Hypoallergenic dog food is perfect for dogs with sensitivities or allergies to certain dog food ingredients.
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Rottweilers are one of the breeds that seem to have an above-average tendency towards allergic reactions.
Other breeds which have the same problem include Boxers, Bulldogs, Dalmations and Pugs.
If your pup or dog seems to scratch/bite/lick at himself excessively, has red/itchy/irritated skin or ‘hot spots’, or has recurrent ear infections, he/she may be suffering from canine allergies.
Research shows that dog food allergies account for at least 10% of all canine allergy symptoms, and feeding an ‘allergy free’ dog food is one of the best ways of eliminating your dogs uncomfortable symptoms.
Your dog’s digestive system can be upset by a food, and the most common signs of this are internal and include gas, loose stools and/or vomiting. This isn’t an allergy, it’s a food intolerance.
Different names, different symptoms, but the same problem… diet.
Common Dog Food Ingredients Which Trigger Allergies
Allergy free dog foods come in many different varieties and formulas – and that’s because dog food allergies themselves can be varied and differ from dog to dog.
Some dogs with food allergies are reacting to just one ingredient, others may be allergic or sensitive to several of them.
In addition, many dogs are sensitive or allergic to the chemicals and artificial additives, preservatives, coloring and flavors contained in many popular foods.
A yeast infection on the skin can show symptoms that are very similar to those of an allergy, and it’s possible for even your veterinarian to confuse the two.
The most common allergy ‘triggers’ in dog food include (but aren’t limited to)…
- Dairy Products
The ingredients most likely to cause yeast-related itchiness include grains such as…
Hypoallergenic dog foods contain only the healthiest, wholesome natural ingredients and are often grain free.
They’re formulated to contain ingredients that break down quickly and easily in your dog’s digestive system (ie. they’re ‘highly digestible proteins’).
Scientists believe that the speedier the protein breakdown, the less likely it is to trigger an allergic response.
Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Choices
Unless your dog has undergone allergy testing by your veterinarian, chances are you won’t know exactly what ingredient/s are at the root of your dogs food allergy problems.
An elimination diet is the best way to figure that out, and switching your dog over to a diet that contains ingredients he’s never eaten before is the best way to start.
An elimination diet basically means that you completely remove ALL food ingredients your dog has been eating up to this point… and replace them with ingredients that are totally new to him.
You’ll need to choose a hypoallergenic food that contains one protein source and one carbohydrate source that are unfamiliar to your dog.
Many regular dog foods contain multiple popular meat/grain ingredients, so allergy free dog food tends to use more ‘exotic’ ingredients such as duck, bison, salmon (even kangaroo!) and so on.
Grain-free formulas can also cut out the potential for a yeast-infection being to blame for your dog’s itchiness.
Here are some of what I believe to be the best allergy free dog food choices on the market right now…
The foods featured above are just a selection, there are other formulas in most of these ranges that would be equally good choices.
Use these links to see all the formulas available in a particular product line:
If you suspect that your dog has allergies and decide to change his diet, make sure that you choose a high quality allergy free dog food and be careful to ensure that he still gets a balanced diet.
Don’t forget, that if it’s an additive, coloring or other ingredient that your dog is reacting to, they are also often found in treats, and even ‘edible’ toys such as bones, treat balls etc.
So avoid those too.
Also, realize that even if the food you choose is the right one (and doesn’t contain any ‘trigger ingredients’), you won’t see instant results!
It can take between 3 and 4 months before the symptoms are relieved.
If you have a puppy or adolescent dog (Rottweilers and other large breeds often don’t mature until they’re 18 months – 2 years old, or more), never change his diet without checking talking to your veterinarian first.
Large and giant breed pups have very specific nutritional requirements (see my Feeding Puppies page to learn all about this), and many hypoallergenic dog food choices aren’t suitable or need to be modified in this situation.
In fact, I’d strongly recommend talking to your vet if you’re considering a radical change of diet for your dog (whatever size/breed he is).
Allergies of any sort can make your dog itchy, irritable and downright miserable and while changing to a hypoallergenic dog food should help with dog food allergies, you’ll probably want to try to alleviate his symptoms while you wait for them to diminish.