Hypoallergenic Dog Food – What is it?
Food allergies are becoming more and more common – it seems as though every few months a new fad diet hits the market, targeting a certain allergy. What you may not realize, however, is that dogs can be affected by food allergies as well. Food allergies are the third most common type of allergy in dogs, coming in behind fleas and non-contact allergies. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from food allergies, take the time to learn more and then consider switching to a hypoallergenic dog food.
Food Allergies in Dogs
As is true for humans, food allergies can cause a wide variety of symptoms in dogs. Some of the most common symptoms are digestive – things like gas, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Food allergies can also cause other symptoms like itching, skin rashes, obsessive licking and paw biting. In assessing your dog’s condition it can be helpful to learn the difference between a food allergy and an intolerance. In the case of an allergy, your dog’s body will treat the allergen like an enemy and will produce antibodies to attack it – these antibodies may also end up causing damage to your dog’s tissues. In the case of an intolerance, however, the dog’s body is simply unable to digest a particular ingredient.
Benefits of Hypoallergenic Dog Food
The term hypoallergenic is defined by Merriam-Webster as “having little likelihood of causing an allergic response.” Thus, hypoallergenic dog foods are not designed to “cure” your dog’s allergies but to limit his exposure to ingredients that will trigger an allergic response. In order to accomplish this, hypoallergenic dog foods are often made with novel ingredients like buffalo, pheasant or kangaroo. The individual list of ingredients will vary according to the formula and manufacturer but, for the most part, hypoallergenic dog foods exclude common allergens like:
If your dog is indeed suffering from food allergies, the removal of the allergen from his diet should spark a significant improvement in his condition. You shouldn’t expect an immediate improvement because your dog’s body will take some time to adjust but, if he doesn’t begin to improve after a few days or a week, you may want to look into alternative causes for his problems.
Recommended Brands of Hypoallergenic Food
Whether your dog duffers from allergies or you simply want a dog food that is made from fresh ingredients, the foods listed below are great options to try:
- Acana Dry Dog Food
- California Natural (dry or canned)
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet
- Wellness Simple (dry or canned)
Remember when switching to a new dog food that you must mix a portion of it with your dog’s old food to slowly transition him onto the new diet. If your dog continues to have problems, you may need to seek veterinary care.