The best dog food for allergies
The best dog food for allergies
Dogs are just as prone to allergies as us humans. Dog food allergies may however present themselves in many ways. From itchy skin to a sensitive stomach, we tell you how to recognise allergies, provide treatment and how to implement the dog elimination diet. So, sit back and relax, we’ve got you covered.
Symptoms of allergies
Establishing whether or not if your dog is suffering from allergies can be difficult and therefore we would always recommend consulting a veterinary expert. These are some symptoms that you can be looking out for in the meantime:
- Vomiting, diarrhoea and gas
- Dull or unkempt coat
- Persistent scratching and paw chewing/licking
- Sore skin (particularly around the eyes, mouth and ears)
- Sneezing… bless you.
- Loss of ‘spark’ (this may present itself as lethargy)
Common allergens found in dog food
Whilst extensive research has been done into what it is that triggers allergies in dogs, a lot of common supermarket pet food brands still include these troublesome ingredients. Take a look at our Parcelpet proof list of red-flag ingredients:
- Wheat gluten
- Artificial preservatives (such as colourings, flavourings and genetically-modified ingredients)
Dog food allergy treatment: Introducing the dog elimination diet
…and no, the dog elimination diet is not a means of eliminating your dog – it’s to eliminate allergies. Each and every dog is different so be sure to take dog elimination diet tips with a pinch of salt. Consulting with a vet to first establish the presence of allergies and then creating a diet specifically tailored to your dog ain’t a bad idea. However, we have produced a handy guide as to what should make up your dog’s elimination diet and a rough timeline to follow by.
The no. 1 ‘rule’
The diet should only include one protein that your dog has not tasted before (e.g. salmon) and one carbohydrate (e.g. rice) for the first 8 to 12 weeks. Why? This is roughly how long it takes for all your dog’s old food to leave his/her system. Only at this point will you be able to tell whether or not the newly introduced food is working for your dog. During this time period, we advise that your keep your dog off human food and any other snacks.
NB: some owners believe that preparing food at home for this kind of diet is best. Yes, food prep gives owners a degree of control as to what their dog is eating, however, providing nutritionally balanced meal supplements can be difficult. Choosing a dry dog food for allergies is a hassle-free solution.
Keep a food diary
Food diaries are something we recommend for lots of dietary related ‘issues’. Food diaries are great for a number of reasons as they allow owners to:
- Effectively monitor how much/how often your dog is eating
- Record symptoms throughout the food trial process
- Provide detailed information for veterinary visits (e.g. your dog may be allergic to one of the new food supplements and therefore will need to switch)
Double check the old food
Whilst it might sound counterproductive, you’d be surprised at the amount of times it turns out that the old food isn’t a problem. Whilst the elimination diet is highly recommended for ‘testing’ dog food allergies, it could be that your dog was simply suffering these same symptoms from a different cause. Reintroducing the diet should quickly demonstrate whether or not your dog is actually allergic to one of the ingredients.
Slow and steady wins the race
If your dog is indeed allergic to their old food, then reintroduce the elimination diet. Once they are back to their normal selves, you can try gradually introducing new ingredients (make sure you read up on bad ingredients!) however, this is to be done at a slow and steady pace.
Best dog food for skin allergies
Yes ‘itchy skin dog food’ is actually a thing. Whilst it is heavily debated as to which dog food is best for our dogs (dry vs. wet vs. raw), it is commonly agreed upon that dry provides the best food for dogs with allergies. However, more importantly, the best dog food for allergies should be ‘hypoallergenic’.
So, what is hypoallergenic?
So, the best dry dog food for dogs with allergies is ‘hypoallergenic’ – great! But what does that actually mean? Hypoallergenic is essentially another way of saying dog food which doesn’t contain any of the common allergens (listed above). The best hypoallergenic dog food is not only formulated to avoid contact with any nasty allergens, but also includes ingredients and nutrients for optimum health. Take our best-selling Chicken & Rice recipe for example. We have not only eliminated those red-flag ingredients, but we have packed our recipe with nutrients such as Vitamin B to promote healthy cell development.
Why wait? You can browse our hypoallergenic dog food range here.
Food for thought
Do bear in mind that your dog may actually be allergic to one of the carbohydrates within their elimination diet. Some dogs can be allergic to grain and therefore eliminating ingredients such as rice and supplementing this for something like sweet potato might be the key to solving your dog’s dietary problems. Check out our grain free range for more information.
A lot of brands may claim to have the ‘Best dog food for allergies UK’ but you should always approach supermarket brands with caution. Read the label to make sure you know exactly what it is that you are putting into your dog’s diet.