What to feed your dog if they have food allergies? Tips and Tricks

Does Your Dog Really Need Lamb, Bison, and Other ‘Hypoallergenic’ Dog Food Proteins?

In order to identify what is the best dog food for dogs with food allergies you must first understand what are food allergies and what causes them.

Many different terms are used to describe abnormal reactions to food. The terms “allergy” and “hypersensitivity” describe an immunologic reaction to food allergens and requires previous exposure to the allergen to bring about symptoms. In contrast, a food “intolerance” does not involve the immune system and can occur with the first exposure to a certain food. Both reactions produce similar symptoms and may be difficult to tell apart without veterinary guidance.

In fact, according to Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor and Chief of Dermatology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Small Animal Clinic, “Food allergies in dogs present themselves quite differently than food allergies in humans. For instance, a person who is allergic to shellfish may experience throat swelling and possibly a critical or fatal reaction, but in dogs, the allergy is expressed through the skin and seen most often as itch.”

Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

In dogs, signs of food allergies often begin to appear as the dog reaches their first birthday, although allergies and sensitivities can develop at any age.

The most common signs and symptoms of food allergies in dogs include:

  • Itching
  • Red irritated skin
  • Rashes on the ears and feet
  • How can I switch to a new food without making my dog sick?

    In this video

    Dr. Gary Richter shares a simple feeding tip that can help lower your dog’s risk of getting sick when you switch to a new recipe designed to help with food allergies.

    It’s best to switch your dog to a new food gradually.

    Start by mixing 20% “new” with 80% “old” food. Then, slowly increase that amount to a full 100% over the next 8 to 9 days.

    Schedule Old Food New Food
    Days 1 and 2 80% 20%
    Days 3 and 4 60% 40%
    Days 5 and 6 40% 60%
    Days 7 and 8 20% 80%
    Day 9 0% 100%

    Dog Food Recipe For Allergies

    It is widespread for dogs to have dog food allergies (or food sensitivities), and its one of the most typical hypersensitivities in dogs that pet owners must deal with.

    Still, it can be easily managed through avoidance and knowing how to feed dogs with food allergies.

    The most difficult part of this process is figuring out what is causing an allergic reaction in the dog.

    But once the offending allergen (ingredient or ingredients) has been identified, its fairly simple to develop a dietary plan for the dog that does not include that ingredient(s).

    While food intolerance in dogs manifests itself mostly through symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, a food allergy will also involve the dogs immune system.