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Allergies are a common cause of dog health issues, and dogs can be allergic to a wide variety of environmental stimuli.
Pitbulls in particular are quite prone to allergies due to their thin, short coat and sensitive genes.
Believe it or not, the most common cause of allergies in dogs is probably the food that they eat. You want to be feeding your dogs food that cooperates with and helps alleviate its skin allergies.
We want our pitbulls to be at their best no matter what medical conditions they have, and that’s why we’ve reviewed and written a buying guide on the best dog food for pitbulls with skin allergies.
Our Top Picks
Based on our own experience, market research, sales and rankings, here are our top picks:
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dog Food
- Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
- Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Dog Food
- Iams Proactive Health Dry Dog Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dog Food
This Blue Buffalo food is free of grains, which is a common source of allergies in dogs.
It contains healthy carbs including peas and sweet potatoes that provide plenty of energy for an active dog. It’s high in protein, with real chicken for building muscle.
It also contains special LifeSource Bits, which are a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support the immune system.
It does not contain by-products, soy, wheat, artificial preservatives or flavours, making it the ideal food for dogs with skin allergies in most cases.
What are the benefits for the skin?
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in the food promote a healthy skin and coat. This will lessen the negative affects of allergies in dogs, including breeds like French Bulldogs and Pit Bulls.
Some people have reported their dogs having a bad reaction to this food (diarrhea, vomiting, etc.) while others have reported no issues. If you notice any adverse affects from your pitbull eating this food, stop using it immediately.
With that said, this dog food has one of the highest average customer ratings out there.
2. Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
This dog food from Crave is made from real meat (34% protein) and provides dogs with the nutrients needed to be lean, active and healthy. There are:
- no chicken by-products
- no wheat, corn, or soy protein
- no artificial flavours or colours
- no preservatives
These ingredients are most likely to exacerbate skin allergies in pitbulls, so this is one of the first foods we recommend you try.
The food comes in four meat flavours: chicken, beef, lamb & venison, and salmon & ocean fish.
- when introducing your dog to this food, we recommend blending it with the old food in progressively increasing amounts for up to a week or more.
- customers have reported that their dogs tend to take their time eating this food as opposed to wolfing it down.
- when used in conjunction with fish oil supplements, this dog food can do wonders for the skin.
3. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Dog Food
This Purina Pro Plan food is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin, protecting it and improving the overall health of your pet.
The food consists of savoury pieces of chicken, with an appealing texture and flavor that makes your dog eager and ready to try it.
The meaty meal is a source of proteins that strengthens the immune system of your dog and helps its muscles grow. Besides chicken, it also contains rice, which is full of carbs and supplies your dog with energy.
Moreover, the meal contains probiotics that improve absorption and encourage high performance of the digestive system.
What are the benefits for the skin?
Purina Pro Plan SAVOR is a rich source of Vitamin A and fatty acids that protect and nourish your dog’s skin.
It helps the skin stay strong enough to withstand different conditions like skin irritations, allergies and infections.
4. Iams Proactive Health Dry Dog Food
This Iams Proactive food for dogs contains flavourful minichunks of chicken that your dog will love. The chicken meat comes in the form of an appealing texture that will please and engage your dog.
Besides visual appeal, the food is super healthy, enriching the body of your dog with proteins that help it beef up and become stronger.
The chicken chunks are complemented nicely with quality grains, veggies and herbs that supply your dog with energy that lasts all day.
Moreover, by eating this food, your dog gets a source of probiotics that improves digestion and strengthens the immune system. The crunchy pieces also have a role in preventing plaque and maintaining the health of your dog’s teeth.
What are the benefits for the skin?
Iams Proactive Health is definitely one of the best dog foods for pitbulls with skin allergies.
The meal is rich in fatty acids, vitamins and essential nutrients that nourish your pitbull’s skin, helping it attain a strong, invigorated and resilient coat.
Also, the antioxidants from the food reduce the amount of free radicals, making the skin of your dog look shiny and vibrant.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet improves the overall health and wellness of your dog, providing a lot of benefits for its digestive system, immune system and skin.
The recipe contains farm-raised chicken and fresh salmon, combined with natural herbs, grains and flavorful vegetables that make for a wholesome meal for your dog.
The meaty and savoury chunks are a source of protein that promotes a stronger immune system and encourages muscle growth. The grains provide plenty of energy for the whole day, while the fibers ensure healthy digestion and speed up absorption.
What are the benefits for the skin?
This dry dog food provides a myriad of skin benefits for your pitbull, delivered by omega-3 and other fatty acids, as well as antioxidants.
The combination of fatty acids and Vitamin E strengthens the skin and protects it against various hazards and skin conditions.
Allergies In Dogs
Let’s explore food allergies in dogs and pitbulls in more detail.
Like humans, dogs can have issues with pollen and dust particles in the air, allergens in the food they eat, and contact allergies to allergens that touch their skin.
Dogs are susceptible to allergies because of the food that they eat.
A lot of common dog food formulas contain grains like wheat and corn, which is known to cause allergies. In addition, some dogs are allergic to protein sources in dog food like soybeans, chicken, and pork.
Food allergies can manifest in a wide variety of ways. The most obvious symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in the stool.
Food allergies, however, also are the cause of other ailments. Food allergies often cause skin issues, especially in dogs with short coats or delicate skin.
Pitbulls & Food Allergies
Because of their thin coats, food allergies in pitbulls very commonly manifest in the form of skin reactions.
These reactions tend to result in itching, which will cause dogs to chew and lick the itchy spots. This can irritate the skin, causing redness, dryness, inflammation, hot spots, and even wounds if the itching is severe enough.
How To Diagnose Allergies In Your Pitbull
Allergies are easy to diagnose. However, food allergies can be very difficult to pin down, especially if the only symptoms are skin-related.
The first step is to consult with your veterinarian. If your veterinarian suspects your dog has an allergy, he or she will likely want to start with a skin test.
This will involve exposing your dog’s skin to a variety of common allergens. If your dog is allergic to any of these, the area exposed to that particular allergen will become inflamed. This allows your vet to decide on how to protect your dog from the allergen.
This might involve allergy medication if the allergen is unavoidable (like pollen) or changing your dog’s diet (if the allergen is in food).
More difficult, however, is if your vet suspects a food allergy but your dog does not respond to any of the allergens in the skin prick test. The best course of action is then to begin an elimination diet.
The Elimination Diet
An elimination diet involves starting your dog on an extremely simple diet, often of a very simple protein like steamed chicken with a very simple starch like white rice.
Once allergic symptoms subside, suspected allergens will be reintroduced into your dog’s diet until allergic symptoms appear again.
Pitbull Food Allergy Buying Guide
The best food for your pitbull is the one that doesn’t contain allergens that it is allergic to.
The most common causes of allergies in pitbulls are grains and dairy, so avoiding these foods in your pitbull’s diet will likely be very beneficial to their health.
Note: We don’t guarantee that the foods we reviewed above don’t contain these ingredients (some of them do), so it’s up to you to do your due diligence in determining what your pitbull is allergic to.
Many dog food manufacturers use grains as a filler in their dog food formulas. Though dogs do need carbs, excess carbs are not good for dogs and some grains, like wheat and corn, are known to cause canine allergies.
There are many far safer sources of carbs, like sweet potatoes, brown rice, potatoes, and barley.
Grains are not the only potential problem ingredients in modern dog food, however. The protein source can make a huge difference as well.
Soy is often used as a protein-rich filler in dog food, but is a very common cause of canine allergies.
In addition, many meat-processing byproducts find their way into dog food. Many of these have been overly processed and can contribute to allergies. It is best to avoid dog foods that contain soy and industrial byproducts.
Pitbulls need a large amount of protein, and it is far better if this protein comes in the form of real meat and organs.
A good dog food formula does not have to be expensive or come in the more expensive, difficult-to-handle wet form. There are plenty of dry dog food formulas that are affordable.
The best formula for pitbulls with skin allergies are either grain-free or based on a healthy grain like brown rice. It should contain healthy protein with no by-products or soy.
Lastly, it needs to be age-appropriate. Puppies and elderly dogs have different nutritional requirements, and there are plenty of options to accommodate any dog.
Your vet can also help you select supplements to support healthy skin. Supplements can be effective, especially if the main symptoms include skin scaliness, redness, and dryness. Most prominent of these is fish oil, which contains many healthy fats that can help your dog maintain healthy skin.
Does your pitbull have skin allergies? What is it allergic to in particular? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
Thanks for this great guide Kevin. Our 7-year-old Pitbull has allergies. We tried the Blue Buffalo Wilderness food that you have on the list, and everything is good so far. He really loves it.
But we were told by a vet that feeding a dog only grain-free dog food can lead to heart problems, which is why we’re mixing it with some other types of food. As long as he doesn’t react badly to it, there should be no problem.
Good to hear Maddy. Regarding the heart issues, I have heard about this. From what I understand, the FDA recently investigated a possible link, but as of right now, there’s no definitive proof that common ingredients in grain-free dog food cause heart conditions like DCM. I would keep this in mind but not worry about it too much.