The fearless schnauzer is one of a small group of dog breeds who are the most prone to developing skin allergies. While their spirited personalities and unmistakably brilliant features are always lovable, it’s important for pet parents to take special care. If you notice your schnauzer chewing his paws, rubbing his face, or scratching his belly, there’s a good chance something he’s eating is upsetting his skin. In this article, I share the five best dog foods for schnauzers with skin allergies. All types of schnauzers with allergies including Miniature, Standard, and Giant can benefit from switching to the dog foods in this guide.
Before we take a peek at the food, let’s go over the most common dog food ingredients that cause allergies. The most common culprits are protein and carbohydrates. The tricky part is selecting a type of protein that won’t upset your dog’s skin. Since all dogs need protein, it’s important to take the right approach to identify the cause.
Below is a list of dog food ingredients that commonly cause skin allergies:
The Best Dog Food for Schnauzers With Skin Allergies
|#1) Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet
|#2) Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
|#3) Earthborn Holistic Venture Limited Ingredient Diet for Dogs
|#4) Nulo Freestyle Dry Dog Kibble
|#5) Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Limited Ingredient Diet
Reviews of the Best Dog Food for Schnauzers
We carefully selected each brand above to give you a wide variety of choices. Since identifying the cause of your dog’s skin allergies may require some trial & error, there are certain protein sources to test before others. All of the brands above are free of:
Those are the three ingredients to cut out first. Secondly, we selected limited ingredient varieties to cut down on unnecessary fillers and to make it easier to identify the cause of the allergies. Compared to paying for an expensive allergy test, testing a couple of 4lb bags to find a winner is a considerably more affordable option.
The main protein sources we looked for when selecting the 5 brands were:
Now that you’ve considered the key factors that went into our decision-making process, let’s take a closer look at why we chose these 5 brands.
#1) Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet
Limited-ingredient dog food is a great place to start to identify the source of your schnauzer’s food allergies. Nutro is an extremely clean, non-GMO blend of just 10 ingredients or less. It’s available in several varieties with a single protein source per blend, which makes it very easy to determine which types of protein agree with your dog.
There are currently lamb, venison, and duck blends available that fall outside of the category of proteins that commonly cause dog skin allergies. Additionally, if your miniature schnauzer prefers small kibble, there’s an option to choose between normal and “small bites” variety for smaller dogs.
Below is a list of the 8 key ingredients in this blend:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Canola Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Drained Plain Beet Pulp
There’s absolutely no dairy, wheat, or corn to worry about in this blend.
One thing we really like is that Nutro is so confident in its formulas that it guarantees a softer, shinier coat with a money-back satisfaction guarantee. Lastly, there are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives that could potentially cause additional skin allergies. All in all, Nutro Limited is the safest place to start with your schnauzer.
- It’s been known to help dogs with even the most intense allergies heal
- Eliminates gas in some dogs
- Helps most dogs with skin allergies stop licking and biting their paws
- The “small bites” variety is good for mini schnauzers
- May help to eliminate hotspots in the underarms
- Great-tasting for most dogs
- Silkier coats after switching to Nutro
- A good choice for dogs with multiple food allergies
- Price fluctuations
- You may not like the smell
- Finicky eaters may refuse it
#2) Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
If you prefer wet dog food or like to mix wet dog food with dry for picky eaters, the Blue Buffalo Basics formula is the first place to look. The formula is made specifically for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs. It contains no chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, corn, wheat, or soy, which are the exact ingredients you want to avoid until you know for sure what’s causing your schnauzer’s skin allergies.
More importantly, the food contains all the most essential ingredients for your dog’s health, including real turkey, lamb, or duck along with flaxseed for a healthy dose of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for healthier skin & coat. Aside from the core ingredients, there are no artificial flavors or preservatives to worry about.
Lastly, you may also want to consider trying Blue Buffalo Basics dry kibble to mix with the wet variety or to feed your dog after testing how well the wet food agrees with your schnauzer. For mini schnauzers, Blue Buffalo makes single-serving Basics Cups that are great for identifying which proteins agree with your dog.
- One of the most basic formulas on the market
- Single-protein formulas allow you to pinpoint which protein sources agree with your schnauzer
- Multiple flavors, and it’s available in both wet, dry, and single-serving cups
- The wet variety is good for getting picky eaters to eat dry kibble
- A good source of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
- There’s a senior formula for older dogs
- BPA-Free Can Lining
- Healthier coats
- Problems about batch consistency
- The chance of damaged cans if ordered online
- May cause gas
#3) Earthborn Holistic Venture Limited Ingredient Diet for Dogs
One newer brand of dog food we like a lot is Earthborn Holistic. The Venture formula is currently one of our top-rated dog foods for yeast problems because of its unique blend of ingredients with healthy doses of Omega fatty acids & Vitamin E derived from flaxseed and sunflower oil. Additionally, the formula does not contain chicken fat or any other hidden ingredients that may cause your dog’s allergies to flare up.
Rabbit is a good protein source to test when assessing your dog’s food allergies, and the Venture rabbit formula contains rabbit meal as its only meat source. We also like the second main ingredient, California-sourced pumpkin that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber for easier digestion.
A couple of final highlights are the probiotic ingredients including Lactobacillus Acidophilus and the fact that the rabbit is sourced from the Pays de la Loire, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, and Brittany regions of France from family rabbit farmers.
- The best rabbit-based dog food for dogs with skin allergies
- Great for dogs who are prone to hot spots, itchy skin, and yeasty paws
- Six varieties to choose from (the rabbit and squid choices are our top picks)
- Helps to maintain a healthier weight
- Shinier and healthier coats
- A good choice for picky eaters as most dogs gobble it up
- Made in the USA
- The smell can be intense for human nostrils
- Some dogs reject it
- May cause runny stools
#4) Nulo Freestyle Dry Dog Kibble
One ingredient that sets Nulo apart from other grain-free dog food brands on the market is the addition of the patented BC30 probiotic for better digestive health. Just like humans, dogs benefit from friendly bacteria, and for senior dogs with digestive issues & allergies, probiotics are even more helpful.
In total, Nulo Freestyle is 85% protein and low in carbs to help build lean muscle mass. The formula is an excellent choice for all types of schnauzers. Next, we love that Nulo food is made and sourced in the USA without any unnecessary fillers or preservatives. Cutting out preservatives that could be upsetting your dog’s skin makes it easier to identify the food source(s) causing skin allergies.
The main drawbacks to Nulo Freestyle compared to our top 3 picks are the inclusion of chicken fat and other sources of protein including salmon and turkey meal. Overall, Nulo is a very well-balanced formula, though, the inclusion of several ingredients makes it less favorable for schnauzers with bad allergies than limited-ingredient options during the allergy testing phase.
- A well-balanced formula for schnauzers without poultry allergies
- Healthier skin and coat
- Contains a patented probiotic for better immune health
- A good choice for dogs with a combination of digestive issues & allergies
- Less scratching
- Most dogs love the taste and gobble it right up
- Reverses scaly, itchy skin in some dogs
- Not 100% chicken-free (contains chicken fat)
- More costly than other options
- May cause diarrhea
#5) Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Limited Ingredient Diet
The most affordable brand of the five food choices in this guide is this one by Rachel Ray. Nutrish contains just 6 main ingredients, and it’s available in both turkey and lamb varieties. While we do like this brand as a good budget brand for schnauzers with allergies, it’s not 100% poultry-free since it does contain chicken fat.
However, you may find that your dog is okay with chicken fat, and if you have more than one schnauzer in your family, this food is a good economical choice. It does not contain beef, corn, wheat, eggs, potatoes, or soy, which are the most common ingredients that cause allergies.
One final highlight is the small kibble size makes this brand one of the better choices in this guide for miniature schnauzers with allergies.
- The cheapest option of the 5 in this guide
- The very limited number of ingredients agrees with most dogs with skin allergies
- Lamb meal and turkey meal are both good sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for better joint health
- Small kibble size is good for miniature schnauzers
- Helps to clear up skin issues in breeds who are prone to itching and licking themselves
- Less likely to cause gas than other brands
- Helps to eliminate hot spots caused by food allergies
- It does contain chicken fat
- Some dogs will reject it
- Not the best choice for dogs prone to yeast issues
When choosing the best dog food for a schnauzer with skin allergies, it’s best to start with a limited ingredient grain-free variety until you identify the ingredients that cause your dog’s allergies. Remember, the most common culprits are chicken, beef, corn, wheat, and eggs. Cutting those ingredients out first is the best approach.
Once you begin to understand and know what’s causing your dog’s skin issues, it’s best to transition to more well-balanced dog food that does contain grains. While protein is a vital part of a dog’s diet for healthy lean muscle mass, dogs have actually evolved to become omnivores like us. That’s why they do best on food that’s full of healthy carbs, vitamins, minerals, fats, and protein.
The key is to identify what causes your dog’s skin allergies and stay away from just those ingredients. Where pet parents go wrong is when they believe less is more 100% of the time. During the testing phase, less is more is a good approach, but once you know what’s causing those annoying allergies, it’s best to consider ingredient sources and calories per cup of kibble first to maintain your schnauzer’s long-term health.