try a limited ingredient or hypoallergenic diet
Allergies are a tricky business. Without expensive tests, it’s very hard to pinpoint exactly what might precipitate your dog’s allergy. Usually, in consultation with your vet, it’s a case of trial and error. But if you suspect that there are certain triggers, what type of dog food is best for allergies? Basically, there are two paths to go down – trying a limited ingredient diet, or feeding hypoallergenic foods, which nullify the most common allergens.
Limited ingredient foods are made up of fewer things, making it easier to rule out certain triggers. Hypoallergenic foods are typically made of hydrolysed (broken down) protein which is not typically present in most commercial dog foods, meaning the allergen no longer triggers your pet’s immune system to cause an allergic reaction. The best – and most affordable – way to go is to start with an elimination diet to discover what ingredients your dog can cope with, and feed a hypoallergenic food based on that protein.
There’s a long list of the most common allergens: various meats, including beef, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit and fish, as well as wheat, corn, eggs, dairy, soy. You will notice that many dog foods are labelled as being free of these ingredients. And of course, allergic reactions can take many forms, from itchy skin, ear infections, to intestinal inflammation or sneezing.
Some owners opt for a raw diet for sensitive dogs, as this is typically free from additives and is based on natural ingredients. However, you may still need to avoid certain meats. Equally, some sensitive dogs should not be fed on a raw diet, so always consult your vet. The good news is that there are hypoallergenic options in wet dog food, dry dog food or raw dog food, so you should be able to find a solution. As with any changes, always introduce new food gradually.
Best dog food for allergies
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic
Options: Adult, adult moderate calorie or adult small dog | Type: Dry food | Sizes: 2kg, 7kg or 14kg | RRP: From £19.49 |
This feed should only be given to your pet when recommended by a veterinary professional. It is specifically formulated to help reduce ingredient and nutrient intolerances in your dog with the addition of selected sources of hydrolysed soya protein isolate with a low molecular weight. The complex of nutrients are formulated to help support the skin’s natural protective barrier role for optimal skin and health. Specific Omega-3 long chain fatty acids are also included, which support the dog’s digestive health as well as his skin.
This food is suitable for dogs from 12 months old with Adverse Food Reactions (AFR) with dermatologic and/or gastrointestinal signs, food elimination trial, long term management, Atopic Dermatitis (CAD) associated with AFR +/- chronic pruritus, chronic diarrhoea, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This product is not suitable in cases of pancreatitis, gestation/lactation.
This formula is also available as wet food, and Royal Canin also does a Dermacomfort food specifically for dogs prone to skin irritation and itching, using a “reduced allergen formula”.
In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, petsathome.com or petdrugsonline.co.uk
In the US? View now at amazon.com
Harringtons Just 6
Options: Salmon, chicken or lamb | Type: Dry food | Sizes: 2kg, 6kg or 12kg | RRP: £11 for 2kg |
A limited ingredient food, with just six simple ingredients that you can recognise. A single protein source, blended with farm-grown vegetables and oils rich in vitamins and minerals to create a healthy food. For example the salmon kibble is formulated with salmon, vegetables, rapeseed oil, vegetable stock and a vitamin and mineral supplement.
Slow-baked to retain a much higher nutritional content compared to other cooking methods. This is a grain-free, hypoallergenic dog food and is also available as wet food.
In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, petsathome.com, paws.com, ocado.com
Naturediet Feel Good
Options: Lamb, chicken, chicken/lamb, fish, puppy, salmon, turkey/chicken, or senior lite | Type: Wet food | Sizes: 18 x 390g | RRP: £25.20 |
This is a hypoallergenic, complete and nutritionally balanced natural dog food containing all the essential nutrients your dog needs for a healthy diet. The recipes use 100% natural ingredients to provide a gentle, nourishing diet that’s ideal for fussy eaters and dogs with sensitive tummies.
Typical composition of a meal is: 60% lamb, 10% rice, 6% carrot, natural ground bone, dried seaweed. No processed meat, added sugars, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, nor cereals or fillers. This product is also free from beef and beef by-products. The ingredients are gently steam cooked with a little water.
Also available in grain-free options.
In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, petsathome.com, jollyes.co.uk, paws.com or ocado.com
Wilsons Premium Raw Dog Food
Options: Turkey dinner, beef hot pot, chicken casserole, lamb tagine, salmon medley, steak/kidney or variety | Type: Raw food | Sizes: 500g, 8kg (16 pack), 12kg (24 pack) or 16kg (32 pack) | RRP: £2.99 for 500g |
Made using a single source protein, these hypoallergenic, grain-free recipes are produced using quality, locally sourced ingredients. The minimally processed meals are nutritionally complete, containing a 70-10-10-10 mix of meat, bone, offal and vegetables for added vitamins and minerals. This is designed to provide a well-rounded meal, to help improve fur, skin, digestion and general health.
Packaged in 500g tubs, in 8kg, 12kg or 16kg bundles.
In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or petsandfriends.co.uk
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet Hypoallergenic
Type: Dry food | Sizes: 3kg or 11kg | RRP: From £25 for 3kg |
Pro Plan Veterinary Diets offer a range of food to deal with a host of canine issues, such as diabetes, neurocare and renal function. This hypoallergenic version is formulated with a single hydrolysed soya protein with low molecular weight, as well as purified carbohydrate sources to help avoid allergic responses. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids to help maximise the natural anti-inflammatory process.
It is designed for pets with specific health conditions, and is typically used during an elimination diet trial when trying to diagnose food allergies. It is also useful for dog with severe bowel disease as it is particularly highly digestible.
This diet should only be used under veterinary supervision.
In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, petsathome.com, viovet.co.uk, petdrugsonline.co.uk, zooplus.co.uk or purina.co.uk
In the US? View now at amazon.com
Billy + Margot Superfood Single Animal Protein
Options: Salmon, lamb or chicken | Type: Dry food | Sizes: 1.8kg, 4.5kg or 9kg | RRP: From £18.50 for 1.8kg |
This single protein and superfood blend is created by renowned canine nutritionist Marie Jones, using high-quality, freshly cooked meat and natural vitamin-rich ingredients. It is designed to be expertly balanced and nutritionally complete, made with 65% of a single protein (salmon), plus 35% superfoods and holistic ingredients such as alfalfa, coconut oil and Manuka honey.
It is grain-free and dairy-free, with no artificial chemicals or additives, and is marketed as the perfect choice if your dog has sensitive digestion, or suffers from allergies, gluten intolerance, wheat allergies of chemical sensitivities, such as itchiness, hair loss, sore skin and hot spots.
In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, petsathome.com, petsandfriends.co.uk or paws.com
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