What is the best dog food for allergies?
Does your dog ever suffer from itchy skin? Maybe you’ve noticed your dog licking their paws, or you’ve noticed the fur on their paws changing color. Does your dog get regular ear infections? Have you noticed hot spots? Dandruff? Fur loss? These symptoms may all be signs of food allergies.
Dogs are commonly taken to the veterinarian for these symptoms and a trip to the vet should always be the first stop when your dog experiences any uncomfortable medical issues. Your vet may prescribe a variety of treatments. From medications, to special baths, to reducing exposure to certain things that may cause the issues, your vet will know the best course of treatment. If your dog experiences allergies, you should also consider changing their diet.
Best dog foods for dogs with allergies
Limited ingredient dog food
For dogs with allergies, limited ingredient dog food is one of the best choices because the number of potential ingredients your dog could be allergic to is reduced. Limited ingredient dog food also tends to have less empty carbs. Those carbs may help your dog feel fuller, but they don’t provide much in the way of nutrition. For many pet owners, making the switch to a limited ingredient dog food helps alleviate or even eliminate their dog’s symptoms.
Freeze-dried dog food
Did you know the way your dog food is made can affect your dog’s health? Freeze-dried dog food is free of those unhealthy preservatives found in dog kibble like BHA, which may even be linked to cancer. Kibble also goes through an extrusion process which removes much of the nutritional value. Freeze-dried dog food is likely to have higher nutritional value because of the unique preservation methods used.
Single protein source
Some dog foods use a variety of different protein sources in their dog food. The problem with feeding your dog food with more than one protein source is that it will be difficult to identify what protein your dog is allergic to. A common treatment method for food allergies is to use an elimination diet where you try a single protein source diet, monitor if your dog has any symptoms of food allergies, and then try adding a different protein source to the diet. By choosing a dog food with a single protein source, you will be able to more closely monitor your dog’s symptoms to help determine what ingredients are problematic for them.
Grain free, Gluten free dog food
Many pet foods contain grains like wheat, corn and soy, which are a common source of food allergies in dogs. These ingredients are not a normally occurring part of a canine’s diet and have very little nutritional value. Grains also contain gluten, which dogs can have an intolerance to. Dogs that experience a gluten allergy may exhibit signs such as excessive licking, itchiness, ear infections and an unhealthy skin and coat. Read our blog 5 reasons to go grain & gluten free to learn more about how grain and gluten can affect your dog.
No artificial ingredients
Dog foods that contain artificial ingredients, chemicals, added colors or flavorings, or artificial preservatives, can also affect allergies. Although these ingredients likely won’t cause a true food allergy, they could cause other adverse responses in your dog’s body, indicating a food intolerance. For your dog’s health, it is best to choose a food with clean ingredients.
Raw diets are typically a great solution for dogs that experience food allergies because raw diets contain less ingredients for dogs to be allergic to. Nature’s Advantage raw pet food is made with only real meat, fruits and veggies. Food that is made with a simple formula and easy to read ingredients often contains less additives and fillers that can trigger allergic reactions in your dog. Check out our blog to learn how to read a pet food bag.
Novel protein source
Changing your dog’s food to a different protein source that they have never had before may also help with food allergies. If your dog normally eats beef, try chicken. If you think chicken may be the issue, try turkey. Through trial and error, you should be able to find the protein sources that are right for your dog.
A note on alternating protein sources
Some canine nutritionists believe that you should periodically alternate the protein source in your dog’s food. That’s because if you consistently feed your dog the same food, they may develop allergies to it over time. Occasionally switching up your dog’s food also adds variety to their diet. You can even consider supplementing with freeze-dried treats, which adds nutrition and extra protein to your dog’s diet.