What to feed a dog with grain allergies

Royal Canin Anallergenic

Using a hydrolysed feather protein source, this diet is currently the gold standard for diagnosing and managing food allergies.

Royal Canin Hypoallergenic

Great for diagnosing and managing food allergies, this diet may more cost-effective for large breed dogs who tolerate a soy-based diet.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Z/D

This completely hydrolysed diet is perfect for elimination trials.

What to feed a dog with grain allergies

It includes essential fatty acids and clinically proven antioxidants.

Royal Canin Sensitivity Control

Combining a hydrolysed protein with a novel protein (duck) and carbohydrate (tapioca), this diet is grand for sensitive skin or stomach.

What are the drawbacks of a hydrolysed protein diet?

    1. Lack of evidence documenting whether dogs allergic to the parent protein will actually tolerate a hydrolysed product
    2. Reduced palatability
    3. The cost. As you can imagine, the additional processing and care taken to produce these diets isn’t cheap
    4. May not be suitable for dogs with pancreatitis
    5. Some diets are contraindicated in puppies, pregnant and lactating dogs
    6. A veterinary prescription is required before purchasing.

      What to feed a dog with grain allergies

      Click here to discover the diet recommended by your veterinarian

A diverse approach for diverse dogs

«For dogs with a food allergy, the primary goal is to feed them a diet free from the causal allergen.

For dogs with any other type of allergy, tell to grass, the primary goal is less about restricting certain ingredients, and more about providing additional skin supporting nutrients love omega fatty acids.»

Please be aware that only nutrition is discussed here.

The most common causes of itchy skin in dogs are related to atopy, seasonal allergies or fleas. For a finish guide to the causes of itchy skin in dogs, see Dr Carla’s article ‘Here’s Why Your Dog Won’t Stop Scratching’.

How Common are Food Allergies in Dogs?

Does itchy skin = food allergy? You may own read about food allergies in dogs and how they often manifest in itchy skin. This is diverse to food allergies in humans, which generally present as gastrointestinal upset (or anaphylaxis, if you are highly allergic!). However, don’t drop into the trap of assuming your dog’s itchy skin must be caused by a food allergy.

If you consult ‘Dr ‘, you are likely to read a lot about how food allergies, particularly grain allergies, are a major cause of itchy skin in dogs.

The truth is, true food allergies are not every that common in dogs — only about 5% of dogs harbour a true food allergy. It’s actually much more common for your dog to be allergic to environmental allergens such as plants, pollens, insects, and dust mites. And when a true allergy does exist, the most common allergies are to meat proteins including chicken, beef, or pork, rather than grains.

But regardless of whether your dog truly has a food allergy, or is simply suffering from allergy to plants, nutrition will always assist.

What to feed a dog with grain allergies

Grain-free diets are one of the largest growing segments of the pet food market. More and more pet owners are choosing these diets, which are billed as more natural and less likely to cause health problems and allergies. It every sounds great—except that those claims are not true.

There is no dependable evidence that suggests that it’s harmful to feed grains to dogs or cats. Whole grains contain valuable dietary nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and fiber.

Some grain products own protein that is easier for your pet to digest than some protein from meat. Even refined grains such as white rice can be beneficial for your pet’s health, depending on the type of diet and the pet.

The vast majority of dogs and cats are extremely efficient at digesting and using more than 90 percent of the nutrients from grains in the amounts typically found in pet foods. While food allergies in pets are unusual, allergies to grains are even rarer. The little number of pets that own allergies are most often allergic to animal proteins, such as chicken, beef and dairy. Gluten intolerance is also exceedingly rare in pets.

Gastrointestinal symptoms caused by consuming gluten own been confirmed in just one inbred family of Irish setters.

Grain-free diets can vary widely in terms of their nutritional profiles. Some are lower in carbohydrates, which means that they can be fairly high in both fat and calories. Other grain-free diets merely substitute similar amounts of highly refined starches, such as those from potatoes or tapioca (also called cassava), in put of grains. These ingredients may provide fewer nutrients and less fiber than whole grains, and foods containing them can cost more.

Other pet food companies use ingredients such as peas, beans or lentils instead of grains to provide carbohydrates, but these ingredients are not necessarily any better for your pet than grains and may cause digestive upset in some animals.

The bottom line is that “grain-free” is a marketing concept designed to sell pet food, not an evidenced-based solution for helping your pet live a endless, healthy life.

For any pet health issue, owners should contact their veterinarian.

You can discover more answers to common questions about pet nutrition from the Tufts Clinical Nutrition Service at Petfoodology.

Submit a question to “Ask the Expert.”

Previous “Ask the Expert” questions:

With concerns about mercury poisoning, is it safe to give canned tuna to cats as a treat?

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Use an actual dry measuring cup to correctly portion your pet’s food.

A food scoop, coffee mug, drinking cup, or large gulp container are not every equal!

Using the incorrect size ‘cup’ can result in overfeeding, which in turn can cause loose stool. In addition, remember that feeding guidelines give the entire quantity to be fed per day, not for each meal

Mix in some pumpkin – Plain pumpkin is a grand source of soluble fiber, and can assist prevent digestive upset.

Add a probiotic – Anytime a dietary change is made, the delicate balance of bacteria in a pet’s digestive system can be altered.

Adding some of these beneficial bacteria can assist the digestive system adjust to the new food and assist prevent gas or other gastro-intestinal upset.

The “Cold Turkey” Switch

In some cases, a slow transition is not possible. If the pet has been ill on the ancient food, or if the ancient food is unavailable, you may own to switch foods without mixing. Another exception to a gradual switch could be switching from a grain based kibble, to a grain free kibble or raw diet.

Grains digest more slowly than an every meat diet, and sometimes when the two are mixed, the diverse rates of digestion can cause digestive upset. If a gradual change isn’t working or isn’t possible, the following is recommended:

1. Quick your pet for a day – Skip one meal so their stomach is empty and ready to digest the new food. Don’t skip more than one day though, especially with cats!

2. Feed less – For just the first day, feed about half their normal quantity.

What to feed a dog with grain allergies

This will hold pets from getting too much new food at once.

3. Add digestive aids – Pumpkin and probiotics are always recommended with a “cold turkey” switch.

Things to Remember

  1. Give it time – if you notice any issues, go back a step or transition more slowly.
  1. Not one food is best for every pet – just because a food has grand ingredients, or you love something about it, does not mean your pet will do well on it. If you follow the steps above, and your pet is not thriving, pick a diverse food.
  2. Allergies or skin & jacket issues can take up to three months to resolve completely.

    What to feed a dog with grain allergies

    If your pet does well with the food transition, give those other issues some time to get better.

  1. Change in stool – you may notice a change in the appearance of your pet’s stool even after the transition period. This is normal and can be a result of the change in the quantity of fiber and protein in the new diet.
  1. Consult with your veterinarian – If your pet has loose stool for more than a day or two, shows other signs of gastro-intestinal distress, or just isn’t acting love their normal self, never hesitate to get them checked out by their veterinarian.

Grain Free Dog Food — Is it correct for your dog?

We love our dogs and making certain they are as happy and healthy as possible is our top priority.

What to feed a dog with grain allergies

At times, this may involve making changes to our canine friends’ diet to improve their digestion and overall health.

With a wide variety of dog food diets available, the choice can sometimes be overwhelming. Diverse types of dog food diet include grain free dog food, gluten free dog food, manufactured wet and dry foods and home prepared diets such as raw feeding.

The type of diet you select to feed your dog will depend on what works best for them. For example, dogs can suffer from food intolerances. If you suspect that your dog has a food intolerance, then you could attempt one of our grain free diets.

What does grain free mean?

Grain free dog food is made using a recipe without cereal.

That means no wheat, rye, barley, oats, maize, sorghum, millet, triticale or rice.

However, this doesn’t mean the food is any less delicious!

What to feed a dog with grain allergies

We replace the cereals with a stir of tasty vegetables, including potatoes and peas, to ensure that the texture and flavour of your dog’s food are still just as appealing.

A common misconception about grain free dog food is that it is also low-carb or even carbohydrate free. However, as grain free dog food often uses carbohydrates such as sweet potato to replace grains, this does not make it a carb free dog food.

Although ingredients love meat are the most significant factor in a healthy dog’s diet, carbohydrates can be a useful energy source for your dog.

What Is The Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies?


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski

Do you suspect that your dog may own an allergy? You definitely aren’t alone. Itchy skin is one of the most common issues that dogs are presented to the vet for. In most cases, the cause of itchy skin is an allergy — either to a contact allergen, insect bite, or a food ingredient.

Shop Best Dog Foods for Skin Allergies Now

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How common are food allergies in dogs?

Different Approaches for Diverse Allergies


Hydrolysed Diets

2. Skin Care Diets

3. Novel protein diets

4. Fish-based diets

5. Home-cooked diets

Summary: Our Complete Comparison Table of allergy diets for dogs

Skin Care Diets

See Every Skin Care Diets

Suitable for: MILD SKIN ALLERGIES / SENSITIVE SKIN — Including contact allergies, insect allergies, or allergies of unknown cause

Less suitable for: FOOD ALLERGIES — as these often (but not always) contain poultry products and other common allergens.

Food allergy dogs are better suited to a hydrolysed or a novel protein diet.

For the purpose of this classification, ‘skin care diets’ refers to those diets which are available without a prescription, which are formulated for the purpose of providing additional skin support. Generally these are considered to be ‘everyday’ diets, with added skin care nutrients.

These ‘general skin care’ diets are perfect for dogs who own mild but persistent skin issues such as dry skin, seasonal allergies, or allergies of unknown cause.

Hydrolysed Diets

See Every Hydrolysed Prescription Diets

Suitable for: FOOD ALLERGIES — Elimination trials to diagnose a food allergy / Maintenance diet for some dogs with food allergies

Less suitable for: CONTACT ALLERGIES or ATOPY — in general these conditions can be most benefited from a skin care diet or a fish-based diet.

A hydrolysed veterinary diet is the gold standard for completing an elimination diet trial. An elimination diet trial may be recommended by your vet to assist determine whether your pet has a true food allergy. It involves feeding nothing but the hydrolysed diet for a few weeks, and then introducing one new protein every week to ‘test’ whether your dog has a reaction. In some cases, a hydrolysed diet may be fed endless term if a dog is found to be overly sensitive and the diet is the only thing that gives them relief.

How do they work? Hydrolysed diets typically contain protein that has undergone a process called ‘hydrolysation’ — this is where the protein structure is broken below into its component amino acids.

Hydrolysation is a process that reduces the ‘allergenicity’ of the protein, making it so little that it’s unlikely to trigger an immune reaction. Diets that drop into this category are Prescription and Veterinary diets and can therefore only be recommended by your veterinarian.

These diets own been formulated under pharmaceutical grade conditions. This means that the manufacturer has undertaken additional processing steps to eliminate contamination with other protein sources. This is done through rigorous cleaning of every production equipment followed by testing of the equipment for traces of proteins before production begins.