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Home > Dogs > 10 Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus With Allergies in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

10 Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus With Allergies in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

shih tzu dog eating outdoors

Finding the best food for your little Shih Tzu can be challenging, but if your dog has allergies, it can be even more frustrating. When a dog has a food allergy1, it means that its immune system is triggered and overreacts to a certain ingredient in the food, causing an allergic reaction. Antibodies are produced in an attempt to fight off this perceived threat and your dog can suffer from inflamed or itchy skin, hot spots, itchy paws, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Some food allergies can be controlled by switching to a diet with a low risk of triggering allergic reactions. Always speak to your vet about which food would be ideal for your dog. To give you an idea of which foods to consider, we created a list of the best food for Shih Tzus with allergies. Here, you can read the reviews of each food and see what might work best for your dog.

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A Glance at Our Winners in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Stew Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Stew
  • Formulated for sensitive skin
  • Contains vitamin E and omega fatty acids for skin health
  • Easily digestible
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Food Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Food
  • Salmon is the first ingredient
  • Works to nourish the skin
  • Includes 23 essential vitamins and minerals
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    JustFoodForDogs Joint & Skin Support Frozen Food JustFoodForDogs Joint & Skin Support Frozen Food
  • Delivered to your door
  • Contains wholesome ingredients that you can see
  • Can be mixed with other foods
  • Best for Puppies
    Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Dry Puppy Food Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Dry Puppy Food
  • Formulated for healthy puppy development
  • Single protein source
  • Includes LifeSource Bits
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Dry Dog Food Royal Canin Veterinary Dry Dog Food
  • Small particles of protein aren't recognized by the immune system
  • Limits allergic reactions
  • Reduces digestive upset
  • The 10 Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus With Allergies

    1. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food — Best Overall

    Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Tender Turkey & Rice Stew Canned Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken broth, turkey, carrots, pork liver, rice
    Protein content: 2.8%
    Fat content: 1.9%
    Calories: 253 per can

    The Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food is specially formulated for dogs with sensitive skin and contains vitamin E and omega fatty acids to keep it moisturized and healthy. It includes easily digestible ingredients like rice, turkey, and broth that are gentle on sensitive stomachs. The food is slow-cooked for maximum flavor, making it the best overall dog food for Shih Tzus with allergies.

    The food is densely packed in the cans so you may have to add a bit of water if you want a thinner consistency. The cans have pull rings that can be difficult to use. Some dogs don’t care for the mushy texture, and some dog owners don’t care for the smell of the food. But if you have a Shih Tzu that likes soft food, this is a great option. It’s also good for older dogs that have dental issues because it’s easy to eat and doesn’t include many large chunks.

    Pros
    • Formulated for sensitive skin
    • Contains vitamin E and omega fatty acids for skin health
    • Easily digestible
    Cons
    • Cans are difficult to open
    • Thick consistency

    2. Purina Pro Plan  Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dog Food — Best Value

    Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, rice, barley, canola meal, fish meal
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 17%
    Calories: 478 per cup

    The Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food is made for active small dogs that need skin and tummy support. It’s made with salmon as the first ingredient, which is perfect for dogs with poultry allergies. The recipe includes wholesome ingredients that present a low allergic trigger, making this the best dog food for Shih Tzus with allergies for the money.

    Prebiotic fiber and oatmeal are gentle on digestion, while sunflower oil and omega fatty acids work to nourish skin from the inside out. The recipe includes 23 essential vitamins and minerals to support overall health.

    The fish taste of this food from salmon and fish meal can be off-putting to dogs that are used to something milder. It can take a while for picky dogs to get used to the flavor.

    Pros
    • Salmon is the first ingredient
    • Works to nourish the skin
    • Includes 23 essential vitamins and minerals
    Cons
    • Strong fish smell and flavor

    3. JustFoodForDogs Joint & Skin Support Fresh Frozen Dog Food — Premium Choice

    JustFoodForDogs Joint & Skin Support Fresh Frozen Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Pork, quinoa, kale, carrots, apples
    Protein content: 9%
    Fat content: 2.5%
    Calories: 32 per ounce

    JustFoodForDogs Joint & Skin Support Fresh Frozen Dog Food ships to your door every Monday through Wednesday. It can be stored in your freezer for up to 1 year. Once thawed, it should be fed to your dog within 4 days.

    This food is made with healthy ingredients that you can see in the recipe. It’s formulated with collagen and is a joint care supplement for healthy skin and joints. This whole food diet is made with pork as the primary protein ingredient and a mix of quinoa, fruits, and vegetables for vitamins and minerals. Nothing artificial is added. Since you know the ingredients that you’ll be feeding your Shih Tzu, the risk of allergic reactions is reduced. This food is made for adult dogs only and does not have the nutrition that puppies require.

    This food can be mixed with kibble or canned food to make it last longer and give your dog a boost of healthy ingredients. Since it arrives frozen, it will take up room in your freezer and may be time-consuming to thaw and have ready when your dog needs to eat. It’s not recommended to microwave this food because some of the nutrients could be destroyed in the process.

    Pros
    • Delivered to your door
    • Contains wholesome ingredients that you can see
    • Can be mixed with other foods
    Cons
    • Takes up freezer space
    • Not suitable for puppies
    • Takes time to thaw

    4. Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Puppy Food — Best for Puppies

    Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Turkey & Potato Dry Puppy Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, oatmeal, peas, brown rice
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 394 per cup

    The limited-ingredient recipe of Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Puppy Food limits allergy risks by using a single protein source. Deboned turkey is the first ingredient, promoting easy digestion and adding to the protein content. Pumpkin and potatoes are added for digestive health and healthy carbs.

    Since this food is for puppies, it’s formulated with essential amino acids, like DHA, for healthy eye and brain development. It also includes LifeSource Bits, Blue Buffalo’s unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

    If your Shih Tzu has allergies to poultry, this food is not for them. It will work if your dog has chicken-specific allergies because the recipe includes no chicken.

    Pros
    • Formulated for healthy puppy development
    • Single protein source
    • Includes LifeSource Bits
    Cons
    • Not suitable for dogs with poultry allergies

    5. Royal Canin Veterinary Dry Dog Food

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp
    Protein content: 19.5%
    Fat content: 17.5%
    Calories: 332 per cup

    The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog Food requires a prescription to be able to buy it, so speak to your vet first if you think that this food is a good option for your dog.

    This food is made for dogs and puppies of all breed sizes who are experiencing food sensitivities. The formula can help reduce skin and digestive reactions. The proteins in the food are broken down to a small enough size that the immune system is less likely to identify and react to them. The recipe also includes nutrients for healthy skin and coat.

    A blend of fibers helps support digestive health and reduce GI upset. While the food has been known to help clear up dogs’ allergy reactions, some dogs are not enthusiastic about eating it. Hydrolyzed soy protein and chicken fat don’t have the same flavors as real meat protein, so some picky dogs may not care for it.

    Pros
    • Small particles of protein aren’t recognized by the immune system
    • Limits allergic reactions
    • Reduces digestive upset
    Cons
    • Food may be bland for some dogs
    • Requires a prescription

    6. Bil-Jac Sensitive Solutions Skin & Stomach Support Dry Dog Food

    Bil-Jac Sensitive Solutions Skin & Stomach Support Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-products (organs only), corn meal, chicken by-product meal, dried beet pulp
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 17%
    Calories: 403 per cup

    Bil-Jac Sensitive Solutions Skin & Stomach Support Dry Dog Food is made for dogs with sensitivities, so it’s a good option for a Shih Tzu with allergies. It contains linoleic acid and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

    Real white adds to the food’s protein content, and the recipe has a fiber blend with prebiotics and oatmeal for easy digestion. Vitamins C and E are included for immune and overall health. The kibble is crunchy and easy to chew for dogs of all sizes. It’s made in small batches to seal in nutrition and flavor.

    The front of the package states that it’s made with real whitefish, so some dog owners have purchased this food thinking that it did not include chicken. While whitefish is indeed an ingredient, chicken is the first ingredient, so this is not a food for dogs that are allergic to poultry.

    Pros
    • Supports skin health with vitamins and omega fatty acids
    • Cooked in small batches for flavor
    • Easy to digest
    Cons
    • The package may be misleading
    • Not an option for dogs with poultry allergies

    7. Acana Singles + Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food

    Acana Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Pumpkin Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned duck, duck meal, oat groats, whole sorghum, duck liver
    Protein content: 27%
    Fat content: 17%
    Calories: 371 per cup

    The Acana Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Dog Food uses duck as the single animal protein source, reducing allergic reactions and giving your Shih Tzu a unique protein option.

    Whole grains, squash, and pumpkin in the recipe add fiber and nutrients to keep digestive systems healthy. The vitamins in the formula work to support the nervous and circulatory systems. There are no artificial flavors or preservatives added. Many of the main ingredients are sourced from trusted farmers, ranchers, and fishers to maintain quality and safety.

    Considering Shih Tzus are small and don’t eat as much as larger breeds, the high price tag of this food might be acceptable. However, for large or multiple dogs, it is an expensive food if you have to buy large bags of it often.

    Pros
    • One animal protein source
    • Ingredients sourced from trusted suppliers
    • No artificial flavors or preservatives
    Cons
    • Expensive

    8. Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Dry Dog Food

    Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon meal, oatmeal, potatoes, whole oats, deboned salmon
    Protein content: 22%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 427 per cup

    Made with a salmon meal and salmon as the only animal protein source, the Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Dry Dog Food is filled with omega fatty acids for skin health. Ground flaxseed adds to the overall omega fatty acid content. One protein source also reduces the risk of allergic reactions.

    Since the protein is a single source that’s not poultry, it’s a good option for Shih Tzus with chicken sensitivities. Probiotics and prebiotic fiber are added for healthy digestion, along with dried chicory root for healthy digestive bacteria.

    This recipe was formulated by a team of pet nutritionists for optimal taste while still meeting the needs of dogs with skin and coat issues. Some dogs have experienced loose stools after eating this food. In these cases, the salmon may be too rich for them, especially if you’re switching from a less oily protein source.

    Pros
    • One protein source
    • Developed by pet nutritionists
    • Probiotics and prebiotic fiber added
    Cons
    • Salmon may be too rich for some dogs

    9. AvoDerm Advanced Sensitive Support Dry Dog Food

    AvoDerm Advanced Sensitive Support Salmon & Oatmeal Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, oatmeal, ground white rice, pumpkin
    Protein content: 24%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories: 437 per cup

    For Shih Tzus with food allergies and intolerances, the AvoDerm Advanced Support Dry Dog Food contains limited ingredients to limit and reduce reactions.

    Salmon is the first ingredient and only animal protein source. This, along with pumpkin, oatmeal, and omega-filled avocado, promotes healthy digestion and immune systems. The food is gentle on sensitive stomachs and made without any chicken. It’s ideal for dogs with chicken allergies.

    Even though this food is formulated to help reduce allergies, it didn’t relieve some dogs’ itching. They either had grain allergies or needed a different protein source.

    Pros
    • Salmon is the only animal protein source
    • Made with limited ingredients
    • Pumpkin and oatmeal are included for digestive health
    Cons
    • May not relieve allergies for all dogs

    10. Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food

    Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach With Salmon Protein Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon meal, brown rice, oatmeal, ground rice, pearled barley
    Protein content: 22%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 355 per cup

    Wholesome Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food is suitable for adult dogs and puppies. It’s made with ingredients that you can recognize, including ancient grains and oatmeal to help with digestion. Omega fatty acids are included for skin and coat health. For dogs with sensitive digestive systems, this food is an option. Taurine is included for heart health. Shih Tzus that can’t eat poultry may be able to eat this food.

    Some dog owners report that this food has a foul odor, which could be due to the salmon and fish meal in the ingredients. Some dogs simply did not like the taste.

    Pros
    • Formulated for adult dogs and puppies
    • Salmon is the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Bad odor
    • Some dogs don’t like the fish taste

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus With Allergies

    Shih Tzus can have allergies to many things, just like humans. Shampoos, pollen, and food ingredients, to name a few, can all trigger reactions. Food allergies occur when your dog’s immune system recognizes a consumed ingredient as an intruder and works to protect your dog against it.

    The most common symptoms of food allergies include:
    • Itching
    • Red, flaky, or inflamed skin
    • Hair loss
    • Skin infections
    • Chewing or licking the skin and paws
    • Vomiting
    • Lethargy
    • Diarrhea or excessive gas
    • Hyperactivity
    • Aggression
    • Sneezing or coughing
    • Ear infections

    Life with food allergies can be uncomfortable for your Shih Tzu. It’s important to find the right food for them to minimize these symptoms.

    As always, speak to your vet before making the switch to any food for your dog. Your vet is your best resource for what’s appropriate for your dog to eat.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing dog food for Shih Tzus with allergies.

    Limited-Ingredient Dog Food

    The fewer ingredients in the recipe, the less chance there is of something in the food causing an allergic reaction. Limited-ingredient dog foods have short lists of ingredients that are usually full of things that you can easily recognize. If you know what your dog is allergic to (this can be determined by your vet through careful testing and food trials), then you can easily avoid the ingredients.

    Hypoallergenic Dog Food

    Hypoallergenic dog foods were created specifically for dogs with allergies who can’t eat regular food. These diets usually require a prescription and provide your dog with the nutrition that they needs while being incredibly careful to leave out any potential allergens. Sometimes, though, this food is not as tasty as regular food. Prescription food may not entice your Shih Tzu to eat the way that their previous food might have.

    Life Stage

    Be sure to purchase dog food that is made for your specific dog’s age. Sometimes food will be made for all ages, and as long as it states this explicitly on the label, then that’s fine to feed your dog. However, puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs need different nutrients. The food for each life stage will be balanced and made for a dog’s age.

    shih tzu puppy sitting on sofa
    Image by; Pattarit S, Shutterstock

    Protein

    Protein is the most important ingredient in your dog’s food. The protein content of the food should be higher than the fat content. Unfortunately, the most common ingredient that dogs are allergic to is protein.

    Dogs can develop allergies at any time, so it’s possible that your dog was able to eat chicken for years and now is suddenly allergic to it. If your dog is allergic to the protein in their food, the easiest thing to do is change the protein source. A new protein that your dog hasn’t had before is usually recommended.

    If the food contains more than one protein source, the risk of allergic reactions increases.

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    In Conclusion

    We hope that these reviews have helped you find dog food for your Shih Tzu with allergies. Be sure to check with your vet before making a final decision.

    To recap, our best overall choice is Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Canned Dog Food. It’s easily digestible and made for sensitive skin. A value option is Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food, made with salmon as the protein source. JustFoodForDogs Joint & Skin Support Fresh Frozen Dog Food is expensive food, but it’s conveniently shipped to your door and made with wholesome ingredients.

    Puppies can enjoy Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Puppy Food because it’s made for puppy development. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog Food requires a prescription but is made for dogs with allergies.


    Featured Image Credit: thanakarn Singto, Shutterstock

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