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The Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin


Top Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin

Food allergies and dogs with sensitive skin is fairly common and can become a real problem. One of the first ways to help these dogs deal with the problem is adjust their diet. Fortunately for dog owners today, there are plenty of pre-formulated commercial foods as well as recipes we can try to help dogs with skin sensitivity.

Store-bought dog food for sensitive skin comes in two different forms and with a variety of different ingredients, depending on your pup's allergies. Below we'll go over everything that you should consider before buying these formulas and what to look for in them, as well as review five of the best dog food for sensitive skin brands.

What is Dog Food for Sensitive Skin?

What is Dog Food for Sensitive SkinLots of dog foods can be described as “sensitive skin food” because food allergies in dogs are very personal and the best food choice is strictly an individual thing. What’s sensitive to one dog’s skin can be insensitive to another’s. Dogs can easily develop allergies to almost any type of food, even the least common allergens like lamb or bison.

Some fish-based dog foods, for example, are also popular in the “sensitive skin” category as they contain extra doses of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids that may help with dealing with inflammation and allergies, as well as being statistically the least likely to cause skin sensitivity issues in dogs. However, that said, salmon is a common allergen for some dogs. Even peas have become the center of their own set of dog pea allergies.

In many cases, majority of organic, non-GMO, veterinary, grain-free and particularly L.I.D. (Limited Ingredient Diets) dog foods can be described as “sensitive skin dog food”. There are three most common denominators in dog foods for skin health are:

(1) a limited number of ingredients with the least amount of fillers,
(2) novel protein sources and low amount of grains,
(3) omega-3 fatty acids as they are necessary for dogs' overall skin health.

That said, whether a specific dog food is going to be suitable for your dog’s sensitive skin needs will be up to your dog’s particular characteristics. There is no “one size fits all” and no best food for every dog. One type of pet food that’s great for one dog may have disastrous effects on another. Reading the ingredients label and consulting with a vet beforehand is strongly advisable but even then there’ll still be an element of chance.

Here are some of the best sensitive skin dog food brands currently available:

When Your Dog Needs These Foods?

There are many reasons why a dog might have sensitive skin. The most frequently mentioned offender are food allergies, but there are other possibilities as well – poor or damaged immune system, parasitic infection (worms, fleas, ticks, bacterial organisms), genetic predisposition, long-term feeding of nutrient-poor dog foods, or even non-food related allergies such as seasonal allergies, dust mites allergies, and so on.

To further illustrate things, here are the most common canine skin and coat problems to look out for:

  • Allergies are a common and very unpleasant source of a lot of skin problems in dogs. What’s worse, they can be caused by a myriad of different things.
  • Chronic itchy skin or pruritus. This is a very common condition that’s found in roughly 40% of dogs with skin problems.
  • Parasite-caused hot spots and sores. External parasites are the bane of any outdoorsy dog breed. Good skin maintenance is extra important for these dog breeds.
  • Dry skin and dull coat. Poor nutritional management usually results in poor coat quality. The coat of a dog is usually the easiest sign about bad feeding.
  • Hair loss. This is usually attributed to external parasites but there are also lots of internal problems that can result in hair loss. In any case, an immediate vet visit is a must.

Looking at these symptoms alone, it should be clear that no “sensitive skin dog food” is an all-encompassing recipe that can cover all dogs’ needs. Instead, you’ll need to choose your dog’s food very carefully based on his or her specific needs and your consultation with a veterinarian.

You should also prepare yourself for a possibly lengthy process of trial and error because even if you find one type of dog food that works for your dog’s skin conditions, it’s quite likely that there are other foods out there that are still actively better.

How to Choose a Good Sensitive Skin Dog Food Brand

Picking the right pet food to treat a dog skin condition can be quite stressful and a challenge. After you've consulted with a vet or canine nutritionist, there are also multiple steps you’ll need to take before you buy the right dog food:

  • The first thing you’ll always need to do is consult with a veterinary professional and find out exactly what’s causing the skin irritations. You can’t treat a problem you haven’t examined.
  • Next, make sure to learn all there is to know about your dog’s other allergies. Buying a salmon-based dog food that’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids may be a great idea in most cases of sensitive skin but if your dog has a fish allergy you didn’t know about things will only get worse.
  • Prepare a feeding plan that includes more than one food type. The rule of thumb in most situations is that dogs need a diverse diet that includes at least two different types of food plus a treat option. This complicates things when there is an underlying condition that needs to be treated because all food and treats will need to be suitable for said condition. In the ideal scenario, you should look for both wet dog food and dry dog food options that are both greatly beneficial for your dog’s skin condition.
  • Consider the price. It’s unfortunate that we need to always pay attention to the price of our dog’s food but the fact of the matter is that dog food is expensive in the long run. And that’s especially true for specialized dog foods of high enough quality.

Top 5 Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin Brands

There are many dog foods on the market to choose from, even when looking for something as specific as dogs' skin health. The below chosen best dog food for sensitive skin brands were picked based on their ingredients and reputation for canine skin health maintenance or actively helping with preexisting canine skin conditions.

Hill's Science Diet

This is the most commonly vet recommended dog food for skin allergies and sensitivity. For dogs with both sensitive skin as well as stomach issues, the Hill’s Science Diet food is a good choice. It’s made with zero artificial colors, flavors or preservatives which makes it easy on the stomach. It also contains a rich blend of vitamins, omega-6 fatty acids, as well as other nutrients, making it a premium quality dog food. The set of minerals, and amino acids in the food also helps get your dog back on his/her feet if there have been any stomach issues previously.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive...
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Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive...
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Hill’s trust their food’s quality so much that they offer 100% money back guarantee through Amazon. The general directions for this food are 1/2 to 5/8 cups per 5 pounds of body weight per day. Keep in mind that these quantities are approximate and may vary from dog to dog, especially if your dog has a condition that makes digestion harder.


  • This is a very nutrient-rich dog food that has positive effects on both the skin and stomach health.
  • High-quality ingredients that are easy on the digestive tract.
  • A rich assembly of vitamins, fatty acids, nutrients, minerals, and amino acids.


  • This is a good food for sensitive skin but can’t help with actual pre-existing skin conditions.


Diamond CARE Recipe Specialized Diets for Dogs with Unique Health Issues

This Diamond CARE recipe is made out of hydrolyzed salmon has a lot of added omega fatty acids. This makes it great for sensitive skin and some skin conditions, as well as ideal for L.I.D. dog diets. There are also sufficient levels of antioxidants (Vitamin E) that help the immune system. The food is rich in nutrients and is easily digestible, making it suitable for dogs with some stomach issues. It’s also rich in probiotics which further eases digestion.

Diamond Care Sensitive Skin Recipe Specially Made...
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Diamond Care Sensitive Skin Recipe Specially Made...
  • High quality protein from a...
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The Diamond CARE formula is devoid of any artificial flavors and colors, any preservatives or gluten, corn, wheat or other unhealthy filler foods.


  • The hydrolyzed salmon and the added omega fatty acids are excellent for any dog’s skin health.
  • There are no added flavors, colors, preservatives or other unhealthy filler foods.
  • The food contains antioxidants and probiotics to ease digestion.


  • Tend to dehydrate digs even more so than other dry foods – expect your dog’s hydration needs to increase.


Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin

Purina’s Pro Plan food is a great overall choice that assists your dog’s health in many ways, including by alleviating skin sensitivity. It is made out of real salmon and has omega-6 fatty acids added to the formula to ensure the skin health of your dog. It is also high on protein, making it suitable for physically active dogs that need support for their lean muscles. The oatmeal addition to the food makes it rich in carbohydrates and helps it be easily digestible by even the most sensitive stomach.

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food,...
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Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food,...
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There are also plenty of omega-3 fatty acids to help with the joints’ health, improving your dog’s mobility and fitness. Purina is also committed to not including any wheat, corn or other unnecessary additives in their dog food formulas.


  • This is a very nutrient-rich dog food that has positive effects on both the skin and stomach health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are present in abundance to help with your dog’s joints health.
  • This is a protein-rich dog food, suitable for physically active dogs.


  • This is a good food for sensitive skin but can’t help with actual pre-existing skin conditions.


Forza10 Sensitive Skin Plus Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

For a dog food that’s fully dedicated to serving your dog’s skin health, here is the Forza10 Sensitive skin dry food. Its main ingredient is wild-caught anchovy meal which might explain the considerable price tag on the 25-lbs bag.

Forza10 Sensitive Skin Plus Grain-Free Dry Dog...
  • First ingredient is...
  • Complete formula to support...
  • Limited-ingredient recipe is...
  • Developed by a vet with the...
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The recipe is also grain-free and is rich in both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, making it perfect for dogs with skin and joint conditions and irritations. This isn’t just a complimentary skin-health dog food but is actually expected to deliver visible results to your dog’s skin and coat health.


  • It is made with wild-caught anchovy meal.
  • Includes an abundance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids for skin and joint health.
  • Grain-free and wheat-free.


  • This is a rather expensive dog food.


Forza10 Wet Canned Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Another Forza10 rounds up this list, this time it’s their wet canned hypoallergenic salmon formula. Including 32 cans of fish-based dog food for both juvenile and adult dogs, this recipe is designed to help with the integumentary health of your dog. It is a dietetic formula that also helps with minor skin ailments, allergies, and sensitive dog skin irritations.

Wet Dog Food Dermo Actiwet with Fish 3.5 oz, Adult...
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Wet Dog Food Dermo Actiwet with Fish 3.5 oz, Adult...
  • GLUTEN FREE – formula is...
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This canned food is rich in raw proteins, fat, and fiber. The ingredients are sourced from Iceland and are all-natural. They don’t include any toxic oxytetracycline and have a very appealing taste. The dog food includes antioxidants that make it easy to digest and effective for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It can easily be combined with dry food or used on its own full-time.


  • A great salmon-based recipe overall health and skin sensitivity.
  • It is made out of all-natural ingredients.
  • The recipe doesn’t include any grain, gluten or other unhealthy food additives.


  • This is a good food for sensitive skin but can’t help with actual pre-existing skin conditions.

In Conclusion

Dog food is a tricky thing to choose, buy and manage as our dogs can need very different things depending on their health conditions. A good dog food for skin health and skin sensitivities or allergies should have a limited number of ingredients with little to no filler content, low amount of grains, include novel protein sources and omega-3 fatty acids. With these three factors considered, the rest is up to trial and error.

READ NEXT: Homemade Dog Food for Sensitive Skin Recipe



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