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The Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food Options

If you want to improve the health of your dog, you may want to consider investing in limited ingredient dog food.

Although not all dogs require this type of food, it’s a great source of nutrients for pups who may have allergies, sensitives, or other health conditions that make regular food impractical. Limited ingredient food contains only what your dog needs, and none of the unnecessary stuff that could be triggering his allergies.

If you’re in the market for some new limited ingredient dog food, you may want to consider one of the following options.

What is Limited Ingredient Dog Food?

Limited ingredient dog food differs from conventional dog food in that it is made with fewer ingredients. The number of ingredients in limited ingredient food can vary – some companies will include only two ingredients, while others will include half a dozen.

However, all limited ingredient foods will have at least one protein and a couple types of carbohydrates.

What are the Benefits of Limited Ingredient Dog Food?

Limited ingredient dog food is ideal if your dog is beginning to show signs of a food allergy or intolerance. One of the best ways to figure out what food, in particular, is causing issues is to try a limited ingredient food so you can narrow down the long list of potential culprits.

There are all kinds of allergy or sensitivity symptoms that may manifest themselves in dogs. You may notice that your pup suffers from diarrhea, gas, itchy or flaky skin, or even persistent ear scratching.

It’s important that you consult with your veterinarian to make sure your dog’s suffering isn’t caused by some other issue. However, if you think it’s an allergy to blame, you may want to give limited ingredient food a try.

Keep in mind there are several pieces of jargon that you may notice when you’re on the hunt for limited ingredient dog food. For example, a dog food with “novel protein” is one that has a protein source that isn’t commonly used in typical dog food. That means proteins like chicken and beef are probably not going to be found.

A dog food with “single source protein” is just what it sounds like – it only has one kind of protein. The theory here is that many food intolerances and allergic reactions are caused by a conglomerate of protein sources. By narrowing down which food is causing the issue, you’ll be able to isolate and remove the detrimental ingredients from your dog’s diet.

Another buzzword you might see thrown around is “grain-free.” Grains of all kinds tend to cause allergic reactions in dogs. They aren’t necessary for a healthy diet, either, as carbohydrates can be sourced from other grain-free ingredients. Therefore, grain is one of the first ingredients to go when a dog is suffering from some sort of digestive or immune-related upset.

The Top 9 Limited Ingredient Dog Foods

Nulo Freestyle LID Small Breed Adult

Nulo Freestyle is an excellent limited ingredient dog food that’s ideal for small dog breeds. If you have a Dachshund, Corgi, or another small breed, this is a good choice for your energetic little pup.

Not only is it filled with the nutrients your dog needs for a healthy metabolism, but it’s also loaded with whole foods. You’ll find things like chickpeas, lima beans, and sweet potatoes on the ingredients’ list. All of the ingredients are recognizable, and with only one source of protein, it will be easy to figure out which food is causing your dog such suffering.

Pros:
● Contains no chicken, eggs, wheat, soy, or corn
● Has a single source of protein
● Up to 30% minimum protein
Cons:
● Not ideal for large breed dogs
Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Wellness Simple Natural offers several limited integrin foods in its line-up. It not only has a gluten-free formula, good for dogs with “gluten-induced enteropathy” (or what’s known as Celiac’s disease in humans), but it also has a natural line with limited ingredients. You won’t find any artificial additives, fillers, or unnecessary ingredients in these foods.

Pros:
● Available In a number of sizes
● Does not contain eggs, corn, dairy, meat byproduct, or artificial colors
● Made in the United States
Cons:
● Some dogs don’t like the flavor
Merrick Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Merrick is another well-known dog food brand on this list. The company utilizes high-quality ingredients and manufactures all of its foods right in the United States.

The food comes in numerous flavors, including salmon, chicken, turkey, lamb, and duck. It also includes omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which can protect the coat and skin of your dog, along with chondroitin and glucosamine, both of which are great for older dogs.

Pros:
● Has easily digestible carbohydrates
● Good for older pups
● Has omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
Cons:
● Somewhat expensive
Natural Balance LID Grain Free Puppy Formula

Another one of the best limited ingredient dog food options by Natural Balance is this blend for puppies. Not only is it grain-free, but it incorporates real foods like fruits and vegetables along with real meat sources. You’ll be able to identify everything in the ingredient list.

It also does not contain chicken or poultry by-products, two ingredients that are known to cause allergies in some dogs. It’s also free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, making it an all-around good choice if you want to improve the health of your dog.

Pros:
● Has DHA supplement to boost brain development
● 22.5% minimum crude protein
● Duck is the main source of protein
Cons:
● Your dog will need to be transitioned off this food once he gets older
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Another genre by Natural Balance is this general dog food for adult dogs. It’s available in several sizes, with options ranging from 4.5 to 28 pounds. You will be able to purchase as much or as little dog food as you need, depending on your pup’s preferences.

Not only that, but this dog food contains a limited list of ingredients with a single protein source- often a natural meat meal, like lamb or duck. It is free from artificial colors and preservatives, too.

Pros:
● Includes brown rice for a more natural source of carbohydrates
● Can be fed to dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds
● Encourages good digestive health
Cons:
● Some dogs don’t like the flavor
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is another excellent choice if you’re looking for a food that is easy to digest – and in flavors your dog is sure to love.

This food is a grain-free food that can help eliminate common grain density symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and skin rashes. It includes grass-fed meat, which is lower in fat and higher in nutrients than comparable cuts of meat.

Pros:
● Contains no sweet potato, soy, corn, wheat, or fish
● Made in the United States
● Limited ingredients’ list
Cons:
● Not available in larger package sizes
Blue Buffalo Basics

Blue Buffalo is a company that’s known for providing a variety of high-quality natural dog foods to its customers. This limited ingredient food is found on a variety of “best of” lists because it is diverse and can be eaten by just about any dog.

Your pup will like the flavor of this dog food, which comes in multiple formulations including Grain Free Duck And Potato, Salmon and Potato, Lambo and Potato, and more. The company has a solid reputation and has been offering limited ingredient foods for quite some time.

This food not only contains no chicken or poultry by-products or meals, but it’s also free from artificial flavors and preservatives, too.

Pros:
● Contains LifeSource Bits that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins
● Has real deboned turkey or other animal proteins as the first ingredient
● Includes fiber from pumpkins and peas to boost digestive health
Cons:
● Can be a bit expensive for some dog owners
CANIDAE Grain Free LID Adult Formula

Canidae is another one of the most popular limited ingredient dog food manufacturers. This food is made with natural ingredients from local farms.

In fact, Canidae maintains close relationships with select US farmers for their meat. The company actually has its own farm, too, from which many of the vegetable ingredients are sourced. The food is manufactured in the United States in a Brownwood, Texas facility.

Canidae foods include real meat like lamb and bison, with 25% minimum crude protein.

Pros:
● Has added probiotics and antioxidants
● Includes alfalfa, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and peas for exceptional nutrition
● Only has seven key ingredients to minimize sensitives
Cons:
● Relatively new company
Natural Balance LID Jumpin’ Stix Dog Treats

If you’re looking for the occasional treat for your food-sensitive pup, you may want to consider these limited ingredient Jumpin’ Stix Dog Treats. They are unlikely to trigger sensitivities and are palatable for just about any dog.

In fact, they’re a great choice if your dog is young or in the midst of a training program. Grain-free, the dogs contain added chondroitin and glucosamine for dogs who need a bit more joint support.

Pros:
● Contains venison as a novel protein source
● Has 20% crude protein
● Does not contain grains, colors, preservatives, or artificial flavors
Cons:
● Treats should only be fed occasionally as part of a healthy diet
What to Look For When Choosing a Limited Ingredient Dog Food

When you’re trying to find one of the best limited ingredient dog foods, make sure you pay attention to which ingredients are on this shortened list. It’s important that you include ingredients that will mesh well with your dog’s activity level and lifestyle, but you also need to make sure you choose a food that fits your dog’s breed size and life stage.

Otherwise, the most important variable in choosing a limited ingredient dog food is selecting one that your dog loves the taste of. After all, a happy pup is a well-fed pup!

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