If you have a dog with food sensitivities or allergies, finding the best hypoallergenic dog food for your fuzz buddy is important. However, with so many choices out there, it can be a challenge to say the least. Finding the right food is a matter of trial and error, and it’s best to do it with guidance from your vet.
Choosing Hypoallergenic Dog Food is a Marathon, not a Sprint
If you’re lucky – and I mean VERY lucky – you might find the hypoallergenic dog food that works best for your pet right away. However, if you’re like most dog owners, it’s going to take a little longer than that. In fact, it might take a while. There are so many variables when choosing food for a dog with allergies or food sensitivities that it can take some time to pin down what’s bothering your pet. So let’s get into it.
Visit Your Vet
If your dog is showing signs such as itching, flaky skin, chronic ear infections, excessive licking of the paws, excessive tearing, and occasional vomiting, chances are it has either a food sensitivity or a food allergy. Often times, it will be both. If you notice any of these symptoms, the first step is to take your dog in to see the vet. This serves a couple of purpose. First, you need to make sure that it’s not another more serious underlying problem. Second, if you find that your dog is having food issues, your vet can make recommendations about what to try first and why.
Begin Deciding Which Hypoallergenic Dog Food to Try
There is a wide variety of hypoallergenic dog food on the market. I think you’ll find another article I wrote, What is Hypoallergenic Dog Food to be very helpful to you in conjunction with your vet’s advice. It goes over what hypoallergenic dog food is and the different varieties available.
Grain Free Foods
You vet will most likely begin the process by recommending a grain-free dog food. That’s because the majority of dog allergies and food sensitivities are related to wheat, corn, soy, eggs, and gluten. Almost all grain-free foods are free of these ingredients. Remember when I said that this is a marathon and not a sprint? Here’s the reason. Your dog must be on its new hypoallergenic dog food for a minimum of six weeks for you to see an improvement. If all of your dog’s symptoms go away, then you’re done. If, however, the symptoms don’t go away, or if they are only lessened, your vet will most likely recommend a diet which uses special protein sources.
Special Protein and Carbohydrate Sources
In addition to dog foods which eliminate grains and the like, there are a number of hypoallergenic dog foods which use unique protein and carbohydrate sources to address the most common sources of allergy causing protein sources such as chicken, beef, and eggs. There are several different protein sources used in these types of foods including fish, bison, duck, venison, lamb, and even rabbit. These proteins sources are paired with carbohydrate sources not used in mass produced dog foods such as potato, sweet potato, and sweet peas. These protein and carbohydrate sources are the least likely to cause allergies and sensitivities because your dog has not been exposed to them.
Finding the Right Hypoallergenic Dog Food is Essential to Good Health
The long, long, lllooonnnggg process of finding the right hypoallergenic dog food for your pooch can be annoying and time consuming, but it is something that you must do for your dog’s health if it has any of the issues we discussed. In addition to making your dog very uncomfortable, untreated food sensitivities and allergies can lead to a continued worsening of your dog’s symptoms and cause skin infections secondary to their irritated skin, inflamed skin that can actually become thickened and raw, and thickening of the ear canal secondary to chronic ear infections, which is extremely painful.
If your pooch is exhibiting any signs of food allergies or sensitivities such as itching, scratching, chronic ear infections, excessive tearing, excessive licking of the paws, or vomiting, please take you dog to the vet immediately and find out why. Many times, all it takes is a good hypoallergenic dog food to rectify the problem.
Do you have any questions about choosing the right hypoallergenic dog food? Ask in the comments and we’ll try to answer them!