Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Reviews + Guide

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Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Reviews + Guide

We all know that a pet is never just an animal; a pet is part of a family, part of a household. If you never had a pet, this is something you won’t understand, but for those who have a dog pottering around their home, you will not need us to tell you that your furry friend is as much your family as your human members!

A dog has the power to transform a dull house into a lively one, lifts a low mood, can give us purpose, and also gives us one of the most loyal and trustworthy companions possible. For that reason, looking after our canine buddy is imperative.

Just like humans, dogs have complex needs, and certain dogs have likes, dislikes, and different dietary requirements too. Throughout this guide we’re going to explore hypoallergenic dog food; we’re going to talk about what it is, why your dog might need it, how to find out whether they need it, and by the end, the whole mystery of this subject will be much clearer.

What is Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

Hypoallergenic dog food is designed to avoid having any ingredients which are common triggers of reactions in dogs. We will talk in much more detail in a later section about the common triggers of allergies in dogs, but for now, we just need to know that this type of dog food contains none of these triggers, it has fewer ingredients as a result, and it has been tested to ensure that it is kind and safe for your pooch.

There are three main types of hypoallergenic dog food:

  • Limited ingredient
  • Novel Ingredient
  • Prescription

Limited ingredient dog food is literally what the name would suggest – it contains very little ingredients, because that way you know exactly what is in it, and you know that it is not going to cause a reaction in your dog.

Novel ingredient dog food contains ingredients which are a little more unusual, i.e. these ingredients will not have been consumed by your dog before, and therefore haven’t triggered a previous reaction. Ingredients could include millet or kangaroo, for example.

Prescription dog food is, as the name would tell you, prescribed by a vet and all ingredients at 100% hypoallergenic, and do not contain anything which your dog is allergic to.

Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Comparison Chart

(coming soon)

Why do Dogs Need Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

Just like humans have sensitivities and allergies to certain things, so do dogs. A dog’s stomach is just as sensitive as a man or woman’s, and if you have a furry friend who has an allergy to a particular ingredient, you will become very quickly aware of this, because of the symptoms they will display. Again, we are going to talk in more detail about these symptoms, to give you the information to spot whether your doggy friend is within this bracket, but it’s vital to know that not all dogs can digest the same food, and not all dogs can handle it in the same way. If a dog is an important part of your household and family, then you need to treat their diet the same as you would your own.

How to Tell if Your Dog Needs Hypoallergenic Dog Food

  • Skin rashes
  • Hives
  • Itching regularly
  • Biting their paws
  • Licking constantly
  • Stomach upsets, e.g. diarrhea, vomiting, or both
  • Bloating
  • Behavioral changes, e.g. they don’t seem to want to play or engage, they seem lacking in life and always tired
  • Hair loss
  • Weight issues
  • Respiratory problems
  • Ear inflammation and itching

In order to diagnose whether your pet needs this type of special food, a vet can carry out some simple tests to give you your answer, and also to pinpoint exactly what the allergy is to. This generally comes down to a quick blood test, which is then sent to the laboratory and the result will tell you whether your dog is suffering from an allergy. An elimination diet is also sometimes used to try and pinpoint exactly what it is that is causing the symptoms in your pet.

The Difference Between Hypoallergenic Dog Food and Grain-Free

Grain-free dog food is literally as the name would suggest, free of grains, so it is, therefore, ideal for dogs with a gluten allergy. This can be compared to humans with coeliac disease perhaps, or those who simply have a gluten allergy, and in that case, a diet free of gluten is commenced. It’s no different for our furry friends. On the other hand, however, hypoallergenic dog food is more far reaching, because it keeps out of the way any of the triggers which are common causes of allergies in dogs.

How is a Food Allergy Diagnosed in a Dog?

Firstly it is down to you as the owner to spot symptoms and to take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and then treatment. From there, your vet will ask you lots of questions about the diet your dog has, what signs and symptoms they are displaying, and you may even be asked to take a stool sample in for testing. The most common diagnosis is, however, a blood test, as we mentioned before.

When dogs are experiencing an allergy, just as humans, there is a rise in a particular substance in the blood, and this can tell you whether your furry friend is indeed at the mercy of an allergy. There are tests which are being developed to allow this to be tested from saliva, rather than blood, and this is called Nutriscan. This isn’t available everywhere yet. However, it is fast becoming a common go-to for vets to identify what is going on with allergies.

A less invasive option for diagnosis, and often the first port of call for symptoms which aren’t severe, is an elimination diet. This is when you continue to feed your dog was you would do, but you take out certain foods and see if the reaction continues. If it does, you then swap the eliminated food for a different one regularly in their diet and see if there are any changes. The idea is that by the end of the process you will know what food or ingredient it is that is causing the problems with your pet.

What Are the Most Common Canine Food Allergens?

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Yeast

What is the Difference Between a Dog’s Food Allergy and a Dog’s Food Intolerance?

An allergy causes an entirely different reaction compared to an intolerance and is usually more severe. This is exactly the same case as for humans.

An allergy causes a reaction in the immune system, e.g. itching, hives, sickness, etc.
An intolerance causes gastric symptoms, e.g. the stomach doesn’t like what it has consumed, and the usual response is sickness and diarrhea

While both are uncomfortable and distressing for your dog, an allergy is often much more serious, and therefore much more in need of diagnosis and treatment.

Hypoallergenic Dog Food Reviews 2017

What Are The Recommended Ingredients For Hypoallergenic Animals?

There are countless different hypoallergenic dog foods on the market, and it’s important to explore your options before picking the right one for your dog. No dog is the same as any other, just like no human is either!

It is often that a hypoallergenic brand which is rich in seafood ingredients can be an allergy soother for many dogs because these are packed with healthy omega-3 nutrients and fatty acids, while also being much more soothing for your pet’s stomach in the case of a sensitivity.

Other hypoallergenic dog foods do contain grain to a certain degree, as a filler, but they are wholegrains, as well as introducing prebiotics and probiotics into your dog’s stomach, and encouraging the good bacteria we all need for good stomach health. Most hypoallergenic dog foods also avoid meat by-products, anything with dairy in, corn, wheat, eggs, and basically anything processed or false – whole foods, fresh foods, ‘clean’ foods are the main ingredients of hypoallergenic dog food.

What Other Steps Can be Taken For Dogs With Intolerance/Allergies?

Ensuring that your dog doesn’t accidentally consume anything they shouldn’t is the best step to ensuring that their stomach and the entire body stays in the best shape possible. Try and teach your children and visitors to your home to avoid giving your dog any scraps of food or any treats, unless you know exactly what is in them, and that they are hypoallergenic in type. There are many treats out there which are hypoallergenic, so it isn’t as if your pooch has to live a life devoid of treats!

A dog with an allergy or intolerance may go onto developing allergies or intolerance of other particular things, possibly as they get older, and some breeds are more susceptible to this than others, such as boxer dogs, for instance. In this case, simply keep a close eye on any symptoms that your dog is displaying, and take action if you notice anything causing your furry friend any distress.

Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Comparison Chart

(coming soon)

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