If you are looking for dog food for your dog, but want to ensure that you give them something that is going to be easy to digest, without causing stomach upset, then you have come to the right place. Limited ingredient diets are often used for pets that have allergies to certain foods. Believe it or not, stomach upset in dogs is usually due to allergens that are found in their food. With a limited ingredient diet, you give them only a few ingredients, which cuts down on the risk of allergy. Let’s learn more about why your dog may need limited ingredient dog food.
What Makes Up a Limited Ingredient Dog Food?
First, let’s take a look at the basic ingredients found in most limited ingredient foods. Generally, they will contain the following ingredients:
- a single protein source
- a single complex carbohydrate (starch)
- wholesome fruits
- wholesome veggies
As you can see, there are really not a lot of ingredients on the list- and most limited ingredient dog food that you find on the market will offer the same, or similar ingredients. Typically, limited ingredient dog foods will not contain any grains, gluten, dairy or grain. These are some of the most common allergens found in commercial dog food.
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Choosing a Limited Ingredient Diet
You may be asking, are there any benefits that come along with feeding a limited ingredient diet? Well, aside from the fact that it has fewer allergens, there are a variety of other benefits as well.
Foods made with limited ingredients pack a whole lot of nutrients, even with just a few ingredients. They are easy to digest, allowing your pet’s digestive system to function better. If you choose one that is fortified with omega fatty acids, then you will be able to boost a healthy skin and coat all the while offering them proper nutrients.
Is it More Expensive?
This is a question that we are often asked, especially by pet owners on a tight budget. They want to know if the limited ingredient food is more costly than regular food.
The truth is, it can actually cost a little bit more than your average commercial brand dog food, but the health benefits that come along with it make it well worth the investment. Just see it as an investment in your dog’s health and wellbeing. Some of the top brands are actually not much more expensive than other premium quality foods, but if you are used to feeding your pet generic brand food, then you will definitely see a difference in price.
This is because some of these ‘cheaper’ foods are actually made up of all sorts of fillers and by-products to make it less expensive to manufacture. Then, they pass their savings on to consumers, at the expense of the dog’s health and nutrition.
Making the Switch
Any time you make a drastic change in your dog’s diet, it is important to do it slowly and gradually. You need to start out by replacing about a quarter of their regular food with the new food. Do this for a couple of days, then replace a half. Keep up this schedule, and by the end of a week your pup will be eating only limited ingredient diet dog food. Just remember, you may not see a drastic difference in the way they feel right away.
Sometimes, it takes few weeks for you to start seeing noticeable improvements in their digestion and their stomach sensitivities. This is because they have a buildup of those allergens in their body.
Now that we have taken a look at what limited ingredient dog food is all about, it is time to see some of our favorites. Without any further ado, here are our top picks:
10 Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food Picks
#1 Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets
Natural Balance is a Dick Van Patten company that offers a variety of different complete and balanced dog food formulas for you to choose from, including the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Formulas. One reason why so many pet owners choose this brand is because it is safe for puppies and adults, meaning that it is for all life stages. It has canola oil, which is low in saturated fats. It is also high in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Because the company wants a diet that is all natural, there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in this formula, and there are also no bleached ingredients. If your dog requires a limited ingredient diet, then this may be the perfect choice for them. Try it in several flavors, including Lamb Meal & Brown Rice, Fish & Sweet Potato, Venison & Sweet Potato, among others.
#2 Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Rachael Ray has a line of pet foods that are chef inspired, to be similar to some of her favorite kitchen creations. Her Nutrish Just 6 Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is the perfect food for dogs that have sensitive stomachs and require only a few ingredients in their diet. This formula contains only 6 simple ingredients, all of which are carefully selected to offer optimal nutritional values. It contains added vitamins and minerals, and doesn’t have any corn, wheat, soy or fillers.
There are also no by-product meals, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It is a natural choice that is sure to be easy on your dog’s sensitive stomach. It is available in several different bag sizes, including 6 pound, 14 pound and 28 pounds. If you are thinking about making the switch, give the 6 pound bag a try. If you know this is for you, opt for the larger bag to save some money.
#3 Acana Dry Dog Food
Acana has a variety of different dog food formulas for you to choose from, including several varieties of limited ingredient recipes. Their limited ingredient formulas are made up of a single protein source, and a single grain source. The ingredients that are chosen for these recipes are actually regional, meaning they are the freshest possible ingredients. As always, the foods are free of eggs, wheat, corn and dairy products.
As for flavor options, there are many to choose from. Perhaps your dog would prefer the Chicken & Burbank Potato, or maybe the Lamb & Okanagan Apple would be more palatable for him? Other options include Duck & Bartlett Pear, Pork & Butternut Squash, among others. Bags come as small as 4.4 pounds, or as large as 25 pounds. You can even find a 12 ounce sample of this food for $1.99 on Amazon. Give it a try, and see if your dog likes it.
#4 Merrick Limited Ingredients Adult Dog Food
If you are looking for a grain free, poultry free, natural diet for your pet, then Merrick Limited Ingredients Adult Dog Food may be a great choice. Their foods are made up of fresh, natural ingredients that are sourced locally. It is rich in antioxidants and other vital nutrients. It is 55% protein, and 45% fresh produce. The carbohydrates that make up their foods are easy to digest, because they are simple carbohydrates. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are used in most of their formulas.
This offers sustained energy, without the upset stomach that comes along with grain based formulas. Salmon & Sweet Potato and Duck & Sweet Potato are the two most popular flavor options. Since their ingredients are locally sourced, you never have to worry about the quality of the food. Merrick has strict guidelines that are defined by the FDA, and they adhere to them when it comes to manufacturing their pet foods.
#5 Natural Choice Limited Ingredient Diet
Natural Choice Limited Ingredient Diet Formula is manufactured by the Nutro Company. Their most popular recipe is Lamb & Whole Brown Rice. It is made with real New Zealand and Australian lamb as the first ingredient, and it is easy to digest and offers optimal nutrients. Glucosamine and chondroitin help to promote healthy joints, while vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help other body processes to go smoothly.
Their formula is free of corn gluten meal, soy and wheat, which are all common when it comes to food sensitivities in dogs. Other benefits include a shiny, healthy coat and skin, which is due to the Omega 6 fatty acids, B vitamins and zinc found in the formula. You can find this formula in both large breed and small breed options. You can also buy it in several different size bags, all the way up to a whopping 30 pounds. That is sure to last your pet a while, even if they do have a hearty appetite.
#6 Great Life Limited Ingredients Dog Food
For a food that is made up of all non-allergenic ingredients, take a look at Great Life Limited Ingredients Dog Food. Their formulas meet the nutritional requirements set forth by the AAFCO for all stages of life. That means that it is safe for puppies and adults alike. It offers a unique blend of freeze dried ingredients, and a few organic ingredients.
It contains no potatoes or grains, and the natural ingredients that it is made up of are all easy to digest. This is great news for dogs that have sensitive stomachs. This food is definitely unique, and you can choose from flavors such as buffalo, pork and duck.
#7 Purina Pro Plan Limited Ingredient Diet
As the Purina Pro Plan diet always say, awaken the greatness. The Purina Pro Plan Limited Ingredient Diet is carefully formulated to ensure that your pet gets the proper nutrients that they need. It offers 8 key ingredients, along with essential vitamins and minerals that your dog needs daily. It doesn’t contain wheat, corn or soy products, and chicken is the number one ingredient found in the food.
Some dogs require specialized nutrition, and Purina understands that. Their Chicken & Barley flavor is sure to please your dog’s taste buds, while giving him the nutrients that he needs to be healthy at the same time.
#8 Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Hypoallergenic Formula
Royal Canin offers various different foods for both cats and dogs, including limited ingredient diets, breed specific formulas, and other specialized diets. For pets that have sensitive stomachs, their hypoallergenic formula is the best option. It is nutritious, and completely balanced. It also has simple proteins that are easy for your pet to digest, with added B vitamins to help boost the health of their skin and coat.
There are four different limited ingredient options for you to choose from, each having a different protein source. You can choose from duck, venison, rabbit, or whitefish. Each formula is enriched with added antioxidants to ensure optimal immunity. It also contains EPA and DHA, which help to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to better digestion. It is easy to see why so many dogs enjoy Royal Canin’s hypoallergenic formulas.
#9 AvoDerm Natural Revolving Menu Small Breed Formulas
The AvoDerm Natural Revolving Menu offers a variety of different recipes for your dog to choose from, each of which are made with limited ingredients. The good news about this formula is that it is made with the small breed in mind. Small breed dogs are often more prone to stomach sensitivities than some of the larger breeds. The kibble is designed to be just the right size for small mouths, and a huge perk is that you can switch between the flavors without worrying about stomach upset.
Their recipes are free of grains and gluten, and have added avocado, which is a superfood that helps to boost the health of their skin and coat. Choose from top favorites, such as turkey or lamb. If you have a larger dog, they have formulas that are designed for them as well.
#10 FirstMate Pet Foods Limited Ingredient Formula
FirstMate Pet Foods Limited Ingredient Formula is not only made with very few ingredients, it is also loaded with vital antioxidants. Blueberries have been added to the food, to help ensure that your pet gets the antioxidants that they need. That is probably the most unique quality of this particular brand of food.
These antioxidants not only help to promote immunity, but they also fight against cancer and urinary tract issues, and increase your pet’s memory and eyesight, along with giving them an adequate amount of dietary fiber. This food can be served either dry, or slightly moistened, but dry is always best when it comes to optimal oral health.