Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

Hydrolyzed protein dog food is a fairly new development in pet foods, and several manufacturers offer them as an option for dogs with food allergies. Let’s look at the different brands to see which ones may be best if your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy.

How Hydrolyzed Protein Diets Help a Food-Allergic Dog

Hydrolyzed protein diets help food-allergic dogs by providing such small protein molecules that an allergic reaction is virtually impossible. Your dog’s immune system should not perceive the miniscule protein molecules as a threat and therefore should not respond by creating an allergic reaction.

Hydrolyzed protein diets often feature chicken or soy as the protein source, with soy often preferred since few dogs have likely consumed soy protein as part of their former diet, so they are unlikely to be allergic to the soy protein. These proteins are usually paired with potato, rice or cornstarch as the carbohydrate source as these are less commonly used in commercial dog food production than other carbohydrates like whole kernel corn or wheat.

In addition to helping alleviate food allergy symptoms, hydrolyzed protein diets can also help treat:

  • colitis
  • idiopathic diarrhea
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • otitis externa
  • short bowel syndrome

Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Ultra Canine

Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Ultra Canine uses hydrolyzed chicken liver and potato as its protein and carbohydrate sources for adult dogs. The liver has been broken down into its amino acid components to reduce the chances of it causing an allergic reaction in sensitive dogs. Prescription Diet z/d Ultra Canine is available in dry and canned formulas.

Purina HA HypoAllergenic Canine Formula

HA HypoAllergenic Canine Formula from Purina Veterinary Diets uses hydrolyzed soy protein and cornstarch to provide balanced nutrition for both puppies and adult dogs. It is a highly digestible, vegetarian diet that is available in a dry formula only. HA HypoAllergenic is compatible with a Purina treat called Gentle Snackers, which also contains hydrolyzed soy protein.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Hypoallergenic

Royal Canin uses hydrolyzed soy protein and rice to provide nutrition for both puppies and adult dogs with food allergies. It also contains ingredients to improve a dog’s skin and coat, as well as balancing a dog’s digestive system. This highly digestible diet is available in a dry formula only. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing females.

Other Options to Consider

Hydrolyzed protein diets are one option owners of dogs with food allergies can try, but they may not work in all cases. If your dog’s symptoms do not improve with a hydrolyzed protein diet, you may want a commercially prepared hypoallergenic diet that features unique sources of protein and carbohydrates that may not create an allergic reaction in your dog.

If a hypoallergenic diet doesn’t work, you may want to try a bones and raw food (BARF) diet, which uses a combination of foods similar to those wild dogs eat, such as:

  • fat
  • muscle meat
  • organ meat
  • bones

This omnivorous diet is believed by many to be healthier for your dog, but it may require an unusual meat source to be successful for your dog, which may be allergic to beef or poultry since both are commonly used in commercial pet foods.