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Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Learn the best hypoallergenic dog food brands, and how to know if your dog has an allergy to their food, plus, how to switch it to new food most gently.

Having a dog with a sensitive stomach (and I also have a sensitive stomach) is pretty tough! I know how frustrating it can be to have a dog with allergies or sensitivities to food.  They get the runs, have a poor coat and just don’t seem well.  You just want to give them some good food, but everything just goes right through them!

Determining the Allergen:

Before you purchase sensitive stomach dog food, you need to know what is bothering your dogs tummy!  Maybe it’s corn, or wheat, or rice or even some of the meats. 


First, you need to eliminate any other problems that could cause the symptoms – such as fleas for itching, or the flu, for stomach problems. 



Once you have determined that they are healthy, and it is their diet, you need to bring their diet to fewer ingredients, and slowly add other ingredients to see what’s bothering their stomach.

What I would suggest, is to switch them to a home-made dog food to get their stomach ok, and then slowly try different kibble or foods.  Try the home-made recipe that we make at home.


A basic home made dog food usually consists of a protein and a starch. An example is one part lamb, venison or rabbit, mixed with two parts rice or potatoes. During this trial period, nothing else can be fed to your dog like table scraps, biscuits, or heartworm pills. 

If this sits well on their stomach, you can slowly introduce new foods... for example try adding beef into their diet for two weeks. If no symptoms, then add chicken for two weeks.  Gradually figure out what is wrong with their diet.

The point here is to try and figure out which ingredient is causing them to have an allergic reaction. If you find an ingredient that is causing allergic reactions, then obstain from that ingredient in their homemade diet and try another ingredient. The next ingredient to introduce into this experiment is corn, then soy, then wheat. 

By now you should have a good understanding on what ingredients are causing the allergies. Once you have found the allergen or allergen, then start them on a homemade diet excluding the culprit ingredient, or start feeding them a hypoallergenic dog food that does not contain their specific allergen. 

Note:  Your dog may have also been fine on the food that they’re on and suddenly develop an allergy.  Just like people, dogs can develop allergies over time.

Possible Allergens:

Some foods that could be bothering your pup include:


Meat – they may have an intolerance to a certain meat kind (fish is the easiest on the stomach)

Fat – they could be intolerant to too much fat.

Grains- just like people with wheat intolerance, dogs can have wheat, corn, or oat intolerance (rice and oats are usually the most digestible)

Soy - this can be hard on their stomach.

Finding Foods for your Pooch!

To figure out which are the recommended hypoallergenic dog food brands, I phoned several pet food stores, they had several suggestions for dog foods. 


Woof gang store (Vancouver, BC) 

Raymond recommend raw food: he said that it attacks the system much less than other food. (our experience is not this, but every dog is different).

He said to figure out what’s causing the sensitivity, because it could be the brand.

He suggest to start with :

3 P naturals dog food.


Petcetera in Halifax, NS said:

The best for Sensitive stomachs is:

Royal Canin – they offer several formulas to try- one to try is their Maxi Sensible type.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food - the white and purple bag is the hypoallergenic dog food for sensitive stomachs.

It really depends on what’ upsetting the dog. Corn, wheat, etc…

Acre Wood Pet supplies  (in Calgary, AB) suggested:

To try a couple different hypoallergenic dog food brands such as:

-       Try a fish based brand (as its easier on the stomach) 

-       Lifetime brand – it contains NO corn, wheat or by-products. Try Lamb oatmeal, or fish or chicken.  Most dog foods are chicken… so they suggest to switch to a fish diet.

Pulsar from Horizon (Canadian Made) - contains no corn, wheat or oat. Uses pea flour instead. It’s high end, but better priced than some others. Two good ones include:
Pulsar Chicken Dry Dog Food
Pulsar Fish Dry Dog Food

-       Lifetime – Canadian made also offers a fish option.


They suggest trying a Higher end food with more protein.

She recommends grain, wheat and corn free brands for hypoallergenic dog food.



To switch your dog make some rice and bland chicken breast.  Make about 4 cups of rice, and use the chicken water for the rice, and use that for a few days… then try different kibble brands.   Rice will soak up any acids that are in the stomach. 


She also said you can use rice with ground beef as beef has a lot of protein… but overall, she would suggest putting on a fish based diet. 


 The dog will still get runs for a week after changing as your pups stomach adjusts to the new food (even a good food).. as it takes a while for the bad food to go through their stomach.



If that doesn’t’ work, try a hand made diet made of:

Chicken, elk or buffalo, add pumpkin and rice and vegetables (peas and carrots and sweet potato).  The pumpkin and sweet potato will harden up the stool.


The Pet Value in Chatham, ON:

They suggested, that if your dogs has a chicken allergy,  Try another protein source…


For example, try:

Taste of the Wild – different protein source, that your dog won’t have had a chance to develop allergies to.


She suggested trying a food with only one basic protein.


Some varieties of Taste of the Wild include:
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Hi Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison & Venison
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Pacific Stream Canine Formula with Smoked Salmon
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Wetlands Canine Formula with Roasted Wild Fowl
Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Global Pet Foods in Toronto, ON suggested:

Natural Balance
Natural Balance Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe
fewer ingredients mean that it is easier to narrow down an allergy.

Canine caviar- good for sensitive stomachs
Canine Caviar Wilderness Grain-Free All Life Stages Dinner Dry Dog Food

Blue BuffaloBlue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Salmon Recipe

Nutro sensitive stomach – (a higher priced Canadian brand), but we use it for our dogs.

Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Venison Meal & Whole Brown Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

GO! for sensitive stomachs such as the salmon recipe or duck and potato.


Go! Dry Dog Food, Natural Wild Salmon and Oatmeal Formula
Go! Dry Dog Food, Natural Duck Formula

Two other good quality dog foods are Acana and Orijen it is manufactured by Champion Pet Foods and is organic and does not have any artificial colors, flavors, chemicals, preservatives, binders, wheat and gluten. The manufacturer claims that this allergy free dog / hypoallergenic dog food is made with human grade ingredients. 


Overall, you need to find out what is causing the problem with your dogs sensitivity, whether it is grain based, protein based, fat based or allergic to a certain brand.  The thing, is it’s mostly a trial and error thing, but don’t switch foods too quickly, as even a dog with a strong stomach will get upset from food changes. Good luck finding the best hypoallergenic dog food brand for your dog!

Check out more articles on Dog food


Try a great simple dog food recipe that we use for our dogs (and they love it!)

Return from Hypoallergenic dog food to Dogs are Family (home)

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