Food allergies or sensitivity in dogs are difficult to identify unless there is a baseline with respect to allergies. Many symptoms can mimic allergies and it can be difficult to diagnose them. In general, the signs of food allergies in canines include facial and belly itching, limb or paw gnawing, skin diseases, ear infections, gastro-intestinal discomfort etc. Dogs fed commercial food brands containing colors, dyes, preservatives and proteins often suffer from food allergies. Let us take a look at some of the best dog food for allergies and also study some common signs and symptoms of food allergies in canines.
Signs of dog food allergies
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of dog food allergies:
- Bad breath
- Blocked anal glands
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Poor coat
- Itchy skin with red patches and hair loss
- Recurrent skin infections
- Fungal infections
- Twitchy energy
- Classic doggy smell
- Dogs may appear irritable, barky or snappy
- You might find it difficult to get their attention or keep their focus.
- Dog food allergies can also reduce your pet’s threshold for arousal – they may bark, growl, snap or bite more readily than other dogs.
What to look for in dog food when your dog is allergic
Different dogs are allergic to different things found in commercial dog food. Some dogs are allergic to grains like wheat, corn etc. Pet parents must look for food with little or no wheat, corn and other grains. You could, instead, go for brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth or other ancient grains as these are easier for digestion. Some dogs are known to be allergic to all sorts of protein including beef, lamb, fish, eggs and chicken. Then there are cases of dogs being allergic to dairy and milk based foods. Food allergies can also occur when the source of carbohydrates used in dog food is soybean.
Dogs are generally very active, so they need a clean source of carbohydrates which they can use up for energy. There is a general consensus among veterinarians that dogs need about 40% of healthy carbohydrates. It is best to go in for low or zero grain dog food containing plenty of vegetables, chicken and antioxidant rich fruits and veggies. Or better yet, you can prepare home cooked meals for your little ones! There are some easy recipes which we have discussed in this article.
What to avoid in dog food
Take a good look at the ingredients listed in dog food. Avoid the following
- Artificial colors, preservatives and flavors
- Propylene glycol-an ingredient banned by the FDA
- Fats- Avoid foods that list fats vaguely as animal fats or poultry fat. These are poorer choice than vegetable fats since they do not provide the ratio of essential fatty acids necessary for optimal health.
Most dog food is extruded meaning it is cooked at a high temperature. However, this destroys the nutrition. So look for baked, slow cooked food. You are what you eat and the same thing applies to your dogs. Feed your dog organic food as far as possible.
Best Dog Food for Allergies
Taste of The Wild
This is a great brand of grain free dog food suitable for dogs who can tolerate salmon. It also comes with other proteins like venison and bison, wild boar, roasted duck etc. You also have foods formulated for Puppy or Adult dog. Taste of The Wild is free of eggs and other allergens like corn, wheat or soy. It contains antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables along with 80mil CFU/lb of probiotics for enhanced digestion. Tens of thousands of happy pet parents have given this brand a 5 star rating.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Food
This ‘natural evolutionary diet’ dog food brand is available in chicken, duck or salmon. It is one of the best hypoallergenic dog food brands. The salmon variety is great for dogs having allergic reactions to poultry, grains etc. Blue Buffalo dog food does not contain artificial colors, preservatives or other harmful stuff. Many holistic vets and animal nutritionists recommend this dog food brand to pet owners looking limited ingredient dog food.
Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dry and Wet Dog Food
Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient dog food reviews are very promising. This brand offers great flavors like salmon and potato, lamb/duck and oatmeal, turkey and potato etc. Minimum ingredients and maximum nutrition is what this brand promises. The food also contains pre and probiotic ingredients for improved digestion. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food with limited ingredients is especially recommended for dogs with allergies to wheat and corn. It has barley and oatmeal and zero preservatives and fillers. Wellness brand is proudly made in the USA and comes with the special wellness guarantee.