The Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Foods 2023

Dalmatian eating the best Hydrolyzed dog food

Dogs are known for being loyal and loving companions, but they’re also notorious for having sensitive stomachs. If your dog is constantly experiencing digestive issues or allergies, even the simplest of food switches can be tough. 

Fortunately, there are several hydrolyzed protein dog foods options out there that can help. These foods are made with a unique combination of ingredients that are easily digestible and gentle on your puppy’s stomach.

Hydrolyzed proteins are easier to digest than other types of proteins, making them a good option for dogs with sensitive stomachs. There are several different brands of hydrolyzed protein dog foods on the market, so you can find one that fits your dog’s individual dietary needs.

Table of Contents

What Is Hydrolyzed Protein?

Hydrolysis is the process of breaking down food molecules into smaller parts through enzymes like pepsin and trypsin. Simply put, proteins are broken down into smaller amino acids. Since dogs’ stomachs can’t properly break down these functional protein molecules, manufacturers use hydrolysis to predigest the food for your doggie. This makes them easier on sensitive tummies and improves nutrient absorption.

dog eating hydrolyzed dog food

Why Choose Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Foods?

There are countless dog foods out there that boast the benefits of hydrolyzed protein, but they’re not all equally beneficial. Some use cheaper and less effective forms of hydrolysis for a less nutritious final product (and higher profit margins). As such, it’s important to do your research before making a purchase to ensure you’re getting a top-quality product.

Here are some of the most common reasons to start feeding your dog hydrolyzed protein:

Minimize Protein Allergies

Like humans, dogs can develop protein allergies, resulting in itchy and uncomfortable skin conditions like hot spots. Hydrolyzed proteins are incredibly easy to digest so that food-sensitive pets may experience fewer allergic reactions.

Recover from Chronic Diarrhea

Dog’s digestive systems are not equipped to digest large quantities of fiber, which is found in many dog food ingredients like corn and soy. Feeding your dog hydrolyzed protein can help him recover from chronic diarrhea because it contains less indigestible fiber that’s tough on the stomach.

Maintain Healthy Weight

If your dog is underweight, feeding them hydrolyzed protein can make it easier to pack on the pounds. This is because hydrolyzed proteins provide your pup with more nutrients per serving than non-hydrolyzed varieties, like whole meats and vegetables.

Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Hydrolyzed protein foods contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than traditional dog foods. These essential nutrients promote healthy bones, muscles, teeth, cell function, and more.

dog eating hydrolyzed dog food

Choosing The Right Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

Hydrolyzed protein dog foods come in a wide range of flavors and brands, so narrowing down your search can take some work. As you explore different hydrolyzed protein dog foods, keep these key points in mind:

1) Complete and Balanced Ingredients

A hydrolyzed protein dog food should be complete and balanced. That means it contains a full range of nutrients to support your pet’s health, including essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids.

2) High-Quality Protein Sources with no Fillers

The first ingredients in a hydrolyzed protein dog food should be high-quality, whole meat sources. Filler ingredients like corn and soy should be low on the ingredients list if they’re included at all.

3) No Unnecessary Ingredients

Always check the label for preservatives, artificial flavors, dyes, and other unnecessary ingredients. Hydrolyzed protein dog food should be as natural as possible.

4) Carbohydrates Source

Brown rice, sweet potato, millet, and white potatoes, make great sources of carbohydrates. They are least likely to cause food allergies or digestive problems in sensitive dogs.

Adding Hydrolyzed Protein To Your Dog's Diet

Making the transition from traditional dog food to hydrolyzed protein can be difficult for some dogs. Unfortunately, your furry friend cannot tell you exactly how he feels about the switch-up. 

If your furball seems uncomfortable or starts vomiting, stop feeding them hydrolyzed protein and slowly mix in their old food. If he doesn’t vomit within 24 hours after the switch, you can go ahead and resume the new diet at your next scheduled mealtime.

french bulldog with a carrot in its mouth

Our Top 5 Picks Of The Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Foods

1. Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Shredded Blend

Purina Pro Plan is an excellent protein choice for those looking to switch to hydrolyzed protein. This formula provides your doggie with a complete and balanced meal loaded with nutrients.


highly rated

Proplan Dog

check price

Why we love it:

  • Real beef as the first ingredient
  • Essential vitamins and minerals
  • Shredded blend texture
  • Purina Pro Plan is easily found in most pet stores and grocery stores
  • This great-tasting formula comes in beef, chicken, and pork flavors
  • Protein-rich meal with high-quality ingredients
  • Formulated to help dogs maintain a healthy weight
  • Ingredients designed to support the immune system and heart health
  • Contains live probiotics to support healthy digestion


  • Contains poultry by-product meal, which is not ideal for dogs with food allergies

2. Hill’s Prescription Diet Canine Z/D

Hill’s Prescription Diet is a wonderful hydrolyzed protein choice for dogs with food sensitivities. This wellness formula features limited ingredients and high-quality sources of beef, chicken meal, and more to provide your pet with a nutritionally balanced meal.

highly rated

Hill Diet

check price

Why we love it:

  • Formulated to help control food allergies and sensitivities
  • Wheat-free and easy to digest
  • All-natural ingredients
  • High-quality proteins and antioxidants
  • Perfectly formulated ingredients to help reduce gas, so your dog feels comfortable after meals
  • Formulated with high levels of essential fatty acids and antioxidants
  • Great for dogs that need a low-sodium diet
  • Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives


  • Contains corn and wheat, which can irritate the digestive system of dogs with certain sensitivities (corn and wheat free option available)

3. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein

Blue Buffalo is an excellent hydrolyzed protein choice for health-conscious pet parents. This brand prides itself on its high-quality, natural ingredients that are specifically formulated to support your dog’s healthy lifestyle.

highly ratedBlue Buffalocheck price

Why we love it:

  • Formulated to help control food allergies and sensitivities
  • Contains high-quality ingredients, including real salmon as the first ingredient
  • Provides key antioxidants for immune support
  • No chicken, soy, corn, wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives
  • Offers omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseed to support healthy skin and coat
  • Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs/digestion issues or food allergies


  • Higher in fat than most hydrolyzed protein brands (lower-fat option available)

4. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA  Hydrolyzed

This veterinary dog food from Purina is recommended for pets suffering from pancreatitis, chronic enteritis, IBD, and other gastrointestinal diseases. This formula helps restore normal function of the digestive tract by helping your pet gain weight or maintain a healthy body condition. The kibble is made with high-quality natural ingredients that are easily digestible and highly palatable.

highly rated

Purina Dry Food

check price

Why we love it:

  • Formulated to help manage food sensitivities and gastrointestinal issues
  • High-quality protein from chicken provides energy and stamina throughout the day
  • Contains high-quality natural ingredients from chicken, fish, and whole grains to nourish your dog
  • Great for dogs that have recently undergone a change in diet or are struggling with nutrition intolerance issues
  • Helps maintain a healthy body weight
  • Balanced level of fat, for healthy skin and coat


Contains chicken by-product meal and soybean meal which can irritate the digestive system of dogs with certain sensitivities (lower-ingredient/allergen-free, fish flavor options available)

5. IAMS Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food Lamb and Rice

IAMS offers a hydrolyzed protein formula that is specifically formulated to help large breed dogs maintain lean muscles and strong bones. A high-quality protein blend of chicken, lamb meal, and brown rice provides energy to your best friend all day long. This formula features antioxidants plus vitamins C and E for immune support.

highly rated

Iamscheck price

Why we love it:

  • Real lamb meal is the first ingredient, and it’s super easy to digest.
  • Made with prebiotics and probiotics to promote healthy digestion
  • Omega-6 fatty acids to help maintain strong, beautiful skin and a shiny coat, and omega-3 fatty acids to help keep joints healthy
  • Good for large and giant breed dogs
  • Veterinarian approved, highly rated


  • May require larger feedings depending on your pet’s energy level
  • Contains chicken and chicken by-product meals, which are not recommended for pets with sensitivities
dog wont eat or drink

Final Thoughts

In the realm of canine nutrition, hydrolyzed dog foods have gained prominence for their unique benefits, particularly for pups with sensitive stomachs or those with food allergies. 

After an exhaustive review of various hydrolyzed options available in the market, it’s evident that the Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Shredded Blend emerges as the top pick overall. There are several reasons for this conclusion: the blend not only boasts high-quality hydrolyzed ingredients but also provides a well-balanced nutrient profile suitable for various breeds and life stages.

 Furthermore, its shredded texture is often preferred by dogs, making meal times more enjoyable for our furry friends. Combining quality, palatability, and optimal nutritional value, it’s clear why the Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Shredded Blend stands out as the best choice for dog owners seeking the very best hydrolyzed food for their pets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can a dog stay on a Hydrolyzed protein diet?

Yes, a dog can remain on a hydrolyzed protein diet for extended periods, especially if the diet addresses specific health concerns such as food allergies or sensitivities. 

These specialized diets are designed to break down proteins into smaller molecules, making them less recognizable to the dog’s immune system, thereby reducing the likelihood of an allergic response. Hydrolyzed protein diets can offer dogs with food intolerances a consistent, easy-to-digest option, alleviating gastrointestinal or dermatological symptoms associated with food allergies.

However, it’s essential for pet owners to consult with their veterinarian before making any prolonged dietary changes. While hydrolyzed protein diets are generally safe and nutritious for long-term use, a dog’s individual health needs and any potential nutritional deficiencies should be monitored. Regular check-ups will ensure the dog remains in optimal health while on this specialized diet.

How long should a dog be on Hydrolyzed protein?

A dog’s duration on a hydrolyzed protein diet often depends on the reason for its introduction. For dogs undergoing an elimination diet to determine food allergies, the hydrolyzed protein diet is typically recommended for a period of 8 to 12 weeks. This timeframe allows for any allergens from their previous diet to be entirely eliminated from their system and for the dog to show signs of improvement, such as reduced itching or gastrointestinal symptoms.

However, if a dog’s symptoms significantly improve on the hydrolyzed protein diet and the vet identifies it as the most suitable option for the pet’s health needs, they may recommend that the dog stays on it indefinitely. For dogs diagnosed with chronic food allergies, a hydrolyzed protein diet can serve as a long-term solution to prevent allergic reactions and keep the dog healthy and symptom-free. Regardless, regular consultations with a vet are vital to ensure the dog’s well-being and nutritional balance.

What can I feed my dog instead of Hydrolyzed protein dog food?

If you’re considering alternatives to hydrolyzed protein dog food, one common option is a limited ingredient diet (LID). LIDs are crafted with fewer components to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. They typically feature a single protein source and a singular carbohydrate source, making it easier to pinpoint potential allergens. Examples of proteins used in LIDs include lamb, duck, or fish, which are often less allergenic for many dogs compared to more common proteins like beef or chicken.

Another avenue to explore is homemade diets, which offer you full control over the ingredients your dog consumes. If you choose this route, it’s crucial to work with a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. They can guide you in formulating a balanced and nutritious meal plan tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Homemade diets can ensure your dog avoids specific allergens while still receiving all the necessary nutrients essential for their health and well-being.

About Us

Welcome to doggie site. We stand as the ultimate hub for dedicated dog enthusiasts, combining years of expertise and passion to bring you unparalleled canine insights. Established by a team of canine experts, our platform is rooted in evidence-based practices and a genuine love for dogs, ensuring that you receive the best advice and information.

Scroll to Top