Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food | Cure Food Intolerance & Allergies

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.

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.

Bonus!

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?

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:

  • Novel Protein – This means that the protein source used in the formula is not a commonly used ingredient in commercial dog food such as beef or chicken. The more common an ingredient in feed, the more likely it is to trigger food sensitivities, so seeking out novel proteins is recommended for elimination trials.
  • Single Source Protein – When an LID has only one protein source in the recipe, this is called a single source protein. Since food intolerances are often triggered by proteins such as beef or chicken, using a single source protein helps you to isolate potentially offending ingredients.
  • Grain Free – Wheat is one of the common triggers for food sensitivities, along with some other grains (particularly when over processed). Some vets will recommend grain free foods as one way to start on an elimination trial to try to isolate any offending sources of carbohydrate. It is important to note that grain free is not necessarily the same as limited ingredient. Our list of LIDs does also include some grain free options that are also LIDs.

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

Product

Name

Rating

Price

BLUE Basics LID Formula Adult
BLUE Basics LID Formula Adult

$

CANIDAE Grain Free LID Adult Formula
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.

Also available in Grain Free Lamb & Potato, Grain Free Duck and Potato, and Grain Free Salmon & Potato varieties.

BLUE Basics LID Formula Adult

Looking for a canned food version? Check out the Turkey & Potato or Duck & Potato.

​CONTAINS
  • ​Novel single source protein: Real deboned turkey.
    Novel single source protein: Real deboned turkey.
  • ​20% minimum crude protein (Turkey & Potato dry recipe).
    20% minimum crude protein (Turkey & Potato dry recipe).
  • ​Fiber from peas and pumpkin for digestive health.
    Fiber from peas and pumpkin for digestive health.
  • ​LifeSource Bits® rich in antioxidants and select vitamins and minerals for boosted immune system support.
    LifeSource Bits® rich in antioxidants and select vitamins and minerals for boosted immune system support.
​DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Wheat, Corn or Soy.
    Wheat, Corn or Soy.
  • ​Dairy or Eggs.
    Dairy or Eggs.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
  • ​Artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
    Artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
  • ​Chicken or beef, the most common protein allergens in commercial feed.
    Chicken or beef, the most common protein allergens in commercial feed.
    Artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.

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.

CANIDAE has a wide selection of novel proteins. Check out their Duck, Lamb, Salmon, and Wild Boar formulas.

​CONTAINS
  • ​Bison and Lamb meal as the two novel protein sources.
    Bison and Lamb meal as the two novel protein sources.
  • ​25% minimum crude protein (Bison and Lamb recipe).
    25% minimum crude protein (Bison and Lamb recipe).
  • ​Added probiotics, antioxidants and Omega 3&6.
    Added probiotics, antioxidants and Omega 3&6.
  • ​Sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas and alfalfa for whole food nutrition.
    Sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas and alfalfa for whole food nutrition.
  • ​7 key ingredient formulas to minimize chance of activating sensitivities.
    7 key ingredient formulas to minimize chance of activating sensitivities.
​DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Wheat, Corn or Soy.
    Wheat, Corn or Soy.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
  • ​Dairy or eggs.
    Dairy or eggs.

Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Puppies

Product

Name

Rating

Price

Natural Balance LID Grain Free Puppy Formula
Natural Balance LID Grain Free Puppy Formula

$$

BLUE Basics LID 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.

Natural Balance LID Grain Free Puppy Formula
CONTAINS
  • ​Novel and single source protein from Duck.
    Novel and single source protein from Duck.
  • ​22.5% minimum crude protein (Potato & Duck Formula)
    22.5% minimum crude protein (Potato & Duck Formula)
  • ​Tiny bites that are perfect for small puppy mouths.
    Tiny bites that are perfect for small puppy mouths.
  • ​DHA supplement for optimal brain development.
    DHA supplement for optimal brain development.
  • ​Omega 3 & 6 supplements for a healthy skin and coat.
    Omega 3 & 6 supplements for a healthy skin and coat.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
    Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
  • ​Corn, wheat or soy.
    Corn, wheat or soy.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products.
    Chicken or poultry by-products.
  • ​Completely grain free formula.
    Completely grain free formula.
    Chicken or poultry by-products.

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.

CONTAINS
  • ​Single protein source from high quality de-boned turkey.
    Single protein source from high quality de-boned turkey.
  • ​26% minimum crude protein (Turkey & Potato formula).
    26% minimum crude protein (Turkey & Potato formula).
  • ​Added DHA for strong cognitive development.
    Added DHA for strong cognitive development.
  • ​Carbohydrates from oatmeal, potatoes and brown rice.
    Carbohydrates from oatmeal, potatoes and brown rice.
  • ​LifeSource Bits® rich in antioxidants and select vitamins and minerals for boosted immune system support.
    LifeSource Bits® rich in antioxidants and select vitamins and minerals for boosted immune system support.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Wheat, Corn or Soy.
    Wheat, Corn or Soy.
  • ​Dairy or Eggs.
    Dairy or Eggs.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
  • ​Artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
    Artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.

Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Seniors

Product

Name

Rating

Price

BLUE Basics LID Senior
BLUE Basics LID Senior

$$

Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food
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.

BLUE Basics LID Senior
CONTAINS
  • ​Single protein source from high quality de-boned turkey.
    Single protein source from high quality de-boned turkey.
  • ​18% minimum crude protein (Turkey & Potato formula).
    18% minimum crude protein (Turkey & Potato formula).
  • ​Added glucosamine and chondroitin to support your aging dog’s joints.
    Added glucosamine and chondroitin to support your aging dog’s joints.
  • ​Carbohydrates from oatmeal, potatoes and brown rice.
    Carbohydrates from oatmeal, potatoes and brown rice.
  • LifeSource Bits® rich in antioxidants and select vitamins and minerals for boosted immune system support.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Wheat, Corn or Soy.
    Wheat, Corn or Soy.
  • ​Dairy or Eggs.
    Dairy or Eggs.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals
  • ​Artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
    Artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals

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.

Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food
CONTAINS
  • ​Chicken is the first ingredient.
    Chicken is the first ingredient.
  • ​Chicken meal and turkey meal are included in this formula.
    Chicken meal and turkey meal are included in this formula.
  • ​28% minimum crude protein.
    28% minimum crude protein.
  • ​9 key ingredients for a simple recipe unlikely to trigger food allergies.
    9 key ingredients for a simple recipe unlikely to trigger food allergies.
  • ​Added probiotics to help with digestion.
    Added probiotics to help with digestion.
  • ​150 mg/kg of Chondroitin, 300 mg/kg Glucosamine for great joint support.
    150 mg/kg of Chondroitin, 300 mg/kg Glucosamine for great joint support.
    Added probiotics to help with digestion.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Wheat, Corn or Soy.
    Wheat, Corn or Soy.
  • ​Artificial flavors.
    Artificial flavors.

Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Large Breeds

Product

Name

Rating

Price

NUTRO LID Grain Free Large Breed Adult
NUTRO LID Grain Free Large Breed Adult

$$

Natural Balance LID Large Breed Formula
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.

For other special large breed formulas from NUTRO, check out their Large Breed Senior and Large Breed Puppy formulas.

NUTRO LID Grain Free Large Breed Adult
CONTAINS
  • ​Pasture fed Lamb as the number one ingredient, a novel protein.
    Pasture fed Lamb as the number one ingredient, a novel protein.
  • ​22% minimum crude protein (Lamb & Sweet Potato recipe).
    22% minimum crude protein (Lamb & Sweet Potato recipe).
  • ​10 ingredients or less LID formulas.
    10 ingredients or less LID formulas.
  • ​Added Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support joints in large breeds.
    Added Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support joints in large breeds
  • ​Whole food ingredients such as chickpeas, potatoes, sweet potatoes and lentils.
    Whole food ingredients such as chickpeas, potatoes, sweet potatoes and lentils.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​GMO ingredients.
    GMO ingredients.
  • ​Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
    Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • ​Corn, wheat or soy.
    Corn, wheat or soy.

​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.)

Natural Balance LID Large Breed Formula
CONTAINS
  • ​Single novel protein source from Lamb and Lamb Meal.
    Single novel protein source from Lamb and Lamb Meal.
  • ​21% minimum crude protein (Lamb Meal & Brown Rice recipe).
    21% minimum crude protein (Lamb Meal & Brown Rice recipe).
  • ​Large bites to help slow down your giant breed when they eat.
    Large bites to help slow down your giant breed when they eat.
  • ​Omega 3 & 6 supplement for skin and coat support.
    Omega 3 & 6 supplement for skin and coat support.
  • ​Brewers rice and rice bran for fiber.
    Brewers rice and rice bran for fiber.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
    Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
  • ​Corn, what or soy.
    Corn, what or soy.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.

Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Toy Breeds

Product

Name

Rating

Price

Nulo Freestyle LID Small Breed Adult
Nulo Freestyle LID Small Breed Adult

$

Natural Balance LID Grain Free Small Breed Formula
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.

Nulo Freestyle LID Small Breed Adult
CONTAINS
  • ​Single protein from Turkey and Turkey meal.
    Single protein from Turkey and Turkey meal.
  • ​30% minimum crude protein for active small dogs.
    30% minimum crude protein for active small dogs.
  • ​Added L-Carnitine for weight support.
    Added L-Carnitine for weight support.
  • ​Tiny kibble size for small mouths.
    Tiny kibble size for small mouths.
  • ​Omega 3 & 6 for healthy skin and coat.
    Omega 3 & 6 for healthy skin and coat.
  • ​Probiotics for digestive support.
    Probiotics for digestive support.
    Omega 3 & 6 for healthy skin and coat.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Corn, wheat or soy.
    Corn, wheat or soy.
  • ​Grain free!
    Grain free!
  • ​Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
    Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • ​Chicken or eggs.
    Chicken or eggs.
    Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

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.

Natural Balance LID Grain Free Small Breed Formula

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.

CONTAINS
  • ​Fish as the novel and single protein source.
    Fish as the novel and single protein source.
  • ​21% minimum crude protein (Sweet Potato & Fish Formula)
    21% minimum crude protein (Sweet Potato & Fish Formula)
  • ​Tiny bites, perfect for little mouths.
    Tiny bites, perfect for little mouths
  • ​Omega 3 & 6 supplements for optimum skin and coat health.
    Omega 3 & 6 supplements for optimum skin and coat health.
  • ​Sweet potatoes and flaxseed for great digestive support.
    Sweet potatoes and flaxseed for great digestive support.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Grain free!
    Grain free!
  • ​Artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
    Artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.
    Chicken or poultry by-products or meals.

Limited Ingredient Dog Treats

Product

Name

Rating

Price

Natural Balance LID Jumpin Stix Dog Treats
Natural Balance LID Jumpin' Stix Dog Treats

$

BLUE Basics LID 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.

Natural Balance LID Jumpin Stix Dog Treats

Also available in Chicken & Sweet Potato and  Duck & Potato varieties which are also based on selective ingredients.

CONTAINS
  • ​Venison for a single, novel protein source.
    Venison for a single, novel protein source.
  • ​20% minimum crude protein (Venison & Sweet Potato recipe).
    20% minimum crude protein (Venison & Sweet Potato recipe).
  • ​Added Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support healthy joints.
    Added Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support healthy joints.
  • ​Tiny pieces so you get more reward opportunities per bag.
    Tiny pieces so you get more reward opportunities per bag.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
    Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • ​Grain Free!
    Grain Free!
  • ​Corn, Wheat or soy.
    Corn, Wheat or soy
  • ​Eggs or dairy products.
    Eggs or dairy products.
    Corn, Wheat or soy

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.

BLUE Basics LID Treats
CONTAINS
  • ​Single novel protein source from Salmon.
    Single novel protein source from Salmon.
  • ​18% minimum crude protein (Salmon & Potato recipe).
    18% minimum crude protein (Salmon & Potato recipe).
  • ​Highly digestible whole food carbs from brown rice, oatmeal and potatoes.
    Highly digestible whole food carbs from brown rice, oatmeal and potatoes.
  • ​Crunchy texture helps with dental hygiene.
    Crunchy texture helps with dental hygiene.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • ​Corn, wheat or soy.
    Corn, wheat or soy.
  • ​Chicken or poultry by-products.
    Chicken or poultry by-products.
  • ​Dairy or eggs.
    Dairy or eggs.
  • ​Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
    Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
    Dairy or eggs.

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 or food allergies, 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!

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