Food for Allergic Dogs

The goal of feeding allergic dogs is to find a diet that does not cause a recurrence of the dogs' allergic reactions.

Beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy and milk are the foods that are most likely to cause an allergic reaction in your dog. Since many of these items are also found in commercially prepared pet food, you may find it challenging to feed your dog without causing a flareup of his allergies. Fortunately, special diets are available to help allergic pets.

Identify Problem Ingredients

The first step in solving your dog's food allergy is to determine which potential allergens cause problems for him. The best way to do this is to feed an elimination diet that will help isolate the problem foods. This may take several months and will require you to feed your pet a diet that contains ingredients he has never eaten before.

After your dog's clinical signs subside on the new diet, you will reintroduce ingredients from his previous diet to cause an allergic reaction. Once you've recreated the allergic reaction, you've determined which foods are problematic for your dog.

Read the Labels

After you know which allergens are the triggers for your dog's allergies, one of the best and easiest ways to help manage your dog’s food allergy is to carefully read pet food labels. Look for the ingredients that are potential triggers to your dog’s allergies, and avoid them. Although this will take some time initially, once you’ve identified the brand or formulation that will work for your dog, it will be easy to pick up the right product on future shopping trips.

Many pet food manufacturers have specially formulated diets for canine medical conditions. Look for the products designed to help manage food allergies at your veterinary office or pet supply store.

Feed High-Quality Food

Another easy solution to your dog’s allergy problem is to feed him a high-quality food. Review the ingredients to ensure they won’t trigger a reaction in your dog, and try to locate a diet that contains 40 percent meat, 50 percent vegetables and 10 percent carbohydrates.

Consider purchasing organic, holistic or all-natural products. These products contain top-quality ingredients without the use of preservatives or other chemical additives, which may also trigger allergic reactions in sensitive dogs. Nutritional supplements can also help dogs with food allergies. In addition to boosting your dog's immune system, the supplements also can help reduce pain, inflammation and itching.

If you have the time and the interest, you may want to make your own dog food. You can locate dog food cookbooks at your local library or bookstore, or you may be able to find suitable recipes online.

Don’t Overdo the Treats

After you’ve identified a diet that will work for your dog, don’t undo your efforts by feeding him lots of table scraps or other treats. Offer fresh fruits or vegetables as occasional rewards, or “treat” your dog with extra attention or longer playtime together.