Dog Food

All About Hypoallergenic dog food: Do Your Dog Need?


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Dog with closed eyes not eating food in front of hand

Choosing the most appropriate food for your dog can be an exhausting activity but at the same time, it is a gesture that is so full of love. It shows how much you care for your canine bestie. After all your best friend deserves the best food.

You might be wondering about allergy-related foods. Well, those foods are ‘hypoallergenic foods’ and they are made especially for dogs that have allergy problems. So, if you are wondering about the details of the hypoallergenic foods, then sit tight! This post is totally for you.

What is hypoallergenic dog food?

Hypoallergenic dog food refers to food that eliminates the risk of allergies and intolerances. You can say that it is a recipe that is formulated without the common allergens. These allergens can be wheat, wheat gluten, soya, or dairy. It is made up of unique proteins that aren’t recognized by your dog’s antibodies as being antigens and this eliminates or at least minimizes the risk of your dog’s suffering from an allergy. So, if you have a dog that is sensitive or has a complicated stomach, you can happily opt for these foods.

How to tell if your dog needs hypoallergenic foods?

dog owner holding dog hand in his hand

When it comes to spotting an allergy-related problem through your dog’s behavior, it is very easy. The only tough thing about this is the diagnosing process. Well, if you make use of your observation skills, you can spot a lot of signs that can tell you about the allergies of your canine friend. Don’t worry about it as I have gathered some symptoms that are easy to spot. If your dog is playing any of these, please consult a veterinarian.

  1. Your dog experiencing persistent gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, or flatulence.
  2. Your dog is giving signs of itching. There is skin irritation and you can spot redness, rashes, or any other infections.
  3. Your dog is persistently licking its paws and rubbing its face against furniture.
  4. Your dog is showcasing any type of recurring ear problems.
  5. There is a change in the appearance of your dog. For instance, you may notice hair loss or a dull appearance of your dog.
  6. You are noticing that your dog has dandruff and dry skin.
  7. Your dog is not showing any interest in good i.e. dealing with loss of appetite.
Dog with allergy ( red dots on dog skin)

The image above shows rash on a dog’s skin. This can be because of the allergic foods. In case of such symptoms, reach out to your vet as soon as possible.

If you notice any of the above systems recurrently, then it is possible that your dog is allergic and the problem might be related to the food that you are giving them to eat.

what to do if you see that your dog has an allergy?

what to do with allergic dog

The first and foremost thing that I will recommend is that if you notice anything weird about your dog, do not opt for self-care. Instead, consult a vet. Why am I saying this? Because many people try to solve the problems on their own. Trust me, it is of no use. Your vet knows about your dog and the problems that they can face, a lot better than you so always opt for a professional. They might make use of elimination diets that are designed to isolate any potential allergens.

After proper monitoring, your vet will ask you to opt for hypoallergenic foods that fit according to the needs of your dog. So, do not rush for your remedies, and have some patience. Even if you have switched to a hypoallergenic diet, you need to monitor the movement of your dog. You must observe what impact the hypoallergenic food has on your pet.

You also have to be very vigilant with the dogs that have allergic issues. You have to avoid treats, table scraps, or other foods that have the potential to contain allergens. You should also opt for regular checkups of your dog. Discuss all the behavioral changes of your dog with your vet as they are the best to tell you what to do next.

What ingredients your dog must avoid if they have allergies?

pile of dog treats shaped like bones with brown, white, and beige color

If your dog has allergies then definitely there are a lot of ingredients that can never be good for them. Below is a list of some of the ingredients that I have gathered for you to ease your research.

The difference between intolerance and allergy

Dog down with his face and hands on floor

Allergies and intolerances are two different types of serious reactions to certain substances that are often related to food but they differ in their underlying mechanisms and manifestations.

Allergies are immune system responses to proteins in specific foods that result in the release of histamines and other chemicals. They cause symptoms such as itching, hives, swelling, digestive issues, or even severe reactions like anaphylaxis. Allergic reactions are usually rapid and can be life-threatening. Allergies are diagnosed through skin tests or blood tests.

Intolerances refer to the difficulties in digesting certain substances which is mostly due to enzyme deficiencies or sensitivities. Unlike allergies, intolerances don’t typically involve the immune system. They may cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, or stomach pain. Intolerances are generally less severe and rarely life-threatening.

Intolerances may require elimination diets or specific tests to identify the problematic substance.

Pet owners must recognize the differences between allergies and intolerances in their dogs to provide appropriate care and dietary management.

The concept of balanced and complete hypoallergenic foods

When it comes to hypoallergenic foods, a complete and balanced dog diet in means giving your furry friend meals that contain all the essential nutrients that they need in the right amounts. Hypoallergenic dog foods are specially crafted to be gentle on your dog’s system, especially if they have any kind allergies or sensitivities as mentioned above. These diets include proteins like chicken, beef, or other novel sources, along with carbohydrates and fats. What is the complete motif behind all of this? The goal is to provide a well-rounded nutrition profile that promotes good health, a shiny coat, and strong muscles in your dog even if they are allergic to some foods. By ensuring the food is complete and balanced, you are taking care of your dog’s overall well-being and helping them thrive without the worry of allergic reactions. I always insist on this that do check with your vet to find the best hypoallergenic diet that suits your dog’s unique needs. So, the whole concept behind this is that your dog doesn’t have to suffer because of any allergy. They too should live a healthy and enjoyable life. So, always make sure that the foods that you are feeding them with, are suitable or not.

What are the benefits of hypoallergenic foods?

hypoallergenic Food in bowl and dog looking at owner's hand to feed him

When your dog switches to hypoallergenic foods, there are a lot of benefits that you can avail of. This is because these foods are created in such a way that they provide your dog with the perfect diet according to their needs. Some of the benefits are listed below.

  1. The first and the major benefit of a hypoallergenic food for your dog is allergy management. Hypoallergenic foods are formulated with limited and novel protein. It also lessens the chances of triggering any kind of allergic reaction in dogs that are sensitive to food issues.
  2. Hypoallergenic foods are good for the digestive health of your dog. The ingredients used in these foods are digestible and they are good at promoting better digestion for your dog. They also help your dog’s stomach in nutrient absorption. This feature is of utmost importance for dogs that have gastrointestinal issues.
  3. Skin problems are one of the major issues for dogs that are suffering from allergic issues. The hypoallergenic diets can lead to healthier skin for your dogs. This is also because issues like itching, redness, and other dermatological issues end as you shift to hypoallergenic foods for your paw friend.
  4. Another important feature of hypoallergenic foods is that they aim to minimize inflammation. The inflammatory responses in your pet’s body get reduced and they can contribute to improved overall health and wellbeing of your dog.
  5. You might have heard that hypoallergenic foods follow the use of ingredients very strictly. Well, that is true. Many hypoallergenic foods have a limited ingredient formula. This simplifies the diet of your dog and makes it a lot easier to identify the allergens.
  6. These foods often make use of novel protein sources that your dog may not have been exposed to before. This helps in reducing the risks of developing allergies to common proteins.
  7. These foods are often used in elimination diets as well. In those diets, the potential allergens are very much systematically removed from the diet of your dog to identify and manage the food allergens.
  8. You know that hypoallergenic foods address the food allergies and the sensitivities. These foods can help in preventing recurrent health issues such as chronic ear infections, gastrointestinal upsetting, and other similar allergy-related symptoms.

Can hypoallergenic dog food cause diarrhea?

Yes, the hypoallergenic food can cause diarrhea in some dogs. This is not a common side effect though. These foods are usually designed to be free from allergy-inducing ingredients such as grains, chicken, dairy products, etc.

Is hypoallergenic food good for your dog?

Dog smelling his food

Yes, hypoallergenic food is good for your dog. This is mainly because it can reduce the risk of allergic reactions and many other issues. Further, they can improve the coat condition of your dog. They often have added nutrients that can aid the immune system of your dogs.

any risks of feeding your dog hypoallergenic foods?

You have read that hypoallergenic foods generally provide your dog with less problematic foods. This is because they have very few ingredients added. However, depending on the nature of the different dogs, feeding a limited ingredient of dog food may develop intolerances over the long term period.

Is hypoallergenic dog food the same as grain-free?

No, hypoallergenic dog food is not as same as grain-free food. It might seem similar to you because of some factors but it is not. Grain is just one ingredient that can cause allergies in your pet. There are many other ingredients too that are responsible for allergies and hypoallergenic foods are known to remove them as well.

Is insect protein dog food hypoallergenic?

Yes, the insect-based food known as Canagan Insect is a highly digestible hypoallergenic recipe that can help dogs with sensitive and allergic issues. They can be for both puppies and adults.

Different types of hypoallergenic dog foods and diets

2 different foods in 2 containers

When it comes to hypoallergenic dog foods, there is a whole list of ingredients-based diets that one can choose from. I have chosen these diett groups with the help of my own research and some help through friends that have hypoallergenic dogs. So, I do hope I have covered most of them. Below is the list for you.

Limited-Ingredient Diets:

As the name suggests, these diets contain a very small number of carefully selected ingredients so that there is a reduction in the likelihood of triggering allergic reactions. Limited-ingredient diets typically feature one novel protein source and one single carbohydrate source.

Novel Protein Diets:

Then, we have the protein diets that introduce protein sources that are not commonly found in commercial dog foods, such as venison, rabbit, or duck. Why is this helpful to you? This helps you in minimizing the risk of dogs developing allergies to more common proteins like chicken or beef.

Grain-Free Diets:

When it comes to allergies, they can be from so many things. Some dogs can be allergic to grains like wheat, corn, or soy. For this, we have grain-free hypoallergenic diets that are known to replace traditional grains with alternative carbohydrate sources that include things like sweet potatoes, peas, or lentils.

Hydrolyzed Protein Diets:

Then there is another category known as the hydrolyzed protein diets. They involve the breaking down of proteins into smaller and easily digestible fragments. This process minimizes the chance of triggering any kind of allergic reaction. How does it happen? The proteins are broken down to a size so that the immune system doesn’t recognize them as allergenic.

Prescription Hypoallergenic Diets:

These are the diets that are based on the recommendations of veterinarians. Your vet may recommend prescription hypoallergenic diets that are designed to address specific health conditions. These diets require a veterinary prescription and may include specialized formulations for dogs that have severe allergies or complex medical issues.

Home-Cooked Hypoallergenic Diets:

This is the category of food that many pet owners opt for when it comes to hypoallergenic diets. It is about preparing homemade hypoallergenic meals yourself using ingredients that are less likely to cause allergic reactions. However, this approach requires careful planning to ensure proper balanced nutrition.

Commercial Hypoallergenic Dog Treats:

You might not be expecting these but in addition to complete diets, there are hypoallergenic dog treats available in the market. Why are they hypoallergenic? Because treats are formulated with limited ingredients and novel protein sources to complement hypoallergenic feeding for your dog.

Elimination Diets:

As the name itself tells it all, these diets involve the systematic removal of potential allergens from a dog’s diet that identify specific triggers. This method helps in determining which ingredients may be causing allergic reactions in your dog.

Can all dogs eat hypoallergenic foods?

Dog sleeping around his food

Yes, any type of balanced hypoallergenic dog food should meet the nutritional requirements of any dog. However, at the same time, there is no true ‘hypoallergenic diet’ that will help all allergic pets. As dogs have different allergies different foods are recommended.

Is hypoallergenic dog food expensive?

Yes, hypoallergenic dog food is expensive compared to other types of dog foods. When choosing brands and formulas on the market, shopping for dog foods can be a very serious challenge. The reason of the high cost of these foods is that proteins like bison, venison, and duck, typically cost more.


Finally, based on my own experiences and the research I have done, I will say that hypoallergenic foods are one of the best alternatives that your dog can rely upon when it comes to surviving. They are free of so many allergens and can help.

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About Adam

Adam has been a fervent dog enthusiast since his early days with his beloved pet, Tiger. Recognizing a gap in unbiased dog product reviews in the UK, Adam embarked on a mission to bridge this divide. With the invaluable expertise of Dr. Emily Smith, a seasoned veterinarian, they collaboratively endeavor to provide dog owners with trustworthy information and reviews. Together, they strive to ensure every canine receives the care and love they truly deserve.

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