What is Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

Hypoallergenic dog food has been creating a stir in the media for some time now. We take a closer look at the benefits your dog can gain from it, whether it’s always the best option and some of the myths surrounding it.

dog food

Source: Labrador Training HQ

With the vast array of different diets, allergy advice and lifestyle choices regularly being featured in the media these days, it can be difficult to keep track of new trends and to know what is and isn’t OK to eat as humans, let alone what we can give our dogs.

It is important to understand that dogs are similar to humans, in the sense that they also have dietary requirements, and can’t just be given anything if we want them to stay happy and healthy.

In the past, you might have noticed that your dog is suffering minor ailments and conditions that you haven’t been able to explain; these can often be traced back to something that they have been given to eat without knowing of any harmful effects.

Thankfully, there are now whole ranges of what is called ‘hypoallergenic dog food’.

Headshot of a golden LabradorSource: Chiemsee2016

What is Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

 

Essentially, hypoallergenic dog food is designed for dogs who are allergic to normal dog food. This is done by compiling a list of wholesome and nutritious ingredients that aren’t in conventional canine cuisine.

There are many pet food brands who claim their food is organic or hypoallergenic, though it often turns out that these are marketing ploys to boost sales.

There is no list of essential ingredients required for a food to be officially recognised as hypoallergenic, but truly hypoallergenic dog food does not contain an abundance of chemicals and processed nasties.

When considering what you should be feeding your dog, it is important to remember what dogs would be eating in the wild. As such, it is better to keep things natural and wholesome to replicate the purest nutrition a dog can get.

There should be no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives in hypoallergenic dog food —these will only be detrimental to your dog's health.

In addition, you should buy dog foods that are high in natural sources of protein—meat and fish—though it is important to consult your vet before radically changing your dog’s diet.

 

Benefits of Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Side headshot of a brown dog in a field

Source: Original_Frank

There are numerous benefits to be had from making the switch from normal dog food to hypoallergenic varieties. The purpose is to try and eliminate all of the things in normal dog food that your dog could potentially be allergic to.

For this reason, the main benefit is naturally that your dog is unlikely to be allergic in any way to the food you are giving them—this is the most important thing to consider.

A proper diet of hypoallergenic dog food diet can significantly reduce the risk of a number of different health problems, including: arthritis, blocked anal glands, obesity and periodontal disease. Other issues that can be prevented through giving your dog hypoallergenic dog food are: heart disease, digestive problems, and some kidney ailments.

In the long run, it won’t only be your dog that sees the benefit of hypoallergenic dog food—your wallet will too.

The vast majority of a dog's ailments tend to be as a result of their diet, and with vet bills being as high as they are these days, you could end up saving yourself a significant sum by making the switch to good hypoallergenic dog food.

 

Why Switch to Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

Female vet with a golden Labrador puppySource: Ilmicrofono Oggiono

A proper hypoallergenic diet for dogs will result in a host of benefits for both you and your dog. From the moment you first purchase wet hypoallergenic dog food, you will undoubtedly notice the benefits.

Sometimes it is the ingredients that we consider to be the healthiest for our dogs that are actually causing the most harm.

Whilst the symptoms of an allergy tend to be relatively obvious in dogs, the causes are rarely as evident and, as such, treating allergies can be nigh on impossible at times.

 

Hypoallergenic Puppy Food

Black and white puppySource: skeeze

Feeding puppies can be a tricky business, especially if you’re feeding one of the bigger breeds of dog, without having to worry about dog food for dogs with allergies.

Certain breeds of dog have certain dietary requirements, though most puppies are fine with regular wet puppy food, some puppies in particular need foods without too much calcium, phosphorous, fat and vitamin D.

This is to help slow down the rate at which they grow, as rapid growth can cause developmental orthopedic disease—which can severely impede the quality of your dog’s life. .

It is always worth discussing what type of food your puppy might need with your vet. If you think that your puppy might require, or could benefit from, hypoallergenic puppy food, then your vet should be able to recommend a specific diet or ingredients that you can try.

It is not unheard of for dog owners to give their puppies the same diet as they would an adult dog in some cases of the puppies having allergies—though it is vital to consult your vet before doing this.

 

Does my Dog need Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

Whilst there are clear benefits to providing your dog with a hypoallergenic diet, there are several questions to consider. The most important question that you need to ask is whether your dog is actually suffering from an allergy.

General signs that your dog is suffering from an allergy:

 

  • An excessive amount of scratching and the appearance of being itchy.
  • A large amount of dandruff, or very oily skin and fur.
  • Ear infections and ears that consistently seem to be unclean and full of debris on a regular basis.
  • Excessive irritation and signs of discomfort, normally with paws or tail. Check for signs of soreness, including redness and scabs.
  • Gastrointestinal problems, normally resulting in diarrhoea, vomiting,wind and bloating. If your dog is often trying to eat grass to make itself sick then this could be a sign of an allergy.
  • Abnormal behaviour including lethargy and loss of interest in food, exercise and the things they enjoyed before.

If you think that your dog is showing any of these signs, then it might be time to consult your vet about whether your dog should be put on a hypoallergenic diet.

Headshot of a Shiba Inu Source: petrastanley

How to Get your Dog onto a Hypoallergenic Diet

Taking the first steps towards changing your dog’s diet can be a difficult process, it’s often hard to know what you should be doing.

As a result, it’s essential to consult your vet and make sure that you don’t change too much too quickly. Even if your dog is allergic to the food you’re currently feeding them, their stomach might not be able to handle such a sudden change of ingredients.

Once you have got the go ahead from your vet to start feeding your dog hypoallergenic food, be sure to follow all the instructions regarding feeding times and quantities as these may differ from product to product.

Finally, be patient. Even if this new diet eliminates all of your dog's allergic reactions, it is unlikely to do so instantaneously. It might take a while for things to start getting better, give it time and make a note of any positive changes that you notice in your dog’s behaviour.

Jack Russell Terrier on the grass

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Myths about Hypoallergenic Dog Food

There are a lot of myths and speculation surrounding hypoallergenic dog food, much like there is with human food.

For example, despite the fact that so many allergies are caused by a dog's diet many people seem to think that switching to a hypoallergenic diet for their dogs will make all these problems go away.

In fact, only 10% of dog allergies are improved through switching to hypoallergenic food, highlighting how important it is to look at other factors.

Many people are also under the impression that hypoallergenic dog food contains a host of miracle ingredients that are going to transform their dog or that it is the only food that a dog should eat.

It’s actually the case that hypoallergenic food isn’t necessary for all dogs to be happy and healthy, some dogs might be happier just with more conventional dinners such as lamb and rice dog food.

 

In Brief:

  • Hypoallergenic dog food is food that doesn’t contain the normal ingredients of conventional dog food.
  • It is a good way of trying to stop your dog suffering from food related allergies.
  • It is not a substitute for taking your dog to see a vet and get proper treatment.
  • Only 10% of dog allergies are improved through switching to hypoallergenic dog food.
  • Always consult your vet if you think your dog has an allergy and before you change their diet. 

Your dog deserves the best food it can get for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Add a spring to their step and a shine to their coat today with Lovejoy’s hypoallergenic dry dog food range.

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