When you search for “hypoallergenic food for dogs,” Google returns your query with hundreds of results. You have to sort through thousands of options on at least ten different websites to find the one food that seems alright for your fur baby.
Well, is it genuinely hypoallergenic? Will it soothe your pup’s digestive system and reduce the rashes around his neck? Is there a way of knowing before you purchase an entire bag of the dry kibble? After all, hypoallergenic dog foods are not cheap, and seeing them go to waste can break one’s heart and bank.
Does your dog have food allergies?
You need to know about dog allergies. More than 10% of the cases of atopic dermatitis comes from food-related allergies. If your dog has red itchy skin, allergies may be the culprit. However, you need to be sure, so do a test for flea allergy dermatitis.
Most dog breeds are allergic to beef, eggs, soy, wheat, and milk. Dogs can also be allergic to chicken, although it is uncommon. Most commercial dog foods contain these ingredients, so switching from one brand to another might not help you unless the latter specializes in hypoallergenic dog food.
Relying on an elimination diet can help you determine the cause of your dog’s allergy. Once you find the specific ingredient(s) that is irritating his or her stomach and skin, you can simply invest in a hypoallergenic dog food brand that omits that ingredient(s).
What is intolerance? How can you manage your dog’s intolerance towards specific food?
Hypoallergenic dog food can take care of both types of food generated reactions – allergies and intolerance. Food intolerance is more common than allergies in almost all dog breeds, but we fail to distinguish it from allergies. These are reactions that do not elicit an immunological cascade. They do not cause an increase in the level of histamines and other compounds involved in inflammation.
It is common for a dog to be intolerant towards certain vegetables, especially cruciferous greens and even milk. Although some breeds are not lactose intolerant, they suffer from bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea upon the consumption of milk and milk products. That is a classic case of intolerance rather than allergies.
How can you distinguish allergies from intolerance and other skin conditions?
Allergies typically always involve rashes, redness of the skin, especially around the ears, neck, and groin. Chronic scratching and scabbing can lead to secondary bacterial infections that can challenge your pup’s immunity and general health. Acute allergic reactions like anaphylaxis can lead to the swelling of the tongue, mouth, and closing of airways. Allergies can be severe in small puppies and senior dogs.
If you suspect that your four-legged friend is allergic to any ingredient in his or her diet, you should immediately request your vet for tests. It is easy to confuse the symptoms of food allergy with flea infestations. Ask your vet about ingredient exclusion diets and how hypoallergenic dog food can help your dog lead a healthier life.