal
Pea Starch
Sweet Potato
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Adult Dogs

Small Product image of Blue Buffalo Basics
Blue Buffalo
Adult Dogs
Deboned Turkey
Turkey Meal
Potatoes
Peas
Peas Starch
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Picky Eaters

Small Product image of Zignature Turkey Formula
Zignature
Picky Eaters
Turkey
Chickpeas
Turkey Meal
Pea Protein
Peas
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Great Dry Food

Small Product image of Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 For Adult dogs
Rachael Ray Nutrish
Great Dry Food
Lamb Meal
Ground Rice
Brown Rice
Beet Pulp
Chicken Fat
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Natural Nutrition

Small Product image of Wellness Simple Natural
Wellness Simple
Natural Nutrition
Salmon
Potatoes
Salmon Meal
Dried Ground Potatoes
Peas
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Healthy Digestion

Small Product image of CANIDAE Pure Real Bison
CANIDAE
Healthy Digestion
Bison
Lamb Meal
Peas
Sweet Potatoes
Lentils
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For Immunity

product image of instict food bag
Instinct by Nature's Variety
For Immunity
Lamb Meal
Tapioca
Peas
Pea Protein
Canola Oil
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Joint Health

Small Product image of Merrick Grain and Potato Free
Merrick
Joint Health
Deboned Salmon
Chickpeas
Salmon Meal
Peas
Lentils
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Large Breeds

Small Product image of Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet No Chicken
Nutro
Large Breeds
Deboned Lamb
Lamb Meal
Dried Potato
Chickpeas
Lentils
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Natural Balance - Best Overall

First Five Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Salmon
  • Menhaden Fish Meal
  • Canola Oil
  • Potato Protein

The Natural Balance sweet potato and fish formula is one of the best-selling products this brand has to offer. Their healthy carbs and fish-based protein will provide your canine with a complete and balanced meal while eliminating possible health issues. For that reason, it’s a #1 pick for many pet parents.

The savory salmon taste and menhaden fish offer necessary amounts of DHA and EPA. On the other hand, restricted ingredient diet exposes dogs to only a few components at a time. Additionally, sweet potato is a powerful antioxidant, which converts into vitamin A and reduces risks of cancer and head disorders. On top of that, it comes with a near-ideal ratio of omega fatty acids.

To conclude, the Natural Balance limited ingredient recipe will ensure your pet leads a long and healthy life.

American Journey - Best For Sensitive Stomach

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Salmon
  • Peas
  • Salmon Meal
  • Pea Starch
  • Sweet Potato

According to numerous dog food critics, American Journey Grain-Free formula is the most popular nutrition coming from this brand.

The meal doesn’t contain soy, wheat or corn and targets all life stages. With this meal, your pup has a chance to experience deboned salmon as the first ingredient. It features a single source of animal protein and ensures rich flavor your dog is sure to love.

Easily digestible carbs such as sweet potatoes and carb will promote digestion, while the grain-free recipe is ideal for dogs with food sensitives. Also, this diet offers a remarkable amount of omega-fatty which nourishes your pet’s skin and coat.

Overall, you should aim to feed your pet with a premium limited ingredient diet dog food.  Therefore, Natural Balance should be your next pick.

Blue Buffalo - Best For Adult Dogs

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Turkey
  • Turkey Meal
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Peas Starch

Is your canine struggling to absorb the nutrients from one recipe? Do you need a brand that offers a complete and balanced meal? Well, the Blue Buffalo doesn’t disappoint in that department, and it is worth taking a closer look.

This formula contains zero grains, cheap fillers, and artificial additives. On the other hand, it’s packed with only the finest natural ingredients. The real turkey comes as the primary protein source, while potatoes promote gentle digestion.

To ensure healthy and resilient bones, the Blue Buffalo has included calcium and phosphorus to this product. Moreover, the presence of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals will further boost the immune system. The omega fatty acids will stimulate healthy skin and shiny coat, while glucosamine will make sure your pet’s joints stay healthy.

In all, the majority of buyers are quite satisfied with this product. And, they have seen a significant improvement in their pets, after switching to Blue Buffalo.

Zignature - Best For Picky Eaters

First Five Ingredients:

  • Turkey
  • Chickpeas
  • Turkey Meal
  • Pea Protein
  • Peas

If you have a pet who is a picky eater, then he will undoubtedly benefit from Zignature Turkey LID. The formula features a single protein source, plus seven other components to provide your canine with an optimal level of vitamins and minerals.

Farm raised turkey from American Midwest ensures lean muscles and promotes overall wellbeing. Additionally, the meal features veggies which are low in glycemic index, and a broad spectrum of antioxidants, and omega fatty acids.

We should point out that protein source is enriched with selenium, to promote a healthy immune system. Additionally, there are no common food allergens such as soy, wheat, corn, chicken, or by-products.

To sum up, satisfying picky eaters poses a challenge for many pet parents. But, with its perfectly balanced set of ingredients, Zignature formulation will fulfill your expectation.

Rachael Ray Nutrish - Best Dry Food

First Five Ingredients:

  • Lamb Meal
  • Ground Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Beet Pulp
  • Chicken Fat

Rachael Ray, a celebrity chef, launched a quite affordable, but still highly nutritious pet’s food. Only six ingredients form the core of this recipe. For that reason, it’s an excellent food choice for canines suffering from food sensitivities.

Lamb meal is the primary protein source, which ensures proper digestion and supports active nature in dogs. This product doesn’t contain common allergens such as soy, wheat, or corn. The lamb meal and brown rice formula feature plenty of minerals and vitamins, as well as antioxidants. Therefore, it’s crucial to start your pet’s nutrition with all natural ingredients.

In summary, if you are looking for highly nutritious, but yet minimal ingredient dog food, then Rachael Ray has the right solution for you.

Wellness Simple - Best Natural Nutrition

First Five Ingredients:

  • Salmon
  • Potatoes
  • Salmon Meal
  • Dried Ground Potatoes
  • Peas

This simple ingredient formula from Wellness Natural uses all-natural components that many dogs seem to love. Specifically, your pet has a chance to experience a single protein source combined with fresh vegetables.

On the other hand, the diet relies on high-quality nutrients, without cheap fillers or harmful allergens. In this case, it will promote proper digestion and help your pet lead a healthy life.   Salmon comes as dominant protein source, which makes this recipe easily digestible, and yet complete. On top of that, probiotics and prebiotics will stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and enable proper absorption of nutrients.

Altogether, the Wellness Simple grain free food is an exceptional product. It is ideal for pups with nutrient and gluten sensitivity and contains the nutritional value to keep your canine healthy and active.

CANIDAE - For Healthy Digestion

First Five Ingredients:

  • Bison
  • Lamb Meal
  • Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Lentils

Canidae brand is one of the leaders in the pet care industry due to their commitment to choosing only the finest ingredients. In most case, this company works with local farmers, who provide meats for their recipes. This product contains bison and lamb meals as the two primary protein sources. Additionally, you will find plenty of fresh vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots.

Canidae Pure formula is specially designed for canines with food sensitivities. In that case, it will promote digestion, while minimizing GI tract disorders. The trio of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics will help your pet maintain a healthy immune system while boosting his appearance.

In conclusion, if you want your dog to have healthy digestion, then Canidae is the right choice for him.

Instinct by Nature's Variety - For Immunity

First Five Ingredients:

  • Lamb Meal
  • Tapioca
  • Peas
  • Pea Protein
  • Canola Oil

Simple and high-quality nutrition is essential for almost all dogs. It improves their body functions, promotes an active lifestyle, and keeps their immune system healthy. For that reason, Nature’s Variety has developed an Intrinsic line, which enables all those things. It is a limited ingredient lamb dog food, which is crucial for all canines suffering from digestive disorders.

Instinct is probably one of the few lines that feature one protein source and one vegetable. However, don’t let its simplified ingredient list fool you. The product contains a lot of antioxidants and omega fatty acids. They are necessary for the immune system and healthy-looking skin and coat.

After all, when you breed a pet, you want him to feel strong and healthy, and that’s what Instinct by Nature’s Variety offers you.

Merrick - Best For Joint Health

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Salmon
  • Chickpeas
  • Salmon Meal
  • Peas
  • Lentils

Merrick is probably the most famous dog food brand in the U.S featuring a wide range of products. However, limited ingredient real salmon and chickpeas recipe is designed to target joint health in canines.

Additionally, this meal provides complete and balanced nutrition specially formulated with a limited number of components. With this meal, things are straightforward; you get a single protein source. Deboned salmon combined with digestible carbs make this product excellent for canines suffering from stomach disorders. Additionally, supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin will promote healthy hips and joints’ functions.

The bottom line, the Merrick dry dog food will help your canine to feel better, while highly concentrated nutrients will stimulate overall health.

Nutro - Ideal For Large Breeds

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Lamb
  • Lamb Meal
  • Dried Potato
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

Last but not least, Nutro LID got a significant number of positive reviews, ranging from average pet parents to professional reviewers. This recipe is designed to accommodate your large dog dietary needs. It will eliminate food sensitivities and make digestion comfortable. In this case, your pet will receive all the necessary nutrients. Lamb is the primary protein source, which provides amino acids to build muscles and keep the metabolism healthy.

The premium packed nutrients are infused with balanced levels of omega fatty acids, vitamin B, and zinc. Additionally, this meal doesn’t contain, wheat, soy, corn, or artificial additives. On the other hand, naturally sourced chondroitin and glucosamine stimulate healthy joints in canines.

After all, you can’t go wrong with this product. It contains much-needed nutrients to help your large dog reach the mature years.

What Is A Limited Ingredient Dog Food?

Dog food with a limited number of ingredients has become quite popular in the last couple of years. However, there has been a lot of controversy regarding this type of nutrition and definition may vary depending on whom you ask.

Mainly, it should be a diet that contains one protein source and one carbohydrate. But, nowadays, some formulas contain a wide range of components that are advertised as LID.

The definition might also depend on a pet food company. Some manufacturer may promote recipe that contains two novel protein sources such as rabbit or venison meat, as well as two carbs like green peas and sweet potatoes.

Restricted ingredient diet usually targets specific health condition in canines. Even though it has fewer components than average dog formula, it’s essential to point out that this food provides all the necessary nutrients your pet may require.

What Dogs Should Have A Limited Ingredient Diet?

Allergies

Canines sensitive to certain types of food, or ingredients may experience the signs of allergies. These symptoms are often linked to many disorders and can be challenging to detect. In most cases, food intolerance often causes gastrointestinal issues. On the other hand, the initial symptoms may also result in skin and ear infection.  

Though you can use medications, the best treatment is avoidance. It means you start eliminating nutrition that harms your pet.

Digestive Issues

Digestive disorders are usually connected to food intolerance. Dogs may display a wide variety of symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.

Some ingredients in commercial dog diet may affect your canine’s digestion and absorption of nutrients, which isn’t the case with a LID. This type of nutrition usually has fewer proteins and carbs than regular dog pet meals, which elevates digestive issues and promotes a healthy GI tract.

Read more: Top Rated Dog Food for Dogs with Digestive Problems

Skin Problems

Dogs with skin issues might be suffering from food allergies. It is a usually painful and irritating condition which can involve signs such as:

  • Loss of hair
  • Excessive Licking
  • Hot spots on the skin
  • Crusty skin
  • The dog rolling around the ground
  • Pacing and anxiety

The common allergens are:

  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Be careful with limited ingredient dog food with grain

For that reason, the LID is crucial for a pet’s recovery and overall well being.

Sensitive Stomach

Unfortunately, nutrient intolerance doesn’t cause the immune system to respond, by blocking the potential allergens. In this case, his body might react and show the first signs of distress such as vomiting and diarrhea.

For example, your pet might be sensitive to lactose, which means that dairy products are out of the picture. So, when dog consumes lactose, his body won’t be able to process this ingredient, resulting in an upset tummy.

Health Problems

Inappropriate diet causes numerous health issues in canines to appear. A nutritionally balanced meal should maintain your canine’s health and help him with chronic conditions. Therefore, you can avoid disorders such as:

  • Heart Disease
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Arthritis

With many diseases, diet adjustments can play a significant role in helping your dog lead a comfortable life. You should consult your vet for further recommendations. Choosing formula may depend on age, level of activity, breed, and health issues.

Image of two Bulldog buddies having fun.

Benefits Of Feeding A Limited Ingredient Canine Food

Hypoallergenic

Limited ingredient diet usually prevents allergies which occur in canines. It contains carefully selected ingredients, to target certain conditions. Pets sensitive to specific formula will most certainly benefit from this type of nutrition. Considering there are no reliable tests to determine food allergies, you’ll have to use the process of elimination.  

You should try to determine possible ingredients causing the allergic reaction in your dog. Later on, you can apply an appropriate diet. Nutrition should minimize health issue and improve your pet’s condition.

For more great brand recommendations follow our guide about Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food.

No Fillers

Fillers are standard components of commercial dog nutrition. Sometimes manufacturers want to skimp on the ingredients. They resort to by-products, which hold no nutritional value.

But, with the limited ingredient diet, you get crude proteins and carbs. They have an immense effect on your pet’s health, eliminating food sensitivities, digestive disorders, and managing the weight.

Can Pinpoint Allergies

As we mentioned before, nutrition often causes allergic reactions in canines. They are unable to absorb or digest specific food components, which trigger defensive mechanisms within their bodies.  

However, the minimal ingredient diet focuses only on a couple of nutrients. It might involve one protein source, one vegetable, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. It will elevate and prevent allergies and help your pet stay healthy.

High-Quality Ingredients

Many limited ingredient dog food brands use premium components in their formulas. But, a lot of pet parents don’t know how to read labels and distinguish right from potentially harmful ingredients.

Therefore, you should focus on:

  • Real Meats
  • Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
  • Vitamin B
  • Omega Fatty Acids
  • Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Minerals like zinc, calcium, and selenium
  • Novel proteins such as beef, deer, yak, kangaroo, or crocodile meat  

Healthy

Minimal ingredient diet has shown significant health properties in many canines. Due to its simple formula, this nutrition doesn’t contain harmful components which will further worsen his condition.

These days, veterinarians often recommend LDI because it has the potential to minimize many disorders. When feeding your canine with these types of recipes, he will feel better, have more energy, and maintain a healthy metabolism.

Buying Considerations

Number Of Ingredients

When buying a minimal ingredient dog food, pay attention to the amount of nutrient. It determines whether food falls into this category or not.

Limited formals often feature once protein source and one vegetable. They may include plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well. Before you make a final decision, consult your vet. There are recipes which offer more ingredients but still are labeled as limited.

Single Source Of Protein

Products containing one protein course might be a healthier alternative to commercial dog nutrition. They are crucial in preventing food sensitivities.

GI tract breaks down these components into molecules. In some cases, the immune system fails to act and sees proteins as a potential threat. By limiting the amount of protein, you can go a long way to keep sensitive pets healthy.

Several Sources of Carbohydrates

Same as proteins, carbs can pose a threat to your canine’s body. Some products contain sources of carbohydrates which can worsen the dog’s wellbeing.

For that reason, many experts recommend a limited number of carbs. You should go for fresh vegetables to improve your dog’s nutrition.  

Nutrients

Depending on your pet’s condition, you can resort to nutrients that are less common in the canine diet. They often include novel proteins such as duck, lamb, and salmon meat.

Additionally, use recipes that contain healthy fats and carbs, to stimulate energy levels. Moreover, you should include vitamins A, C, B, and D, as well as minerals for proper body functions.

Reputable Manufacturer

Once you have chosen a particular brand, you will need to research on a manufacturer. This information can help you determine whether you’ve made the right decision.

Make sure to check the online reviews and what other people have to say about that company. Mostly, all reputable brands have publicly displayed information.

However, we put a lot of effort and reviewed the best formulas to help you find the appropriate dog food. Our premium product selection will meet the nutritional requirements of your pooch.

Frequently Asked Questions About Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Is it enough for my dog?

The LID has a perfectly balanced set of ingredients to accommodate any dog. This type of nutrition contains necessary nutrients for a complete diet. Depending on your pet’s condition, you will select a product which fulfills his nutritional needs. Nowadays, there are a lot of manufacturers you can choose from.

Are there organic brands?

Organic brands are quite popular with pet parents. They feature all-natural ingredients; your canine will benefit from.

A couple of them are included in our lists, such as Nature’s Variety, Blue Buffalo and Rachael Ray. Some dogs may require limited ingredient dog food without peas. In that case, you can look for Purina Pro Plus or Merrick dry dog nutrition.

How to switch dog food?

If you want to switch to limited ingredients dog meal, then you should follow a couple of steps:

  • Strat gradually – every change can affect your pet’s health. Instead of changing his diet completely, begin by offering small meals slowly.
  • Try easily digestible proteins and carbs – canines with sensitive stomachs need complete and balanced nutrition.
  • Consult your vet – before you take necessary steps, make sure to talk to your vet.
  • Test the limited ingredient dog food wet

Is it safe for small and large breeds?

Yes, the LID is safe for both categories of dogs. A lot of brands focus on breeds before they develop specific products. For instance, what works for German Shepherds, doesn’t mean it will work for Labradors.

Is it safe for puppies?

Limited ingredients diet is an excellent choice for puppies who are sensitive to individual components in food. Make sure to look for puppy’s recipe before you purchase any products. They are usually low in carbohydrates and contain two protein sources.  

Conclusion

Contrary to popular belief, the limited ingredient isn’t only a dry and unpalatable kibble. It is actually, a specially formulated food which targets specific condition in canines.

Considering there are too many brands out there, pet owners have a hard time making the right decision.

However, we hope our guide will help you find the best limited-ingredient dog recipes. We have covered a couple of reputable brands, who only use high-quality components and make excellent nutrition.

References:

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