The Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Foods 2023

Last Updated on January 6, 2023

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.

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.

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.

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.

Our Top 5 Picks of the Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Foods

For someone new to the world of hydrolyzed protein dog foods, this unique combination of ingredients may seem a bit overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of five great hydrolyzed protein dog food brands that are worth checking out.

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.

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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
  • With live probiotics to support a healthy digestion


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

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.

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Hill Diet

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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)

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.

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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)

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.

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Purina Dry Food

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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)

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.

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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


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