As a Golden Retriever owner, you know that this breed is more prone to atopy and allergies 1 than other breeds. While it’s certainly not fun for our pups to deal with things such as itchy skin or ear infections, it’s not fun for us to watch them go through that either. Thankfully, you can help your four-legged pal out by starting them on a dog food meant to help reduce allergies.
The question is, which brand is the best?
To say there’s a wealth of dog foods available these days is a bit of an understatement; it seems like there are more types of dog food than ever! While having options is nice, it also makes it more difficult to narrow down which food you should be feeding your Golden Retriever. That’s why we’re here with a list of the ten best dog foods for Golden Retrievers with allergies. With the quick reviews and buying guide below, you’ll be able to pick the perfect food for your favorite pup in no time!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 10 Best Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers with Allergies
1. Ollie Fresh Lamb Recipe
|Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, kale
The best dog food overall for Golden Retrievers with allergies is Ollie’s Fresh Lamb recipe. Unfamiliar with Ollie’s? This dog food company is a meal subscription service for our furry friends that makes fresh and baked recipes using healthy, wholesome foods. It can be a bit pricier than dog food you find in the store, and it requires a subscription, but the healthiness (and tastiness!) may make it worth your time.
The Fresh Lamb recipe, for example, has real lamb (an excellent alternative protein source for dogs with allergies to common proteins), as well as fresh veggies and fruits. Butternut squash offers your pup a ton of fiber to help them feel full longer, while kale provides beta carotene to promote healthy skin. And this recipe contains just a few ingredients, making it better for our dogs with allergies. Several dog owners commented on how much their pets’ skin and coats had improved after a few weeks on this food.
2. Merrick Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Food – Best Value
|Deboned turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, brown rice
|402 kcal per can
If it’s the best dog food for Golden Retrievers with allergies for the money you’re after, look no further than Merrick’s Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey & Brown Rice wet food! This limited ingredient dog food (only five!) is made with the sensitive pup in mind. With real turkey as the only protein source and a blend of wholesome grains, including brown rice, this food is easier on your dog’s digestive system, which should help eliminate stomach issues they may have. Plus, common dog food allergens are left out of the recipe to make it even better.
However, this food doesn’t offer a ton of protein for your dog, so if your pup needs a higher protein content, you may want to look elsewhere. There were also a couple of complaints about the food seeming to be more watery recently, which is a negative.
3. CANIDAE Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
|Salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, lentils
|459 kcal per cup
Looking for a premium dog food choice for your favorite Golden Retriever with allergies? Then, look no further than this food by CANIDAE. Besides being limited ingredient, it’s also grain-free; grain-free diets aren’t for every dog, but if your dog is one that requires a diet without grains, this food has you covered. Other than containing only eight ingredients and no grains, what can this food offer your dog? Well, salmon provides an alternative protein source to chicken and beef (two of the most common dog food allergies), while veggies boost the health factor with a host of fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, this dog food is fortified with CANIDAE’s own blend of probiotics to help your pet’s digestive system function as it should.
Because it’s grain-free, this dog food does contain lentils, which have been tentatively linked to heart disease, so keep that in mind. And several pet owners described the smell of this food as “terrible”.
4. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dog Food – Best for Puppies
|Salmon, rice, barley, fish meal
|428 kcal per cup
If your Golden Retriever is still a pup, then you’ll need food specially formulated for it, like this one by Purina. With salmon as an alternate protein source and rice that’s easily digestible, this food is easier on dogs with sensitive stomachs. The salmon also provides your puppy with all the protein it needs to grow up healthy and strong. This Purina dog food gives your little one a host of other good things, such as omega fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals they need for proper growth. Plus, the Purina Pro Plan Puppy food contains probiotics and prebiotic fiber, which aid the digestive system in working properly. In fact, several dog owners said it improved the health of their puppies’ stomachs.
If you have a picky eater, though, they may not be fans of this one, as a few pet parents mentioned their picky eaters wouldn’t touch it.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Chicken broth, turkey, carrots, pork liver
|253 kcal per can
You may feel better about feeding your dog a food recommended by vets, like this one by Hill’s Science Diet. This canned food is made strictly for adult dogs and contains easily digestible ingredients such as turkey, rice, and chicken to help clear up stomach ailments. It also contains yummy veggies like carrots and spinach, which give your pet vital nutrients. Plus, this dog food has been formulated with omega fatty acids and Vitamin E to improve the state of your pup’s skin and coat. Many pet parents said this food helped to clear up stomach issues like constant throwing up and loose stools.
On the flip side, several people said the consistency of this food was incredibly mushy and watery, so things might get messy when your dog eats. And a handful of picky eaters didn’t enjoy the smell or taste.
6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food
Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors
|332 kcal per cup
You might be wondering what hydrolyzed protein is and why it can be helpful for a Golden Retriever with allergies. Essentially, hydrolyzed proteins are simply proteins that have been broken down via the use of water to reduce the chances your pet’s immune system will react to them (and, in turn, have an allergic reaction). With a hydrolyzed protein food, your pup runs much less of a chance of having an upset stomach or itchy skin. Besides that, this Royal Canin dog food provides B vitamins and amino acids to improve the barrier of your pet’s skin to also decrease allergic reactions, along with omega fatty acids to improve skin’s overall health. And when it comes to the health of your Golden Retriever’s stomach, Royal Canin has added a fiber blend to improve digestion even further. According to pet parents, this food worked exceptionally well when it came to stomach ailments, such as IBD.
This food is a tad more expensive than several others on this list, though, and there were comments that it was a bit dry and needed to be mixed with water to be more palatable to some dogs.
7. Natural Balance Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
|Salmon, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, brewers rice
|340 kcal per cup
Another limited ingredient recipe, this dog food by Natural Balance serves up a delicious alternative protein source in salmon, then boosts the protein content by adding fish meal as the second ingredient. Next comes a boost of fiber with the addition of brown rice, which will both aid in improving your dog’s digestion and helping them to feel full longer. And further down the ingredient list, you’ll find flaxseed, an excellent addition that will not only provide omega fatty acids to help ward off skin irritation but also lignans, which may improve immune function. Pet parents said this food helped relieve itchiness in their dogs and firmed up stools.
However, this dog food did make a handful of pups extremely gassy. And if your dog is sensitive to strong odors, they may not be a fan as this was reported to have a strong fishy smell.
8. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food
|Salmon, barley, rice, oat meal
|467 kcal per cup
Purina Pro Plan’s Sensitive Skin & Stomach for adult dogs gives your pet a great alternative protein source to reduce the risk of allergic reactions and plenty of protein to keep them going all day long. Designed to nurture your dog’s skin and stomach and be more easily digestible, this dry dog food also contains a wealth of other benefits. Rice and oatmeal provide a boost of fiber to aid in digestion, while probiotics and prebiotics further improve the state of your pup’s digestive health. And omega fatty acids, along with Vitamin A, keep your furry pal’s coat and skin looking and feeling great. Dog owners reported their pets threw up less often, had firmer stools, and had less itchiness after being on this food for a while.
Some pet parents did find the price a bit high, and there were a few complaints of this food giving dogs awful smelling breath.
9. Wellness Simple Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Dry Dog Food
|Deboned turkey, turkey meal, potatoes, peas
|430 kcal per cup
This grain-free limited ingredient dog food won’t be for every dog, but if yours needs a grain-free diet, you’ll want to take a look. This food offers a ton of protein with real turkey as the key ingredient and turkey meal as the next, as well as easily digestible carbs that should aid in reducing instances of stomach issues in your pup. It’s also been fortified with not only the usual suspects, such as antioxidants and omega fatty acids to improve coat and skin health, but also glucosamine which can help keep joints healthy in larger breed dogs. Plus, the size of the kibble seems to be on the larger side (according to reviews), so your Golden Retriever should have an easier time eating it.
And though plenty of pet parents said this food helped their dogs’ allergies and digestive troubles, others said it didn’t help at all, making this food seem a bit hit or miss. This food also contains peas which have been loosely linked to dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, so be aware of that.
10. ACANA Wholesome Grains Lamb & Pumpkin Dry Dog Food
|Deboned lamb, lamb meal, oat groats, whole sorghum
|371 kcal per cup
Acana’s limited ingredient dog food provides a ton of protein to your pup via real lamb, lamb meal, lamb liver, and more; this means it should keep your Golden Retriever up and running with plenty of energy throughout the day. It also contains tons of fiber in the form of whole grains, pumpkin, and butternut squash, that will keep your pet feeling full and aid in keeping the digestive system working as it should. And the addition of a heart-healthy vitamin pack exclusive to Acana will keep your pet healthy. This dog food had a wealth of rave reviews—dogs seemed to love the taste (even picky eaters!), and pet parents said it did an excellent job when it came to healthy skin and coats.
The biggest complaint when it came to this food was that the food was on the drier side, so added water may be needed.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look Out for in Dog Food When Your Golden Retriever Has Allergies
Buying dog food for a Golden Retriever with allergies will be a bit different than buying food for one without. There are a few certain things you should look for when trying to find dog foods that will help reduce allergic reactions or help sensitive stomachs.
Limited ingredient dog foods tend to be best for dogs dealing with allergies or stomach issues precisely because they have so few ingredients. So, looking for a dog food recipe with few ingredients should be the first place you start on your search. Some limited ingredient recipes will still have a fair amount of ingredients, while some will only have a handful, so decide how limited you want to go and look at the ingredient list to see if it matches the types of ingredients you want.
Alternate Protein Source
Since some of the most common food allergens for dogs are chicken and beef, look for foods that contain protein sources other than those. There are many you can choose; you’ll find everything from salmon to lamb to bison and more. What you end up picking will have a lot to do with your pup’s personal taste, but as long as you avoid a common protein, it should be helpful.
Grain Free vs With Grain
Not every dog needs to be on a grain-free diet, but yours might. We recommend talking to your vet before switching them to one to ensure it’s safe, though. If your vet recommends a grain-free diet, you’ll want to look for those that are still limited ingredient. However, check ingredient lists carefully as sometimes grains are hidden in foods labeled as “grain-free”. Also, keep in mind that grain-free foods tend to have some form of peas or legumes in them.
Peas and Legumes
And you may want to be careful with how much of your dog’s food consists of peas and legumes. This is because research has found that these ingredients could be linked to heart disease in dogs. If that’s a concern, you’ll want to avoid grain-free diets and always read over all the ingredients found in a food.
Golden Retrievers are prone to obesity (nearly 63% of Golden Retrievers are obese or overweight), so you’ll want to check how many calories a food contains. If you’re unsure of your dog’s caloric needs, speak with your vet to get their recommendation. Also, be sure your dog is getting enough daily exercise and playtime!
Dog food comes at all different price points, so you shouldn’t have difficulty finding one that’s affordable to you. Shopping around is wise, though, as you could find the same brand elsewhere for a lower price or find a food with similar ingredients that costs less.
Who better to tell you if a dog food works for Golden Retrievers with allergies other than fellow Golden Retriever owners? Reading reviews of dog foods will go a long way in helping you choose the right one for your dog.
The best dog food overall for Golden Retrievers with allergies is Ollie’s Fresh Lamb recipe, as it’s fresh, nutritious, and contains an excellent alternative protein source. For the best food for the money, you’ll want to check out Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Wet Dog Food for the cost and extremely limited ingredients. When it’s a premium option you’re after, our pick is CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food since it contains few ingredients but has added probiotics. If you have a puppy, give Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Dry Dog Food a try as it’s specially formulated. Finally, if you want a food that’s vet recommended and seems to be quite helpful in clearing up stomach ailments, we suggest Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Tender Turkey & Rice Stew Canned Dog Food.
Featured Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock