Best Dog Food For Sensitive Skin

best dog food for sensitive skin

The best dog food for sensitive skin removes the ingredient or ingredients that were causing your dog to have a reaction. So the right brand or line for one dog, won’t always be the same as for another. We’ve got the top options for the best dog food for dogs with itchy skin, as well as the best puppy food for sensitive skin. So you can find the perfect option for the best dog food for sensitive skin for your pooch!

Artificial colors and flavorings, processed proteins, fillers, and by-products are some of the ingredients that aggravate sensitivities and can lead to allergies. Corn, wheat, and other grains, can also be problematic for some dogs. Take a look at the food label on your dog’s food. Unfortunately many commercial dog foods are filled with corn, wheat, and other grains that are behind the triggering of some canine food allergies.


Sensitive skin issues can occur when your dog has an adverse reaction to a certain food or substance. The signs of sensitive skin include inflamed skin, redness, hair loss, and of course, constant scratching. Excessive shedding, bald patches and flaky skin are other tell-tale symptoms that something is amiss with your dog’s skin. The environment, genes, parasites, and infection are other elements that can play a role in skin sensitivity. But, if your dog’s current diet is behind her issues, then finding the right dog food will help her condition.

Finding the Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin?

Many experts believe that providing a grain-free diet is one of the best ways to combat sensitive skin conditions. The fiber and carbohydrates in grains can irritate your dog’s intestinal lining, ultimately leading to skin and digestive issues, and allergies.

best dog food for sensitive skin

Best Dog Food for Itchy Skin

Is a specialized dog food important for your dog? There are pros and cons to the issue, including the fact that a specialized food may be more expensive or difficult for you to obtain. But a very big plus to giving your dog a specialized dog food is that it may have the power to address a concerning issue.

Your dog’s skin is sensitive to dietary imbalances and out-of-season allergies are most often food allergies. A specialized dog food tailor-made for sensitive skin issues may go a long way toward easing your pooch’s dietary-related skin condition.

An outer layer on your dog’s skin traditionally protects him from “itchiness.” An allergic reaction can cause this protective barrier to dwindle, exposing nerve endings that then become itchy and/or inflamed. Most hypoallergenic dog foods are designed to avoid the use of ingredients most likely to provoke an allergic reaction. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Yeast
  • Beef
  • Wheat

Problem Ingredients?

Keep in mind that canines aren’t naturally allergic to most of these ingredients. They react because these elements are the ones most commonly used in commercial dog food formulations.

A hypoallergenic dog food may address the issue of sensitive skin by either providing novel ingredients and/or limiting ingredients. Ingredients such as pheasant, buffalo, millet, even kangaroo sound exciting. But they are also ingredients that your pet is unlikely to have been exposed to. Therefore your dog is less likely to have developed sensitivities to them.

Because it has fewer elements, a limited ingredient dog food makes it easier to identity the ingredient(s) that your dog may be allergic to.

Best Dry Dog Food for Sensitive Skin

Dry dog foods are not only convenient, they also act as a natural toothbrush! These selections are excellent choices for dogs with sensitivities.

Purina Pro Plan

This Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin(paid link)* formulation includes oatmeal and an easily digestible carbohydrate. As well as prebiotic fiber which is another key ingredient for digestive health. Real salmon, a nutrient-rich source of protein, is the first ingredient listed.

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Skin(paid link)* is specially formulated for pups with skin sensitivities. It contains omega-6 fatty acids, as well as antioxidants and vitamins C and E. Highly rated by vets, the food is available in 4, 15, and 30 pound bags.

Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food

This Purina ONE SmartBlend formula(paid link)* is packed with the ingredients key to a sensitive skin diet, including vitamin E and omega acids. Easy to digest salmon is the first ingredient listed. Oatmeal and rice will be gentle on sensitive digestive systems.

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Best Canned Dog Food for Sensitive Skin

Does your dog prefer a wet food? Maybe he loves the sound of a can being opened, signaling that it’s his favorite time of day! If your precious pooch also has a skin sensitivity, these specialized foods may help his condition.

Purina Pro Plan Focus

Linoleic acid is the featured Omega Fatty Acid in this specialized Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin(paid link)* formulation that includes easy-to-digest salmon. Guaranteed to provide complete and balanced canine nutrition, this wet food has no artificial colors or flavors.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Wet Dog Food

This complete and balanced Limited Ingredient dog food(paid link)* contains no irritating artificial flavors or colors and is 100% grain free. The limited ingredients limit your dog’s food exposure and make it easier for her to digest her meal.

(paid link)

BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Wet Dog Food

This premium Blue Basics Limited Ingredient formula(paid link)* contains no wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, or soy. The easy to digest carbohydrate is supplied from potato, and skin health is supported by both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Grain Free Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Some owners find that their dog’s sensitive skin improves when they switch to a grain free dog food. If the best dog food for sensitive skin in your furry family is one without grains, then check out these great limited ingredient options.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Grain Free Dog Food

The Natural Balance dog food(paid link)* comes in dried form. It is made with a minimum of 21% protein, so is lower carb than most dried dog foods.

(paid link)

Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet Recipe

Nature’s Variety(paid link)* has a great limited ingredient, grain free wet dog food. This healthy choice has easily digestible ingredients, and claims to promote a soft shiny coat too. A great choice if you are cutting down ingredients to try to find out what is causing your dog’s skin sensitivity.

Best Large Breed Dog Food for Sensitive Skin

Large breed dogs are tough on their bones and joints, and a specialized food contains ingredients to address this issue. If your dog also has an issue with sensitive skin, these formulations may help his condition.

NUTRO ULTRA Adult Dry Dog Food

This large breed dog food(paid link)* includes a unique mix of novel ingredients: Coconut, Chia and Kale. Natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine promote bone health. The formula contains no wheat, soy, corn, or chicken by-product meal, but it does include over 10 healthy superfoods and other nutrients!

Royal Canin Maxi Nutrition Sensitive

This top-selling Royal Canin(paid link)* food contains the specialized ingredients indicated for both digestive health and a healthy coat and skin. It features the nutrients necessary to support the bones and joints of larger dogs, and it comes in both 6 and 30 pound bags.

Wellness Complete Health Natural

Only natural ingredients are included in this dog food(paid link)*. Your pooch will love the easy-to-digest deboned chicken. There is zero wheat, corn or by-products to interfere with sensitive digestive systems.

Puppy Food for Sensitive Skin

Puppy food formulations contain key ingredients necessary for developing bones, skin, and other vital organs. This excellent choice also has nutritional profiles believed to assist with sensitive skin conditions.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson(paid link)

BLUE Basics Limited-Ingredient Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food

Specially made for young dogs is Blue Basics limited ingredient food(paid link)*. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are featured for skin and coat health. Pumpkin and pea are easy-to-digest sources of fiber.

What is the best dog food for sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin in dogs can be triggered by certain dietary elements. Recommended foods for dogs with sensitive skin include choices that contain simple proteins and carbohydrates, and are grain-free. Deboned chicken and turkey are excellent protein choices, as are potatoes as a carbohydrate source. Omega fatty acids are also important ingredients for skin health and your dog’s food should not contain any artificial colors or flavors, by-products or gluten.

The best dog food for sensitive skin - Dog health care guide

Affiliate link disclosure: Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.

The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. Best food for all issues is definitely raw feeding my two dogs both had issues with skin and ears cleared ,up in weeks and never came back. Also got rid of anal gland issues. Worst thing is you still get found on by the vets!!!