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Here are the Best Grain Free Dog Foods for Skin Allergies

First off, thank you for actively seeking to improve your best friend’s life.. We ❤ you for taking the extra step by searching for the best grain free dog food for skin allergies!

Here they are…

Impatient (like me)?  🙂

Instantly ✔ current prices & more info about the best grain free dog food for skin allergies:

  1. Taste of the Wild Roasted Bison & Venison
  2. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Diet
  3. Natural Balance Wild Pursuit Formula
  4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein

Hint: Some links have coupons. 🙂

While many of the conditions that afflict our dogs have a fairly straight-forward solution, skin issues can be one of the most difficult to treat.


Simply put, skin is complicated.

It’s the largest organ on any mammal, and uniquely affected by both internal and external factors.

Mites, grass, pollen, swimming, nutritional deficiency or an auto-immune disease could all be causing your dog’s skin to be red, itchy, and inflamed.

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But the most common cause is food allergies.

This sounds easy enough to treat, but amidst a sea of choices, finding the right food for your itchy pooch can take time and money.

A proper food trial should last eight to ten weeks, and you’ll need to monitor factors other than your puppy’s skin, like bathroom habits and energy levels.

A proper dog food skin allergy trial should be ~8 weeks to monitor skin, bathroom habits & energy. Click To Tweet

What is the Best Grain Free Dog Food for Skin Allergies?

To save you time, and hopefully money :), I’ve compiled a list of the best grain-free foods for dogs with skin allergies.

1. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food (Roasted Bison & Venison)

If a grain-free, novel protein food is what you’re after, look no further than Taste of the Wild.

The primary ingredient listed is buffalo, a protein source less commonly used in commercial dog food, and therefore less likely that your dog has developed a sensitivity to it.

Taste of the Wild (grain free dog food) logo

This is the second lowest calorie food on our list (after the Natural Balance), making it a good choice for allergic dogs working on their summer figures.

It’s also one of the least expensive, so your pooch will lose more weight than your wallet.

Although this is a novel protein food, it’s important to note that it doesn’t contain a single protein.

Lamb meal, chicken meal, and egg product are among the ingredients listed, so an ultra-sensitive dog may have prevailing issues.

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2. Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Lamb Meal & Peas Formula

Where Nature’s Variety packs a punch is that there is absolutely no chicken, beef, fish, eggs or grain anywhere in its formula.

If your best friend is dealing with multiple allergies, or is highly sensitive to any one of these ingredients, it may be worth shelling out the extra dollars for the most expensive food on our list.

Nature's Variety dog food logo

It’s got the highest calorie content of all our reviewed foods, and the highest percentage of crude fat compared to protein, so you’ll want to make sure you adjust your daily feedings accordingly.

Not sure how to calculate caloric requirements?  Lucky for you, Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center has you covered with this basic dog calorie calculator.

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3. Natural Balance Wild Pursuit Trout, Salmon Meal & Tuna Formula

Natural Balance has been quietly building a reputation as one of the most trusted, all-natural alternatives to big brand dog food.

The Wild Pursuit line has a high protein value, making it ideal for high-energy, allergy prone dogs like Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds.

Natural Balance logo

Thanks to freeze dried raw pieces, this food is highly palatable and avoids the hassle and potential risk of feeding your dog a raw diet.

Wild Pursuit comes in a variety of flavor options, but this fish-based blend will make a visible difference in the luster of your dog’s coat, and is a great choice for pups with poultry sensitivity, which is more common than you think.

Being a smaller brand, Natural Balance Wild Pursuit is a little more costly.

Some owners also report the trout blend resulting in worse smelling doggy breath, so a switch to this food may signal an end to make-out sessions with your dog.

Best Grain Free Dog Food for Skin Allergies - pit bull kisses

If you refuse to give up the kisses, you could always supplement with a grain-free dental chew after meals.

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4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Adult Dog Food

This product is similar to the Natural Balance Wild Pursuit in many ways.

It’s a grain-free, fish-based, high-protein food, but buying with a bigger brand like Blue has its advantages.

Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness foods are significantly cheaper than the Natural Balance offering, and will be easier to find both online and in-store.

Blue Buffalo logo

This is also a higher calorie food, which makes it a good choice if you’ve got an allergic pup that’s on the underweight side.

Reviews for this formula are overwhelmingly positive, but Blue doesn’t do quite as well in the taste department. If your dog is notoriously picky with what he puts in his mouth, this may not be the food to settle on.

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The Final Verdict

Each dog is unique, and there is no one food that will work for every dog with allergic skin issues, simply because they aren’t all allergic to the same things.

Keeping that in mind, I recommend Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet be first on your list of foods to try. Not only have they eliminated grains from the production process, but several other filler ingredients that are common allergy causers.

If you already know that lamb doesn’t agree with your dog, this food also comes in duck and turkey varieties of the same grain-and-filler-free recipe.

Remember that managing allergies can be a long process.

No matter which food you choose, being vigilant about reading ingredient lists and keeping a diary (there’s probably an app for that…leave a comment and let us know what you use!) of how your dog responds to her food will give you the best chance of succeeding at putting skin allergies behind the both of you.

Best Grain Free Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Natural Balance
Blue Buffalo
Nature's Variety
Taste of the Wild

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  1. Very interesting data.

    My dilemma is searching for a dog food with a protein level around 25% which is tricky with grain free formulas, which we need for my dog’s grain allergies.

    Many grain free brands I’ve studied are at 34% protein. They must taste better to my dog who has less interest in the lower protein type, but our vet says she needs a lower protein at her age.

    The 4 Health brand comes in at 24% protein in a grain free formula, but now her skin is breaking out and she doesn’t seem to like the taste.

    This article helped me see that my dog may also have a sensitivity to beef, so I’ll try the fish formula. Also, I appreciated your attention to the calorie level in these brands, since my dog does not need a higher calorie intake for her senior activity level.

    Thank you.

  2. Natalie Rohloff

    I have a dog that has a bad food allergies and fights yeast badly. He can not have grain beef chicken or any fruit of any kind at all! No peas! Any suggestions? But needs to be very high protein because he is very high energy. Help please.

  3. Hello , I have a 7 month old rat terrier with inhaled alergies . Every vet I take her to wants to put her in steroids ( they work but I do not want to keep her on them ) . She is not over weight so loosing weight is not wanted . At this time she is eating Origen puppy food . I know it’s something at my house ( maybe our grass) because when she was at a sitters house for a week she did not have itchy paws. Any suggestions on a food that might help her ? We are desperate 🙁

    • Thanks for reaching out, Sandi. And thanks for not wanting to keep your dog on steroids. We appreciate that decision.

      It sounds like your sweet pup’s allergies aren’t dog food related, but environment related.

      If she was only at your sitter’s house for a week, I’m sure you’ve taken inventory of the different substances that your dog comes into contact at your house vs. the sitter’s?

      • Hello , thank you so much for taking the time out to reply to my question regarding my puppies allergies . Yes , many things I have that she does nor . One thing is grass and we have cats . Her yard was mostly dirt with a small patch of saint agustine grass. We have burmuda . We have tried wiping her down when she comes in from a walk or from going out to pee. I just switched her food from Origen puppy to Acana Macrol fish in hopes the omega vitamins from the fish will help . Thank you in advance for any suggestions you may have .

  4. I have a 7 month old German shepherd, he has had diarrhea since he was 3 mos old. After 3 vet visits he was given Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Original Skin/Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food and some flora supplements. This change did well. He has no more diarrhea yaaay! However the dog food is so so so expensive. Vet never told us specifically what is wrong, but seems to have some sort of food allergy. He was on blue buffalo for large breed puppies when he had the diarrhea.

    Please help with any suggestions that have similar ingredients or is comparable to the prescription food, we truly appreciat any insight.

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