It seems almost every month or so, a new trendy diet hits the market that is designed to sidestep a particular food allergy. Did you know that dogs are commonly affected by food allergies as well? In fact, food allergies are third on the list of the most common types of allergies in dogs. Only fleas and airborne allergies come before them. If you think that your dog may be suffering from food allergies, it may be time to consider switching to a hypoallergenic dog food.
Food Allergies in Dogs
Just as with humans, food allergies can be the cause of a vast variety of symptoms in dogs. If there is a food allergy present, your dog may experience digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Other problems may surface such as itchiness, skin rashes, obsessive licking and paw biting.
It should be noted however, that there is a difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. In regards to a food allergy, your dog’s body will develop antibodies to attack the substance, which could cause damage to your dog’s tissues. However, in the case of a food intolerance, the dog’s digestive system is challenged as it is unable to physically digest a particular ingredient.
In a study of 278 cases of food allergies in dogs where the problem ingredient was able to be identified, the primary cause was beef, at 34.2%. Second in line were dairy ingredients. Coming in at number 3 was wheat. Lastly, corn and soy had the least amount of offenders.
It is important to note that dogs can develop food allergies at any point in their life without having any dietary history of them. So if you have been giving Fido the same food for a long time and now he is reacting to it, a food allergy is still a real possibility.
Advantages of Hypoallergenic Dog Food
A hypoallergenic dog food will not cure your dog’s allergy, but instead will avoid triggering an allergic response. In order for a food to not to trigger this response, rather unusual ingredients may be used in place of more traditional ones. Pheasant, buffalo and kangaroo are three ingredients that a hypoallergenic dog food may contain. Though the list of ingredients will vary from brand to brand, most leave out the following ingredients which are common allergic triggers: beef, chicken, dairy, lamb, fish, corn, wheat, soy and yeast.
Should your dog definitely be suffering from food allergies, removing the problem ingredient should create a significant improvement in his condition. However, you shouldn’t expect immediate results as it will take some time for his body to adjust. However, if a few days or a week passes and there are no improvements, it may be time to consider that his problem may not be allergy related. When you switch to a new dog food, it is a good idea to begin by mixing a portion of it with your dog’s old food, in order to slowly transition him into the new diet.
Choosing the Right Hypoallergenic Dog Food
If you believe that your dog may have a food allergy, it is a good idea to speak with your veterinarian about it. To label a pet food as “hypoallergenic” is a bit misleading. This is because whether something causes an allergy or not depends on what the dog is allergic to. A food that is non-allergenic for one dog may cause unwanted reactions in another.
With that being said, here are some of the most recommended hypoallergenic dog foods on the market today:
- Acana Duck & Bartlett Pear
- Holistic Select Adult Health Dry Dog Food, Lamb Meal Recipe
- Wellness Simple Lamb and Oatmeal Formula
- Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Hypoallergenic Dog Food
- Wellness Simple Salmon and Potato Formula