Diet Recommendations for Dog Food Allergies

If your dog is diagnosed with dog food allergies, he will have to go on a special diet. Usually your veterinarian will recommend a protocol for you, but you can also try to diagnose problems on your own by experimenting with high quality diets.

Common Dog Allergies

If dogs eat the same food for a long period of time, they can develop food allergies and suddenly have problems with a food that has always been fine. Your dog can develop an allergy to anything in the food, but the most common culprit is the protein source, which accounts for the majority of the ingredients in high quality food.

Many dogs are also sensitive to grains such as corn or wheat. If you are feeding a food with either of those ingredients, switch to one that utilizes barley or brown rice as an alternative.

Switching to a Novel Protein

If you don't know which food allergies your dog has, the first step is to remove him from the food he currently eats. Notice the ingredients in that food, especially the protein sources. However, your dog could also be allergic to the preservatives used to make the food, so it's important to note all ingredients.

Switch to a novel protein to which your dog has never been exposed. Several dog food brands have "hypoallergenic" diets that contain rabbit, venison or duck. They also usually have potato, because you also want to expose your dog to a novel vegetable source, and most commercial foods don't contain potato.

The dog food that you choose should have as few ingredients as possible. The idea is not to trigger an allergic reaction. Since it may take time for your dog to heal completely, feed this food for at least a month or two, until the symptoms start to subside.

Narrowing Down Possible Allergens

Now it's time to add ingredients back into your dog's diet and determine the possible culprits. Unless you do allergy testing, which can also be ineffective, you may never know all of your dog's allergies. You can, however, narrow down some of the big ones.

Switch back to a more common protein source, though not the one he was on originally, such as beef, lamb, turkey or chicken. Continue to choose high-quality foods without corn, wheat or preservatives. After feeding one protein for a month or two, try another. Find a variety of foods that your dog can tolerate, if possible.

Switch those foods occasionally to keep your dog from developing an allergy to any one protein.

Choosing Treats

When you are narrowing down food allergies, it's important to avoid feeding your dog additional treats that could contribute to the problem. Use your dog's food for treats or choose natural products with the same protein that you're feeding him.

If your dog seems to do well on all protein sources, his allergies may be caused by corn, wheat or preservatives. Try to select treats without these ingredients in the future. If you determine a protein allergy, make sure to select treats without that protein source.

Narrowing down your dog's allergies can be difficult, but with the proper diet, they can be reduced significantly.