What food to give dogs with skin allergies

See Every Hydrolysed Prescription Diets

Suitable for: FOOD ALLERGIES — Elimination trials to diagnose a food allergy / Maintenance diet for some dogs with food allergies

Less suitable for: CONTACT ALLERGIES or ATOPY — in general these conditions can be most benefited from a skin care diet or a fish-based diet.

What food to give dogs with skin allergies

A hydrolysed veterinary diet is the gold standard for completing an elimination diet trial. An elimination diet trial may be recommended by your vet to assist determine whether your pet has a true food allergy.

What food to give dogs with skin allergies

It involves feeding nothing but the hydrolysed diet for a few weeks, and then introducing one new protein every week to ‘test’ whether your dog has a reaction. In some cases, a hydrolysed diet may be fed endless term if a dog is found to be overly sensitive and the diet is the only thing that gives them relief.

How do they work? Hydrolysed diets typically contain protein that has undergone a process called ‘hydrolysation’ — this is where the protein structure is broken below into its component amino acids. Hydrolysation is a process that reduces the ‘allergenicity’ of the protein, making it so little that it’s unlikely to trigger an immune reaction.

What food to give dogs with skin allergies

Diets that drop into this category are Prescription and Veterinary diets and can therefore only be recommended by your veterinarian.

These diets own been formulated under pharmaceutical grade conditions. This means that the manufacturer has undertaken additional processing steps to eliminate contamination with other protein sources.

What food to give dogs with skin allergies

This is done through rigorous cleaning of every production equipment followed by testing of the equipment for traces of proteins before production begins.

What Is The Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies?


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski

Do you suspect that your dog may own an allergy? You definitely aren’t alone. Itchy skin is one of the most common issues that dogs are presented to the vet for.

In most cases, the cause of itchy skin is an allergy — either to a contact allergen, insect bite, or a food ingredient.

Shop Best Dog Foods for Skin Allergies Now

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How common are food allergies in dogs?

Different Approaches for Diverse Allergies

1. Hydrolysed Diets

2. Skin Care Diets


What food to give dogs with skin allergies

Novel protein diets

4. Fish-based diets

5. Home-cooked diets

Summary: Our Complete Comparison Table of allergy diets for dogs

A diverse approach for diverse dogs

«For dogs with a food allergy, the primary goal is to feed them a diet free from the causal allergen.

For dogs with any other type of allergy, tell to grass, the primary goal is less about restricting certain ingredients, and more about providing additional skin supporting nutrients love omega fatty acids.»

Please be aware that only nutrition is discussed here. The most common causes of itchy skin in dogs are related to atopy, seasonal allergies or fleas.

For a finish guide to the causes of itchy skin in dogs, see Dr Carla’s article ‘Here’s Why Your Dog Won’t Stop Scratching’.

Skin Care Diets

See Every Skin Care Diets

Suitable for: MILD SKIN ALLERGIES / SENSITIVE SKIN — Including contact allergies, insect allergies, or allergies of unknown cause

Less suitable for: FOOD ALLERGIES — as these often (but not always) contain poultry products and other common allergens.

What food to give dogs with skin allergies

Food allergy dogs are better suited to a hydrolysed or a novel protein diet.

For the purpose of this classification, ‘skin care diets’ refers to those diets which are available without a prescription, which are formulated for the purpose of providing additional skin support. Generally these are considered to be ‘everyday’ diets, with added skin care nutrients.

These ‘general skin care’ diets are perfect for dogs who own mild but persistent skin issues such as dry skin, seasonal allergies, or allergies of unknown cause.

Top Hydrolysed Diets for Allergies

Royal Canin Anallergenic

Using a hydrolysed feather protein source, this diet is currently the gold standard for diagnosing and managing food allergies.

Royal Canin Hypoallergenic

Great for diagnosing and managing food allergies, this diet may more cost-effective for large breed dogs who tolerate a soy-based diet.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Z/D

This completely hydrolysed diet is perfect for elimination trials. It includes essential fatty acids and clinically proven antioxidants.

Royal Canin Sensitivity Control

Combining a hydrolysed protein with a novel protein (duck) and carbohydrate (tapioca), this diet is grand for sensitive skin or stomach.

What are the drawbacks of a hydrolysed protein diet?

    1. Reduced palatability
    2. May not be suitable for dogs with pancreatitis
    3. Lack of evidence documenting whether dogs allergic to the parent protein will actually tolerate a hydrolysed product
    4. The cost.

      What food to give dogs with skin allergies

      As you can imagine, the additional processing and care taken to produce these diets isn’t cheap

    5. Some diets are contraindicated in puppies, pregnant and lactating dogs
    6. A veterinary prescription is required before purchasing. Click here to discover the diet recommended by your veterinarian

How Common are Food Allergies in Dogs?

Does itchy skin = food allergy? You may own read about food allergies in dogs and how they often manifest in itchy skin. This is diverse to food allergies in humans, which generally present as gastrointestinal upset (or anaphylaxis, if you are highly allergic!).

However, don’t drop into the trap of assuming your dog’s itchy skin must be caused by a food allergy. If you consult ‘Dr ‘, you are likely to read a lot about how food allergies, particularly grain allergies, are a major cause of itchy skin in dogs.

The truth is, true food allergies are not every that common in dogs — only about 5% of dogs harbour a true food allergy. It’s actually much more common for your dog to be allergic to environmental allergens such as plants, pollens, insects, and dust mites. And when a true allergy does exist, the most common allergies are to meat proteins including chicken, beef, or pork, rather than grains.

But regardless of whether your dog truly has a food allergy, or is simply suffering from allergy to plants, nutrition will always assist.