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The 4 best hypoallergenic dog treats

Does your pup have allergies? Help ease their itch with these tasty treats they’ll love.

Updated October 5, 2021

Created By

Emily Johnson,
German Shorthaired Pointer eating hypoallergenic treats

Our Vet's favorites

  1. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Gentle SnackersA veterinarian favorite
  2. Hill’s Prescription Diet Veterinary Dog Treats Feature hydrolyzed proteins
  3. Fruitables Pumpkin & Apple Dog TreatsNo corn, wheat, or soy
  4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Original Canine TreatsDesigned to support specific dietary needs

Best hypoallergenic dog treats, reviewed

What we love: Based on the science behind Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, their Gentle Snacker treats come veterinarian recommended for dogs with intolerances or GI problems. And because they’re hydrolyzed and come in a sealed pouch, they can stay fresh and last owners longer than other treats.

What customer reviews say: Dog owners love these treats for their pups with sensitive stomachs or GI tract issues. With over 1,230 ratings and 4.7-star rating on Amazon, these are a favorite for owners and their pups! Dogs with diabetes, pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and general allergies have all seen improvements when switching to these treats from other non-hypoallergenic options.

Calories: 14 kcals per treat.

Ingredients: Starch, hydrolyzed soy protein isolate, vegetable oil, dicalcium phosphate, oat fiber, powdered cellulose, partially hydrogenated canola oil preserved with tbhq, potassium chloride, guar gum, lecithin, corn oil, choline chloride, magnesium oxide, dl-methionine, salt, taurine, vitamin e supplement, zinc sulfate, niacin, ferrous sulfate, calcium carbonate, manganese sulfate, vitamin a supplement, vitamin b-12 supplement, copper supplement, garlic oil, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin k activity), calcium iodate, sodium selenite, a-2517.

What we love: These Prescription Diet Veterinary Dog Treats are backed by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians for dogs with food sensitivities and skin conditions. They’re made with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help nourish the skin and coat, and have natural ingredients and antioxidants to help support skin barrier function. It’s important to note that owners need a vet’s approval to purchase these treats.

What customer reviews say: Pet parents love being able to feed these crunchy treats to their sensitive pups, but don’t love the expensive price point. Thankfully they’ve been able to break these treats in half to double their number and make them last longer. With the low calorie count per treat (only 17 calories!), dogs can happily enjoy them without worrying about weight or sensitive stomachs.

Calories: 17 kcals per treat.

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, soybean mill run, powdered cellulose, chicken liver flavor, chicken by-product meal, soybean oil, pork protein isolate, egg product, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, caramel color, vitamins (vitamin e supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin a supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin b12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin d3 supplement), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), iron oxide color, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors.

What we love: These adorable flower-shaped treats from Fruitables are made in the USA with high-quality ingredients while staying free from corn, soy, wheat, and artificial flavors or preservatives. Pumpkin is the first ingredient to make them irresistibly delicious and healthy for their stomach.

What customer reviews say: Dog owners love the tasty smell and natural ingredient list of these crunchy treats that make them safe for dogs affected by allergies. They love the reasonable price point and the fact they’re made in the USA, along with being gentle on their GI tracts.

Calories: 8 kcals per treat.

Ingredients: Pumpkin, organic oatmeal, pearled barley, oat fiber, canola oil, brown sugar, blueberries, cinnamon, natural flavor, vanilla, mixed tocopherols.

What we love: These are specialized veterinary-exclusive treats for dogs of any size or age that are highly-palatable and low in calories. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Original Canine Treats are designed with essential vitamins and omega fatty acids to support your dog’s specific dietary needs and overall health.

What customer reviews say: Owners love that they can give their pups yummy treats without affecting their sensitive GI tracts or other conditions. They’re the perfect size for small and big dogs alike and they come veterinarian recommended. Majority of pet parents saw an improvement in itchiness or stomach sensitivity after starting to feed these yummy treats!

Calories: 4.7 kcals per treat.

Ingredients: Oat groats, brewers rice, apple pomace, natural flavors, tomato pomace, coconut oil, powdered cellulose, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, taurine, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin e), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin c), biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin a acetate, niacin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin b1), vitamin b12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin d3 supplement, folic acid], l-carnitine, carotene, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols, and citric acid.

Golden Retriever sneezing from allergies

"achoo"

What does “hypoallergenic” mean?

According to Webster’s dictionary, hypoallergenic means “having little likelihood of causing an allergic response.” Allergies are very common in dogs — with environmental and food allergies being some of the most common — which is what led to the creation of hypoallergenic dog foods.

Food allergies occur when your pet’s immune system mistakes an ingredient as a foreign body rather than food and causes an immune response. The majority of dog food allergies are related to the protein source such as chicken, beef, dairy, and egg. But that doesn’t mean your pup can’t develop an allergy to other proteins like duck or venison — these proteins just aren’t as widely used.

Unfortunately, no diet or treat is completely “hypoallergenic”. The closest you can get is to give your pup a hydrolyzed diet that can be purchased through your veterinarian. Treats that are advertised as hypoallergenic generally use less common proteins like we mentioned above, but dogs could still be allergic to these.

Why do dogs become allergic to certain ingredients?

It may take months or years before your dog develops an allergy to a particular food or ingredient. However, once they’re allergic, they’ll almost always have a negative reaction to it. Allergic reactions are most commonly associated with protein sources in their diet, but there can be other reasons for a dog who develops allergies.

  • Food. The most common causes of food intolerance in dogs are proteins, usually the type of meat, soy, or eggs.
  • Damage. Inflammation, infection, surgery and some medications can damage the digestive system and may lead to food allergies or intolerances.
  • Age. Food allergies can occur at any age.
  • Breed. Some dog breeds appear more likely to develop food sensitivities, including West Highland White Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, and Irish Setters. However, according to recent studies, there’s a lack of evidence to completely describe any dog breed as hypoallergenic.

Dogs that have developed an allergy to one particular food are more likely to develop other food-related allergies later on. In addition, many dogs with food allergies have other allergies, such as seasonal allergies (from weeds, mold, pollen, etc.) or flea allergies.

Signs your dog may have a food allergy

In general, however, the following symptoms could be a sign of an allergic reaction.

👉 IMPORTANT: Some symptoms of food allergies/intolerance are similar to those of other serious conditions, so consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs.

What to look for in a hypoallergenic dog treat

If you aren’t sure what your dog’s allergies are stemming from, you might try out some treats made for sensitive dogs. When deciding on the best option for your pup, there are a few key things to look for:

  • Limited ingredients. Have minimal ingredients to reduce allergic reactions and food intolerances.
  • Digestible carbohydrates. Grain-free carbs like sweet potatoes are a popular choice.
  • No artificial additives. Like colors, flavors, and preservatives.
  • Hydrolyzed proteins. Are smaller on a molecular scale, so the immune system doesn’t react to them.
  • No common allergens. Avoid protein sources like chicken, beef, egg, and soy.
  • Novel proteins. Ones your dog hasn’t had before, like venison, duck, or turkey.
  • Amount of proteins. 1 protein per treat is preferred.
  • Quality control. Make sure treats are from a company where they can back up their quality control. Some food companies may use the same tools to create different flavored treats, and so 100% hypoallergenic treats can’t be guaranteed.

“Companies like Purina Pro Plan, Science Diet/Hills, and Royal Canin ensure that there is no cross-contamination between foods and treats.”

Dr. Erica Irish, DVM

Popular treats that didn’t make our list

  • Nature Gnaws 12 inch Bully Sticks for Dogs. We avoided these because bully sticks can fracture a dog’s teeth easily. Here’s a list of safe dental chews to try instead.
  • PureBites RAW Freeze Dried Limited Ingredient Treats for Dogs. We didn’t include these limited ingredient treats because raw diets and treats aren’t recommended by our vets.

How to make 3 hypoallergenic dog treats at home

  • Sweet potato “jerky” — A super simple three-ingredient recipe that your pup will love. Fun fact: sweet potatoes aren’t actually potatoes, which are known to cause food allergies. And the ASPCA says that cinnamon is perfectly safe for your pup in small doses.
  • Dried chewy banana  — Unlike the banana dog chews and chips you see in stores, these homemade treats are free of preservatives and are a great source of fiber and potassium. Plus, they only have one main ingredient!
  • Frozen apple bites — This tasty treat is perfect for your pup to cool off with on warm days. Apples are healthy for dogs, too, helping their digestion and boosting their overall health.

Frequently asked questions

Is peanut butter hypoallergenic for dogs?

No, it’s not. Peanut butter is highly common for allergies, in both pets and people. This can lead to excessive scratching, itching, redness, allergic reactions, ear infections, or hot spots — all from giving them a small amount of peanut butter. This creamy human treat can also contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.

What protein is best for dogs with allergies?

Less common protein sources such as lamb, venison, rabbit, and fish are often the least likely to cause allergic reactions, which is why they’re commonly found in hypoallergenic and low-allergen diets.