Limited Ingredient Dog Food

The Best Limited Ingredient Dog Foods: Reviews and Our Top Pick

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Which Limited Ingredient Dog Food is Best?

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Turkey
  • With just six whole food ingredients, The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Turkey dog food is made especially for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.
  • Complete & Balanced nutrition for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes including adult and senior dogs.
  • Just add warm water for a wholesome & delicious meal. Serve alone as a complete meal for maximum nutrition, or use as a topper to their dry food.

What is Limited Ingredient Dog Food?

Limited ingredient dog food or limited ingredient diet (also known as LID) is a type of pet food that contains only one protein source, such as chicken, and one carbohydrate source, such as brown rice.

Grain-free limited ingredient food typically uses a non-grain source of carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and can sometimes include a more exotic protein such as venison.

Is Limited Ingredient Dog Food the Same as Grain-Free?

Limited ingredient dog food is not the same as grain-free dog food. However, some limited ingredient dog foods are made without grains.

Why Do Dogs Need Limited Ingredient Food?

Some dogs need limited ingredient food to help manage itchy skin, digestive issues, or to meet other special dietary needs.

Many pet parents use limited ingredient foods to identify allergies and treat them. Some dog owners choose to use LID food simply due to personal preference.

Pet owners should always consult their vet to determine whether their dog would benefit from limited ingredient dog food.

Is Limited Ingredient Food Good for Dogs?

Limited ingredient food is good for dogs with special dietary needs. However, for healthy dogs, LID is not more beneficial than standard dog food options.

Limited ingredient dog food is ideal for:

  • Identifying Allergies. Since only one source of protein and one source of carbs are used in each recipe, LID food can be very useful for identifying allergic reactions in pets.
  • Itchy Skin. For dogs with sensitive skin, limiting the ingredients they are exposed to can help alleviate itching.
  • Sensitive Stomachs. LID recipes are easy for dogs to digest because there are few additives and by-products included.

The Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food Reviewed

There are many limited ingredient dog food options available on the market. To help owners find the right match for their pets, we have reviewed some of the best-selling options on Amazon and Chewy.

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Turkey

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Turkey

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Summary: This dehydrated dog food from The Honest Kitchen is one of the highest quality dog foods available. Using just six key ingredients, everything included is human-grade quality. Non-GMO and made without fillers, every piece is a delicious bite for your dog. Simply add water and provide your dog with a homemade meal in minutes with this all-natural formula.

Type: Dehydrated dog food

Best for: Dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Turkey & Parsnip

Price: $2.88 per pound

Pros

  • Uses cage-free turkey as the only protein source
  • Includes no preservatives, by-products, or fillers
  • Every ingredient is human-grade quality
  • Only uses six whole ingredients
  • Approved by the AAFCO

Cons

  • Needs water added to rehydrate
  • High up-front cost

Ingredient Analysis: Dehydrated turkey is the first ingredient, providing the single protein source in this food. Dehydrated parsnips, dried navy beans, dried organic coconut, dehydrated pumpkin, and dried parsley offer natural flavor, fiber, and other nutrients. Added vitamins and minerals, such as iron amino acid and vitamin E, ensure dogs get a balanced meal every time.

Review: Pet owners rate this food as 4.9 out of 5 stars and say that their dogs love the taste. The limited ingredients prevent allergic reactions like itchy skin or upset stomachs. Customers also note that weight management is easier with this food, and their dogs are still energetic through activities. The wholesome ingredient list makes pet parents happy and saves time from traditional homemade dog food.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

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Summary: Natural Balance’s limited ingredient diet dog food is ideal for adult dogs. Both recipes use single-protein sources combined with a blend of essential nutrients. Made with no wheat or soy, this food helps dogs with sensitivities have delicious meals. The simple recipes prioritize pet health.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe; Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Price: $2.65 – $2.68 per pound

Pros

  • Formulated with veterinarians and nutritionists
  • The first ingredient is high-quality meat
  • No added pea protein, lentils, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Promotes healthy skin, coats, and digestion
  • Has a money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Contains some fillers such as chicken meal, cassava flour, and potatoes

Ingredient Analysis: Salmon and farm-raised chickens are the two options for the single-protein source, and both add amino acids to support strong muscles. Sweet potato offers a gluten-free source of fiber, while flaxseed provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Other added nutrients create a balance of vitamins and minerals every dog needs.

Review: Customers rate this dry dog food as 4.7 out of 5 stars. The limited ingredient list makes it easy to prevent food allergies and has helped many dogs stop having itchy skin and ears. The kibble pieces are tasty, crunchy, and easy to digest. Pet owners love the high-quality ingredients, especially the great protein from the chicken or salmon.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food

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Summary: Instinct’s LID, grain-free, raw dog food kibble is perfect for handling a dog’s allergies. Made with a carefully chosen ingredient list, both the salmon and turkey recipes are hypoallergenic. The freeze-dried kibble is also easy to store, even though it’s made with raw ingredients. By using fewer ingredients, Instinct’s raw dog food is able to help dogs with food sensitivities without losing out on flavor.

Type: Raw-coated dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Lamb; Salmon; Turkey

Price: $3.24 – $3.80 per pound

Pros

  • Uses hypoallergenic single-protein sources
  • Contains no wheat, soy, or corn
  • Freeze-dried recipe uses raw ingredients
  • Supports healthy digestion and strong immune systems
  • High-quality protein is the first ingredient

Cons

  • More expensive than other LID dog food
  • The salmon recipe also contains cod

Ingredient Analysis: Turkey meal, lamb meal, or salmon meal & freeze-dried cod provide the protein sources. Peas provide fiber for healthy digestion, while coconut oil provides omega fatty acids to improve skin and coat health. Added nutrients like antioxidants and vitamin A help maintain a dog’s health.

Review: Customers rate this food 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most customers love that this dog food helped their pets with food sensitivities due to the lack of known dog allergens. Especially when dealing with dogs that have itchy skin, pet owners saw an improvement in their dog’s health after switching to this brand.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food

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Summary: Blue Buffalo’s limited ingredient diet dog food is specifically designed for the puppy stage. The ingredient formula is limited but still contains everything puppies need. The tasty kibble has different shapes for texture and to separate nutrient-packed bits. This puppy food is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs, itchy skin, or other allergies.

Type: Dry dog food kibble

Best for: Puppies

Flavor Options: Turkey & Potato Recipe

Price: $2.75 per pound

Pros

  • The first ingredient is real turkey
  • Supports brain and eye health
  • Small kibble pieces are easy to chew
  • Highly digestible ingredient formula
  • No fillers, GMOs. or artificial preservatives

Cons

  • May not be the best option for puppies with no food allergies

Ingredient Analysis: Deboned turkey is the protein source for this recipe. Pea and pumpkin provide fiber and easy digestion. Round kibble contains essential vitamins, antioxidants, and vital minerals. The pointed kibble also contains DHA &ARA for brain and eye development.

Review: Pet owners rate this food as 4.6 out of 5 stars, thanks to the high quality. Most pet parents note that puppies with sensitive stomachs did not have any issues with this food. The limited ingredient list helped owners prevent allergic reactions too. Despite the great quality and taste of the food, many customers found this puppy formula to be very affordable.

Canidae PURE Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food

Canidae PURE Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food

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Summary: Canidae’s PURE limited ingredient diet dog food is made to be the best. Their varied recipes are formulated to exceed the AAFCO dog food standards. Using a wholesome, grain-free limited ingredient list, this food has all the nutrients a dog needs. The natural meat and products provide a delicious flavor that dogs love.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe; Chicken, Lentil, & Pea Recipe; Lamb & Pea Recipe; Lamb, Goat, & Venison Recipe; Wild Boar & Garbanzo Bean Recipe; Bison, Lentil, & Carrot Recipe

Price: $2.52 – $3.37 per pound

Pros

  • High-quality protein is the first ingredient
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Real ingredients give natural flavor
  • Exceeds AAFCO standards
  • Contains no grains or fillers

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than comparable brands

Ingredient Analysis: Bison, lamb, goat, venison, chicken, and wild boar provide protein, while salmon provides both protein and fatty acids. Added antioxidants provide immune system support, omega fatty acids help maintain shiny coats and healthy skin, and taurine is used for improving heart health. Joints are kept strong with glucosamine and chondroitin, while healthy digestion is maintained with help from included probiotics.

Review: This dry dog food is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by customers with dogs that have sensitive stomachs. The high-quality ingredients help with digestion, in particular, thanks to the hypoallergenic fiber used. Since there’s no grain, many dogs with sensitive stomachs had no digestive issues at all after switching. The natural flavors also encourage even picky eaters to eat, and the crunchy texture helps keep teeth clean.

Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

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Summary: This simple limited ingredient dog food from Wellness is a great option for dealing with dog allergies. Each recipe is made without known allergens like wheat, corn, dairy, and other fillers. The balance of healthy grains and high-quality protein supports dog health. The variety of flavors makes it even easier to meet your dog’s needs.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Duck & Oatmeal; Lamb & Oatmeal; Turkey & Potato; Salmon & Potato; Small Breed Salmon & Potato; Healthy Weight Salmon & Potato

Price: $2.88 – $4.57 per pound

Pros

  • Uses high-quality protein sources
  • Highly digestible formula
  • Supports overall health and immunity 
  • Contains no wheat, meat by-products, or fillers
  • Offers a variety of hypoallergenic recipes

Cons

  • Also contains pea protein

Ingredient Analysis: Deboned turkey, duck, lamb, or salmon provide a single-protein source. Potatoes add healthy complex carbs. Flaxseed provides lots of fiber and promotes a shiny coat. Peas are added for more healthy fiber. Probiotic fiber is added to aid with digestion, and omega fatty acids are added to help maintain good skin and coat health. Other nutrients provide whole body health, including antioxidants, glucosamine, taurine, and prebiotics.

Review: This dog food is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars by customers. Most pet owners love that the limited ingredients helped their dogs with skin sensitivities. The nutrients in the dog food helped many dogs with itchy skin stop scratching and licking. Pet owners said that they thought this was one of the best hypoallergenic dog foods available.

NUTRO Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

NUTRO Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

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Summary: NUTRO’s grain-free LID food offers clean, simple recipes. Carefully formulated to enhance a dog’s health, known allergens like wheat and soy are kept out. Shiny coats and healthy skin are provided with important nutrients. Dogs with sensitive skin or allergies especially benefit from this non-GMO pet food. They also offer other recipes for other dog breed sizes.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Lamb recipe

Price: $3.00 per pound

Pros

  • High-quality protein is the first ingredient
  • Includes 10 or fewer key ingredients used
  • Grain-free to help with digestion
  • Uses non-GMO ingredients
  • Contains no corn, wheat, or soy

Cons

  • Salmon flavor has a strong odor

Ingredient Analysis: Deboned lamb and lamb meal provide protein in this formula. Chickpeas, dried potatoes, lentils, dried beet pulp, and dried sweet potatoes provide complex carb and dietary fiber. Added vitamins and minerals like amino acids and vitamin D3 complete the balanced nutrition in every bite.

Review: Pet parent customers rate this dog food as 4.7 out of 5 stars, thanks to the hypoallergenic ingredients. Many dog owners noted specifically how the food helped resolve their dog’s red, itchy ears. Other owners also noticed a great improvement in dry, itchy skin. Overall, this balanced dog food gives large breed dogs what they need while promoting healthy skin and shiny coats.

What Should I Look for in Limited Ingredient Dog Food?

The key things to look for in best limited ingredient dog food are:

  • Single Animal Protein Source. The protein in limited ingredient dog food should come from one animal, not a combination of animals.
  • Single Carbohydrate Source. Only one carbohydrate should be used in a recipe, such as brown rice.
  • Short Ingredient List. As the name implies, limited ingredient diets should contain only a limited number of ingredients when compared to other dog food brands.

What Ingredients Should You Avoid in Dog Food?

According to vets and nutritionists, the following ingredients should not be in a limited ingredient dog food:

  • Melamine. This is a type of plastic that is used as an artificial additive to boost the protein content, but it is not safe for dogs to eat long-term.
  • BHA. This is a preservative that is typically found in some dog foods and treats, but there is evidence that the chemical is dangerous for dogs to eat regularly.
  • Carrageenan. This is an extract from red seaweed that is used to thicken wet dog food consistency, but some studies have shown that it can lead to GI inflammation or cancer.
  • Corn Syrup. This common sugar is a leading cause of canine diabetes and weight issues.
  • White Flour. This simple ingredient is often used as a filler and can make dogs feel hungry shortly after eating, which then contributes to obesity and puts the dog at risk of diabetes.
  • Meat Meals. This ingredient is very non-descript and can contain almost any kind of meat, even expired or infected cuts.