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10 Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies in 2024 – Vet-Recommended Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Dr. Samantha Devine DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies in 2024 – Vet-Recommended Reviews & Top Picks

VET APPROVED

Dr. Samantha Devine  Photo

WRITTEN BY

Dr. Samantha Devine

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Dalmatian dog eating dry food from a bowlYou’ve got an itchy dog, and one of the first steps you consider is about their diet. Dogs can be allergic to certain food items or might just have sensitive skin so it might be a good idea to switch what they are eating to something that could help with their skin allergies. What diets are out there that are veterinarian-approved for this situation? Let’s take a look at some of the options. dogster paw divider

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Royal Canin Ultamino Royal Canin Ultamino
  • Ultra-hydrolyzed protein
  • Ingredients to support skin health
  • Fastest response time for skin allergies
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Purina ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach
  • Readily available without a prescription
  • Rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Helps support healthy joints
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Royal Canin Selected Protein PR Royal Canin Selected Protein PR
  • Less expensive than hydrolyzed protein diets
  • Dry and canned food formulas are available
  • Promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin
  • Real salmon
  • Includes omega-6 fatty
  • Natural prebiotic fiber
  • Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet HA Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet HA
  • Often less expensive than other hydrolyzed diets
  • Contains medium chain triglycerides in the form of coconut oil
  • Highly digestible formula
  • The 10 Best Dog Foods for Skin Allergies

    1. Royal Canin Ultamino – Best Overall

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Ultamino Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Corn starch, hydrolyzed poultry by-products aggregate, coconut oil, vegetable oil, natural flavors
    Protein content: 16.5% min
    Fat content: 14.5% min
    Calories: 323 kcal/cup
    Royal Canin Ultamino is the best overall dog food for skin allergies. The food is a hydrolyzed protein diet, so the molecules are much smaller than what normally triggers a food allergy. Ultamino also features a blend of fiber to help promote gut health, promoting a healthy immune system. This food only comes in the chicken recipe, so if your dog is allergic to chicken, this will not be the right choice for them. This food is also a bit on the pricey side.
    Pros
    • Ultra-hydrolyzed protein
    • Ingredients to support skin health, which improves the skin barrier
    • Fastest response time for skin allergies
    Cons
    • Chicken base
    • Only comes in dry kibble

    2. Purina ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula – Best Value

    Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, rice, barley, canola meal, oatmeal, fish meal
    Protein content: 26.0% min
    Fat content: 16.0% min
    Calories: 449 kcal/cup
    Looking for a non-prescription dog food to get your dog’s skin allergies back under control? Our pick for the best non-prescription food is Purina ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach. This food comes with one of several protein sources, so if your dog has a food sensitivity, you can try to avoid it without going the route of hydrolyzed diets. Some reviewers of this food noted the recipes might have changed, and their dogs have had some digestive issues with the revised recipe.
    Pros
    • Readily available without a prescription
    • Rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
    Cons
    • Not a hydrolyzed protein or a novel protein diet

    3. Royal Canin Selected Protein PR – Premium Choice

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Selected Protein PR Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Potato, rabbit meal, coconut oil, hydrolyzed soy protein, potato protein
    Protein content: 19.0% min
    Fat content: 10.0% min
    Calories: 289 kcal/cup
    The prescription Royal Canin Selected Protein PR is an excellent choice. It is one of the best novel protein diets available. It features a skin support formula, including EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, to promote a strong skin barrier. This is also a limited-ingredient recipe, which is another reason why it is a good choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Some people who have used this recipe for a few years noted that the formula changed recently, which impacted their pup’s digestive health a bit.
    Pros
    • Less expensive than hydrolyzed protein diets
    • Dry and canned food formulas are available
    Cons
    • Rabbit is not a novel protein for all dogs

    4. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies

    Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, rice, barley, fish meal
    Protein content: 28.0% min
    Fat content: 18.0% min
    Calories: 479 kcal/cup
    Puppies are not immune to skin issues, so selecting the right food for them is important. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach has salmon as the first ingredient, which is essential for growing puppies. Rice is a more easily digestible grain, and barley adds needed fiber to their diet to help maintain a healthy digestive system. A few people noted that their pups developed minor digestive issues after eating this food for a few days.


    5. Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet HA

    Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet HA

    Main ingredients: Corn starch, hydrolyzed soy protein isolate, partially hydrogenated canola oil preserved with TBHQ, coconut oil
    Protein content: 18.0% min
    Fat content: 9.5% min
    Calories: 342 kcal/cup
    Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet HA is a typically more budget-friendly hydrolyzed protein diet. It ranks as our runner-up for Best Overall Dog Food for Skin Allergies. It has three formulations: a chicken, salmon, and vegetarian recipe. As a hydrolyzed diet, it tends to be readily digestible. The inclusion of coconut oil is beneficial because it promotes mental sharpness for older adults and seniors. Some people noted that this was a bit of a pricey option.
    Pros
    • Often less expensive than other hydrolyzed diets
    • Contains medium chain triglycerides in the form of coconut oil
    Cons
    • Fats preserved with tertiary butylhydroquinone, which some people believe to be a carcinogen

    6. Hill’s z/d for Food Sensitivities

    Hill’s z_d for Food Sensitivities

    Main ingredients: Water, hydrolyzed chicken liver, corn starch, powdered cellulose
    Protein content: 3.0%
    Fat content: 2.3%
    Calories: 352 kcal/13-ounce can
    If you need a canned food for your dog, Hill’s z/d is where you need to look, and it is the best option for Canned Dog Food for Skin Allergies. While there is the newer low-fat formula, the “OG” z/d is a terrific option for dogs that don’t like or can’t eat hard kibble. This formula has just one carbohydrate source and has chicken liver as one of the star ingredients. A few people noted the consistency was not always consistent.
    Pros
    • Can be combined with the dry z/d formula
    • Contains S+OXSHIELD to minimize the chances of your dog developing struvite and calcium oxalate urinary crystals
    • Promotes healthy skin, stool, and immune system function
    Cons
    • Expensive cost per can, which may be limiting for some owners, especially for large dogs

    7. Hill’s i/d Low Fat Digestive Care

    Hill’s z_d Low Fat

    Main ingredients: Brewers rice, corn gluten meal, chicken meal, chicken by-product meal
    Protein content: 26.0%
    Fat content: 5.0%
    Calories: 333 kcal/cup
    The newest diet in this list, Hill’s i/d Low Fat Digestive Care, is a beautiful option for dogs with both food allergies and gastrointestinal issues like pancreatitis, so much so that it’s considered our Best Overall Dog Food for Skin Allergies for Dogs With Gastrointestinal Problems. It also features a proprietary blend to help reduce the risk of certain bladder stones. This food is a little on the expensive side.
    Pros
    • Hydrolyzed protein from non-animal sources
    • S+OXSHIELD to reduce the risk of stone formation
    • Canned and dry food formula
    Cons
    • May be unavailable in some markets

    8. Blue Buffalo NP Alligator

    Blue Buffalo NP Alligator

    Main ingredients: Deboned alligator, peas, pea starch, alligator meal, pea protein
    Protein content: 22.0% min
    Fat content: 14.0% min
    Calories: 372 kcal/cup
    Many dogs worldwide choose alligator as a novel protein source, so Blue Buffalo NP Alligator makes our list of high-quality foods for dogs with skin allergies. This prescription diet helps control skin allergies when your dog is sensitive to many proteins that can cross-react. Some people felt this food was a bit expensive. However, this is often the case
    Pros
    • Features pumpkin as a fiber source
    • Alligator is less likely for many dogs to have been exposed to, so it’s usually a truly novel protein
    Cons
    • Only available as a dry kibble
    • High in protein and fat, which can contribute to GI issues in some dogs

    9. Royal Canin Skintopic

    Royal Canin Skintopic

    Main ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, corn, brewers rice, wheat, natural flavors
    Protein content: 21.0% min
    Fat content: 14.0% min
    Calories: 333 kcal/cup
    Royal Canin Skintopic is unlike many of the foods on this list designed to combat skin issues related to food allergies. This food is designed to help alleviate your dog’s signs of environmental allergies or atopic dermatitis. It is recommended for dogs suffering from environmental allergies.
    Pros
    • Canned and dry food available
    • Reduced itching in most dogs on this food
    • Effective for environmental allergies, not just food allergies
    Cons
    • Newer diet, so it may not be available at all retailers or veterinary hospitals

    10. Hill’s Derm Complete

    Hill’s Derm Complete

    Main ingredients: Brown rice, brewers rice, egg product, rice protein concentrate
    Protein content: 13.5%
    Fat content: 13.0%
    Calories: 373 kcal/cup
    Hill’s Derm Complete offers two benefits: it helps support the skin against environmental allergens while also helping with food allergies. This recipe is designed to improve night scratching, helping with their sleep quality. This is not the best recipe for dogs who are overweight or are prone to weight gain
    Pros
    • Improves skin in as little as three weeks
    • Contains the Hill’s S+OXSHIELD to help prevent certain bladder stones
    Cons
    • More calorically dense than many other skin health foods, so it may not be ideal for overweight dogs
    dogster paw divider

    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Dog Food for Skin Allergies

    Finding the right food for your dog is challenging at the best of times, but it’s especially tough when your dog has allergies. How do you know which to try? For starters, your veterinarian is a great tool to help you pick the right food for your dog, but the most challenging part will be the food trial.

    What Is a Food Trial?

    Food trials can be more complicated than finding the right food. Your dog will be eating one food—with nothing else—for at least 8 to 12 weeks in most cases. For the most part, treats count in this. That means unless your vet prescribes a treat for you to offer, you can’t even add an egg to your pup’s food bowl. You’re paying a premium for these foods, so sticking out the diet trial is worth it. At the conclusion of your dog’s food trial, your veterinarian will likely have you “challenge” your dog with their old food to see if signs of allergies return. You may not need to do a traditional food trial with foods like Skintopic and Derm Complete, but you’ll want to stick mainly with the prescription food, at least in the beginning. You and your vet must choose between a novel protein and a hydrolyzed protein diet. A novel protein diet is one in which the protein source differs from what your dog has ever had. This feature is the most important because dogs are usually sensitive to the protein source, not the carbohydrate source.

    labrador retriever dog eating dry kibble
    Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

    You must list everything your dog has eaten so your vet can suggest an ideal novel protein diet. With hydrolyzed diets, the protein is broken down into incredibly tiny molecules, so your dog shouldn’t react to them. Typically, the actual protein source doesn’t matter for these, so even if your dog is allergic to chicken, a chicken-based protein should be fine. Hydrolyzed protein diets are usually more expensive than novel protein diets. They are usually less palatable, so your picky pup might do better with a novel protein like venison, kangaroo, alligator, or rabbit. Unfortunately, numerous diets now utilize proteins that used to be reserved for prescription diets, so you might have trouble finding a novel one.dogster paw divider

    Conclusion

    The right dog food for your dog’s skin allergies will depend on several factors, such as what they’ve eaten previously. The Best Overall choice is often a hydrolyzed protein diet, and Royal Canin Ultamino fits the description. Purina ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach is a good choice if you are on a budget. Our Premium Choice is Royal Canin Selected Protein PR, which requires a prescription. If you have a puppy with skin issues, you can try Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach.

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock

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