The Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Nothing is worse than seeing your dog suffer and food allergies can cause some pretty bag reactions in some dogs.
From recurrent ear infections to painful skin and digestive symptoms, food allergies in dogs are no laughing matter.
Food allergies affect dogs in different ways than they affect humans, but the fact remains that a hypoallergenic diet is the best solution.
A hypoallergenic dog food is simply a dog food free from allergens. Because different dogs are allergic to different things, hypoallergenic dog foods may look different for different dogs.
Keep reading to learn more about your dog’s basic dietary needs and to receive some tips for picking the best dog food to meet those needs.
You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best hypoallergenic dog food.
Quick Look At Our Top Picks:
Understanding the Dietary Needs of Dogs
Dogs require a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet.
Protein forms the building blocks of strong muscles while fat provides a concentrated source of energy.
Carbohydrates provide energy as well as fiber and essential nutrients. Your dog needs these ingredients in specific ratios.
If your dog suffers from food allergies, it becomes more important to carefully choose the ingredients that provide these nutrients. Here are some things to look for in a hypoallergenic dog food:
- Animal Proteins. Any hypoallergenic dog food should start with an animal protein like meat, poultry, or fish as the main ingredient and provide a minimum of 18% crude protein. Novel proteins like venison, turkey, and rabbit are commonly used in hypoallergenic dog foods.
- Healthy Fats. Most of your dog’s fat intake should come from animal sources because its body can better metabolize animal fats than plant fats. Your dog needs a minimum of 5% fat.
- Digestible Carbohydrates. When it comes to food allergies, grains are a common culprit so look for a dog food made with grain-free carbohydrates like vegetables, beans, or legumes.
- No Artificial Additives. Low-quality ingredients can trigger food allergies, so make sure the dog food is made with wholesome natural ingredients and free from artificial additives.
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best hypoallergenic dog food for. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Now that you know the basics about your dog’s nutritional needs, you can learn how to choose a hypoallergenic dog food.
The best place to start is a recipe made with natural ingredients.
You can look for the word “natural” on the label but keep in mind that claims on pet food packaging is not as closely regulated as for human food, so take these claims with a grain of salt.
As you look at the package, make sure that the product lists a high-quality source of animal protein first.
Novel sources of protein like turkey, duck, venison, lamb, and rabbit are ideal for hypoallergenic dog foods because your dog is unlikely to have had them which reduces the risk for triggering an allergy.
Fats are not usually a problem for allergies, but you still want them to come from high-quality animal sources to ensure digestibility and bioavailability.
When it comes to carbohydrates, your dog has no specific requirements, but they should be digestible and unlikely to trigger allergies.
For most dogs with allergies, this means cutting out grains. Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and legumes are all good options. You should also make sure that the recipe contains plenty of fiber and probiotics to ensure smooth digestion.
To avoid triggering an allergy, a limited ingredient diet is a good idea.
These are simply dog foods made with a low number of main ingredients which reduces the risk for triggering an allergy. These can also be made with novel proteins and grain-free carbohydrates to further reduce the risk.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best hypoallergenic dog food.
The Top 5 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods
Now that you have a better understanding of your dog’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to shop for a hypoallergenic dog food. Remember, the key is to reduce the risk for triggering an allergy so look for a recipe made with a limited number of ingredients including quality animal protein, healthy fats, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, and beneficial supplements.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best hypoallergenic dog food that you should consider:
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
Some dogs are more prone to allergies and food sensitivities than others, and the risk for food allergies goes up as your dog gets older.
Dogs can develop allergies to just about any food ingredient, but there are certain foods that are most likely to trigger allergies.
These include low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy as well as common proteins like chicken, pork, beef, and eggs.
Artificial ingredients and by-products can also trigger negative reactions in dogs. If your dog is allergic or sensitive, a grain-free diet may help or you could try a limited ingredient diet made with a novel protein.
Every dog is unique in terms of his tolerance for certain ingredients, so a dog food that is hypoallergenic for one dog may trigger allergies in another dog. The key is to identify the ingredient(s) that is causing your dog’ problem and then eliminate it from his diet.
One way to do that is through switching to a hypoallergenic dog food until all signs of your dog’s allergy disappear, then introduce potential allergens one at a time until you identify the problem.