What dog food to use for allergies

What dog food to use for allergies

If food allergies are sure, your veterinarian may recommend hypoallergenic dog food and treats for your dog to eat. These types of foods take special precautions to avoid being cross-contaminated. Hypoallergenic dog foods may also be hydrolyzed, meaning that they go through a process of breaking below proteins on a molecular level so that they are too little for the dog’s body to recognize them as allergens. This is often a prescription dog food, so you will need to talk to your veterinarian about this as an option for your dog.

While some companies sell over-the-counter foods that claim to be excellent for allergies—and some may contain supplements that can be helpful in controlling environmental allergies—these foods are not ideal for treating food allergies.

As with limited ingredient foods, there is nothing to guarantee that your dog won’t become allergic to them in the future. These dog foods are also less regulated than prescription dog food and as such, might contain other contaminants that trigger an allergic response. It’s also best to be wary of any hypoallergenic claims made by over-the-counter grain-free dog foods. Remember, it’s animal proteins, not grains, that are most likely causing food allergies in dogs.

Dog food allergies are tricky trade. Fortunately, they’re also the type of allergy your dog is least likely to suffer from. If your dog is showing signs of allergies, talk to your vet before making any changes to his food.

Even if it turns out that he does own a food allergy, changing his food without a vet’s supervision could make it more hard to diagnose.

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she generally writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.

by Soojin Um
Staff Writer

Spring is finally here, and for numerous across the country, that means the start of allergy season.

Dogs too can be affected by pollen, pollution, and other common allergy triggers that affect us. However, did you know that the most common culprit for canine allergies is food? It’s true. When we see our dogs scratching, licking, and pawing at their ears, we may ponder it’s because of environmental factors, but most likely it’s because of allergens in their diet. Here are five common allergens that could lead to reactions in your canine companions.


While it’s true that dogs can eat some wheat-based foods in little amounts, eating too much can pose some concerns.

Dogs own proteins that assist digest wheat, more so than wolves. However, up until living with humans only 10,000 years ago, dog ancestors rarely ate wheat, if at every. Their digestive system isn’t built to process wheat, and this can lead to intolerance. It happens to us too, some people can’t digest gluten extremely well. Wheat is not a necessary food, so even if your dog can tolerate it, eliminating it altogether might be beneficial.


Allergies related to chicken can be a tricky topic.

Numerous vets and food scientists tell that it’s not so much the chicken itself, but the toxins in the meat from unsanitary factory farms and the antibiotics that the chicken are given (usually in high amounts). However, there are also some dogs that are simply allergic to chicken, even if it is organic, free range, and properly raised. Why are some people allergic to peanuts or shellfish? Allergies happen sometimes. If your dog is allergic to chicken, it can be hard to discover chicken-free dog food – almost every pet foods contain chicken in some way. However, Zignature formulas never contain chicken, so if your dog has chicken sensitivities, at least you know one brand that does not contain it.


Raw potatoes contain a compound called solanine which can be toxic to dogs.

Cooked potatoes own a lot less of this compound. You might wonder, “Well, who would feed their dogs raw potatoes?” No one we know of. However, the point is dogs would not own eaten potatoes in the wild because they’re often toxic to them. Therefore, their bodies never had to deal with potatoes before, at least until humans came along.

What dog food to use for allergies

This unfamiliarity can be one cause of allergic reactions, their bodies rejecting a food that they’re biologically not used to. Avoiding foods that contain potatoes (often included as a filler) would eliminate this risk. Your dog doesn’t need it anyhow.


Can dogs enjoy milk and cheese? Oftentimes they can without problems, if in moderate amounts.

What dog food to use for allergies

However, just love humans, some dogs are lactose intolerant – their bodies do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase required to digest the milk sugars. That can lead to discomfort, diarrhea, and/or skin irritations.

What dog food to use for allergies

Cheese has a lot less milk sugars, but if the dog has a strong enough intolerance, even little amounts of cheese can upset their stomachs. If you’re not certain if your dog is lactose intolerant, why take the chance. Dairy products are not an significant part of a canine’s diet, so excluding them will mean just one less thing to worry about.


Soy products are often used in pet foods as a cheaper alternative form of protein. However, plant-based proteins are not finish proteins that dogs require for proper nutrition.

Soy is not part of the natural diet of dogs and their ancestors. On top of that, soy is the most genetically modified food product in the world. This combination can increase the risk of intolerance, and result in allergic reactions. Beautiful much the only way to ensure no complications of soy digestion is to remove it from the diet.

While these five allergens listed above do not constitute a finish list, they are beautiful common in numerous pet foods. However, Zignature does not use any of these ingredients in our formulas. This can offer some peace of mind for any dog parent that might own concerns about harmful ingredients.

The health of your pet is of utmost importance to you. Feeding your dogs healthy foods free of common allergens is the first line of defense in protecting your dogs.

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Triggers of an allergy

Diagnosing Dog Food Allergies

Unfortunately, there are no dependable ways to test your dog for food allergies. The only way to determine which foods your dog is allergic to is through the process of elimination. Typically, your vet will prescribe a special, limited-ingredient dog food containing types of meat and carbohydrates that aren’t in your dog’s usual meals and seeing how he does on it.

If your dog’s symptoms clear up on this special meal plan, after a period of time your vet may own you switch your dog back to his ancient food to see if the allergy symptoms reappear. If they do, that will confirm that you’re dealing with a food allergy.

The next step is to identify the specific ingredient causing the allergic reaction in your dog. This requires changing back to the limited ingredient food. Once your dog’s symptoms clear up, your vet may then own you add ingredients from his ancient food back to his meals one at a time and monitor the results in order to identify which ingredients trigger an allergic reaction.

During this elimination trial, it’s extremely significant to only feed your dog the prescribed food.

The most frequently mentioned reason for failure in determining allergies in elimination tests is household sabotage. This consists of giving your dog food that was not directly recommended by your veterinarian including dog treats, table scraps, diverse dog foods, etc.

What dog food to use for allergies

During these trials, dogs can’t own even one of these in order for the test to be effective at diagnosing the allergy. To put it in perspective, a human that is allergic to nuts cannot own even a single peanut. The same is true of your dog. To fully determine the cause of dog food allergies (if any does exist), you must be as strict as possible, and that includes everyone else in your household too. It’s hard when your pup sits there with his large begging eyes, but it is worth it if you can determine if an allergy exists. These elimination tests typically take about 12-weeks after which your veterinarian will verify that your dog isn’t experiencing any of the previous allergy signs.


It is significant that if you believe your dog is experiencing allergies of any sort, food or environmental, that you check with your veterinarian to assist you best diagnose your pup.

Self-diagnosis can be unhelpful or even dangerous in certain cases. Because food allergies and environmental issues present some of the same signs, it is hard to know which is the cause without proper testing.

What dog food to use for allergies

Unlike in humans, dog allergy tests are much less dependable, which is why your veterinarian will likely give you specific instructions on what to expose your dog to and how to monitor his health over time to determine the specific cause for his health issues.

You may be tempted to do a limited-ingredient diet (LID) on your own as well. This is also not recommended for a couple of reasons. The first being the difference between intolerance and allergies. Without proper testing, it is hard to know the genuine cause. The second reason why LIDs aren’t always grand in self diagnosing your dog’s condition is that even limited-ingredient foods can be subject to allergen contamination.

For instance, if you suspect that your dog is allergic to chicken, and you switch him over to something love lamb or venison, he might start feeling better, but because numerous food companies will use the same machinery to make their chicken product dog foods and their lamb-filled food there is a chance that some of the chicken allergens make it into your dog’s lamb food. Love mentioned before, any introduction of an allergen, even a little quantity, can affect your dog overall.

What dog food to use for allergies

This is why it is best to follow your veterinarian’s strict instructions when asking about allergies.

Common Allergens in Dog Food

The most common foods to trigger an allergic response in dogs are animal proteins including chicken, beef, dairy, and eggs, says Tufts. Lamb, pork, and fish are less likely to cause allergies, although it is possible. While some dogs own proven to be allergic to wheat and corn, this is actually much more rare than common wisdom would own you believe.

Instances of other grains, such as oats or rice, causing allergies are rare to nonexistent.

Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance

It’s also significant to note the difference between an allergy and an intolerance. If your dog is unable to tolerate a certain type of food, such as lactose, this means he lacks the digestive enzyme necessary to properly digest that food, and gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea, may result.

An allergy, on the other hand, is an immune response. When your dog comes into contact with something he’s allergic to, his immune system goes into overdrive attacking the allergen, resulting in skin problems, itching, or hair loss. If your dog is suffering from a food intolerance rather than a food allergy, then hypoallergenic dog food is unlikely to assist. We recommend seeing your veterinarian to get the best possible solution for your pet.

Problems with proteins

A food allergy in a dog is most commonly triggered by specific food proteins that are contained in the dog food. Studies own shown that these are generally proteins from cows, soya, eggs, dairy products or grain.

Fish and rice, however, seldom trigger allergies. If a food allergy is suspected, it helps if you avoid giving your dog a large number of diverse types of food or snacks to eat every at once, as this will make it impossible to check which protein is the actual trigger.

If your pet has a food allergy, Meradog offers its special pure dog food recipes, which are ideally tailored to the needs of sensitive dogs with intolerances or allergies. The Meradog pure dog food is based on just one animal protein source and one carbohydrate source respectively, therefore giving you a dependable way to avoid allergy-triggering components.

What Causes Food Allergies?

According to Tuft University, «Food allergies happen when an animal’s immune system misidentifies a protein from a food as an invader rather than a food item and mounts an immune response.

The finish result of this response can be itchy skin or ear and skin infections in some pets, while it may cause vomiting or diarrhea in others.» Once an immune response is triggered, it grows stronger every time that type of protein enters the body, which means your dog’s allergy may worsen every time he eats that specific food.

Are Dog Food Allergies to Blame?

While people are often quick to blame a dog’s skin problems on what he eats, the truth, says Tufts University’s Cummings Veterinary Middle, is that food allergies in dogs are not every that common.

The most common causes of allergies in pets are environmental including fleas, dust mites, grass, pollen, and other environmental causes. If your pup’s allergies tend to clear up during the winter or become worse at the height of flea season, then it’s likely his allergies are environmental. But because actual food allergies can cause skin and ear problems similar to those caused by environmental allergies, it’s up to your veterinarian to assist you law out other types of allergies for certain before determining whether your dog’s food is to blame.