brown Labrador looking at chicken
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Everything you need to know about hypoallergenic dog food

By Dawn Parrish Content Writer

Updated on the

Does your dog suffer from food allergies or itchy skin? If so, chances are you are considering feeding your pet hypoallergenic dog food. But how many options are there?

First of all, if you know that your dog does suffer from food allergies, its best to understand these in the first place. You don’t want to switch to a hypoallergenic diet only for it to end up being expensive, non-effective and not tackling your pet’s allergies.

The symptoms of dog food allergies and intolerances

Initially, you need to understand if your pet does, in fact, have a food allergy. Some canine food allergies can often be confused with atopic dermatitis or flea allergy dermatitis, both skin conditions. Both food intolerances and allergies can cause similar symptoms in our pets. Look for vomiting and diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort and excessive gas and flatulence.

The first step to diagnosing dog food allergy is a food elimination diet

Dog owners need to know that there is no definite test that can prove if your canine has a food allergy. Consequently, a food elimination diet is the best way to determine and segregate the allergen. This diet will only work if the canine is given only a diet that contains none of the same ingredients as in their previous foodstuff. As a rule, just switching to a different brand of dog food won’t have any different effect. This is often because other brands still contain the same ingredients such as chicken, beef, eggs, milk soya, wheat and corn.

Is your dog allergic to raw meat protein?©Pixabay

Why offer a hypoallergenic dog food

This hypoallergenic diet contains no common allergens that irritate your pet’s coat skin or stomach. Many dogs suffer common allergies to dairy and wheat products, but certain dog foods are capable of triggering an allergic reaction more than others. If you think that your dog may have a food allergy, it’s certainly a good idea to consider feeding a hypoallergenic dog food. Certainly, consult with the canine medical professional before making any drastic changes to your pet’s food choices.

Benefits of hypoallergenic dog food

There are many benefits to feeding your dog a hypoallergenic type as opposed to a normal dog food. Even more important is to determine and eliminate ingredients found in typical dog food that your pet could be allergic to. These include the following common ingredients that are linked to intolerances and allergies. As a result, the best dog food for allergies, hypoallergenic dog food does not contain any wheat, soya, dairy, eggs and beef.

Dog treats can contain artificial colours, preservatives or flavours©Pixabay

Hypoallergenic dog food is more easily digested by canines with sensitive stomachs. Recipes generally include plenty of chicken, lamb and fish which are protein sources that are quite simple for sensitive digestion. In addition, hydrolysed proteins, which in reality are just proteins that have been broken down into smaller proteins, are included. These hydrolysed proteins are fine for dogs that are prone to upset stomachs being much easier to digest.

Classification of Hypoallergenic dog food

There is no officially recognised ingredient list for a dog food to be classified as hypoallergenic. However, genuine hypoallergenic dog food will not contain any processed additives and chemicals. Similarly, it shouldn’t have any artificial colours, preservatives or flavours. These have no benefit for your dog’s health.

Hypoallergenic dog food replicates the food that a dog would eat if in the wild and not domesticated. This includes wholesome and natural foodstuffs to provide the purest nourishment you can feed to your dog.

Improve your dog's health by feeding a hypoallergenic diet©Pixabay

Dog health conditions you can improve by feeding hypoallergenic dog food

Food allergies and intolerances - and all associated health issues

Skin conditionsSkin dermatitis and itchy symptoms may be caused by eggs and dairy.

Inflammatory bowel disease and colitis – the reaction your dog has to certain foodstuff can trigger attacks

Sensitive stomach – hypoallergenic dog food is much easier to digest; no more upset stomachs

Because it can be rather difficult to narrow down which specific ingredient your dog may be allergic too, it can be challenging to decide what to feed him. To relieve your dog from these terrible symptoms, it usually helps to offer hypoallergenic dog food. If you consider that your pet is showing any symptoms of food allergies or intolerances, it could be the right time to ask for proper, professional advice. Finally, be patient. Any changes to your dog’s diet are unlikely to show an immediate effect.  Of course, things will improve if you feed a hypoallergenic dog food, but give it time and look for positive changes in your pet’s health and behaviour.

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