The 7 Best Dog Foods for Autoimmune Disease

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

This Ultimate Guide Reviews All of the Best Dog Foods for Dogs with Autoimmune Disease available right now.

Autoimmune diseases in dogs are often misunderstood, which is ironic because misunderstanding is what autoimmune disease does. For reasons unknown, the dog’s immune system attacks different body parts (based on the type of disease), mistaking them as foreign.

Dogs with autoimmune diseases have specific nutritional needs. They require highly digestible foods with ingredients that do not challenge their immune systems any more than they already are. That means the best dog foods for autoimmune diseases normally have limited ingredients and don’t contain artificial additives.

To help you sort through the thousands of dog foods on the market, we’ve compiled this list of what we believe are the best dog foods and dog food supplements for autoimmune disease based on our 40-point inspection list.

Read on to find out more.

The Best Dog Foods for Autoimmune Disease

Top ProductsRatingTop 5 Ingredients
1. Olewo Carrots Digestive Dog Food Supplement4.5Dehydrated Carrots.

2. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food4.5Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes, Dried Apples
3. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dog Food4.7Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
4. Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Dog Food4.6Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Chicken Heart, Dried Pumpkin
5. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food4.6Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley
6. Diamond Naturals Skin and Coat Dry Dog Food4.5Salmon, Fish Meal, Potatoes, Lentils, Peas
7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural4.6Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

1. Olewo Carrots Digestive Dog Food Supplement

Top 5 Ingredients: Dehydrated Carrots.

Dogs require fruits and vegetables just like people. Without the right vitamins and minerals, their bodies struggle to function properly. Many dog foods lack one thing or another, so Olewo Carrots Digestive Dog Food Supplement is a good supplement to those foods. 

The antioxidants in carrots are extremely beneficial to a dog’s immune system, allowing the immune system to function properly. They provide fiber for a smooth function digestive system and are useful for the skin,  often a problem area in dogs suffering from an autoimmune disease.

Highlights: 

  • Natural ingredients 
  • Supports healthy digestion 
  • Add it to existing food  

2. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food

Top 5 Products: Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes, Dried Apples

Dogs with autoimmune problems need healthy food with the right ingredients, which is where this Honest Kitchen Dog Food enters the picture. It is a healthy, grain-free recipe containing gree-range chicken, vegetables, and fruits. It’s a dehydrated food for compact storage requiring only water to be ready to eat. Best of all, it’s made with grain-free human-grade ingredients and contains no GMOs, hormones, or other byproducts.   

Highlights:

  • The food has been certified human-grade, meaning that it is incredibly healthy
  • A 10 lb bag will make 40 lb of food, which is an exceptional value
  • This food is available in various recipes with various nutrient counts, allowing you to customize it to meet your needs
  • This food will also add much-needed moisture to your dog’s daily diet

3. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas

Like all their foods, Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dog Food contains naturally sourced ingredients. This grain-free dog food is also free of artificial flavors or coloring. It contains protein in the form of venison and bison, two novel proteins that are less like to cause allergies. Vitamins and minerals and real fruits, and other superfoods are also in the mix to support a healthy immune system and a vital coat and skin. Finally, it’s made by a family-run business in the USA and a good pick for dogs with autoimmune diseases. 

Highlights:

  • This dog food brand contains high levels of antioxidants
  • It is free from chemicals, additives, artificial ingredients, and grain 
  • It has a hearty mix of fruits and vegetables 

4. Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain Free Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Chicken Heart, Dried Pumpkin

This dog food topper from Instinct works well with a variety of recipes. This freeze-dried raw booster contains probiotics for digestive health and is made with cage-free chicken and natural goodies like pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple cider vinegar. No grains or preservatives are present, making this a good choice for dogs with autoimmune diseases.   

Highlights:

  • Separate recipes for individual health issues 
  • This dog food is raw 
  • Low calorie 
  • Enhances the flavor of your dog’s regular food 

5. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley

This dog food from Hill’s Science is an excellent option for dogs suffering from autoimmune disease. It has a significant amount of protein from chicken along with prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion. It has omega-6 fatty acids to nourish the coat and skin and contains amino acids along with other vitamins and minerals your dog needs

Highlights:

  • Ideal for adult dogs 
  • Plenty of antioxidants 
  • Packed with omega fatty acids 
  • No artificial preservatives or flavors 

6. Diamond Naturals Skin and Coat Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Fish Meal, Potatoes, Lentils, Peas

It can be expensive to have a dog who suffers from autoimmune disease, but this holistic dog food from Diamond Naturals is of great value. There are numerous recipes from which to choose, allowing you to find the right one for your dog’s needs. Wild-caught salmon is the main protein in the grain-free kibble. It contains whole fruits and vegetables for overall health and is highly digestible for overall gut health.

Highlights:

  • Contains added probiotics for digestive health 
  • It is one of the most affordable options on the market 
  • It contains a wide variety of antioxidants to protect organ systems 
  • It contains omega fatty acids 

7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal

Blue Buffalo has been one of the top providers of dog foods for years. This food packages a combination of brown rice and chicken and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals ideal for dogs who suffer from an autoimmune condition. Furthermore, this dog food also contains antioxidants that can fight off infections that could otherwise harm dogs with a weak immune system. 

Highlights:

  • Plenty of healthy chicken and brown rice 
  • Whole grains that can be beneficial for the gut 
  • Includes fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants 
  • One of the less expensive options 

8. ACANA Dog Puppy and Junior Protein Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Whole Green Peas

Autoimmune conditions can strike your dog at any stage of life. This dog food from ACANA is for puppies and younger dogs. No fillers or grains contaminate this healthy recipe that uses turkey and fish as the primary proteins. EPA, Taurine, and DHA provide nutrition for developing eyes and hearts, while omega fatty acids make for a healthy coat and skin. Overall, this is a good choice for younger dogs with autoimmune problems.    

Highlights:

  • Natural fruits and vegetables 
  • Probiotics 
  • Supplements for growing puppies 

9. Purina One SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine), Soybean Meal

This recipe from Purina is for dogs that are seven years of age or older. A significant number of autoimmune diseases show up later in life. The main ingredient is real chicken; however, it also contains essential oils, numerous vitamins, and minerals. All of which is helpful for dogs suffering from autoimmune conditions. 

Highlights:

  • Packed with fruits and vegetables 
  • Works well for older, larger dogs 
  • Real chicken is the primary ingredient 
  • No artificial fillers or preservatives 

10. Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet Soft Gels

Top 5 Ingredients: Fish Oil, D-Alpha Tocopherol (a Preservative), Gelatin, Water, Glycerin 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for dogs who suffer from autoimmune conditions. That is where these Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet Soft Gels are beneficial. These are supplements that can be given to dogs as a pill or mixed in with dog food. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, these soft gels are distilled and purified without additives or artificial ingredients. 

Highlights:

  • Great for smaller dogs 
  • Combine gels for larger dogs
  • Cost-effective 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are ideal for autoimmune issues

11. Canidae Pure Salmon and Sweet Potato

Top 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas

If you have a dog suffering from an autoimmune condition requiring a limited diet, this option from Canidae could be for you. As the name suggests, this food uses real salmon and sweet potato with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Of course, omega fatty acids provide support for a healthy coat and skin. 

Highlights:

  • Joint friendly 
  • Packed with antioxidants and vitamins 
  • Omega fatty acids 
  • Delicious taste 

12. Grizzly Salmon Oil Dog Food Supplement

Top 5 Ingredients: N.A

Another supplement that uses salmon oil to aid dogs suffering from autoimmune conditions. Packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to protect your dog’s coat and skin, it can also reduce scratching and itching. This supplement comes in various sizes, allowing you to find the right option for your dog. 

Highlights:

  • Helpful to dogs with an overactive immune system 
  • Ideal for scratching and itching 
  • Easy to use 

13. American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes

Food allergies and hypothyroidism can lead to autoimmune conditions. This dog food from American Journey helps combat both of these issues. With numerous nutrients from salmon and sweet potato, this recipe is perfect for all life stages. 

Highlights:

  • Fruits and vegetables for immune system support
  • Deboned salmon provides antioxidants
  • Fiber-rich carbs for energy
  • Packed with phytonutrients 

14. Pawlife Omega 3 for Dogs

Top 5 Ingredients: Pollock Oil (Alaskomega), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol), Zinc, Biotin

Another option you may want to consider is called Pawlife Omega 3 for Dogs, a food supplement designed for dogs with autoimmune skin and coat issues. Even though the primary ingredient is salmon, the supplement also contains palm fruit oil and flaxseed. These two added ingredients can help not only with skin and coat issues but also anxiety problems. The omega-3 fatty acids will also protect your dog’s joints.

Highlights:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids that will protect your dog’s joints
  • Has supplements for your dog’s coat and skin
  • Perfect as a treat or a meal 

15. International Veterinary Sciences Fish Oil

Top 5 Ingredients: Fish Oil (Omega 3 Fatty Acid Souce), Castor Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Linolenic Acid (Ethyl Ester), D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

Finally, this is another product packed with Omega fatty acids for your dog’s overall health. In addition, this supplement also contains flaxseed oil and castor oil, which can reduce itching, scratching, and shedding. Finally, this fish oil from International Veterinary Sciences also has plenty of vitamins A and E, which will protect the immune system. 

Highlights:

  • Will protect your dog’s immune system with all-natural ingredients, including omega fatty acids 
  • Can reduce itching, scratching, and other skin issues 
  • Provide rapid relief and lasting results 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs and Autoimmune Diseases

What is an autoimmune disease in dogs? 

If a dog has an autoimmune disease, its immune system is attacking its own body. Depending on the autoimmune condition, different parts of the body could be damaged. 

What are the most common symptoms of an autoimmune disease in dogs? 

Several common symptoms might appear. These include joint problems, the development of skin ulcers, fur loss, and changes in skin color. 

Do dogs that suffer from an autoimmune disease require a special diet? 

Even though dogs with an autoimmune condition may not require a special diet, it is often a good idea. Dogs with an autoimmune disorder may need more of certain vitamins and minerals. 

How do most veterinarians diagnose an autoimmune disease?

Most veterinarians will diagnose an autoimmune condition using a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory tests. Certain inflammatory markers that show up in the blood can be detected using laboratory exams in some situations. 

Is it possible to treat a dog who has an autoimmune condition? 

Yes, autoimmune conditions in dogs are treatable. Most veterinarians will tailor the treatment process to meet the specific autoimmune disease. 

Are there multiple types of autoimmune diseases?

Yes, there are multiple types of autoimmune diseases. For example, many forms of arthritis are autoimmune conditions. Other examples include lupus and Sjogren’s disease. 

How old are most dogs when they get an autoimmune disease? 

Autoimmune conditions can impact dogs at any time. Puppies, adult dogs, and older dogs can all get autoimmune disorders.

Is it possible to treat autoimmune diseases in dogs without prescription medications? 

It is possible to treat an autoimmune condition without prescription medication; however, this is to be discussed with a veterinarian. 

Are omega-3 fatty acids good for dogs with an autoimmune disease? 

Yes, omega-3 fatty acids are good for dogs with autoimmune diseases. They can help dogs address skin issues and protect the joints. 

If my dog has seasonal allergies, can he or she still get an autoimmune disease as well? 

Yes, it is common for dogs with seasonal allergies to develop other immune concerns, such as an autoimmune condition. 

Is an autoimmune disease going to shorten my dog’s life span? 

An autoimmune disease that is left untreated can impact your dog’s lifespan; however, it is also possible for dogs with an autoimmune disease to live a long and healthy life. 

Can a dog with an autoimmune disease be cured? 

It is unusual for autoimmune diseases to be cured; however, it is possible to manage the symptoms successfully, allowing your dog to live a long and healthy life.

If my dog has an autoimmune disease, do I have to take him or her to the veterinarian? 

If you think your dog has an autoimmune disease, you should take him or her to the vet for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. You need to figure out exactly what type of autoimmune condition your dog has. 

Will an autoimmune disease get worse over time? 

If an autoimmune disease goes untreated, it will get worse over time. With proper treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms and slow the progression. 

How long is it going to take my dog to adjust to its new dog food? 

If you have put your dog on special dog food for an autoimmune disease, it may take several weeks for your dog to adjust. 

Will my dog lose weight if he or she has an autoimmune disease? 

Weight loss can take place with autoimmune conditions, particularly if your dog is not eating appropriately. If you believe your dog is developing weight problems, you should speak to your veterinarian.

Is an autoimmune disease in dogs contagious? 

No, autoimmune diseases are not contagious; however, certain environmental factors may make it more likely for dogs to develop an autoimmune disease. 

Can my dog still lead a happy life with an autoimmune disease? 

Yes, if you properly manage your dog’s autoimmune problems, your dog can still lead a long, happy, and healthy life. 

Is it expensive to treat a dog with an autoimmune condition? 

It can be expensive if your dog requires special procedures and medications; however, not all dog foods for dogs with an autoimmune disease are costly. 

Are skin problems common in dogs with an autoimmune condition? 

Yes, skin problems are common in dogs with autoimmune diseases. Many dogs develop itching and scratching, which can lead to fur loss, sores, and ulcers. 

A Buyer’s Guide: Finding Dog Food for Dogs with Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune conditions can lead to serious problems in dogs. Therefore, it is critical for dog owners to keep their eyes open for any symptoms of autoimmune diseases, including itching, scratching, fur loss, ulcers, sores, joint problems, and weight loss. Of course, autoimmune diseases come in many shapes and forms. Therefore, it is important to take a well-rounded approach to their treatment, including dietary changes. If you wonder what type of factors you should look for in your autoimmune dog food, there are several points to consider.

A few factors you should consider if you are looking for dog food for a puppy or adult canine with an autoimmune disease include:

  • First, you should try to find supplements that contain essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to protecting your dog’s heart and brain, they will also protect your dog’s joints, which are often the target of autoimmune conditions. 
  • Look for dog foods that contain a lot of vitamin A and E. In addition to protecting your dog’s eyes, vitamins A and E are also important for the overall health of your dog’s skin. Because ulcers, itching, scratching, and sores are common in dogs with autoimmune conditions, it is important to provide dogs with extra vitamins that protect these parts of the body. 
  • It is not unusual for dogs with autoimmune diseases to develop digestive issues. Therefore, you should try to find dog foods that contain plenty of probiotics. Probiotics are important because they protect healthy bacteria that are present in your dog’s digestive tract. 
  • In addition, you may want to find a dog food that contains plenty of fiber. Fiber is also important to the digestive tract of your dog. In particular, dogs. Autoimmune diseases similar to Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may require this additional fiber. 
  • Wherever possible, you should try to find dog foods that contain a lot of all-natural ingredients. All-natural ingredients are important because they reduce the amount of stress placed on your dog’s immune system. By removing stress, you make your dog’s food easier to digest. 
  • In general, you should try to find dog foods that contain plenty of protein. Protein is important because your dog may need extra building blocks to rebuild cells damaged throughout the body, including fur, skin, and mucous membranes. 
  • You should try to find dog foods that provide liver support as well. Your dog’s liver is going to be working overtime, trying to remove toxins from the body. You should provide your dog’s liver with the support that it requires. 
  • Antioxidants are a critical part of helping your dog recover from an autoimmune condition. The job of antioxidants is to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals can damage your dog’s DNA (which can be common in autoimmune diseases), so protect your dog with antioxidants. 
  • It is also important to stay away from artificial ingredients, additives, and preserves. These specific ingredients can place a lot of stress on your dog’s digestive tract, triggering the immune system in the process. Ultimately, these artificial ingredients could make your dog worse. 
  • Always take a look at the ingredient list on the back. If there is anything on the ingredient list that you do not understand, make sure you figure out exactly what it is. In general, shorter ingredient lists are going to be better because they place less stress on your dog’s digestive tract; however, as long as the ingredients are natural, your dog should be in a good spot.

You should consider several important factors if you are trying to find a specific dog food that will help your dog recover from an autoimmune condition. Of course, there are several other general factors you should consider as well. These include: 

  • Autoimmune conditions can show up at just about any age. Therefore, when you purchase dog food specifically for an autoimmune disorder, you should make sure the dog food is still appropriate for your dog’s age.
  • You should try to find dog food recipes that are available in a variety of formulations. Even though you want to think about the nutrient content of the food, you also want to make sure your dog will enjoy the food when it eats. If you cannot get your dog to eat the food, this will not be helpful.
  • Keep in mind that it may take your dog some time to adjust to the new diet. It is not unusual for dogs to suffer from dietary problems when you initially change the food. Try to remember that they may have gotten used to eating the same food every day for several years. Switching the food may lead to problems initially. 
  • If you are having issues getting your dog to eat the new food, consider starting with supplements instead of an entirely new diet. You may be able to add helpful supplements to your dog’s traditional dog food. 
  • Price is also a concern when dog owners are trying to find food specifically designed for autoimmune conditions. Even though it can be expensive to purchase food for dogs that suffer from an autoimmune disorder, it does not have to be that way. There are cheaper options available. Your veterinarian may also have access to coupons or discounts. 

Ultimately, it can be difficult for dog owners to have a dog suffering from an autoimmune condition. If you can find the right dog food, you can develop a comprehensive, natural approach to helping your dog recover from an autoimmune disease. Find the best dog food for your furry friend!