Just like people, dogs can suffer from allergies. Dogs can be allergic to fleas, dust, pollen, mold, grass and, yes, even the food we feed them. If you believe that your dog is suffering from food allergies, or a sensitivity to an ingredient in their usual food it’s important to find out what the problematic ingredient is in order to remove it from their diet, but still maintain optimum nutrition.
Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs
Food allergies and sensitivities often do not appear until the dog reaches his first birthday, although they can develop in dogs of any age.
If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, he may have a food allergy and should be examined by your vet to determine the root cause of the symptom:
- Red irritated skin
- Rashes on the ears and feet
- Scabs or rashes on the skin
Common Causes of Food Allergies in Dogs
Often in dogs with food sensitivities, proteins from ingredients of animal or plant origin in the diet are the cause. Beef, corn, dairy, and wheat are some of the most troublesome ingredients.
It may seem counterintuitive, but food allergy symptoms can take a long time to become apparent. Dogs often seem to “suddenly” become allergic to a food they have been eating for months.
Best Foods for Dogs with Allergies
Following the diagnosis of food allergies, your vet will work with you to determine the best diet and treatment plan for your dog. There are a number of dry food options available, to help alleviate food allergy symptoms in dogs.
Prescription Dog Food
If your dog’s food allergy symptoms are severe, your vet may recommend that you feed your dog a prescription dry food. While this option can be expensive, novel protein and hydrolyzed diets available by prescription are typically superior to those that can be purchased through pet supply stores.
Sticking to a prescribed diet may help your dog to stay healthy and comfortably free of allergy symptoms. Some of the prescription foods your vet may recommend for dogs with food sensitivities include:
- Canine Hydrolyzed Protein Small Dog Dry Dog Food
- Hill’s Prescription Diet® d/d Canine Potato & Venison Formula
- Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
- Hill’s Prescription Diet® Dog i/d® Sensitive Dry
Limited Ingredient Dog Foods
Limited ingredient dog foods address the presence of allergens by including just a single protein source, (such as beef, lamb or chicken), often combined with just a single carbohydrate.
When you are shopping for limited ingredient dog foods it’s important to check for a seal of approval from the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO), as well as a “complete and balanced” claim from the manufacturer.
Limited ingredient foods that your vet may recommend include:
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Formula Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
- Hill’s® Prescription Diet® d/d® Canine Skin Support Potato & Salmon Formula
- Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Dog Food – Natural, Salmon & Lentils, Grain Free, Non-GMO
- CANIDAE® PURE® Dog Food – Limited Ingredient, Natural, Grain Free, Chicken