Sometimes, when you see your dog getting itchy or having skin breakouts, it may not be about a parasite or a disease. It may simply be about what food it’s eating. Dogs, just like humans, are prone to allergenic reactions to substances in their food. Because of this, many dog food makers now have hypoallergenic dog food brands that cater to dogs with food-related allergies. And remember, skin outbreaks may just be the beginning. It’s also possible that the allergy be more gastrointestinal in nature.
For the record, the common food allergies for dogs are based on the following ingredients: dairy or milk products, yeast, wheat, chicken, beef, corn, and soy.
What are the symptoms?
Aside from itchiness and skin outbreaks the symptoms are as follows:
- Dandruff and body or coat odor; this can also be accompanied by excessive oiliness
- Ear infections and residues are definite signs of allergenic ingredients in their food
- The itchiness can also result in chronic licking of their feet
- General lethargy, or its reverse, hyperactivity
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, vomiting or persistent diarrhea
Note: Food Intolerance
For some pets, the idea is that it may not be an allergy. It may simply be that the dog is unable to digest a particular kind of food, such as in lactose intolerance. This is more appropriately put under the term “Food Intolerance,” but the treatment is the same: find a brand of hypoallergenic dog food that will minimize or make the food intolerance symptoms disappear.
Do note, too, that there could be other environmental factors, such as chemical residues, dust, or pollen, which can trigger allergenic reactions in dogs. However, with hypoallergenic food, the reactions can be minimized, or even be rendered minor enough to nonexistent.
How is hypoallergenic dog food made?
Aside from avoiding most, if not all the common allergenic food ingredients, hypoallergenic dog food contains no preservatives, and are usually made with natural, not industrially-produced, ingredients. Still, it’s a good idea to check on your local dealer to see if they are legit about their sources, and to use only renowned brands.
In order to find out which of these food brands will work best for your dog, you should have a veterinarian who has experience with food allergies to check your dog out, and to recommend which brand of dog food might work best. DO take note that this may mean switching food brands over couple of times over a specific period, to determine which works best.
What are some examples of hypoallergenic food brands?
Flint River Ranch
Acana Dog Food is manufactured by Champion pet foods. The brand is known or having different specific pet food variants for various dog breeds. There are no preservatives or food coloring in the ingredients, and no wheat as well. The Acana food mix is low in carbohydrates, high in antioxidants, and contains Omega-3 acids for your dog’s hair growth.
Avoderm Natural dog food has avocado as its most prominent ingredient, which helps in keeping your dog’s coat healthy. Vitamins, minerals, trace elements, are also included. It is manufactured by Breeder’s Choice pet foods. Aside from Chicken Meal, other flavors include Lamb and Tuna.
Pinnacle’s hypoallergenic line includes probiotic ingredients, aside from essential minerals and vitamins. It’s usually made from fish, oatmeal, flax seed, and quinoa.
Orijen is another brand manufactured by Champion, and relies on alternate meat supplies such as chicken, fish, turkey and various other vegetables and fruits. They use ingredients that are as fresh as possible, and are designed to be without grains. However, if your dog were also overweight, it would be a good idea not to use Orijen at first, given the very high protein quantities.
This dog food provides fresh oven-baked dog food, and this contains proper amino acids. Sample packets are available, so you can find out which of their flavors will appeal to your dog the most. Some of the flavors are lamb, duck, fish, and oatmeal.
When trying out new foods, do be sure to observe your dog closely to see if the allergy symptoms will go away. If they do, keep your dog on the new food for a few days. If you see that some of the symptoms are returning – or if your dog is developing a new set of symptoms, then discontinue the dog food brand, and take note of its ingredients. That way, you should be able to pare down the possible allergenic food ingredients yourself.