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The Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin and Allergies

Need the best dog food for sensitive skin and allergies? We recommend these 4 dog foods to stop those itchy skin conditions dead in their tracks.

CC image “Huey” via Wayne Silver on Flickr – thx Wayne (& Huey)!

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Jump directly to current prices & more information about the best dog food for sensitive skin and allergies:

  1. Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Venison Meal & Rice
  2. Evolve Simply Six Limited Ingredient
  3. Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Canine Skin Support
  4. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited-Ingredient

Dog Food for Sensitive Skin and Allergies

You’ve cut out the harsh shampoo, lathered on the chamomile lotion, and tried every prescription drug your vet has to offer, yet your dog is still suffering from painful and itchy skin. You hate to see your favorite four-legged best friend suffer, but you’re not quite sure what else to do.

But have you ever considered switching your dog to a food specially designed for canines with skin conditions?

The connection between the food you put in your dog’s bowl and the condition of his skin is strong, so check out the four brands below that will help banish rashy, itchy, inflamed skin for good!

1. Nature’s Recipe Dry Dog Food

Varieties: Healthy Skin Vegetarian, Healthy Skin Venison Meal & Rice.

The first thing you need to know about your dog’s skin condition is that if you want to get to the root cause then you have to look deeper than the surface of the skin itself. In fact, you need to look to your dog’s digestive system to understand why Fido is constantly itching and licking himself raw.

You see, many dogs have a condition called ‘leaky gut’ where food from their digestion is actually travelling into their bloodstream! These large and undigested pieces of food cause your dog’s immune system to go on high alert by attacking the food particles and causing an allergic reaction.

From your dog’s body’s perspective, these food particles are dangerous invaders that need to be attacked! The ripple effect of having an allergic reaction to benign food particles is the unfortunate skin condition you see your pooch having to live with everyday.

So what’s the solution to your dog’s ‘leaky gut’?

You need to feed him a food like Nature’s Recipe that offers a limited ingredient and hypoallergenic formula that won’t set off alarms with your dog’s immune system.

Nature’s Recipe is a great option because it features novel protein sources like venison, while excluding common allergens like chicken, beef, and pork protein. Because venison is not commonly used in most kibbles, your dog likely hasn’t had an opportunity to develop an intolerance to it.

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At the same time, Nature’s Recipe is free of many common carbohydrate allergens like soy, corn, and wheat.

In case you didn’t know, most low-quality conventional dog foods are full of the aforementioned three as a cheap source of protein and carbohydrates.

Low-quality dog foods use soy, corn, & wheat as a cheap source of protein & carbohydrates. Click To Tweet

But the side effect of filling up dog foods with these cheap ingredients are generations of pups who can no longer tolerate these staple crops!

Instead, Nature’s Recipe has opted to use rice, oatmeal, and barley, which are much gentler on your dog’s digestive tract, and are less likely to cause an immune response.

Finally, Nature’s recipe includes some key ingredients to further boost your dog’s skin and coat health. Zinc, vitamin E, and beta-carotene will help heal any rashes your dog currently has, while regulating his immune system so it isn’t always set to “engage and disarm”.

Overall, Nature’s Recipe is a hypoallergenic formula that will help calm your dog’s overactive immune system, while supplying him with skin-supportive nutrients.

Key Features:

  • Novel Protein Sources: Venison is used instead of common protein allergens including chicken, pork, and beef.
  • Hypoallergenic-Friendly Grains: Rice, oatmeal, and barley are used instead of common allergens such as wheat, corn, and soy.
  • Skin Nutrients: Zinc, vitamin E, and beta-carotene all nourish the skin.

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2. Evolve

Varieties: Simply Six Limited Ingredient Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, & Pea Recipe.

When it comes to supporting a dog with an unpleasant skin condition, simpler is usually best.

It can be difficult to nail down exactly what your dog is reacting to, so instead of buying a food with many fancy ingredients, your dog’s digestive system will likely appreciate something a bit simpler.

And this is why Evolve is such a great choice for sensitive pups because its limited ingredient formula scraps everything ‘extra’ to provide your pup with a simplified diet that is gentle on the gut.

Allergy-inducing beef, chicken, and pork are scrapped and are replaced with lamb. And forget about gut-wrenching corn, soy, and wheat because they’ve been replaced by gentle brown rice, peas, and oatmeal.

As a refresher, we want to remove these common allergens because your dog’s immune system will attack them and cause an inflammatory response in the body.

And when it comes to your pup’s health, you don’t want an inflamed dog. Dogs who experience chronic inflammation tend to get skin conditions, joint pain, obesity, and digestive issues among other chronic health conditions.

You can reduce inflammation by feeding a simple diet like Evolve, while also supplying your pup with the nutrients he needs to heal.

In addition to skin-supportive nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin A, and zinc, Evolve is also a great source of naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin, so it’s also a great food for dogs who experience joint issues or who are getting a little long in the tooth.

These two nutrients help build and repair your dog’s joint tissue so he’ll experience less pain and swelling after a hard run at the dog park!

The bottom line is Evolve is a simplified food perfect for reducing overall inflammation and treating skin conditions in dogs who have rashes, dermatitis, or flaking and scaly skin.

Key Features:

  • Novel Protein Sources: Lamb is used instead of common protein allergens including chicken, beef, and pork.
  • Hypoallergenic-Friendly Grains: Brown rice, peas, and oatmeal are used instead of common allergens including corn, soy, and wheat.
  • Skin Nutrients: Zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin A all nourish the skin.
  • Joint Support: Naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin build and repair the joints.

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3. Hill’s Prescription Diet

Varieties: d/d Canine Potato & Duck, d/d Canine Potato & Salmon, d/d Canine Potato & Venison, Derm Defense Canine, z/d Canine Small Bites Dog Food, z/d Canine.

A big part of why your dog is reacting to so many food is because his digestion is not doing so great.

Dogs with strong digestions typically don’t have many food allergies, and if you think about your own rash-riddled pup, you probably won’t have to think that hard to realize he’s probably experiencing a lot of tummy troubles in conjunction with his oozing and pussing skin.

In fact, gas, diarrhea, and constipation aren’t the only signs all is not well with your dog’s digestion. If you notice Fido biting his paws and obsessively licking himself then take heed that his gut is probably in pretty poor shape.

And to get your pup’s gut back on track, you need to feed him a diet that is gentle and won’t cause a lot of strain on an already compromised system.

Hill’s Prescription Diet is a veterinarian-approved kibble that is specifically designed for dogs with skin conditions. Not only does this dry food use novel proteins like venison instead of chicken, beef, and pork to reduce your dog’s immune response, it’s also grain-free.

Being grain-free can be one of the most important steps for getting your dog’s gut back on track.

Grain-free dog food is something to consider for getting your dog’s digestion back on track. Click To Tweet

You see, it’s not just how many ingredients that are in your dog’s food that matters, it’s also matters how complex each of those ingredients are. Grains are actually pretty tough to break down because they’re a complex carbohydrate made up of many interlinking sugar molecules.

Your dog’s gut has to do a lot of work simply to break those grain molecules apart! So instead, Hill’s Prescription has opted to get their carbohydrates from potatoes, which are easier for your dog to digest.

You should take any opportunity to give your dog’s gut a break because an overworked gut is much more likely to cause skin conditions like sore and inflamed rashes.

Finally, you can also be assured that your pup will receive essential nutrients needed to clear up his skin condition and reduce inflammation in his body. Vitamin E, vitamin A, and zinc all work to regulate your dog’s immune system and repair the skin, while omega-3s from fish help put a damper on any inflammation occurring in your dog’s body.

What you need to remember about Hill’s Prescription Diet is that it is a veterinarian-recommended diet designed to help dogs with skin conditions by providing a hypoallergenic formula that delivers key skin-supportive nutrients.

Key Features:

  • Novel Protein Sources: This kibble uses venison instead of common protein allergens including chicken, beef, and pork.
  • Skin Nutrients: Zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, and omega-3 fats nourish the skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Grain-Free: Nixing all grains and opting for potatoes instead reduces the burden on your dog’s gut.

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4. Blue Buffalo Basics

Varieties: Puppy Turkey & Potato Recipe, Adult Turkey & Potato Recipe, Adult Salmon & Potato Recipe, Adult Healthy Weight Turkey & Potato Recipe, Adult Grain-Free Duck & Potato Recipe, Adult Grain-Free Lamb & Potato Recipe, Adult Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Recipe, Adult Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Recipe, Small Breed Adult Turkey & Potato Recipe, Small Breed Grain-Free Adult Lamb & Potato Recipe, Large Breed Adult Turkey & Potato Recipe, Large Breed Adult Grain-Free Lamb & Potato, Senior Turkey & Potato Recipe

Maybe you’ve tried many of these simplified kibbles and your dog simply turns up his nose in disgust. Even though Fido needs a pared down diet to help heal his skin condition, he can’t seem to stomach many of the bland kibbles designed for inflamed pups.

If your dog is a picky eater then consider trying any of the dog foods from Blue Buffalo’s Basics line. All of the kibbles from this line were designed to be hypoallergenic and designed for dogs with poor digestion and skin conditions.

What’s great is you won’t be limited by choice, even though the Basics line provides specialized nutrition. If Fido hates turkey, then he might like salmon, lamb, or duck.

And if your dog has more unique needs due to his age (puppy or senior) or his breed (large or small breed), there’s an option for him too.

In addition to variety, Blue Buffalo Basics kibbles all include novel sources of animal protein such as turkey, duck, and lamb, while avoiding common allergens like beef, chicken, and pork.

Plus, Blue Buffalo has opted to provide grain-free options for dogs with seriously compromised digestion who may not be able to even stomach gentle grains like oatmeal or rice.

And not only will the Basics line remove offending ingredients that are causing your dog so much pain in the first place, the carefully selected ingredients in these kibbles were chosen to rebuild and repair your dog’s compromised digestion.

High-fiber fruits and vegetables will feed the good bacteria in your dog’s gut, and probiotics will help repopulate a system that may have been overrun by invasive pathogens.

Finally, Blue Buffalo’s Basics line is one of the most nutrient-dense options on this list.

Even though it is a hypoallergenic formula, it doesn’t skimp on high-quality nutrition for your dog. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, blueberries, and cranberries help reduce inflammation, while skin-nourishing omega-3 fats from flaxseed and fish will grow a shiny and silky coat.

Overall, Blue Buffalo Basics provides dog owners with an abundance of choices, while still serving your dog a nutrient-dense hypoallergenic kibble that will reduce inflammation and heal skin conditions.

Key Features:

  • Novel Protein Sources: Lamb, turkey, salmon, and duck are used instead of common allergens including beef, chicken, and pork.
  • Digestive Health: High-fiber fruits and vegetables combined with probiotics build beneficial bacteria populations in the gut.
  • Joint Support: Naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin in certain formulations (e.g., lamb) build and repair joints.
  • Grain-Free: Peas and potatoes are used instead of common allergens including wheat, corn, and soy.
  • Skin Nutrients: Omega-3s, vitamin E, and turmeric reduce inflammation and help repair the skin.
  • Nutrient-Dense: Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and mineral-rich kelp nourish your dog’s immune system.

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The bottom line is that when it comes to providing your dog with relief from painful and itchy skin conditions, you need to look at what you’re putting in his bowl if you ever want to treat the root cause.

So try out any of these great choices today for better skin and better health!

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin & Allergies

Nature's Recipe
Hill's Prescription Diet
Blue Buffalo

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