Dog Food For Dog Allergies


Dog Food For Dog Allergies Are you fed up of your canine’s allergies? If so, this post will be perfect for you to read. There are certain tips that will help you identify what dog food brands are best for dogs with allergies and the importance of finding out exactly what is causing their allergies. We’ll also go through some of the most common food ingredients that trigger allergic reactions in dogs.”

Best Foods For Dogs With Allergies

If your dog suffers from allergies, you know how difficult it can be to find the right food. There are so many options on the market, that it can be hard to know which one is best for your dog. In this blog post, we will discuss the best foods for dogs with allergies. We’ll also provide tips on how to pick the right food for your furry friend. So, if you’re looking for a way to help your dog feel better, keep reading!

The role of diet when it comes to your dog’s allergies

There are two types of adverse food reactions in dogs: Food intolerance and food allergy. Food intolerance in dogs is when there is an abnormal reaction to a certain food or additive that is not caused by the immune system. Food allergy in dogs occurs when the body has an adverse reaction to a protein in a particular food, and this is mediated by the immune system.

The following factors may contribute to the development of a food reaction in dogs: Previous diet, genetics, concurrent health issues, and immune system status. If a food antigen is able to stimulate the cells associated with allergies, it has the potential to cause an allergic reaction. Food allergy in dogs typically involves various types of hypersensitivity reactions.

The most common food allergens for dogs

There are a few common allergens that tend to affect dogs. The most common food allergens for dogs are beef, dairy, chicken, and wheat. Specifically, in a study that was performed to identify potential allergens for dogs, beef was the leading protein allergen with 34% of all dogs with food reactions having a known sensitivity to beef. Dairy was 17%, chicken was 15% and wheat was 13%.

While there are many different types of foods on the market that cater to dogs with allergies, limited ingredient foods and hydrolyzed protein foods are two of the best options.

The two best types of foods for dogs with allergies

The best foods for dogs with allergies are limited ingredient diets and hydrolyzed protein foods. Limited ingredient dog foods typically only contain one protein source and one carbohydrate source. Hydrolyzed-based dog foods contain a protein such as soy or chicken and are hydrolyzed.

1. Limited ingredient foods

Limited ingredient dog foods or novel protein foods are one of the best foods for dogs with allergies and typically only contain one protein source and one carbohydrate source. This helps to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction and allows owners to more easily identify the culprit if their dog does have a reaction. Common protein sources for limited ingredient diets include duck, venison, and fish. There is a low chance that a dog would react to these particular proteins and therefore are commonly used in limited ingredient dog foods. Limited ingredient dog foods can be an effective way to treat food allergies in dogs, and they can be more affordable than other specialty diets.

2. Hydrolyzed-based foods

Hydrolyzed dog foods are a type of food that is specifically designed for dogs with allergies. They typically will contain hydrolyzed chicken or soy. These foods are made by breaking down proteins into smaller molecules, which makes them easier for the body to digest and helps to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. Hydrolyzed dog foods are often considered to be the best option for dogs with allergies, as they are less likely to cause an adverse reaction. This theoretically makes it more digestible and less allergenic, but some dogs with food allergies still react to the hydrolyzed version of their allergens.

How are these diets used to diagnose food reactions and allergies in dogs?

An elimination food trial is a gold standard when diagnosing food reactions and allergies in dogs. This involves feeding your dog food that they have never eaten before for at least 8-12 weeks. This includes ingredients found in treats and other food products. The most common foods used in elimination food trials are novel proteins, such as venison or duck, and hydrolyzed proteins. During this time, it is important to avoid all other foods, treats, chews, and flavoured medications, as they can potentially contain the allergen and contaminate the trial.

If your dog improves on the elimination diet, it is likely that they are allergic to one or more of the ingredients in its previous food. To complete the trial, you would reintroduce one ingredient at a time. A subsequent reaction can occur within minutes or up to 14 days following exposure, therefore, it is recommended to introduce one new ingredient every 2 weeks. Once you have identified that your dog has a food allergy, you can continue feeding them a limited ingredient or hydrolyzed diet for the rest of their life.

Not all hypoallergenic foods are created equal

First off, selling and marketing prescription diets are not in the interest of your veterinarian. With that, your veterinarian will recommend only feeding veterinary prescribed foods for dogs with allergies because the quality standards can be trusted. The diets that are sold over-the-counter are not recommended for dogs who have food allergies because there might be unlabeled ingredients or contaminants in the food that could cause an allergic reaction. For example, a store-bought duck and pea diet can have traces of beef protein, which could potentially cause an allergic reaction in a dog that is allergic to beef.

Additionally, foods that are sold over-the-counter are not required to go through the same level of testing as veterinary diets. This means that they might not be as effective in treating food allergies. Veterinary prescribed foods have been tested and proven to be effective in the management of food allergies.

Surprisingly, in a recent study, the presence of ingredients not declared on the label was detected in 10 out of 11 over-the-counter commercial limited-antigens diets designed for diagnosing canine food reactions and allergies.

The best foods for dogs with allergies are limited ingredient (novel protein) or hydrolyzed foods. However, not all hypoallergenic foods are created equal and it is important to only feed your dog foods that have been vet-prescribed. Over-the-counter diets might not be as effective in treating food allergies and could potentially contain allergens that are not listed on the label.

If you think your dog has a food allergy, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action for diagnosis and treatment.

Chicken Allergy in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Want to learn more about chicken allergy in dogs? Although food allergies are much less common than other types of allergies in dogs, pups affected by food allergies can experience uncomfortable symptoms like skin rashes or digestive upset that affect their quality of life. 

So, how do you know if your pup has allergies—or more specifically, if your dog is allergic to chicken, a common dog food ingredient? And what can be done about it? We’ve got answers.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Chicken?

Just like human beings, it’s possible for dogs to be allergic to just about anything in their environment or any ingredient in their food. So, yes, it’s possible for a dog to be allergic to chicken. 

However, symptoms of allergies can look very similar regardless of what your dog is allergic to (whether it’s food, pollen, perfume, or anything else). Also, allergies carry similar symptoms to other diseases (such as parasite infestations) that require different treatments.

Therefore, it’s important to go through the process of diagnosing your dog with allergies rather than assuming they have a sensitivity to chicken or any other ingredient in their food. 

While diagnosing allergies requires some patience, it’s usually the fastest and most effective way to get to an ideal treatment plan. 

Symptoms of Chicken Allergy in Dogs

The most common signs of chicken allergy in dogs show up on the skin or via the digestive tract — or both.

Skin issues are very common with environmental and food allergies alike. Symptoms could include red or itchy skin (especially on the paws, abdomen, groin, face, and ears), rashes, fur loss, or hives. Skin and ear infections commonly occur. And wounds or “hot spots” may develop due to trauma from a dog repeatedly licking or chewing their skin. 

Digestive symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, gas, or other gastrointestinal issues. Affected pups may also experience anal gland issues, which causes them to scoot their backside on the floor.

Anaphylactic reactions (facial swelling, sudden vomiting or diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, collapse, and potentially even death) are possible with any allergy. This would be similar to a human who has a severe peanut allergy and needs medical treatment if they are exposed to even a small amount of peanut residue. Fortunately, this is extremely uncommon with food allergies in dogs. But should you ever notice these symptoms, your pup would need veterinary care right away.

What Causes Allergies in Dogs?

Allergies are an inappropriate overreaction of the immune system. So, if there is a chicken allergy at work, their body treats the chicken protein (allergen) as if it were a threat — as if it were an invading viral or bacterial infection.

This immune system’s attack results in inflammation as collateral damage. As described above, these inflammatory effects commonly show up on a dog’s skin or present as digestive issues.

Allergies tend to have a genetic or inherited basis, and as such they are difficult to avoid. Some breeds (Bulldogs, Chinese Shar-Peis, Retrievers, Terriers, Shih Tzus, and Lhasa Apsos) are more commonly affected, although any breed can develop allergies.

How Common Are Food Allergies in Dogs?

The most common causes of allergies in dogs are environmental/seasonal allergies (pollen, etc.) and flea-bite allergies. 

Food allergies certainly do occur, but they are much less common than many pet parents believe them to be. Experts report that food allergies account for merely 10% of allergies in dogs. The most common causes of food allergies in dogs are proteins found in beef, lamb, chicken, soy, egg, dairy, or wheat.

Sometimes, pups don’t have a true food allergy despite having digestive symptoms. They may just have a food sensitivity or intolerance, meaning they have difficulty digesting one or more ingredients but the immune system is not involved.

Whether a dog has a true food allergy or a food intolerance, it’s beneficial to figure out which ingredient(s) they are sensitive to and then to find a dog food that works well for their body.

Diagnosing Dog Chicken Allergy

Discovering a chicken allergy in dogs (or any food allergy) involves going through a process of elimination, which requires patience. But it can lead to the best possible treatment option for your pup by getting an answer as quickly as possible.

If you notice symptoms of a poultry allergy in your dog, it’s best to schedule a veterinary visit. After that, the process commonly follows these steps…

  • Your vet will take a history on your dog, meaning they will ask you questions about your dog’s symptoms, their diet, and anything they could have been exposed to. They’ll also do a full physical exam.
  • Other causes of your pup’s symptoms must be ruled out. A common first step is an ear swab or light skin scrape to look for bacteria, yeast, and microscopic parasites. If your vet suspects an underlying medical issue (such as a hormonal imbalance) they may also recommend diagnostics such as blood tests.
  • If your pup’s symptoms persist, an allergy workup may be recommended. 
  • An allergy workup usually starts with a food trial, also known as an elimination diet. This means a strict diet on a new type of food for 1-3 months. Your vet team can explain this process in detail, including how to select an appropriate food and acceptable treat substitutes.
  • If a dog shows significant improvement on a food trial, they may continue the new food long-term. Your vet can explain how to gradually add in other items (such as treats) to see if they trigger symptoms. This process can help determine which foods a dog can or cannot tolerate.
  • If a pup does not improve on a food trial, the next step is to evaluate for environmental allergies. Usually, this is done via a blood test that is sent to a laboratory for analysis. While blood tests are not accurate for food allergies, they can be very helpful for determining which environmental allergens a pooch is sensitive to.

Treatment for Chicken Allergy in Dogs

Unfortunately, allergies cannot be cured. But allergic symptoms can be managed or minimized to keep a dog happy and comfortable.

Once a pup is showing symptoms, they often need medications to break the inflammation cycle and return their skin or intestines to normal. This commonly includes allergy medications such as steroids, antibiotics to treat secondary skin infections, wound care, or medications for diarrhea and digestive upset. 

But allergic dogs also need long-term prevention with the right diet — one that agrees with their body.

The good news about food allergies is, they are usually much easier to manage than environmental allergies. While it’s difficult to avoid things like pollen, it’s possible to completely avoid any food or ingredient that triggers your pup’s symptoms.

It’s common for pups to be affected by more than one type of allergy, though. So, if your dog has both a chicken allergy and a pollen allergy, they may need long-term management for their environmental allergies in addition to a special diet for food allergies. 

And even with a controlled diet, some dogs with food allergies occasionally have flare-ups — especially if they snag a table scrap off the floor or chew on something they found on the ground during their walk. 

Allergic dogs may also develop additional, new food allergies over time.

So while an appropriate dog food will greatly manage a dog’s food allergies, don’t be discouraged if your pup still needs the occasional treatment to relieve their allergy symptoms. With knowledge, monitoring, and a good management plan, most dogs with food allergies can have their symptoms greatly reduced and live normal, happy lives.


When do allergies develop in dogs?

Most commonly, allergies develop when a dog is between six months to three years of age.

Symptoms that occur earlier than six months are unlikely to be allergies, since puppies’ immune systems are still developing. Allergies can develop in older dogs, though, so being older than three years doesn’t rule out allergies. 

What are other foods that commonly trigger allergy symptoms?

Despite the belief that grains are a big allergen for dogs, most commonly, dogs are allergic to a type of protein in their diet. The most common culprits are proteins found in chicken, beef, lamb, soy, egg, dairy, and wheat. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these ingredients, as they can all be healthy sources of protein and other nutrients in dog foods.

While these ingredients are most common, dogs may be allergic to any ingredient in their food or treats (or table scraps or anything else they digest). As such, there is no dog food that is truly hypoallergenic, and the “best” dog food will vary between individual pets.

If my dog is allergic to chicken, is he also allergic to poultry like turkey?

This answer may vary from dog to dog, depending on how sensitive their immune system is. 

In general, it’s probably best to do a food trial with a totally unrelated protein, such as substituting venison for chicken or other types of poultry (or poultry products such as eggs). Your vet can guide you through this process and help you select the best food for your individual pooch. 

What can I feed my dog if they’re allergic to chicken?

A protein source that is very different from chicken (such as beef or a less common protein like rabbit or venison) is usually a good bet for a food trial. However, it’s important to check ingredients carefully, as many dog foods contain chicken meat, organs, or broth, even if it’s not a primary ingredient. Also, even foods that don’t contain chicken as an ingredient may get contaminated if they are processed in a facility that also manufactures chicken-based dog foods.

For all these reasons, many vets recommend using a prescription allergy food. These diets contain either a novel source protein (like rabbit or venison), or a ‘hydrolyzed’ protein (one that is processed in a way that the body is less likely to recognize it as an allergen). 

For prescription allergy dog foods, the facility will demonstrate excellent quality control, even shutting down and thoroughly cleaning the equipment to prevent cross contamination. Because of this, prescription diets are usually a great choice as a first step, to get the most accurate results from a food trial for allergies.

Is it possible for a dog to suddenly develop a food allergy?

However fast or slow they develop in the body, allergies may appear to onset suddenly because it’s only at a certain breaking point (when symptoms occur and cause discomfort to a dog) that allergies become apparent.

No matter how slowly or quickly allergic symptoms develop, it’s a good idea to bring your dog for a vet visit.

Should I avoid dog food made with chicken?

Unless your dog has known food allergies, there’s no benefit to avoiding some of the more common food allergens. Usually, allergies develop over time to something a dog is commonly exposed to, whether that’s chicken, beef, rabbit, kangaroo, or any other ingredient.

In other words, feeding a rabbit-based diet to avoid chicken allergy in dogs won’t necessarily prevent food allergies. Instead, the dog would develop an allergy to rabbit rather than chicken. 

The best bet in preventing and treating food allergies is to avoid switching diets or exposing dogs to a wide variety of ingredients. That way, if they ever develop a food allergy, there will be more options for ingredients they’ve never tried before, to use for the food trial and for longer-term feeding.

The Truth About Hypoallergenic Dog Food

MAY 31, 2022

We’re often asked if our recipes are hypoallergenic. It’s a term that’s quickly become used (or at least recognised) by most pet parents, but properly understood by very few. So if you’re thinking “yep, that’s me” or ‘WTF is hypoallergenic” you’re in the right place. Today we’re giving you the low down on hypoallergenic dog food. We’ll explore what hypoallergenic actually means in regards to dog food, if food allergies are common and how to make the right food choices for your dog.

Intolerance vs Allergy: what’s the difference?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty we want to clear two things up. Firstly the difference between an intolerance and an allergy, as the two are very much separate terms but often (and wrongly) used interchangeably.

An allergy is normally in response to a protein, where the protein triggers an immune system reaction. The reaction can vary in severity from minor itching to more severe, and even life-threatening reactions. Thankfully these are very rare and dogs are much more likely to suffer from intolerances. An intolerance is where something doesn’t quite agree with their digestive systems, but there isn’t an immune system response e.g. lactose. For dogs with allergies or intolerances, feeding a hypoallergenic diet can be helpful BUT only if that diet avoids your dogs’ specific allergen, as hypoallergenic recipes differ. For example, if your dog is sensitive to beef, choosing a “hypoallergenic recipe” with beef as the main protein source is probably not a good idea.

Environmental Allergies Are Much More Common

The second point we want to clear up is that environmental allergies are much more common than food intolerances. Food intolerances are actually quite rare and allergies even more so. When doggies start itching, it’s common that pet parents put food to blame, but the stats show that just 1% of skin itching is down to food intolerances.  Your dog is much more likely to be itching due to an environmental sensitivity including dust, mould, fleas, ticks, or pollen, which can cause hay fever in pets. Our Smudge is one of the pups that suffers from hay fever, especially in early summer when the grass is tall.

Even though food intolerances are less common than environmental, some dogs do have them. Hypoallergenic recipes are sought by pet parents looking to avoid certain allergens, however are increasingly being seen as a signpost for high-quality pet food. This is similar to what happened with grain free dog food, so it’s important not to get fooled by what are, in reality, marketing terms. Instead, we always recommend thoroughly reviewing the ingredients list on the back of the bag to understand whether a recipe is appropriate for your dog.

Symptoms of dog food intolerance

If your dog is displaying any of the below symptoms and you’ve already eliminated seasonal or environmental factors as the culprit, we recommend visiting your vet to discuss further. They’ll likely advise you to start an elimination diet, which is the only way to identify which ingredient is at fault. This process can take a number up to 3 months to work through as you slowly re-add ingredient by ingredient back to their diet. Saliva, skin or blood tests are not reliable due to the level of cross-contamination. Alternatively, you might be asked to feed a recipe with hydrolysed proteins. This means the protein has been broken up so that it’s unrecognisable by your pets’ immune or digestive system to prevent a reaction.  The symptoms for dog food intolerances to watch out for include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Red skin or a rash
  • Pink or brown saliva staining
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic ear problems
  • Sore tummy when touched
  • Excessive farting (note some breeds do just fart a lot e.g Bulldogs)

What does hypoallergenic mean?

Hypoallergenic simply means less likely to provoke an allergic reaction. This means that hypoallergenic dog food has a decreased tendency to provoke an allergic reaction. But as anything can be an allergen, just because a food says it’s hypoallergenic doesn’t mean that it is suitable for your dog.

In pet food, hypoallergenic can be used to describe any recipe that avoids some or many common food allergens. In theory, as so many things can be allergens, this means a pet food can be labelled as hypoallergenic despite containing some allergens, as long as some other common allergens are avoided. Common allergens include dairy, wheat, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, soy, gluten, corn, and wheat. All ingredients that you’ll find in the majority of pet foods.

As a dog can be intolerant to practically any ingredient, this is why it’s important to ignore the word ‘hypoallergenic’ on the packaging and review the ingredients to check it’s suitable for your dog.

Is there a certification for hypoallergenic dog food?

There is no certifying body or certification required to use the term. Equally, there are no regulations or set of tests that pet food brands are obliged to undertake to use the term. Seeing as anything can be an allergen, it makes it impossible to regulate. Therefore technically any pet food could label itself as hypoallergenic, whether it has actually designed its recipes to avoid common allergens or not.

So, is hypoallergenic dog food just a trend?

In short, yes!

If the word has no real grounding, why do pet food brands and dog owners use it? The term hypoallergenic was allegedly first coined by another pet food brand’s marketing team. We don’t like naming names, so you can find out which one here. They did rather a good job, and the phrase is now thoroughly embedded into the world of pet food. This has led dog owners to look out for it, believing that’s what their pets need to live healthy lives, even if they don’t have any allergies or intolerances. This reinforces the issue as new (and old) pet food brands are forced to also use the term to cater to how customers shop, ourselves included!

It’s our pet peeve (one of…) and we wish we didn’t need to. However, when customers enquire whether we offer ‘hypoallergenic dog food’ our answer remains the same; “Why are you asking and what ingredients are your fur babies intolerant to?”. This allows us to clarify what hypoallergenic means, and better understand which of our products are suitable for their furbaby.

We design all our recipes to be free from the majority of the common allergens, so never include; dairy, soy, beef, lamb, gluten, soy, or corn. We also offer single-source protein recipes like our Turkey Wet Dog Food and Salmon Dry Dog Food, plant-based recipes like our Plant-Powered Softies Training Treats, as well as having limited ingredient recipes like our full Grain Free Wet Dog Food range. So if you’re looking for a particular recipe, or need to avoid a certain ingredient, we’re always one click away to help. We’d love to hear from you, so please pop us an email [email protected]

Are certain breeds more susceptible to have food allergies?

Yes. Although any breed can develop a food allergy, there are certain breeds that are more susceptible to develop food allergies. Check out a couple of them below:

Labrador Retreivers

West highland White Terriers

Cocker spaniels:

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