Hypoallergenic dog food has come to the forefront of veterinary medicine in a big way. We’ve seen that the symptoms of GI sensitivities and food allergies can be drastically reduced or eliminated by changing a dog’s diet. Hypoallergenic dog food is the only way to do that.
I’ve seen several questions asking about which grain-free hypoallergenic dog food is the best, and it’s led me to write this post. A lot of people don’t realize that hypoallergenic food is grain-free. By definition, a hypoallergenic food has no grain, because grain is one of the biggest offenders to dogs with food sensitivities or food allergies. However, that doesn’t’ mean that grain free food and hypoallergenic food are the same. In fact, they’re very different.
Hypoallergenic Dog Food and Grain-Free Dog Food – A Comparison
I’ve gone over and over what to look for in dog foods for everything from older dogs to small breeds to large breeds. I talked about what ingredients to look for based on your dog’s size, age, or both, and what ratios to find in your foods. So for today, I think we’re covered on that.
Today, I’m going to discuss the differences between grain-free food and hypoallergenic food. It’s an important distinction to understand when you’re out trying to find a new food for your pooch.
Grain-Free Dog Food
Grain-free dog food is just what the name says – grain-free. Grain-free food may still contain other ingredients that can cause allergies such as egg, soy, and the more common protein offenders like chicken. Grain-free dog food is best used for dogs who have food sensitivities and not allergies. Many times, a dog with food sensitivities can do well just by having grain removed from his diet.
Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Hypoallergenic food is not grain-free food. Not really, anyway. Hypoallergenic food is, by definition, free of grain. However, it’s also free of several other ingredients.
Ingredients Omitted from Hypoallergenic Food
The only caveat to this ingredient list is the addition of brown rice and oatmeal to some hypoallergenic foods. These two ingredients seem to be well tolerated by almost all dogs with GI issues or food allergies.
Hypoallergenic Dog Food and Grain-Free Dog Food – Know the Difference
It’s important to know the difference between hypoallergenic dog food and grain-free food. Grain-free food is generally best for dogs with food sensitivities. That’s because the sensitivity is typically to the grain. Dogs with food allergies need a full-on hypoallergenic dog food because the food is free from nearly everything that dogs are most commonly allergic to.
It’s important to talk with your vet when looking for the best hypoallergenic or grain-free food for your dog. Working with your vet, you’ll be able to find the right food with the right ingredients that work best for your dog. And remember, hypoallergenic dog food and grain-free dog food are not the same things.