10 Best Dog Kibble for Sensitive Skin Dogs

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 13 min.

Skin sensitivity in dogs is often triggered by the food they consume. Most foods that we give our canine friends, whether homemade or industrially processed, contain ingredients, additives, or preservatives that can act against their skin. Fortunately, for owners whose dogs struggle with sensitive skin, there are uniquely formulated foods for this kind of allergy.

The best dog kibble for dogs with sensitive skin will contain essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, that work together to boost their immune system and minimize irritation. Natural proteins, fruits, and vegetables are optimal ingredients that also promote dogs’ skin health.

Let’s take a comprehensive look at why your dog’s skin health is crucial to his physical wellness, signs that your pet may have sensitive skin, what ingredients provoke canine skin allergies, and what kibbles are safe to feed your dog with sensitive skin to prevent adverse reactions.

Why Skin Health Is Critical to a Dog’s Wellbeing

A dog’s skin is a vital part of his health and general wellbeing. It acts as an integral feature of a canine’s immune system and a protective barrier that shields his internal organs from germs and other contaminants.

Similarly, your dog’s fur plays a crucial role in defending his skin and providing general comfort.

Therefore, it’s important to note that healthy and smooth skin is a main factor to ensuring your dog’s fur is also in good condition so that it can offer the insulation needed for his daily activities. Healthy dog skin holds hair follicles better and, in case of any injury, heals much faster.

However, a thinning or patchy coat, mixed with dryness and itchy dandruff, could indicate underlying skin issues.

These side effects often mean your dog is either allergic to certain foods and shampoos, or is sensitive to allergens in his living space, such as dust or pollen.

The Telltale Signs of Skin Sensitivity in Dogs

If you aren’t sure whether your canine friend has sensitive skin, here are some key indicators you should look out for:

  • Itching: If your dog is constantly itching and you’re sure he doesn’t have fleas or other parasites, it might be a sign of sensitive skin.
  • Red irritation: Red swellings or weeping areas on your dog’s skin that aren’t healing, could also indicate skin allergies.
  • Dry, flaky skin: A dog with sensitive skin may also have scaly and flaky skin. You may notice a lot of dandruff in his fur.
  • Hot spots: Hot spots are red and open sores on your dog’s skin that arise from continued scratching or biting. If such open sores aren’t treated, they could lead to severe bacterial infections.
  • Excessive hair loss: Although dogs often shed their fur, those with sensitive skin do so at excessively high rates, resulting in a patchy and thinning coat.
  • Unpleasant odor: Some skin conditions may give off a musty, unpleasant odor.

Most of these signs are similar to those exhibited by humans suffering from sensitive skin as well.

Common Ingredients That Cause Dog Skin Allergies

The most effective way to pinpoint the problematic ingredients in your dog’s food is through the elimination method. This can sometimes be hard to achieve, especially if the kibble dog food you’re using has multiple ingredients.

However, there are some frequently-used ingredients in kibbles that can cause allergy flares in dogs with sensitive skin. They include:

  • Artificial colors and flavorings
  • Fillers
  • Processed proteins
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Gluten

Although dogs aren’t naturally allergic to these food additives, they tend to react to them because they are the primary ingredients in most kibble formulas. Many manufacturers add large amounts of corn, grains, wheat, flavorings, and artificial colors to processed dog foods.

As a result, these ingredients build up in a dog’s body beyond what he can usually absorb, and become toxic, leading to adverse skin reactions. Therefore, you need to be extra cautious when picking kibble dog food for canines with sensitive skin.

Choosing the Best Kibble for Sensitive Skin Dogs

In a bid to control skin sensitivity in dogs, pet experts believe that a grain-free diet is a great technique to combat skin allergies. Eliminating grains from your dog’s diet is one way of reducing contact with ingredients that can potentially cause irritated skin.

Additionally, hypoallergenic dog food should provide novel ingredients or limit the problem-causing ingredients. Unique or specialty ingredients include sorghum, salmon, kangaroo, and millet. These are the ingredients that your dog is less likely to have been exposed to. As a result, experts believe it’s hard for him to develop sensitivity to them.

On the other hand, a kibble with limited ingredients makes it easy for you to locate the ingredients your dog is likely reacting to.

Even though dog kibbles for sensitive skin are formulated by different manufacturers, they come with marginal differences in their recipes. Some of the ingredients that are common in most skin-friendly dog kibble food are:

  • At least one essential amino acid: When amino acids are combined with the B vitamins, they create ceramides, the connecting blocks between skin cells. This helps strengthen the dog’s skin. Some examples of amino acids include Histidine, Methionine, Lysine, Arginine, and Valine.
  • B group vitamins: This is a group of water-soluble vitamins that makes a dog’s skin radiant by balancing the skin’s natural oils. Additionally, these vitamins reduce itching, hyperpigmentation and the appearance of skin lesions. They include Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Pyridoxine (B6), and Vitamin B12.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids: Essential for supporting a healthy and glossy coat.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: They have an inflammatory effect that soothes itchy and inflamed skin.
  • Vitamin C, E, and other antioxidants: These improve the general immune system and reduce skin-damaging free radicals.

Therefore, anytime you decide to get skin-friendly dog kibble, take time studying the ingredients listed on the packaging.

If you still have questions, always seek advice from your vet, who can provide tailored feedback to ensure your dog’s health and safety. If you’re buying online, be sure to read through the reviews for others’ experiences as well.

Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Recipes

This is one of Hill’s Science Diet specially formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin. Not only does it promote digestive health but also nourishes the canine’s skin and coat.

This hypoallergenic kibble formula comes as a blend of prebiotic fiber and chicken. This combination improves your allergy-prone dog’s gut microbiome. It’s also highly digestible hence enabling efficient nutrient absorption while making stool pick-up easier.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin, Chicken Recipe, 30 Lb Bag

A well-balanced gut microbiome and an efficient nutrient absorption mechanism offer a good internal base for nourished skin development.

Additionally, this tummy and skin-friendly diet is packed with omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E to give your dog a healthy and lustrous coat.

This kibble also boasts an inviting scent and flavor from the natural ingredients used in its formulation, meaning your canine friend is less likely to resist it. You can find this formula in a 4 lb (1.8 kg), 15.5 lb (7 kg), and 30 lb (13.6 kg) bag.

V-Dog Kind Kibble Vegan Dog Food

This 100% plant-powered nutritious dog kibble comes as a good choice for dogs with highly sensitive skin. Being a vegan diet, this formula eliminates animal proteins that are likely to trigger allergic reactions and skin sensitivities on your dog.

Additionally, much thought is placed in its formulation. It only comprises whole foods such as tummy-friendly brown rice, millet, superfood chia, flax seeds, quinoa, clean pea protein, and delicious lentils.

V-Dog Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food, 30 lb, with Plant Based Protein

V-dog products don’t contain plant-based problematic ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, gluten, artificial flavors, and fillers, making them an ideal choice even for the most sensitive and itchy dogs.

Your furry friend can’t resist this vegan food’s taste from the blend of natural ingredients mainly enhanced by veggies and lentils.

This skin-friendly kibble is available in 20 lb (9 kg) and 30 lb (13 kg) bags.

Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food

This is a super nutritious formula ideal for hounds struggling with ongoing skin sensitivity. It’s a dry superfood kibble that features real pasture-raised lamb as the primary ingredient, combined with whole grain brown rice and other dried fruits and veggies such as papaya, garbanzo beans, peas, and coconut.

Diamond Naturals Adult Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food With Real Pasture Raised Lamb Protein 40Lb

The manufacturers didn’t just add a few superfoods here and there. Instead, they also ensured this nutritious formula provides your dog with a generous amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a shiny coat.

This formulation leaves out wheat, corn, artificial flavors, and fillers, some known triggers of skin sensitivities. You can find this recipe in a 40 lb (18.1 kg) bag.

Purina Pro Salmon & Rice Formula Dog Food

The Purina Pro Salmon and Rice Formula is a specialized dog food formula made for canines who are prone to skin and stomach sensitivities. It’s formulated with deboned, nutrient-rich salmon as the primary ingredient and a good amount of skin and tummy-friendly rice, oatmeal, zinc, and omega fatty acids.

Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Sensitive Skin and Stomach Formula, Salmon and Rice Dog Food - 41 lb. Bag

This powerful combination of nutritious ingredients seeks to nurture your canine’s sensitive skin and stomach. It is highly digestible and allows for effective absorption of nutrients to boost your dog’s health. Additionally, the omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are essential in promoting your dog’s skin’s health and luster.

A plus for this formula is it doesn’t contain corn, wheat, and soy, and therefore you don’t have to worry about your canine friend reacting to this harmful trio.

Depending on your budget and quantity required, this formula comes packaged in 5 lb (2.3 kg), 16 lb (7.3 kg), 30 lb (13.6 kg), and 41 lb (18.6 kg) bags.

Royal Canin Veterinary Ultamino Diet

Royal Canin Veterinary Ultamino Diet is an innovative diet specially formulated as a nutritional solution for dogs with high food sensitivity. It comes as a clinically proven and highly palatable dog formula with a tummy and skin-friendly protein source that’s extensively broken down to the amino acid level, a form that’s virtually unrecognizable by a dog’s immune system.

Royal Canin Canine Ultamino Dry Dog Food, 8.8 lb

This extensive breakdown aims at making this formula easy for the dog to absorb while reducing the risk of triggering an allergic reaction. It’s rich in vitamin B elements, amino acids, and other essential nutrients that reinforce your canine’s skin and support healthy elasticity by reducing sensitivity to environmental irritants.

Royal Canin Veterinary Ultamino also has optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA that promote healthy dog skin and coat.

You can find this clinically proven, skin-friendly formula in an 8.8 lb (4 kg) bag.

NUTRO Limited Ingredient Lamb & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

This Nutro dry dog food formula comes with an irresistible taste while still nourishing sensitive skin to give your canine friend the skin and coat you’ve always desired.

This limited ingredient diet features ten or fewer key ingredients plus essential vitamins, nutrients, and natural flavors. It contains real pasture-raised lamb as the first ingredient, blended with a generous amount of nutrient-rich sweet potato plus chickpeas, lentils, canola, and sunflowers, among others.

NUTRO Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Grain Free Dry Dog Food

It comes as a grain-free formulation and eliminates other elements that trigger food sensitivities in dogs, such as corn, wheat, soy, and gluten.

Nutro has the best interests of your dog and they understand that different dogs have different tastes and preferences. As a result, they have come up with a wide range of skin-friendly formulas tailored to meet every dog’s needs.

The company has an exceptionally nutritious and delicious duck and lentils recipe, nutrient-packed salmon and lentils recipe, and the one-of-a-kind venison meal and sweet potato recipe.

Therefore you’re free to get a formula that your furry friend will enjoy!

The Nutro limited ingredient formulas come in 22 lb (10 kg) bags.

Taste of the Wild Smoked Salmon Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild formulated this dog diet from an ancient stream of ingredients. It features real smoked salmon as its primary ingredient, rich in proteins and essential amino acids vital for your dog’s skin. Smoked salmon also makes this formula flavorful.

Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food With Smoked Salmon

Additionally, it combines whole-grain, skin-friendly grains such as chia seeds, millet, sorghum, and quinoa. Unlike other common grains used in dog food, such as corn and wheat, there is a high chance that your canine friend hasn’t been exposed to these unique whole grains in this formula – meaning they are less likely to trigger skin sensitivity or other allergic reactions.

Give your dog a taste of real smoked salmon and maintain his beautiful skin and coat by introducing him to Taste of the Wild Smoked Salmon Dry Dog Food.

You can find this canine kibble in bags of 5 lb (2.3 kg) 14 lb (6.4 kg) and 28 lb (12.7 kg).

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This grain-free formula from Blue Buffalo seeks to satisfy your dog’s craving for a delicious meal while promoting his skin’s health. It contains wilderness chicken, one that’s raised without steroids, as its primary ingredient.

The real chicken meat is rich in essential amino acids and proteins, giving your dog’s skin a healthy and smooth texture.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-Lb

Additionally, this recipe has nutrient-rich peas and sweet potatoes, which keep your dog fueled for his daily adventures. Adding to its skin-friendly aspect, this formula has optimal omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin healthy.

With this recipe, you don’t have to worry about problematic ingredients such as corn, wheat, soy, artificial fillers, and preservatives since they are all left out.

Depending on your budget and the quantity you intend to get for your canine friend, you can get this grain-free formula in 11 lb (5 kg), and 24 lb (10.9 kg) bags. Additionally, for trial purposes, Blue Buffalo packages a 4.5 lb (2 kg) trial size bag. If your canine responds well to the trial bag, you can go ahead and get a larger packaging, if not, you can look for a substitute.

Rachel Ray Just 6 Lamb & Brown Rice Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Rachel Ray’s cooking is centered around using real, natural ingredients to make delicious, simple recipes, and she applies the same concept to her dog food creations.

As the name ‘Just 6’ suggests, this limited ingredient recipe contains six primary, natural ingredients. These ingredients are lamb meal, brown rice, ground rice, beet kelp, natural chicken flavor, and poultry fat. Additionally, it features a perfect blend of chelated minerals and essential amino acids to give your canine friend a nutrient-rich and flavorful dish.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe, 28 Pounds

All these ingredients are meticulously selected to ensure your sensitive-skin dog enjoys a skin-friendly yet delicious meal.

Lamb meal, which is the first ingredient in this formulation, is full of vitamin B elements, which are important for promoting your dog’s skin and coat health. Additionally, poultry fat is a good source of omega fatty acids, leaving your pet’s skin well-nourished and with a lustrous look.

This recipe utilizes wholesome natural ingredients. It eliminates the use of artificial fillers and other components such as corn, wheat, gluten, and soy that can be problematic to sensitive dogs.

This nutritious and delicious masterpiece is available in different sized packages: 6 lb (2.7 kg), 14 lb (6.3 kg), and 28 lb (12.7 kg).

Avoderm Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula

This skin-friendly formula is a delicious and nutritious serving from Avoderm rich in premium proteins to appeal to your pup’s dog instincts. Lamb meat is the primary ingredient and the main source of meat-based proteins to ensure your pooch receives the optimal nutritional needs to remain active, energetic, and healthy.

The lamb meat is combined with the second main ingredient, brown rice, to strike an optimal balance of nutrients and flavor.

AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food, For Allergy Support, 26 lb

Additionally, this dog formula also has a high content of omega-rich avocados. These power fruits are rich in fiber, vitamins A, B6, C, and E necessary for skin and coat health as well as the general health of your pooch. Other skin-friendly components that your pup derives from the avocados in this formula include niacin, folate, and potassium.

The natural nutrient-rich ingredients in this formula are pressure-cooked to ensure they retain their nutritional value. This means your pooch will receive a good nutritional boost from this recipe ideal for their skin and general health.

Lest we forget, Avoderm Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula is highly digestible and flavourful, making it a perfect meal even for the picky dogs. Additionally, it’s free of rice, corn soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

This formula comes in a wide range of packaging to meet the needs of every dog parent. It’s available in13-ounce (368.54-gram) cans (a pack of 12), 4.4 lb (1.9 kg), 15 lb (6.8 kg), and 26 lb (11.8 kg) bags.

Canidae Pure Grain Free Salmon and Sweet Potato Dog Food

Canidae grain-free limited ingredient formula is manufactured to give your canine companion a well-rounded nutrient-rich recipe.

It comes as a blend of nutrient-packed salmon and sweet potato. Real salmon is a good source of premium proteins and omega 3&6 fatty acids to give your dog beautiful and lustrous skin.

Canidae PURE Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Salmon and Sweet Potato, 24lbs

Additionally, sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, probiotics, and minerals beneficial for sensitive stomach and skin. Besides, it’s packed with real farm-grown natural ingredients such as chickpeas and lentils to replace artificial sweeteners and flavorings and make it more appealing and enticing to your pup’s taste buds.

The fact that this formula comes as a limited ingredient and grain-free kibble means it’s manufactured with the health and well-being of dogs in mind. As a result, every single bite offers ultra-nourishing satisfaction to your sensitive skin dog.

Generally, this hypoallergenic diet aims at giving your furry canine friend the nutritional goodness he deserves.

You can find this formula in 4 lb (1.8 kg), 12 lb (5.4 kg), and 24 lb (10.8 kg) bags.


Note: You can help your dog get smooth, healthy, and lustrous skin courtesy of clean feeding by introducing him to a skin-friendly formula from our guide. However, before introducing any of these recipes to your dog, it’s advisable to consult with your vet to check for any underlying issues.


A dog’s diet can affect his skin health and overall wellbeing. Additives such as corn, wheat, and gluten, can trigger allergic reactions and irritation in dogs with sensitive skin, resulting in dandruff, excessive itching, and patchy fur. Therefore, it’s advisable to eliminate these ingredients from your dog’s diet if he’s prone to sensitive skin.

You can replace harmful fillers with novel ingredients such as millet, sorghum, and salmon to reduce allergy flares and inflammation. Additionally, skin-friendly kibbles should contain vitamin B elements, essential amino acids, antioxidants, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to give your dog the healthiest skin possible.