Pet owners have become extremely aware of the ingredients that manufacturer’s use to make dog food, which is why many of us have become so picky about what we feed them!
We spend hours researching brands, comparing labels, and learning more about canine nutrition to help ensure that our four-legged friends are eating healthy, but not all brands are right for your pooch.
What about a dog with special dietary needs? What brands and ingredients should you be looking at on the label?
Our guide will help answer those questions as we show you a list of best dog food for sensitive skin and provide you with detailed reviews of the top three brands.
Top 10 Dog Foods for Sensitive Skin Table
|1. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food||Limited Ingredient||$$||4.6|
|2. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited-Ingredient Dry Adult Dog Food||Limited Ingredient, Grain Free||$$||4.6|
|3. ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Dog Cuisine||Grain Free||$$$$||4.5|
|4. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety||Limited Ingredient, Grain Free||$$$||4.5|
|5. AvoDerm Natural Dog Food||Grain Free||$$||4.5|
|6. Earthborn Grain Free Coastal Dry Dog Food||Grain Free||$$||4.5|
|7. Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food||Grain Free||$$||4.4|
|8. PS For Dogs 100% Hypoallergenic Dog Food||Limited Ingredient, Grain Free||$$$||4.4|
|9. CANIDAE Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food||Limited Ingredient, Grain Free||$$||4.4|
|10. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food||Grain Free||$$$$||4.2|
Step One – Determine the Irritant
When shopping for dog food for a pooch with sensitive skin, the first step is to determine what is causing the irritation.
Food Allergy. Grains are one of the most common food allergies that dogs can have, which is why owners switch over to a grain-free diet.
If you have determined that grains are not the culprit, then consider the protein source. Some dogs can’t handle meat or fish well, which is why a limited ingredient food would help you to pinpoint the irritant.
Environmental. Food is not always the reason that your dog has excessive dandruff or scratches often. It might be due to something in his environment.
Are you using a dog-friendly soap to bathe him? Are you rinsing him enough? Perhaps your dog is just dirty and needs a bath!
Consider his bedding – have you washed it recently? Leftover soap residue may has caused a skin irritation flare-up.
Don’t always assume that your need to change your dog’s diet, because quite often, the food isn’t the problem.
Fleas or Ticks. These unwanted guests might be another reason your dog has been scratching more recently than normal, so do a thorough skin and fur check to rule out this as a possibility.
Some Breeds Are Prone to Skin Irritation
Dogs with skin folds are more likely to have skin-related issues, so your basset hound or bulldog might simply experience more skin irritation at the folds because bacteria is more likely to thrive in those areas.
White dogs and other breeds might also be more prone to issues, so food might not even have anything to do with the problem.
What to Do If Food Is to Blame
If you are sure that food is the reason your dog is having skin-related issues, then here are some tips to help you find the best dog food for sensitive skin.
- Grain-Free. Dogs that don’t have problems digesting grains don’t necessarily need a grain-free diet, although many owners opt for one simply because they read somewhere that it is better.
If you are certain than grains are causing the problems, then gradually switch your dog over to a grain-free food.
- Limited Ingredient Diet. LID foods are great if you are still trying to pinpoint the problem. They usually contain a single source of protein – only chicken or only lamb, for example – and have a much simpler formula than other foods.
- Quality. You must be willing to spend a bit more money on a higher quality dog food because if you opt for any of the low-quality brands such as Pedigree or Iams, you will not be doing your dog any favors.
These brands tend to use corn in their mixture, which is a cheap filler that is not skin-friendly for your dog!
- Coat-Friendly Ingredients. Vitamin E, Omega-6, and Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as Linoleic acid, are all skin-friendly ingredients that will help promote a healthy, shiny coat.
Top 3 Dog Food for Sensitive Skin Reviews
Quantity: 28 pounds
Natural Balance makes some of the top formulas for dogs with food sensitivities. While we are going to discuss the Large Breed Bites here, you will find formulas for small breeds, puppies, average sized adults and plenty of different flavors.
While this isn’t a grain-free formula, that isn’t going to be a problem if your dog can digest grains without issues. Inside there are Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to help promote skin and coat health, and the main protein source is lamb meal.
If you have a large breed dog who has been experiencing skin-related issues recently, try out this formula or any of the other great options Natural Balance offers. There are tons of different protein sources available if your dog doesn’t do well with lamb!
Quantity: 22 pounds
For dogs that should avoid grains and certain protein sources, you can try a kibble like this one from Blue Buffalo.
This is their Salmon and Potato recipe for adult dogs that is free of corn, wheat, soy, dairy and eggs. Inside are easily digestible proteins such as peas, pea fiber and pumpkin (which can work well for some dogs with sensitive stomachs, too), plus the Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids.
It’s also available in Duck and Potato, Turkey and Potato, Lamb and Potato as well as large breed and small breed formulas.
Try this if your dog has food-related skin and digestive issues.
Quantity: 5.5 pounds
Ziwi Peak offers a very high-quality dog food that isn’t like your typical kibble.
You won’t find any grains, corn, wheat, rice, soy, meat by-products, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pea protein, antibiotics, added hormones or artificial colors and flavors. They have packed this air-dried food with 98% meat, organs, New Zealand green muscles; vitamins, fatty acids, and joint-friendly ingredients.
The biggest pitfall of this food is the price tag! If you can afford to calculate it into your pet budget, then it is definitely worth it. If not, there are still plenty of great formulas you can choose from on our list that won’t leave your pockets empty.