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Best Food for Dogs With Allergies

Best Food for Dogs With Allergies

Food allergies in dogs are uncommon but when they do occur the symptoms can make your canine pal very uncomfortable. Today, our Little Rock vets share the best foods to feed your dog if they are diagnosed with food allergies.

Food Allergies in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog has food allergies or is sensitive to an ingredient in their regular food, it's crucial to identify the specific problematic ingredient to eliminate it from their diet while ensuring they still receive proper nutrition.

Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies and sensitivities often don't appear until the dog reaches their first birthday, although they can develop in dogs of any age.

If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms they may be suffering from a food allergy and should be examined by your vet to determine the root cause of the symptom:

  • Itching
  • Red irritated skin
  • Rashes on the ears and feet
  • Gassiness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Common Causes of Food Allergies in Dogs

In dogs with food sensitivities, the proteins found in animal or plant-based ingredients are often the culprits. Ingredients like beef, corn, dairy, and wheat can be particularly problematic.

Surprisingly, symptoms of food allergies can take a while to appear, even if the dog has been eating the same food for months. It may seem sudden when a dog develops an allergy to a food they have been consuming regularly.

Diagnosing Your Dogs Food Allergies

After a thorough examination, if your vet believes that your dog may be suffering from the effects of a food allergy or food sensitivity they will likely recommend beginning your dog on an elimination diet.

Elimination Diet for Dogs With Food Allergies

If your dog requires an elimination diet, your veterinarian may prescribe a specially formulated hypoallergenic food. During a period of 8-10 weeks, you will exclusively feed your dog this prescribed food, completely eliminating all other sources from their diet.

By removing the regular dog food and potential allergenic ingredients, the elimination diet aims to improve your dog's condition if one or more of the ingredients in their regular food is causing the symptoms.

It's important to note that during this elimination diet, you should refrain from giving your dog any treats or their regular food. Only the hypoallergenic food should be fed to your dog.

Being on the elimination diet for 10 weeks allows your dog's body to adjust to the new food, and it provides an opportunity for your vet to assess their overall health.

If the allergy symptoms disappear while your dog is on the elimination diet, your vet may request that you reintroduce their original diet to see if the symptoms reappear.

While an elimination diet can help identify food allergies in dogs, there are other tests available that can provide quick results. At Bowman Road Animal Clinic, our in-house lab allows our veterinarians to conduct tests and develop a personalized treatment plan to address your pet's specific needs and start the healing process.

Best Foods for Dogs with Allergies

Following the diagnosis of food allergies, your vet will work with you to determine the best diet and treatment plan for your dog. There are a number of dry food options available, to help alleviate food allergy symptoms in dogs.

Prescription Dog Food

If your dog's food allergy symptoms are severe, your vet may recommend that you feed your dog a prescription dry food. While this option can be expensive, novel protein and hydrolyzed diets available by prescription are typically superior to those that can be purchased through pet supply stores.

Sticking to a prescribed diet may help your dog to stay healthy and comfortably free of allergy symptoms. Some of the prescription foods your vet may recommend for dogs with food sensitivities include:

  • Canine Hydrolyzed Protein Small Dog Dry Dog Food 
  • Hill's Prescription Diet® d/d Canine Potato & Venison Formula
  • Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
  • Hill's Prescription Diet® Dog i/d® Sensitive Dry

Limited Ingredient Dog Foods

Limited ingredient dog foods address the presence of allergens by including just a single protein source, (such as beef, lamb or chicken), often combined with just a single carbohydrate.

When you are shopping for limited ingredient dog foods it's important to check for a seal of approval from the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO), as well as a "complete and balanced" claim from the manufacturer.

Limited ingredient foods that your vet may recommend include:

  • Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Formula Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
  • Hill's® Prescription Diet® d/d® Canine Skin Support Potato & Salmon Formula
  • Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Dog Food - Natural, Salmon & Lentils, Grain Free, Non-GMO
  • CANIDAE® PURE® Dog Food - Limited Ingredient, Natural, Grain Free, Chicken

Novel Ingredient Dog Food

Novel ingredient dry foods replace traditional dog food proteins such as beef and chicken with more unusual proteins such as venison, salmon, or duck.

Novel ingredient dog foods may also include unusual carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes to help balance out the diet. Your vet may recommend a novel ingredient dog food such as:

  • Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
  • Hill's Prescription Diet® d/d Canine Potato & Venison Formula
  • CANIDAE® PURE® Dog Food - Limited Ingredient, Natural, Grain Free, Duck
  • Nutro Adult Dog Food - Natural, Limited Ingredient, Duck & Lentils, Grain Free, Non-GMO

Grain-Free Dog Food

If your dog is found to have a sensitivity to corn, wheat or other grains, a grain-free dog food may be recommended. These foods have the added benefit of also being gluten-free. Some of the grain-free foods that your vet may recommend include: 

  • Hill's Science Diet® Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Grain Free dog food.
  • Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Dog Food - Turkey & Chicken, Grain Free
  • Science Diet® Adult Grain Free Dog Food
  • Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food - Natural, Lamb & Sweet Potato, Grain Free, Non-GMO

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you believe your dog could be suffering from a food allergy, contact our vets at Bowman Road Animal Clinic to book an appointment for your dog. 

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Bowman Road Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Little Rock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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