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What is a Dog Food Allergy?
Dog food allergies account for about 10% of all allergies seen in dogs. It is the third most common allergy, after flea bite allergies and atopy (inhalant allergies). Dog food allergies account for around 20% of the causes of itching in dogs. Dogs are not likely to be born with an allergy to food. They develop allergies to food they have eaten for a long period of time.
A dog food allergy can develop as early as five months and as late as 12 years of age. This type of allergy most commonly occurs in dogs between 2 and 6 years of age. Despite our lack of understanding of the actual allergy process, It is very important to distinguish the difference between food intolerance and food allergies so your dog can be properly treated.
Best Dog Food for Allergies
If you suspect your dog has an allergy, you need to take him to the veterinarian to have an elimination, or food test performed to determine your dog’s specific allergy. When your dog is on a special diet because of dog food allergies, it is very important that he doesn’t get any other food such as treats, rawhides, human food, etc. because his allergy could be triggered.
Your vet may also suggest a hypoallergenic diet. These are foods made with hydrolyzed proteins, meaning the protein is already broken down into pieces that are small enough and won’t trigger an immune response.
So, if you have determined your dog has a food allergy, it is time to get him started on a special type of dog food.
Here is a list of the top brands of hypoallergenic dog food:
Flint River Ranch – Lamb, rice, and millet dog formula and trout and sweet potato dog formula are great hypoallergenic dog foods because they don’t contain wheat, corn or preservatives. These are all common causes of allergies in dogs. Flint River Ranch dog food is only available to order online.
Avoderm – This dog food is manufactured by Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods. Avoderm’s main focus ingredient is avacado, which is full of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and essential oils to help keep your dog free of allergies. Avoderm is good for skin and stomach allergies. Avoderm is available at many pet stores, as well as online.
Orijen – This is another hypoallergenic dog food manufactured by Champion Pet Foods. It’s highly praised by dog owners for helping keep dog allergies to a minimum. Orijen is available at specialty dog food stores as well as online.
Canidae – Canidae dog food is made of all natural ingredients. It is highly recommended for healthy skin and fur. However, some dog owners did report their dog’s developing a sensitive stomach. It is based on lamb and rice and chicken and rice varieties. Canidae is available in pet stores and online.
Acana – This is manufactured by a Canadian company called Champion Pet Foods. They specialize in hypoallergenic dog food of all sorts, and for all breeds of dog. It is all organic and free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and chemicals. It is also free of the allergen ingredients wheat and gluten. Acana is available at specialty dog food stores and online.
Pinnacle – Manufactured by Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods. It is 100% allergen free and contains probiotics, vitamins and minerals to help keep dog food allergies away. Pinnacle is available in pet stores, grocery stores and online.
Nature’s Variety – Nature’s Variety has three different varieties of dog food. It is best for dogs with allergies to wheat or grains. It contains omega fatty acids for healthy skin and healthy fur. It is available in both dry and canned food. Nature’s Variety is available in specialty pet food stores as well as online.
Common side effects in food allergies are itching around the face, feet, ears and mouth. Symptoms can also include recurring ear infections, hair loss, hot spots and increased bowel movements. A study showed that dogs with food allergies may have 3 or more bowel movements per day. Other side effects may include yeast infections, digestive disorders or respiratory infections. Dog food allergies are true allergies that show characteristic symptoms as described.
Dog food intolerance would be similar to people who get upset stomachs from eating spicy or fried foods. The most common side effect for food intolerance is diarrhea or vomiting, or no interest in the food whatsoever.
Treating Dog Food Allergies
Studies have shown that some ingredients are more likely to cause food allergies than others. The most common dog food allergies include beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat and soy. The most common allergens are usually the most common ingredients in your dog’s food.
It is important to visit your veterinarian to perform a hypoallergenic test diet to determine which foods your dog may be allergic to.