When it comes to dog food for skin allergies, pet parents have many selections from which to choose. According to Cornell, atopic dermatitis (which is a fancy way of saying excessive itching), affects up to 15 percent of the canine population. Fortunately, there are many steps to take to help manage and alleviate skin allergies in dogs. One of the first things most veterinarians recommend is dietary changes.

Of the top 10 reasons people visit the veterinarian with their dogs, skin conditions rank in the top three. Depending on the type of skin allergy, your dog may have red and itchy skin, hives, a rash, poor coat, diarrhea, scooting, itchy ears, or any number of other symptoms.

We’ll outline our favorite picks for dog food for skin allergies that includes kibble, wet, freeze-dried, fresh, and a whole host of others.

Our Picks

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Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies: 10 to Try

To make it onto our list of best dog foods for skin allergies, each recipe must meet certain criteria. These include: novel proteins, high-quality ingredients, no common allergens (wheat/corn/soy), easily digestible, positive reviews, transparent labeling, and recommended by veterinarians, if possible.

As a pro tip, an elimination diet is generally recommended by veterinarians to start. This takes between two and three months, and allows proteins in your dog’s body to leave their system. In doing so, a new or novel protein is introduced. Always follow your veterinarian’s instructions when it comes to the length of time for any trial diet.

In an elimination diet, you will ‘eliminate’ the foods your dog generally eats. Instead you transition your dog to a certain diet for a period of time indicated by your veterinarian. Later, you will slowly re-introduce foods to your dog’s daily diet to help identify the ingredients to which your dog reacts.

Here are ten selections of dog food to consider if your pooch has skin allergies.

Best Overall Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Nulo Freestyle All-Breed Dog Food Allergy Friendly

Dog food from Nulo for skin allergies

Simple is best when it comes to feeding a dog with skin allergies. From Nulo comes a single animal protein formula designed for puppies and adult dogs. Thanks to 30 percent crude protein from salmon, this Nulo formula supports lean muscle mass. Because it is lower in carbohydrates and free from potatoes or tapioca, it is ideal for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.

This limited ingredient diet does not skimp on palatability or nutrition. Because it has no grains but it loaded with probiotics and omegas, pet parents can feel good serving this food. This simplified diet is free of chicken protein and peas, which are common triggers for dogs with skin and/or food allergies.


  • Made in the United States
  • Single animal meat source for protein
  • Grain-free, gluten free, low glycemic, pea-free
  • Contains no wheat, soy, and is non-GMO, chicken-free
  • Uses wild-caught salmon
  • Easy-to-chew soft, triangle-shaped crunchy kibble
  • Ideal for dogs with special diet restrictions, including a novel protein diet

Things to Consider

  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Food is designed for active dogs
  • Also available in Alaskan Pollock and Turkey options

Best Short-Term Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Royal Canin Veterinary Adult Diet Ultamino

Royal Canin Ultamino

If your dog needs a short-term elimination diet food, your veterinarian may suggest Royal Canin’s Veterinary Adult Diet Ultamino. From redness of skin to ear inflammation, your dog may do well with a limited feeding of this food. Each morsel is hydrolyzed so it is broken down into tiny pieces through a special water-based process. By doing so, your dog can eat a tasty meal without the manifestation of skin allergies.

When your dog digests this food, it gets broken down to an amino acid level. This means less triggering of a food sensitivity less chances of a skin reaction. Unlike common proteins found in regular dog food, Royal Canin’s Ultamino diet is available with a veterinarian’s prescription to ensure your dog’s overall well-being.


  • Helps support and reinforce your dog’s skin barrier
  • Aids in digestion thanks to a blend of fibers
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat with EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Manufactured with strict protocols to avoid cross-contamination for dogs with sensitivities
  • Single digestible carbohydrate source with purified starch
  • Made in the United States

Things to Consider

  • Order must be accompanied by a veterinarian’s prescription
  • The flavor may not appeal to all dogs’ palates

Best Plant-Based Dry Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Vegetarian

Natural Balance vegetarian bag

It can get tricky for pet parents who switch their dog’s diet from one food to another, hoping to solve skin sensitivity issues. As an alternative to a meat-based diet, Natural Balance offers a vegetarian dog food made with vegetables and grains. Because it contains no meat, dairy, soy, gluten, or artificial colors or flavors, dogs with sensitive skin and tummies may benefit.

All the essential nutrients and vitamins your dog needs are contained in each bite, but without a meat-based source. The kibble pieces in each bag are about the size of a dime for all sized dogs. Some of the vegetarian ingredients include barley and peas. This limited-ingredient diet is a viable option for pet parents seeking a kibble formula that is not meat-based.


  • AAFCO approved
  • Contains no soy
  • Plant-based protein
  • Vegan-friendly formula
  • Made with canola oil to support healthy skin and coat
  • Natural Balance tests every batch for quality and safety

Things to Consider

  • Contains grains
  • Made in the USA and Canada
  • Not GMO free

Best Hydrolyzed Wet Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Wet Dog Food

dog food for skin allergies canned Hills

This canned wet food formula from Hill’s is made with hydrolyzed protein and a single carb source, corn starch. It is designed by Hill’s to help eliminate food-related issues with skin irritation. The canned Prescription Diet z/d was designed by both Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians, so pet parents can feel confident in this selection.

The food texture is a pâté, unlike many canned dog food varieties. It is free of peas and can be fed to all adults at all life stages. Although you need authorization from your veterinarian to purchase it, this wet food is a popular choice for pet parents seeking a hydrolyzed wet food.


  • Can be fed as is or microwaved out of the can
  • Available in two can size options for convenience
  • Grain-free formula
  • Contains antioxidants for additional health benefits
  • May improve your dog’s stool quality and digestion
  • Made without artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

Things to Consider

  • Opened cans should be covered and refrigerated with unused opened portions discarded after 5 to 7 days

Best Hypoallergenic Dry Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Duck & Pear Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Acana Limited ingredient dog food for skin allergies

Duck is often recommended as a novel protein for dogs with food sensitivities and skin allergies. Combined with pears, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin, this limited-ingredient diet from Acana is made in the USA. Each bag of kibble combines up to 65 percent animal ingredients with 35 percent whole fruit, vegetables, nutrients, and more.

This grain-free formula is ideal for all breed sizes and life stages except for growing large breed dogs of 70 pounds or more as an adult. Pet parents will appreciate that there are approximately 52 cups in a 13-pound bag.


  • Free of grains, gluten, peas, and chicken
  • Limited ingredient formula
  • Designed to help support your dog’s skin, coat, digestion, and ideal body condition
  • Contains antioxidants and vitamin D for immune system support
  • Made without artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Contains no soy, corn, tapioca, or wheat

Things to Consider

  • Made in the USA with ingredients from around the world

Best Fresh Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: JustFoodForDogs Sensitive Skin & Stomach

JustFoodForDogs Variety pack

Imagine if your sensitive dog could eat the same yummy types of foods you do. Thanks to JustFoodForDogs’ Sensitive Stomach variety pack, now they can. Designed for dogs who require a novel protein diet, this solution delivers nourishing nutrition without sacrificing taste. Each packet is made with 100 percent human-grade ingredients. The variety pack features four yummy formulas: Fish and Sweet Potato, Venison and Squash, Balanced Remedy, and Joint and Skin Support.

Because your dog should not be exposed to common allergens if they have sensitivities, JustFoodForDogs does not include wheat, soy, chicken, beef, dairy, or eggs in these recipes. Try a one-time purchase or opt for an auto shipped subscription plan to save money.


  • Contains no additives, preservatives, or growth hormones
  • Made with fresh, whole-food ingredients
  • Low in fat content
  • Highly digestible formulas
  • Recipes are crafted by hand in US-based kitchens that are open to the public

Things to Consider

  • Venison and Squash recipe available in small box orders
  • Variety box not intended for growing puppies

Best Grain-Free Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Artemis Osopure Salmon & Garbanzo Bean Formula Grain-Free

Osopure grain-free for dogs with skin allergies

This holistic, grain-free formula from Artemis features a single protein source with salmon. Made in small batches, it also contains garbanzo beans, lentils, and peas for carb sources. Your sensitive dog doesn’t need potato, wheat, soy, or corn, so Artemis does not include them in this recipe. Free of any rendered animal fat, it is filled with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

To help reduce body odor and odor in stool, Artemis includes yucca schidigera in this recipe, often used in herbal medicine. The garbanzo beans are a super carb that serve as a fiber source and are rich in B vitamins while having a low glycemic index. Feeding guidelines are puppies to adults.


  • Sunflower and coconut oil help support healthy skin and coat
  • Made with tomato pomace and pumpkin for proper digestion
  • Salmon is the only animal protein used
  • AAFCO certified
  • Contains no canola oil
  • Made without chicken or chicken fat
  • Ideal for all life-stages and all sized dogs

Things to Consider

  • More expensive than other options on our list
  • Some dogs may not care for salmon

Best Dehydrated Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Dr. Harvey’s Allergy Specialty Salmon Diet

Dog food for skin allergies from Dr Harvey

Dehydrated food is a popular choice for dog moms and dads who want to add warm water, wait, and serve a tasty meal to their dogs. Dr. Harvey’s specialty diet is made for dogs with sensitivities, and is designed for allergy relief. With salmon as its first ingredient, the food arrives in a dehydrated form and includes 100 percent fresh, whole foods. Simply measure, add hot water, and wait about 12 minutes before serving.

When it comes to superfood, Dr. Harvey’s includes things like flaxseed, carrots, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, and more. Each bag is formulated with prebiotic and probiotic cultures for a healthy immune system and strong gut. This healthy alternative to kibble makes 20 pounds of food from a 5-pound bag.


  • No need to add extra protein, as salmon is the main ingredient
  • Made in the USA
  • Grain-free formula
  • Easy to make and store
  • Contains no corn, wheat, soy, or dairy
  • Made without preservatives or additives

Things to Consider

  • Some dogs may not care for the texture, which is thick
  • Some pet parents report their dogs pooped more or had diarrhea
  • Costly per bag

Best Prescription Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete Dry Dog Food

Hills DERM dog food for skin allergies

When it comes to veterinarian food, Hill’s Derm kibble diet is a popular option. Designed for all life stages, it contains one single animal protein. Hill’s reports a visible skin improvement in dogs within 21 days of feeding this food. They also report that because nighttime scratching may be reduced, pets will sleep better in some cases.

This food requires authorization from your veterinarian. Follow instructions on Amazon or Chewy’s website to submit a veterinarian’s prescription. Made in the USA, your veterinarian can further discuss the benefits of Hill’s Derm Complete diet for your dog. Although the food is a bit pricey, pet parents can expect around 89 cups per 24-pound bag. Each piece of kibble is flat and disc-shaped to accommodate a dog’s mouth.


  • Contains hydrolyzed chicken flavor
  • Contains healthy grains
  • Made in the United States
  • Includes bioactive and phytonutrients to help your dog’s immune response
  • Fortified with fatty acids to promote skin health

Things to Consider

  • First two ingredients are brown rice and brewer’s rice
  • Formulated for adult and senior dogs only
  • Does not contain prebiotics or probiotics

Best Kibble and Freeze-Dried Raw Combo Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Our Pick: Instinct Raw Boost Skin & Coat Health Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food

Instinct raw boost for dogs

Take one part kibble and one part freeze-dried raw, and you’ve got Instinct Raw’s Skin and Health Grain-Free recipe for dogs. This grain-free option is packed with protein for healthy skin and coat. Because it is minimally processed and made in America, pet parents prefer this option for their sensitive dogs. Made with cage-free chicken first and other animal proteins, each bag is a combo of dry food and freeze-dried portions.


  • Grain-free formula
  • Made in the United States
  • Contains no corn, wheat, soy, or gluten
  • Contains chicken, menhaden fish meal, salmon oil and chia seeds for fatty acids
  • Freeze-dried to preserve the raw nutrients
  • Easy to store
  • AAFCO certified

Things to Consider

  • Can be stored in a dog food container or in the original bag
  • Contains 20 percent fat content

Beagle eating dog food for skin allergies

How To Choose the Best Diet For Your Dogs with Skin Allergies

Once you are certain that your dog’s skin is reacting to food, you’ll want to choose a diet free from the offending ingredients. For example, some dogs may be sensitive to beef, others can’t eat wheat, and others can’t eat any grains. Each dog is unique, just like people.

Three professionals to have on your team are your veterinarian, a veterinary dermatologist, and possibly a veterinary nutritionist to guide you.

When you do a food trial with your dog, you may see the symptoms disappear, such as itching, scratching, red skin, etc. If they do, something in the previous food is the culprit. There can be several offending allergens, and your veterinarian or other healthcare professional may recommend introducing ingredients slowly back into your dog’s diet.

Where to Learn More About Managing Dog Skin Allergies

If your dog suffers from suspected allergies, skin or otherwise, here are some further resources to help in your journey to good health and well-being.