Top 5 Hypoallergenic Dog Food Brands
How to Tell If Your Dog Needs Hypoallergenic Food
First, we should be careful not to confuse food allergies with food intolerance. Food allergies occur when an immune system identifies a specific ingredient as harmful, whereas food intolerance is more of a digestive problem.
Allergies vs. Intolerance
Is your dog itching and shaking his head more than normal? Does he have constant diarrhea or gas? In addition to exhibiting gastrointestinal issues, dogs sometimes manifest food allergies in the form of skin problems. Common symptoms may be associated with itchiness—excessive scratching, licking of the paws, and shaking of the fur. So while both food allergies and food intolerances may cause digestive issues (gas or diarrhea), only food allergies affect the skin.
Trial by Elimination
One way to diagnose dog food allergies accurately is an elimination diet. You can take the dog off all the foods he's been eating and put him on a food that he's never had before. Then, after the dog's symptoms improve, start reintroducing the old foods you think may have caused the problems in the first place. Introduce one food at a time and see if he has a reaction.
Dr. Stephanie Janeczko D.V.M., Medical Director for Animal Care & Control of New York City, recommends performing an elimination trial for 1-3 weeks. Observe the dog's reaction to one new ingredient for a couple of days before adding another ingredient to the dog's diet.
Food intolerance or allergy? Either way, hypoallergenic dog foods can help while at the same time help prolong your dog's life by feeding him wholesome, healthy dog food made from real ingredients.
What's in Hypoallergenic Dog Food?
Hypoallergenic dog food also does not contain these common ingredients that are found in regular dog food:
- meat by-products (fillers)
- artificial flavoring
- artificial coloring
Hypoallergenic dog food brands avoid the use of ingredients most likely to provoke an allergic reaction. Some of the most common are:
5 Best Brands for Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Check out the ingredients for this high-quality hypoallergenic dog food: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, russet potato, lake whitefish, chicken fat, sweet potato, whole eggs, turkey, salmon meal, salmon and anchovy oils, salmon, natural chicken flavour, sunflower oil, sun-cured alfalfa, dried brown kelp, carrots, spinach, peas, tomatoes, apples, psyllium, dulse, glucosamine Hcl, cranberries, black currants, rosemary extract, chondroitin sulfate, sea salt. It is no wonder this is the #1 recommended healthy dog food!
Orijen is a company from Canada. Their farmers raise their own chickens while their fishermen catch and deliver fresh fish. They also use whole eggs instead of dried egg products and include only the highest quality ingredients.
This award-winning hypoallergenic dog food is good for your dog's muscles, heart, coat, and skin. For the carbohydrate requirement, Orijen uses highly digestible fruits and vegetables with antioxidants and vitamins.
Notice that this dog food does not contain grain (which is cheap, difficult to digest, and is often the main culprit for allergies).
As you can see there is a high amount of protein in this brand. So if your vet suggest that your pal stays on a lower-protein diet, I would suggest considering the brands below.
Pet Food of the Year Award
Glycemic Research Institute has awarded Orijen another Pet Food of the Year award for 2012! The institute, based in Washington D.C, also does clinical investigations for our government.
A note about high-protein diets: Use caution for the daily needs according to your dog's weight. Remember to read the instructions on the label for the recommended amount.
2. Acana Dog Food
The fresh ingredients of Acana Dog Food provide high amounts of protein and it's grain-free. It contains a low amount of carbohydrates and is high in antioxidants. In addition, there are omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for your dog's coat.
Their classic line of dog food is 55-65% meat (including cage-free chicken, wild-caught flounder, and whole eggs) plus fruits and vegetables.
I like the fact that Acana (manufactured by the same Canadian company that makes Orijen) does not use artificial ingredients, flavors, or fillers.
3. Flint River Ranch
Flint River Ranch is an all-natural healthy dog food brand that provides fresh, oven-baked food. It contains proper amino acids and does not have the usual animal by-products or preservatives.
They also have sample packets so you can start with a small amount to test your dog's reaction and palate. You can buy the samples in the following flavors: lamb, duck, fish, oatmeal, and specifically formulated ones for senior dogs and puppies. It's pretty cheap, too--about $5 for a 2 pound sample.
4. Avoderm Natural
Avoderm Natural is full of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and essential oils that are needed to keep your pet free of allergies. But the most interesting ingredient is the avocado fruit which is good for keeping dogs' coats shiny.
The gluten-free Chicken Meal & Brown Rice is made with no corn or wheat. The first seven main ingredients are chicken meal, ground whole brown rice, ground whole white rice, oatmeal, chicken fat, rice bran, and avocado. Your dog might prefer their other flavors, like lamb or tuna.
Pinnacle is a hypoallergenic dog food that contains essential probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. The common ingredients are fish, oatmeal, flax seed, quinoa, along with vitamins and other minerals.
Notice the first few ingredients: Trout, Oatmeal, Herring Meal, Oat Flour, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid), Sweet Potatoes, Calcium Carbonate, Flax Seed, Lecithin, Dicalcium Phosphate, Organic Quinoa Seed Meal...
Will Switching to Hypoallergenic Food Help?
Feeding your pet hypoallergenic dog food is one of the best things you can do to help keep their symptoms to a minimum, but there are other benefits that are equally as important: feeding your dog high quality dog food also improves overall health and increases longevity.
Finding the right hypoallergenic dog food can be a challenge since not all dogs, allergies, or intolerances are the same. If you have tried many different dog food brands but can't find one that works for your dog, don't give up just yet. You may want to learn about these 5 highest rated hypoallergenic foods so you can find the best one for your dog.
Hypoallergenic dog foods may be more expensive, but you can feed your dog less because they have higher nutrient values, keeping them healthy and free from disease. Plus, you'll be saving money down the road from fewer visits to the vet!
If you don't have the time to prepare homemade dog food, this is the next best thing. Hypoallergenic dog food that leads to a healthy and happy dog, not to mention a prolonged life is absolutely worth the price!
Homemade Dog Food
If you have the time and the inclination, you can also learn how to make your own homemade hypoallergenic dog food! In another article, I include a comprehensive guide to choosing healthy ingredients for your dog, with easy and quick recipes. Your dog will thank you!
What Brings You Here?
What ingredient is your dog most intolerant of/allergic to?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.