schafer dog standing on grass

Is Your Dog Suffering From Food Intolerance Or Allergy?

Dogs Develop Food Allergies, Too.

Just like their human counterparts, dogs may develop food allergies. A food allergy is where the dog’s body recognizes food as a foreign invader and attacks it instead of processing the food.

Common symptoms of a food allergy include itchy and dry skin, nausea and vomiting, as well as gastrointestinal distress.

Some of the most common allergens for dogs are chicken, wheat, eggs, corn and soy. There are other foods that dogs may become allergic to, and tests from your veterinarian can help you identify exactly what your dog is reacting to.

Some people suspect, that since most of our dogs only eat one food their entire lives, they may build up a resistance to certain proteins in their food, or their gut may simply become inflamed and out-of-balance by only one thing, thus causing the intolerance.

Does Your Dog Need HypoAllergenic Food?

If you think your dog might be developing allergies, it can be worthwhile to investigate using a hypoallergenic food.

The idea is that you can provide your dog with foods that have a limited number of ingredients. If your dog continues to have a reaction, this can rapidly narrow the offending foods to a short list.

Some dog food companies provide novel foods, which are foods created from ingredients that your dog likely has not tried before. These foods can be excellent alternatives for dogs who are allergic to common ingredients such as chicken and corn.

In addition, your veterinarian can run tests, to help you more rapidly to determine the cause of your dog’s distress.

Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergies

Is a subtle distinction, but a food intolerance does not require an immune response. Basically your dog has difficulty digesting a certain food.

Hypo-allergenic foods can work well in either situation.

What Are The Best HypoAllergenic Dog Foods?

In this list I will go over some of the most popular hypo-allergenic dog foods on the market. However, the food that works best for your dog, will most often depend on your dog’s specific allergy

For a lot of dogs, their allergies are manifested by skin discomfort. Sometimes by choosing a dog food that is high in seafood ingredients, you can greatly improve their condition.

Dog foods that use a seafood base help in two ways: by introducing rich omega-3’s and fatty acids into the diet (great for the skin and coat!), and by using food bases that your dog’s digestive system may not have experienced before.

Our Top Picks For Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

#1 Holistic Radiant Adult

If you just skim the ingredient list, you may not be inclined to identify this food as an allergy-friendly food, primarily because it does contain grain.

However, unlike the competition, Holistic does not just use grain as a filler.  It uses whole grain to create a complete meal that provides essential fibers and unprocessed micro-nutrients into your dog’s diet.

Basically, Holistic Radiant adult dog food is designed to help heal your dog’s digestive tract by introducing whole, natural foods. These foods provide healthy habitat for the “good” bacteria in a dog’s gut and can help restore balance to their digestive track.

In a way, it’s like yogurt for your dog. It includes digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics to help clear unhealthy waste buildup, and digestive disorders

While dog food is not meant as a cure, many users have said their dog’s health issues have significantly improved or corrected themselves while on food. The thought is that often dogs (and humans) have allergic reactions because their digestive system has been compromised and is no longer able to properly process their food.

In the same way that many humans have reported finding relief from chronic hives and other allergies by switching to a whole-foods diet high in fiber, this food may be able to provide relief over time by helping restore your dog’s gut to its optimum condition.

Holistic select offers options such as chicken, seafood, duck and lamb meats to make sure there is something suitable for every diet.

holistic select package

#2 Wellness Natural Dog Food

Wellness Naturals offer one of the most complete range of hypo-allergenic dog foods on the market. They have everything from gluten-free to grain-free and offer versions with novelty meats, ensuring that you can find something that will not only please your dog’s tastes, it will satisfy its finicky stomach

Wellness Naturals are a great place to start when trying to identify an allergy,  because they offer so many foods to try. You can order several different types of meat (get the smallest size!) and give your dog 2-week trials on each one to see if there is a certain meat that your dog is reacting to.

This variety makes the trial and error process much easier, as you can sort out which ingredients is causing your dog fits.

One of the best places to start is their limited ingredient diet called “Simple”.

It uses only five main ingredients, and does not contain meat byproducts, dairy, corn, wheat, eggs, or artificial preservatives colors or flavors. It also contains flax seed which may be beneficial in helping heal and boost your dog’s skin and coat health.

Wellness consistently receives rave reviews from dog owners.

If you want a recommendation, I would suggest checking out their “duck and oatmeal” to get you started.

wellness simple dog food package

#3 Orijen Dog Food

Orijen is one of those dogfoods that is consistently high marks from every company that reviews it.

Frankly, it may offer one of the freshest, most premium meals anywhere.

They actually raise their own chickens, and use their own fishermen catch the fish and deliver them fresh. Instead of fried egg products you get a whole eggs, and uses high-quality digestible fruits and vegetables to round out the nutrition.

I’m actually not sure if I can remember the last time  had a meal that good.

Initially, you might think that this dogfood is more expensive. However, when you recognize how much protein is being packed into each bite — and how you aren’t paying for fillers — you quickly realize that pound for pound, Orijen is an incredible value.

Because it is so natural, and because it does not contain the fillers of cheaper dog foods, Orijen is often promoted as being hypo-allergenic.

There are several dog owners who have mentioned that their dog started showing immediate progress after starting on this food. Additionally, because this food is so intensely packed with whole foods,  most folks find that their dogs need to eat less and are able to process the food better — leaving behind much smaller poops.

So, even though this food may cost a little bit more, since you don’t need to feed your dog as much, it should ultimately result in similar pricing — and better health, to boot!

#4 Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein

orijen dog food package

For dogs that are allergic to certain meats, it becomes very expensive and difficult to locate a source of protein that their bodies will not react to.

Sometimes it even gets the point where raw meat is too difficult for some dogs to digest with having a reaction.

Hydrolizing is a process used to create pre-digested food.

Because these foods are already partially broken down, the dog’s immune system does not recognize them as the offending food, but can still use the nutritional value of the protein.

Royal Canin is one of the leaders in this process, and offers a wide array of hydrolized foods for you to choose from.

Additionally, they also use hydrolyzed minerals to make sure that your pet is absorbing the vitamins they need as it is very likely they won’t have been properly processing the minerals in their food if they are having a hard time with the protein.

In addition, they use minimal ingredients, and add omega-3’s to help promote brain, skin and joint health.

Royal Canin is one of those brands that is so trusted that many people hear it first mentioned by their vet.

Shopping online can often save you a lot of money on what is an otherwise pricey food.

#5 Addiction's Wild Kangaroo and Apple

Royal canin hypoallergenic dog food package

For a long time, I’ve been recommending the Hill’s prescription diet Z/D and D/D formulas.  These formulas are often sold by veterinarians and can be extremely expensive.

In addition, the Hill’s formula relied on hydrolized proteins — just like the Royal Canin formula above — and there wasn’t a lot of benefits where I could say “Go with Hill’s over Royal Canin”, or vice versa.

If your doctor recommends it, then try it.  And see if Amazon sells it for less.

However, as I continue to talk to friends and other dog bloggers I ran across this very fascinating mixture from Addiction that uses Kangaroo.  Now, they aren’t the first ones to use Kangaroo meat in their dog food.  However, among the brands that offer this novel meat, Addition seems to offer some of the best quality control and I feel safe recommending their food on this site.

The Kangaroo meat is different from what most American dogs have grown up on, so the chance of them being sensitive to this meat is pretty minimal.  Plus, this meat seems to run in the 8-14% fat ratios so a lot of dogs that struggle with obstructive bowel disorder (OBD) may be able to handle this food, too.

The apple pectin is a neat concept to help coat the dog’s stomach and alleviate the pain and discomfort that digestive disorders can inflict on them and also help prevent diarrhea by slowing the rate of digestion and allowing the dog’s body time to absorb the water from it’s food.

So, I’m excited to add it to my top 5 List, and I think it’s going to help a lot of our doggy friends feel better.

addiction wild kangaroo and apples package