Limited Ingredient Dog Food | A Buyers Guide
Here at Wiley Pup, we want to provide you with well researched information to help you find the best products for your canine’s overall health and happiness.
OUR #1 PICK
The best value for money
BLUE Basics LID Formula Adult
One of the leaders in the LID trends in commercial dog foods is Blue Basics. You will see this brand popping up on our list a few times in the different life stage formulas because they are simply fantastic with their limited ingredient formulas. You will notice that Blue Basics is one of the more expensive selections in the LID world, however, they maintain a strong commitment to quality ingredients for optimal nutrition.
We wrote this page with one goal in mind:
A comprehensive review of the best limited ingredient diets (LIDs) with complete consideration of life stage and breed size specific formulas.
We have included the best limited ingredient dry dog food as well as canned versions where available.
If you are looking for the top of the line limited ingredient dog food that is also grain free, we have included several selections in our list to make sure you canine’s special needs are met as well!
Respecting Life Stage and Breed Size
Our list of the best LID formulas is broken down by life stage and breed size because these categories are important to maintain the ideal diet for your canine.
Different ages and sizes of dogs require specific nutritional needs. So, it is the first thing you should think about when picking the right food.
We have provided our top 2 choices in each category, along with links to the various novel protein formulas in that class to give you a fast and easy guide to finding just the right formula for your LID canine.
Click on the appropriate category in the list below to jump right to the formula that best fits your pet:
Why Feed a Limited Ingredient Diet?
Many folks turn to an LID because their canine is showing signs of having a food intolerance or allergy and they want to try to figure out what ingredient is causing the problem.
Common symptoms include itchy or flaky skin, diarrhea, chronic gas, persistent licking of feet or back end, and/or continuous scratching of the ears.
As is the case with any health-related issue, it is critical to first talk with your vet before assuming a health issue is caused by diet. You don’t want to miss a chance to get early treatment for another serious health issue!
If you and your vet agree that there is likely a problem with a food sensitivity, then you want to be sure that you are getting a nutritionally sound option made with high quality ingredients.
It is likely your vet will want you to try a limited ingredient food trial that contains none of the common offenders including beef, wheat, eggs and dairy.
Because both “grain-free” and “limited ingredient” classifications have become very popular as of late, it can be tricky to sort through the options.
That is why we put together this list for you! Regardless of the life stage or breed size of your furry friend, we can help you find the right choice for them.
Let’s review a few terms commonly used when talking about this category of dog food:
Read on to learn more about the top limited ingredient dog food brands that you can trust.
Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Adults
BLUE Basics LID Formula Adult
CANIDAE Grain Free LID Adult Formula
BLUE Basics LID Formula Adult – Grain Free Turkey & Potato
One of the leaders in the LID trends in commercial dog foods is Blue Basics. You will see this brand popping up on our list a few times in the different life stage formulas because they are simply fantastic with their limited ingredient formulas.
You will notice that Blue Basics is one of the more expensive selections in the LID world, however, they maintain a strong commitment to quality ingredients for optimal nutrition. Their strong reputation and long history in the LID category warrants the extra cost.
CANIDAE Grain Free LID Adult Formula – Bison and Lamb Recipe
CANIDAE is emerging as a leader in LIDs, largely because of their commitment to sourcing great ingredients.
They maintain a close relationship with select domestic farmers for their meats. They even have their own farm that they source many of their vegetable ingredients from.
They also manufacture in the U.S. with a production facility in Brownwood, Texas.
With such a strong commitment to sourcing only the best ingredients from independent farmers, it is easy to see why consumers that are increasingly concerned with quality ingredients and manufacturing are flocking to this brand to give their dogs the best.
Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Puppies
Natural Balance LID Grain Free Puppy Formula
BLUE Basics LID Puppy Formula
Natural Balance LID Grain Free Puppy Formula - Potato & Duck Formula
Natural Balance has a great reputation in both the grain free and LID categories of dog food.
All of their formulas use a variety of whole sources of nutrition from fruits, vegetables and whole grains – not to mention excellent real meat sources of novel proteins.
Natural Balance also makes a Lamb & Brown Rice formula for puppies that uses limited ingredients, a novel protein and brown rice and rice bran as the sole source of carbohydrates.
BLUE Basics LID Puppy Formula – Turkey & Potato
One of the things we love about BLUE Basics is their strong commitment to offering some of the top limited ingredient dog food for all life stages.
There is a great advantage to finding the right formula for your puppy and then being able to make a smooth transition to an adult formula that you can count on!
If this formula works well for your young dog, be sure to check out the corresponding BLUE Basics Turkey and Potato Treats which follows a similar recipe.
For more info on grain free puppy food check out our guide here.
Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Seniors
BLUE Basics LID Senior
CANIDAE LID Senior Formula
BLUE Basics LID Senior – Turkey & Potato
Seniors have special nutritional needs, and an LID diet that is right for your older dog needs to have all of the same nutritional support you would expect from any high quality senior kibble.
This selection from BLUE Basics includes a boost of glucosamine and chondroitin to provide plenty of support for the aging joints of senior canines.
Lower levels of protein and fat help keep the calorie density down, perfect for less active seniors trying to keep their weight in check.
If you are looking for a wet formula for your senior dog with sensitive teeth, then check out this canned version of this recipe by BLUE Basics.
CANIDAE LID Senior Formula - Chicken
This is another great selection from CANIDAE, one of the rising stars in responsibly sourced and manufactured LIDs.
This whole food and grain-free formula highlights a commitment to nutrition from natural sources for a totally balanced food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Note that this is a chicken recipe, which wont work for all dogs with sensitive stomachs since some dogs do have allergies to this protein.
However, if your canine is not sensitive to this protein, then you get to save a little money on this formula since chicken is a relatively inexpensive ingredient.
Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Large Breeds
NUTRO LID Grain Free Large Breed Adult
Natural Balance LID Large Breed Formula
NUTRO LID Grain Free Large Breed Adult
Another brand that has jumped on the responsibly sourced ingredient trend in commercial dog food is NUTRO.
They go the extra mile to source from a trusted group of suppliers. They have made avoiding GMO ingredients a priority which gives them bonus points among consumers looking to buy environmentally sound food.
Natural Balance LID Large Breed Formula - Lamb Meal & Brown Rice
Another excellent choice if you are looking for a limited ingredient dog food for large breeds is this lamb formula from a leader in LID formulas: Natural Balance.
Specifically formulated with giant breeds in mind, this recipe includes supplements to protect digestive health as well as skin and coat support.
Consistently ranked as being palatable for even picky eaters, this is a brand to try if you have a dog that turns their nose up at regular food offerings.
(If this applies to your furry friend, be sure to see our special article on food for picky eaters for some tips on getting your finicky Fido to eat well.)
Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Toy Breeds
Nulo Freestyle LID Small Breed Adult
Natural Balance LID Grain Free Small Breed Formula
Nulo Freestyle LID Small Breed Adult - Turkey
Another grain free selection that is perfect for small breeds that need an LID is this nutritionally balanced feed from Nulo. Tons of protein in each bite makes this an especially good choice for mini-dog athletes and all-around jocks!
It is chock full of nutrient dense ingredients to give your dog the energy they need for a high metabolism.
You will find several whole food items on the ingredient list: chickpeas, sweet potatoes, lima beans, Miscanthus grass, and chicory root.
These kinds of ingredients are a sign of a high-quality dog food that puts nutrition first.
Plus, the carbs used in this formula are low-glycemic sources of energy. This helps keep weight and blood sugar levels in check.
Natural Balance LID Grain Free Small Breed Formula - Sweet Potato & Fish Formula
Looking for a grain free limited ingredient dog food for small breeds?
This is a great choice for your pocket pooch!
Few canines with food sensitivities have reactions to fish sources so this is a great starting point on the road to finding the right recipe for your small breed dog.
This highly palatable formula is also grain free.
Many food sensitivities are actually to commonly used proteins like beef and chicken, however, common grains are also a source of some intolerance for our canine companions.
This diet lets you avoid both so it is a wonderful choice if you are trying an elimination diet to help identify problem ingredients.
Another selection from Natural Balance for small breed dogs is the Chicken and Sweet Potato Formula.
Limited Ingredient Dog Treats
Natural Balance LID Jumpin' Stix Dog Treats
BLUE Basics LID Treats
Natural Balance LID Jumpin' Stix Dog Treats – Venison & Sweet Potato
Venison is an excellent choice for a novel protein because it rarely shows up in regular commercial dog food and is highly unlikely to trigger food sensitivities in your dog.
It is also highly palatable, making this a great high value reward for any training program.
These treats are also grain-free so they are perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
The added Glucosamine and Chondroitin makes these a great choice for senior and large breed dogs who need the extra joint support in their diet.
BLUE Basics LID Treats – Salmon & Potato
Whether or not you decide to go with BLUE basics for the core kibble for your dog with food sensitivities, you definitely want to try these limited ingredient dog treats.
They are crunchy, tasty, and nutritious.
Like the rest of the products from BLUE Basics, you can expect high quality ingredients combined with your dog’s nutrition in mind.
These treats are also available in Turkey & Potato recipe.
Summary and Review
If you and your vet have decided on trying a limited ingredient dog food to help your dog deal with a sensitive stomach, food allergies and other hypoallergenic issues, it does not have to mean nutritionally empty food or unpalatable kibble.
Instead, there are several trusted brands that are making high-quality options in this category of specialty feed.
We hope our guide has helped you find the best limited ingredient dog food, regardless of life stage or breed size.
Feel free to leave your experiences with LIDs in the comments below to help our readers find the best foods for their loving companions!