Has your pooch been scratching herself unusually lately? Maybe vomiting or having bowel issues? If that's the case, it might be due to her diet.
Our fluffy friends can get allergies - that's right! - due to their diets just like us.
Could hypoallergenic diet help?
I'm sure you've heard of hypoallergenic diet and maybe wondering how it can help. A while ago I had the same questions in mind when my dog was having health issues due to his diet.
It took me some time to understand available options and why there may not be such a thing as a hypoallergenic diet. Since I already did the research, I wanted to share my findings and with you in this post.
If you're in a hurry, you can check the top 3 out of the top 5 hypoallergenic dog foods I picked here:
Our Top Picks
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Which Is The Best hypoallergenic Dog Food?
Before going into the details of what hypoallergenic diet is, here are the top 5 hypoallergenic dog food reviews:
This hypoallergenic dog food boasts that it is over one quarter turkey, and over one quarter rice. Both ingredients are good and solidly hypoallergenic which should soothe sensitive tummies and aid in healing.
Many users report shinier coats, reduction in itching and improved bowel activity after switching their dogs to it. It seems that the beet pulp ingredient also helps with neutralizing smelly farts. Particularly useful if you have a flatulence master at home.
If you’re worried about the kibble sizes, keep in mind that these are on the smaller end of the scale and it can go down the wrong way with some dogs.
The packaging is sturdy, and there are various pack sizes to cater for dogs of all sizes.
What we liked
- Designed for sensitive tummies
- Reduces smelly farts
- Shinier coats
- Wheat, dairy, soya and egg-free
- Small kibble size for some dogs
This food is, somewhat surprisingly, packed with chicken. One of the meat proteins that can cause allergic reactions. However, as long as your dog is alright with chicken, it could indeed work well as a hypoallergenic dog food.
It is advertised as soy and grain-free. It’s packed with fatty acids, B vitamins and herbs. It has an appetising aroma which is not really overwhelming.
Some of the reported positives are glossier smooth coats and higher energy levels. Additionally it seems to be easy to clean up what comes after food, a good sign of quality for some. On the down side, the main bulking agent is maize. Just a heads up if your dog can’t tolerate it.
What we liked
- Designed for your dog's all over health
- Soy and grain free
- No artificial flavours
- Made with chicken, a known allergen
- The main bulking agent is maize
Bursting with nourishing turkey breast meat and teamed with fibre-filled brown rice and oats, this food is prepared to be gentle on your dog's digestion.
It is available in a choice of pack sizes, making it ideal for both big and small dogs. Or to give it a try before committing to a large pack.
Some of our users report that their pups' health improved since switching to it. Shinier coats and an appetite gobbling down the food seem to be the common seals of approval.
Though not on the budget end of the shelves, it seems to be good quality for money.
Do be aware, however, that there are some ingredients in the food beyond the main three of turkey, rice and oats. Dogs with severe allergies may react to these substances which include linseed, seaweed, and alfalfa, amongst others.
What we liked
- Uses turkey, a good hypoallergenic meat
- Different size packs available
- Free from gluten, soya, dairy and beef
- Packaging tears easily
- Some dogs simply do not like this flavour – try before committing to a big bag!
- Contains many other ingredients
Royal Canin is a tail wagging fantastic dog food. Most people report how much their pups love this food, even the pickiest of them all. It comes with a warning that you should be using this product under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon. So heads up!
It’s designed for sensitive tums, and claims to be a good choice for dogs with digestive upsets. Some users also reported improved bowel movements and skin.
It comes in large packs. However simply transferring as much as you would use for a week and then resealing large pack could help with storing.
Interestingly the ingredients list contains wheat gluten which in many cases can actually trigger the allergies. Then again not every hypoallergenic dog food mix would work for each and every pup.
If you observe that your dog’s condition doesn’t improve after a while, it could be a good idea to switch to a different food mix.
What we liked
- Designed to maintain good weight levels
- Designed to aid any number of digestive issues
- Complete food for dogs
- Only one (large) pack size
- Some concerns with ingredients' list
Alpha Sensitive is another candidate to be your furry friend's favourite. It is formulated to be a complete and balanced food for adults dogs.
The ingredient list contains both fish meal and linseed for Omega 3 oils which help to improve skin and coat conditions.
Most notable positive results reported by users are shinier coats, reduced dandruff, firm stool, better bowel movements with less smelly winds. Good for both sensitive tummies and sensitive noses.
Just a heads up with the kibble size which is a good medium size that could go down well with many breeds. Though it might feel a little large to your pupper if you have a small dog.
What we liked
- Wheat gluten free
- No artificial colours
- No soya or dairy products
- Kibbles are slightly larger for small dogs
What is hypoallergenic dog food and why use it?
You might be surprised to hear there isn't a strict definition of what hypoallergenic dog food is or a list of ingredients that make a dog food formula hypoallergenic.
Most hypoallergenic dog foods are designed to contain a list of wholesome and nutritious ingredients, and can provide good nutrition.
Why use it at all?
Your dog might be allergic to any one of the myriads of ingredients in usual dog food formulas. Finding the allergen ingredient can help to reduce your pup's suffering.
This is where hypoallergenic dog foods come in play. Ideally they're designed to be simple, wholesome, natural.
Using an elimination diet (more about it below) with hypoallergenic dog foods, you may be able to figure out the allergen and make sure your pup doesn’t suffer.
What causes allergies in dogs?
The most common allergens in dog foods are beef, dairy products, chicken, eggs, corn etc. Food allergies are often caused by an unwonted sensitivity to one or more proteins in the food.
What are the symptoms?
There can be a myriad of symptoms such as
- loose stools and diarrhoea
- excessive scratching
- wind and bloating
- skin issues
- excessive irritation
- ear infections
- abnormal behaviour such as lethargy
What is the solution?
Usually the long term solution is avoidance once the cause of the allergy is found out.
Dog food allergy or intolerance?
It could sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the two.
Simply, an allergy is a negative immune system reaction to something.
Ignoring allergic reactions could cause serious harm to your pooch. Just like a shellfish or peanut allergy would for humans.
An intolerance is where your pup is having difficulty in digesting food. Usually not life threatening, it could still decrease your dog's life quality.
We recommend visiting your vet if your pup shows these signs before changing your dog's diet. The symptoms could be caused by more serious health issues.
Simple steps can alleviate suffering
Given the fact that many humans don't realise that their dog can suffer from allergies means that all too often canine allergies are overlooked.
Dogs can suffer without the owner realising that a few simple changes could make all the difference to their poor pooch.
How does hypoallergenic food help?
Strictly speaking it's not hypoallergenic dog foods that is helping.
Rather it's the fact that you're replacing the usual food your pup eats with a simpler recipe - hypoallergenic dog foods - to find out the ingredient that is not agreeing with your furry friend.
Advantages of a hypoallergenic diet for dogs
Feeding your dog a hypoallergenic diet will help ease their suffering. As anyone who suffers from hay-fever can attest it is a miserable feeling.
Constantly itching, coughing, sneezing or feeling congested, heavy and sick. Allergies can worsen your dog's quality of life, making them grumpy and irritable.
This in turn could lead you to think that they are bad-tempered when in fact they spend a lot of their time feeling ill and itchy.
How to do it?
Elimination diet to the rescue
If your dog appears distressed after eating, or suffers from itching, you could try an elimination diet to see if changing what they eat will help them.
An elimination diet involves feeding your dog something that they were never fed before. That way your pup won't have an immune reaction to the new ingredients.
Give me an example of elimination diet
Barley and rice are considered hypoallergenic. Duck and turkey are seldom fed to dogs.
Therefore switching your dog from their current food to one that is made with, for example, rice and duck will give their system a chance to recover from the substance that is affecting their health.
What to avoid in elimination diet
When attempting an elimination diet, look out for hidden allergens such as more than one type of meat being included. Or prime allergens such as wheat being disguised under the broader umbrella of 'cereals' in the ingredients label.
Choose complete foods
Ensure your elimination diet food is thoroughly and carefully labelled. Also make sure that it is a complete food, adequate to keep your dog nourished for the full twelve weeks of the trial.
Get your Vet's help
We suggest getting a vet's help in determining whether your dog has a food allergy.
Your vet can diagnose the allergy with a veterinary diet or home-cooked diet.
Once the allergen is determined, you can use over the counter hypoallergenic dog food brands to keep your pooch tummy full and health restored.
A unique diet for your precious pup
Obviously, your fluffy friend's allergy is unique to him, so using the same product as your friends or relatives suggest might not mean that your dog gets the best hypoallergenic dog food for their needs.
Choose dog food products with novel ingredients
In general, to exclude an allergen from your furry friend's diet, you need to feed them a 'clean' meal. That is to say, food containing substances that your dog has never or very seldom eaten in the past.
It is more unusual for dogs to be fed fish or poultry as their primary food source.
All too often it's beef or pork and most dog foods are bulked out with cereals of some kind. These can include millet, sorghum, corn as well as the hypoallergenic wheat and barley.
Excluding usually suspected ingredients can help diagnose the problem. Symptoms often ease very quickly once these ingredients has been eliminated from the diet.
What To Watch Out For
Before you change your pup's diet, be certain to rule out if there are other reasons why your dog might be showing symptoms of allergies.
In these cases, the prompt intervention of a veterinarian is essential. So make sure that any medical problems have been cleared before going ahead with the assumption that an allergy is to blame.
If your dog is suffering tooth or jaw problems you could incorporate hypo-allergenic versions of wet dog foods into her diet also.
There isn't a strict definition. What is generally advertised as a hypoallergenic dog food is simple recipe that includes fewer and more natural ingredients. Ideally it needs to be simple, wholesome, natural.
Usually these recipes are free from wheat, dairy and may sometimes exclude soy, artificial colours or preservatives.
Whilst some are specifically formulated to be grain free, not all them might be in that category also. So, it's a good idea to check the ingredient list if it's an important consideration for your pup's diet.
There might be a host of reasons why your dog is getting diarrhoea. However, if you're sure that it started with the new dog food brand, one of the ingredients probably isn't agreeing with your pet.
There are no diets that are 100% “hypoallergenic”, meaning that they will not cause allergies or reactions at all.
In this case, it's a good idea to switch to another brand to rule out whether your dog needs a diet change or a session at the Vet's.
Once all the factors are weighed and balanced, it seems clear that there is one outstanding candidate in the field of best hypoallergenic dog food: Burgess Sensitive Hypoallergenic Dog Food.
It ticks more boxes than the competition when it comes to hypoallergenic dog food in the UK. It has a clear and clean ingredients list and offers good nutrition along with digestive healing for your well-beloved furry friend.
To recap, here is our top list in short:
Our Top Picks
- We’ve changed the look, but we still have the same trusted recipe for...
- Burgess Sensitive is a dry dog food made without many of the typical...
- Burgess Sensitive dog food turkey is formulated to support a sensitive...
- Delicious chicken offers naturally balanced hypoallergenic dog food for...
- 20 percent protein, 12 percent fat, this diet has been designed to keep a...
- The diet is wheat gluten and soya free making the diet a good option for...
- James Wellbeloved combines wholesome natural ingredients with tasty...
- Upset tummies are a thing of the past because our dry dog food is naturally...
- Made from natural ingredients and one select source of animal protein...
- Incorporates a moderate calorie content to help maintain ideal body weight.
- Contains antioxidants to support the barrier effect of the skin. Includes...
- Contains moderate phosphrous levels to help support healty kidney function.
- Age range description: young. Item display weight: 15.0 kilograms
- VAT free in UK
- No soya or dairy products added
What is your favourite hypoallergenic dog food?
Wow, you made it! Give yourself a high-paw for taking your time to take care of your pooch.
Why not let us know which dog food brand you picked and how your pup reacted to it down in the comment section?
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