What is The Best Dog Food for Allergies?

Selecting the best dog food to prevent your dog’s food allergy from recurring will depend on the ingredient or ingredients that cause your dog’s allergies in the first place. By working together with your veterinarian, you can choose the food that will protect your pet against future allergy attacks while providing him with optimum nutrition.

What a Canine Food Allergy Looks Like

The symptoms of canine food allergy include constant scratching, face rubbing, hair loss and head shaking. Your dog may also seem to chew on his feet and legs incessantly, or he may develop ear infections that never completely clear up.

What Causes Your Dog’s Food Allergy

Although you may think your dog’s food allergy has developed suddenly, the ingredient that’s now causing an allergic reaction has actually been tolerated by his body for months or even years. Once your dog’s body has reached its tolerance level for that ingredient, it now becomes an allergen and causes his immune system to form a response to fight the threat.

Part of the defense your dog’s body creates is a chemical called histamine. Histamine what causes the visible signs of an allergy attack, such as diarrhea, hives, irritated skin, swollen tissue, vomiting or, in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock.

Many Common Ingredients May Cause Food Allergies

Among the ingredients that have been identified as the main canine allergens are:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • dairy
  • wheat

Other ingredients ingredients can cause reactions in sensitive dogs, such as:

  • corn
  • eggs
  • fish
  • soy

Some dog owners believe preservatives and other chemicals may cause their pet’s allergies, but additional research is needed to prove this theory.

How to Prevent Future Allergy Attacks

The main diagnostic test your veterinarian is likely to use to determine the cause of your dog’s food allergy is an exclusion diet. This 12-week process involves feeding your pet a diet that has a new and unique source of both protein and carbohydrates, and his allergy symptoms should clear up while on the exclusion diet. After your dog’s symptoms clear up, your veterinarian will begin reintroducing ingredients from his old diet to try to recreate the allergy symptoms. If an ingredient causes allergy symptoms, it is deemed to cause your dog’s food allergy.

At the end of the exclusion diet test, your veterinarian will be able to suggest diets that will help ease your dog’s allergies. Often, dog owners will opt to feed their pets the exclusion diet since it’s familiar to the dog and can be purchased easily at your veterinarian’s office.

Once your dog’s allergens have been identified and his new diet has been established, you’ll need to watch everything he eats. Check ingredient labels on his foods, and don’t give him flavored medications or toys, rawhide chews, table scraps or treats.

Hydrolyzed Protein: A Recent Food Allergy Treatment

Instead of feeding your dog the exclusion diet, your veterinarian may suggest giving him a hydrolyzed protein diet instead. Hydrolyzed protein diets are a fairly new development. They contain proteins and carbohydrates that have been modified and reduced so that their tiny size cannot trigger a reaction in food-allergic dogs.