For the most part, the days of giving your dog table scraps are long gone. Pet parents treat their animals like their children. In some cases, maybe better. But seriously, proper veterinary care and a healthy, nutritious diet are extremely important for your dog’s well-being. Giving them leftovers or highly processed dog food can cause health issues and discomfort for your German Shepherd, especially if they have skin allergies.
Something as simple as changing your dog’s diet can eliminate the scratching and biting. Imagine the quiet when the sound of the incessant licking is gone. No more bald spots or open sores that scream discomfort for your pet. Seeing your pet relaxed and comfortable instead of jumping, spinning, and looking like they’re going to crawl out of their skin would be joyous. So, here is a review of our 10 top picks for the best dog foods for your German Shepherd with skin allergies.
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|Best Overall||The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food Subscription||
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The 10 Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds With Skin Allergies
1. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, chickpeas, carrots, broccoli, parsnip|
In our reviews of dog foods for a German Shepherd with skin allergies, The Farmer’s Dog Turkey Recipe is the overall best dog food for a German Shepherd with skin allergies. We picked the turkey recipe as the alternative to beef and chicken for dogs that suffer from food allergies1. The high-quality ingredients are slow-cooked, pre-packaged, and delivered to your door. The turkey recipe is made with ingredients like kale, chickpeas, carrots, broccoli, and parsnip. These ingredients are easily digested and help build strong muscles. The food is formulated with vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy diet. This is only available through a subscription service, however, and can be expensive.
2. AvoDerm Advanced Sensitive Support Dry Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, pea flour, pea protein|
Our review found AvoDerm Advanced Sensitive Support Adult Dry Food to be the best dog food for German Shepherds with skin allergies for the money. The food is a limited-ingredient, grain-free diet with lamb as the only protein and the main ingredient for canines with skin allergies. The food comes in lamb and sweet potato, trout and pea, and duck formula. Most dogs find the formulas to be tasty. Some studies2 have suggested that grain-free diets may be linked to heart problems, however. It is recommended that you seek the advice of your vet before putting your dog on a grain-free diet. It also contains peas, which may be connected to heart problems3 in dogs.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Large Breed
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, chicken meal, yellow peas, cracked pearled barley, brown rice|
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Large Chicken Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food is our third choice for a German Shepherd with skin allergies. The diet contains beet pulp to improve digestion. It contains omega-6 and vitamin E for healthy skin and coat. Many people and dogs seem to find positive results with this food. It is only available with a prescription from your vet, so be sure to speak to them and decide if it’s the right choice for your dog. It’s also a little pricey for pet parents on a budget, especially for a large breed like a German Shepherd.
4. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food – Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, oatmeal, fish meal, rice, canola meal|
We chose Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food in our review for the best food for German Shepherd puppies with skin allergies. The food contains ingredients to support the immune system and nourish vision and brain development. The formula is easy on your puppy’s digestive system and contains no artificial colors or flavors. Best of all, puppies eat it up. It is a little expensive if you’re on a budget, however. That said, puppies should only be on puppy food until they reach a year of age. Then you can transition to the adult formula or find a new food option.
5. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, canola meal|
Another great choice for dog food is Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice Formula Dry dog food for a German Shepherd with skin allergies. The adult, high-protein formula is highly digestible and fortified with prebiotics and probiotics for immune and digestive health. Your loyal companion’s skin and coat will be nourished with omega-6 fatty acids giving their fur a healthy shine and helping their skin stay free from feeling itchy. This food is expensive for a large breed, and some reviewers said their dogs wouldn’t touch it. Fortunately, this food is not a prescription diet and does not require vet approval.
6. Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Food Sensitivities Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Corn starch, hydrolyzed chicken liver, powdered cellulose, soybean oil, calcium carbonate|
We chose Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Original Flavor Dry Dog Food as a best food option for a German Shepherd with skin allergies because the ingredients contain hydrolyzed protein4.
The hydrolyzed protein is often used by veterinarians to treat dogs with food allergies and can be effective for controlling skin problems and allergies. It also has limited ingredients, so fewer ingredients that can cause skin irritation. The formula helps to reduce skin irritation and see improvement in your dog’s skin and coat. This food is prescription only and requires vet approval, and it can be a little pricey for large breeds.
7. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet HF Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Salmon hydrolysate, pea starch, potatoes, peas, pea protein|
We reviewed Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet HF Hydrolyzed for Food Intolerance Salmon dry dog food for a German Shepherd with skin allergies. We chose this formula as one of our picks for food intolerance because it contains hydrolyzed protein which is recommended for dogs with food sensitivities. The food is made with natural ingredients and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support their immune system. The fish oil and flaxseed are added to help maintain healthy skin and coat. Since this is a specialized prescription diet, you will need a vet’s approval. Some reviewers said their dogs had gas after eating this food, and the food has a strong fish odor.
8. Royal Canin Veterinary HP Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Brewer’s rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp|
Our review of Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food is one of our top picks for a German Shepherd with skin allergies. The specialized diet helps promote healthy skin and easy digestion for dogs with food sensitivities. The formula uses a specially processed protein that is good for adult dogs and puppies with food intolerance and skin allergies caused by food. This recipe is veterinary-approved, so you will need a prescription for purchase. It is not grain-free, and it does not contain peas, which has been linked to potential heart issues. This food is pricey for pet parents on a budget.
9. Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Potatoes, potato starch, venison, potato protein, soybean oil|
One of our picks for dog food for a German Shepherd with skin allergies is Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Potato and Venison Dry Dog Food. Unlike Hill’s z/d prescription food that contains hydrolyzed chicken as the main ingredient, this formula uses venison for the main protein. Novel proteins can be helpful for dogs with skin allergies. The calories and ingredients are different also. Both diets are formulated to improve food sensitivities and are veterinarian-prescribed diets, so you will need veterinary approval and a prescription to purchase. Choosing the correct one for your German Shepherd will be up to you and your vet. Like other prescription diets, it’s a little expensive.
10. Royal Canin Veterinary PS Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Potato, hydrolyzed soy protein, coconut oil, potato protein, natural flavors|
In our review, we picked Royal Canin Veterinary Adult Hydrolyzed Protein PS Dog Food for German Shepherds with food allergies. This diet formula uses hydrolyzed soy proteins to reduce the negative reaction in the immune system. The diet is optimized with vitamin B and amino and fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. You can feel confident feeding the food long-term knowing it is processed in a well-regulated environment to prevent cross-contamination. This is a prescription diet that requires vet approval, and it can be a little expensive for a large dog like a German Shepherd.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds With Skin Allergies
Causes of Skin Allergies
German Shepherds, like any other dog, can acquire an allergy to their environment, flea bites, or even their food. The result is atopic dermatitis, also called “atopy,” a persistent, inflammatory skin condition. Identifying the allergen will help determine your course of action. Eliminating or reducing exposure, along with the proper medication, can help minimize your dog’s signs. Some common environmental allergens include dust mites, pollen, grass, mold, and flea bites. Another culprit for allergic reactions is food. Food sensitivities in dogs can result in skin allergies or digestive conditions.
Signs of Skin Allergies in German Shepherds
Like humans, allergies are common in dogs. The signs of allergies in a dog are different from humans, however. We may experience a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes.
When a dog encounters or ingests something they are allergic to, their immune system will overreact, causing atopic dermatitis. Atopy typically affects the folds of the skin, ears, feet, muzzle, groin, and base of their tail. While signs may not be noticeable at first, they can start as early as age one and can worsen each year. In some instances, the allergies may be seasonal. Signs of skin allergies include greasy skin, itching, rubbing, scratching, licking, red spots, and hair loss.
If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, it could be a sign that their immune system is reacting negatively to one or more of the ingredients in their food. Interestingly, protein allergies can result not only from food but also from protein in the saliva of fleas.
When to See Your Vet
The signs associated with allergies can cause pain and discomfort for your pet. We recommend that if you notice any of these signs or behaviors, you seek the advice of your veterinarian. They can test your pet for allergies and recommend the proper medication, treatment prevention or specialized diet to relieve your dog’s symptoms.
We hope these reviews have helped you find the best food for your German Shepherd. An itchy dog is an unhappy dog, so they will appreciate the change in diet. For a German Shepherd with skin allergies, our best overall pick is The Farmer’s Dog Turkey Recipe. If you are on a strict budget, however, our pick for best value is AvoDerm Advanced Sensitive Support Dry Dog Food. Our third choice is Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food. If you have a German Shepherd puppy, our pick is Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food. If you are seeking another great choice of dog food, try this Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food for healthier skin and coat.