How To Feed Your Dogs with Allergies


Deciding if your dog has environmental allergies or food allergies can be a challenging issue. If it has been determined by your vet that your dog does have a food intolerance, then finding the right food for allergies would be the next step. Having dogs with food sensitivities is very common and with so many different options out there it may be confusing on which diet to go with. Luckily with Wholesomes Pet Nutrition, there are a couple of recipes that can fit the bill for allergy issues.

A dog eats out of a dog food bowl while a bag of Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach dog food sits in the background

Dog Food Allergy Symptoms

Learning about food intolerance vs. a food allergy can be confusing at times. To get the scoop on how to tell the difference between an allergy and an intolerance, we asked Dr. Anne Huss, Wholesomes’ Director of Nutrition Services, for an explanation:

“A food allergy is a result of a flaw in a pet’s immune system and is an abnormal reaction to normal foods triggered by an animal’s immune system. In some cases, a pet’s immune system can misidentify or misjudge safe compounds (usually proteins) as a threat which causes the body to attack–leading to a food allergy.

“A food intolerance, on the other hand, can be either an unusual reaction to normal food or normal reactions to abnormal foods that does not trigger a response from the immune system. For example, if your dog happens to get into the trash and eats spoiled food, the resulting vomiting and/or diarrhea would be considered a normal reaction to an abnormal food not due to a response from the immune system.

“Food allergies can take months to years to develop to a particular food. Once developed, the allergy will persist with a negative reaction to that particular food or allergen. On the other hand, a food intolerance will come on more quickly due to the immune system not mediating the response.”

It is sometimes difficult to determine what type of issue or allergic reaction your dog may be having since the symptoms are very similar. Since this is the case, it’s always recommended to visit your vet to see what allergies or intolerances your dog may have and to rule out any other health problems.

Dog Food for Allergies

According to Dr. Anne, the most common dog allergens are beef, dairy products, and wheat, and less common allergens include chicken, eggs, and soy. If your dog has an allergy to grains or gluten, we have a variety of grain-free dog foods that are also gluten-free! Easy to digest proteins like whitefish make these recipes a great choice for your dog. Included in these recipes are vitamins and minerals that support the immune system and overall wellness of your pet. Sensitive skin dog foods provide fewer common irritants and can help improve your dog’s allergy symptoms.

Dog Food for Sensitive Skin or Stomachs

Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to environmental allergens around them. Especially during the spring season, dogs can have dry, itchy, or sensitive skin. Dry dog food that contains fish as the main protein can sometimes help with this. Fish contains omega fatty acids that work to help maintain healthy skin and coat. A dog food with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and a fish protein, such as Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon, can sometimes help clear up your dog’s skin. This recipe is a tasty whole-grain diet for all life stages, so even puppies can find some relief from allergy symptoms.

According to Dr. Anne, “since food allergies are (generally) in response to proteins from the diet that are misidentified by the immune system, switching the primary protein source in your dog’s diet can ease the allergy.” That being said, lamb is another great protein option  as it tends to be a less commonly used protein in a lot of dog foods. Food suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs would be our Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Lamb recipe. Packed with easily digestible proteins and quality sources of fiber, Wholesomes will support any puppy or adult dog with sensitive skin or stomach.

What Should I Feed My Dog?

With allergies, it can sometimes be a struggle finding a food that is just right for your dog. All dogs are different so it can be a challenge to find the perfect recipe. Knowing exactly what your dog is allergic to will be the most helpful way to choose a correct diet. If you are ever unsure about what to feed, we recommend consulting your veterinarian. In some severe cases, your pet may need to be placed on a prescription diet.

If you are interested in a Wholesomes diet for your dog that has allergies, but want some extra help deciding which recipe to choose, please send us a message! Our team of experts would love to help you make the right decision about your fur babies meal!