If you own a German Shepherd, then you know how protective and loyal they are, and naturally, you want to return the favor. Your Shepherd is probably active and playful and living up to all the great qualities that make them a perfect companion, except for the excessive scratching and licking that is driving you both nuts.
Skin allergies are very common in canines and are one of the primary reasons for visiting the vet. Humans suffer from allergies too, and we can empathize with the frustration, but lucky for us, we can outgrow them. For our canine friends, the allergy usually gets worse as they get older.
Luckily, there are foods that your pup can enjoy that are designed for dogs with allergies. These reviews will help you select the ideal food that may provide relief to your pet.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
|Best Overall||Ollie Fresh Dog Food Subscription||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Best Value||Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Dry Dog Food||
|Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Care||
|Best for Puppies||Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food||
|Vet’s Choice||Purina Pro Plan Adult Dry Dog Food||
The 9 Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds with Skin Allergies
1. Ollie Fresh Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, kale, rice, chickpeas, cranberries, green beans, potatoes|
|Calories:||1804 kcal per kg|
Ollie Fresh Lamb Dish With Cranberries is our best overall choice for your German Shepherd with skin allergies, and its recipe doesn’t contain any common allergens. It is a great choice for canines that have sensitivities or food allergies and contains fresh ingredients and superfoods to deliver essential nutrients. This recipe contains chickpeas packed with protein and vitamins and minerals that support eye health and help regulate sugar levels. Kale supports the immune system while promoting healthy skin and fur, and butternut squash is high in fiber to assist digestion. The unique ingredient in this formula is cranberries which are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, calcium, and potassium.
Although cranberries are packed with nutrition, the acidic taste may not be a favorite for some pups.
2. Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Dog Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Deboned turkey, potatoes, turkey meal (source of glucosamine), pea starch, peas, tapioca starch, pea fiber|
|Calories:||352 kcal per cup|
Blue Buffalo Basics Skin and Stomach Care Dog Food is a nutritious recipe with minimal ingredients to support dogs with food sensitivities. The first ingredient is real turkey to provide protein, and it includes pumpkin and potatoes for easy digestion. There is no dairy, eggs, or wheat included in this recipe, making it a good option for sensitivities. Blue Buffalo is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and a unique blend called LifeSource bits to support a healthy immune system. The benefits of this formula, paired with the affordable price tag, make this recipe the best dog food for German Shepherds with skin allergies for the money.
This formula is grain-free which is helpful to dogs with sensitivities, but grains can also be beneficial to a lot of dogs, so it is important to consult with your vet to know what is best for your pup.
3. Brothers Advanced Allergy Dog Food – Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Lamb meal, dried whole eggs, turkey meal, cassava/tapioca, pea flour|
|Calories:||400 kcal per cup|
Brothers Complete Dog Food is packed with protein from free-range lamb and whole eggs. Eggs contain 9 essential amino acids that can not be produced by the body. This special formula contains digestive enzymes that help reduce the risk of allergies, boost immunity, and maximize nutrient absorption. Probiotics are included to heal, maintain, and balance the gut microbiome.
This recipe contains chicken, so if your dog is allergic, this food is unfortunately unsuitable.
4. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food – Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Duck, duck meal, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch, potato protein, canola oil|
|Calories:||395 kcal per cup|
Natural Balance puppy food is a wholesome and limited ingredient recipe that gives your growing German Shepherd the nutrients it needs while having a low risk of allergens. Muscle health is supported by protein-rich duck meat, and the DHA provided by fish oil supports your pup’s brain health. The recipe includes potatoes that are rich in fiber, and it’s free of artificial flavors and colorants.
Some puppy owners have reported that their dogs have a cat urine-like odor after eating this food.
This formula is also grain-free which may be beneficial to some dogs, but not all dogs thrive from a grain-free diet, so it is best to consult with your vet.
5. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, canola meal, fish meal|
|Calories:||467 kcal per cup|
Purina Pro Plan dog food is an easily digestible formula that is made to assist your German Shepherd’s sensitive skin. It’s enriched with omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A to nurture your dog’s coat and skin and omega-3 fatty acids for healthy joints. This recipe contains live prebiotic and probiotic fiber to support digestive health and maintain a strong immune system. Protein-rich salmon is the first ingredient in this recipe, but it’s farm-raised rather than wild-caught.
Some pet parents mentioned that the rich salmon flavor can cause fish breath.
6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, chicken meal, yellow peas, cracked pearled barley, brown rice|
|Calories:||394 kcal per cup|
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin Dog Food is a tasty recipe recommended by veterinarians and formulated with natural ingredients that are highly digestible. It contains beef pulp which is a prebiotic fiber to nurture gut health, and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E support a healthy coat and skin. Added vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants will ensure your dog’s immune system is strong and healthy.
Although this recipe is tasty and nutritious, it can be a little expensive.
7. Tuscan Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Lamb meal, brown rice, rice, canola oil from canola plants, olive oil|
|Calories:||482 kcal per cup|
When it comes to your pup’s sensitive skin, a hypoallergenic formula like Tuscan Natural Limited Ingredient Food is a great choice. Tuscan Natural is easy to digest due to its limited ingredients and is made with grass-fed lamb meal. This recipe includes extra virgin olive oil, which not only provides several benefits but delivers essential monosaturated fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin healthy and their coat shiny. Developed by a PhD nutritionist in the USA, this recipe is a complete diet that your German Shepherd will enjoy.
Some dog owners have reported that their pet’s stools are smellier than usual after eating this food.
8. Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Corn starch, hydrolyzed chicken liver, hydrolyzed chicken, powdered cellulose, soybean oil|
|Calories:||373 kcal per cup|
Hills Prescription Diet Derm Dog Food is a great choice for your German Shepherd’s itchy skin, and it is clinically formulated to assist in managing environmental and food sensitivities. In some dogs, it may improve sleep quality, reduce nighttime scratching, and improve the condition of the dog’s skin. Bioactives and phytonutrients help normalize your dog’s immune response, and the dog’s skin will be protected against environmental irritants all year round.
Your vet has to prescribe this formula for your pet, and a few dog owners have reported that it hasn’t made a big difference in their dog’s skin.
9. Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic oatmeal, organic barley|
|Calories:||383 kcal per cup|
Castor & Pollux Organix Dog Food is a high-protein recipe with organically sourced, free-range chicken, free from hormones and antibiotics. Organic oatmeal and barley promote healthy digestion, and the recipe includes a blend of superfoods like blueberries, sweet potatoes, and flaxseed. Castor & Pollux is free from fertilizers and chemical pesticides, it’s packed with antioxidants to support your German Shepherd’s skin.
Some customers noticed that Organix has a strong odor, and others were disappointed with the high price tag.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Food for German Shepherds with Skin Allergies
When it comes to choosing the right food for your German Shepherd with skin allergies, you need to look at either hypoallergenic brands or ones with limited ingredients.
Limited Ingredient Food
Using a dog food with limited ingredients can help you pin down the ingredient causing the allergic reaction. Limited ingredient meals are available online and at pet stores.
Hypoallergenic foods are made by hydrolyzing proteins into their basic amino acid building blocks. These are not recognized as antigens by your dog’s antibodies; therefore, they won’t cause a reaction. Your vet may recommend a prescription for hypoallergenic food.
What Is a Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food?
Protein is an important element of the canine diet. Proteins are taken from the food and broken down into amino acids which are combined into new proteins. Dietary proteins can trigger an adverse immune response in some animals, and a process called hydrolysis chemically breaks down proteins into smaller pieces that the immune system no longer responds to because they are so small.
Special Ingredients to Look for in a Skin Care Diet
- Essential Amino Acids and B group Vitamins: Help support the connecting bonds between skin cells known as ceramides.
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Help support a shiny coat and healthy skin.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Salmon oil is the richest source of fatty acid. The DHA and EPA have anti inflammatory benefits, which help soothe inflamed skin.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants support the immune system and reduce skin-damaging free radicals.
Our best overall choice dog food to help your pup with allergies is Ollie Fresh Lamb Dish with Cranberries, as it is prepared fresh and contains no allergens. Blue Buffalo basics skin and stomach care dog food is our best choice for the money, and Brothers Complete Lamb Meal & Egg Formula is our third choice. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Reserve Grain-Free is a wholesome choice for your growing pup, and Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach is our vet’s choice for your dog’s allergy-prone skin.
We hope these reviews help you select the ideal food to help relieve your dog from allergies and get them feeling better soon.
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Featured Image Credit: Victoria Antonova, Shutterstock