Hypoallergenic Dog Food
What is Hypoallergenic dog food?
You may have found this article because you are wondering what hypoallergenic dog food is – it is a common term on dog food packaging these days. Or you may have found it because you are wondering what hypoallergenic food to feed your dog. Either way, we hope to help iron out some questions around dog food allergy and hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diets.
A year ago, I wrote about food allergies in dogs, as I was beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about with all the hypoallergenic dog foods available on the market. There i describe what symptoms your dog may be suffering from and a bit more about the detail of allergy diagnosis and management.
What is clear is that many dogs do suffer from either a food intolerance – i.e. a non immune related sensitivity to certain food which can cause an unpleasant reaction, or a pure food allergy which involves a reaction by the bodies’ immune system.
Common precipitants of food allergy or intolerance in dogs include:
- Dairy (lactose)
- Wheat (grains)
Hypoallergenic dog foods can be split into two groups:
- Limited ingredient – foods made with less ingredients, tending to avoid known common allergens such as grains or beef, etc.
- Truly hypoallergenic, (generally vet prescribed) such as hydrolysed protein where proteins are broken down and cannot trigger an immune response.
If you have gone through the process of working out what it is that is causing your dogs’ symptoms (as always, please seek advice from your vet if you are unsure what is upsetting your dog), then you may now be looking for an alternative diet for him.
We’ve had our top dry dog foods listed for a while, and while many of these offer grain free or hypoallergenic choices, I thought it would also be helpful to have a dedicated list of top rated, best selling limited/ingredient or truly hypoallergenic dog foods too.
Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods
Here are my top picks. I’ve differentiated them so that you can choose from your dog’s requirement. Some of the recipes may not be suitable for your dog, for example if you have concluded that he cannot eat chicken, then take care to check what ingredients are used in each food. I have tried to encompass foods with a range of protein sources.
It is helpful to note that many dog food packaging will say ‘hypoallergenic’, however do check what each food contains as what may be hypoallergenic to one dog may trigger symptoms in another. Also check whether this is a true hypoallergenic (i.e. hydrolysed protein) or limited-ingredient diet as every dog has different requirements. Follow advice from your vet and the food labels as to how to ease your dog onto any new foods.
Limited ingredient ‘hypoallergenic’ foods:
1. James Wellbeloved Complete Dry Adult Large Breed Dog Food Turkey and Rice
The James Wellbeloved brand started out to try and produce simple, natural dog food, which means only single source protein sources used in each product, and gentle, digestible ingredients. They never use beef, dairy, pork, soya, eggs, wheat cheap bulking ingredients or artificial presevatives, flabours or colours. As you can see, that means the Wellbeloved range excludes many of the ingredients known to cause allergy and sensitivity in dogs.
The turkey and rice complete food contains carbohydrate from brown and white rice and oats, rather than wheat. It also contains yucca, a natural deodriser, omega 3 and 6 oils for better skin and coat, prebiotics to aid digestion and natural antioxidants to support the immune system.
Composition: Turkey meal (23.3%), brown rice (22.3%), white rice (22%), naked oats, whole linseed, sugar beet pulp, turkey fat (3%), turkey gravy (2.9%), alfalfa meal, pea fibre, seaweed, sodium chloride, fish oil, potassium chloride, chicory extract (0.1%), calcium carbonate, yucca extract (0.02%), green tea extract (0.003%), pomegranate extract (0.001%), rosemary extract (0.001%).
2. Pure Pet Food Turkey Terrific
This brand has really hit the nail on the head when it comes to providing really good quality (only human grade ingredients), limited ingredient healthy food with minimal processing. It is air dried, which naturally preserves the food. All you have to do is all water to make a delicious meal for your dog. The diet has helped thousands of dogs with all sorts of health issues including sensitive stomachs and skin, common food allergy symptoms.
Take a look at the recipes; the ingredients are limited, natural and free of artificial additives. There are a vareity of protein sources, I have chosen Turkey as an alternative to chicken which is a more common precipitant of allergy/insensitivity.
Composition: Turkey Breast & Thigh (20%), Beef Liver (10%), Parsnip, Potato, Apple, Carrot, Cabbage, Green Beans, Brewers Yeast and Minerals.
The recipe is also grain free, again a common allergen, and with so few ingredients is a great option for a limited ingredient diet for very sensitive dogs.
There are a range of options to choose from; Wholesome Chicken for example is only single source protein, but there are fish, beef and duck options too.
Pure have even created a Veggie Plus mixer, containing all the veggies you need to add to a protein source of your choice. This is a great balance, giving the ability to limit the protein source whilst ensuring you end up with a complete meal which contains the specific vitamins and minerals your dog needs.
You may pay more for a premium product such as Pure, but trial packs are available for 50% off, so have a look at the options and see if it’s for you and your dog today.
3. Autarky Hypoallergenic Delicious Chicken Dry Dog Food with Added Herbs
Autarky Hypoallergenic dog food is one of many more mainstream dog food brands offering a limited ingredient complete dry dog food which also avoids common allergens. In this case, Autarky dog food is wheat gluten (i.e. ‘grain free’) and soya free, with chicken being the source of animal protein.
Autarky delicious chicken also contains prebiotics which aim to support gut health, taurine and cartinine which help keep hearts healthy, and herbs and antioxidants to support the immune system.
Have a look at the ingredients in Delicious Chicken:
Maize, Poultry meal (min 26% chicken), Rice (min 5%), Chicken fat, Full fat linseed, Prairie meal, Alfalfa, Peas, Yeast, Carrot, Seaweed, Milk thistle, Marigold, Nettle, Yucca schidigera, Blackcurrant, Kale, Beetroot, Rosemary, Rosehip, Thyme, Peppermint, Fennel, Paprika, Turmeric, Dandelion, Ginger, Fenugreek, Oregano, Aloe Vera (min 0.4% herbs and 4% vegetables).
It may seen like quite a long list but most of these are just natural herbs (prairie meal is maize gluten and is high in protein and energy).
The food is formulated by a canine nutritionist, and does not contain artifician flavours, colours or preservatives.
Autarky Hypoallergenic is a good value for money option if the ingredient choices suit your dog.
4. Pooch & Mutt – Complete Dry Dog Food – Health & Digestion (Grain Free & 100% Natural) – Salmon & Sweet Potato
We like to feature smaller, ethical brands with a good ethos, and Pooch and Mutt is another one of these, doing great things in the dog food world. They are an award winning brand who create food with natural supplements ‘built in’, for example to specifically benefit joints or digestion depending on your dogs need.
All of the Pooch and Mutt functional range are grain free with a high meat content. Looking at the health and digestion product specifically, it contains single source protein – 45% salmon as a great alternative to meat. It also contains two prebiotics known to aid digestion, sweet potato as a low GI carbohydrate source and psyllium, a source of fibre to promote firm stool. So if your dog is sensitive to grains or meat, this naturally sourced diet may be all that he needs.
Composition: Salmon (45% including; 25% freshly prepared salmon, 17% dried salmon, 1.5% salmon oil, 1.5% salmon gravy), sweet potato (25%), potato, peas, alfalfa, beet pulp, linseed, charcoal (0.55%), minerals, vitamins, brewers yeast, mannanoligosaccharides (prebiotic MOS), fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic FOS), parsley, psyllium, yucca schidigera extract, cranberry, glucosamine (175mg/kg), chondroitin sulphate (125mg/kg).
5. Arden Grange Adult Dry Dog Food Rich in Pork and Rice
Arden Grange has the philosophy ‘nutrition without compromise’, and make foods that they consider ‘naturally hypoallergenic’. That is, they don’t contain wheat gluten, beef, soya, dairy products or artificial preservatives or flavours. They have a range of adult foods, with chicken, salmon, pork and lamb, all with rice.
The pork and rice recipe also avoids egg and maize in its ingredients, and pork isn’t as common a protein source in most dog foods so may be a better choice if you know your dog needs a novel protein source.
The food also contains ingredients to support joint and digestive health including prebiotics and chondroitin.
Composition: Pork (pork meat meal 24%, fresh pork 19%), rice (26%), sweet potato, refined chicken oil, beet pulp, chicken digest, krill, yeast, whole linseed, minerals, prebiotic FOS, prebiotic MOS, yucca extract, glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, cranberry, nucleotides.
Hydrolysed Protein Hypoallergenic foods:
There are less of these very specific foods available, but if your vet has recommended a true hypoallergenic diet then they can be found online:
6.Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hypoallergenic Dry Dog Food
This product from the ProPlan Veterinary range is a veterinary product and should be used under veterinary supervision. It has been created with single Hydrolysed protein and purified carbohydrates sources to help avoid allergic reactions. The addition of Omega-3 fatty acids helps anti-inflammatory processes.
It has been formulated for all life stages including puppies, hence supporting growth and maintenance. It can be used as part of an elimination diet trial in the diagnosis of food allergy in dogs, and under the supervision of the vet, should be trialled for at least 8-10 weeks, and if successful can be continued for life.
Maize starch*, Hydrolysed soya protein **, minerals, coconut oil, sugar*, rapeseed oil, cellulose, soya oil, fish oil
* Purified carbohydrate sources.
** protein source.
5. Royal Canin Veterinary Hypoallergenic Dry Dog Food
This is another food that is generally only advised by vets, so if your vet has advised that your pup needs to be on a true hypoallergenic diet then this may be what is best for him. It contains only hydrolysed protein sources (soya, poultry liver), and limited other ingredients. Formulated to support the skins natural protective barrier, it also contains EPA and DHA fatty acids which support healthy digestion and skin.
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic is a complete, specialist dry dog food for dogs over 12 months.
Composition: rice, hydrolysed soya protein isolate, animal fats, hydrolysed poultry liver, beet pulp, minerals, soya oil, fish oil, fructo-oligo-saccharides, borage oil, marigold extract (source of lutein). Protein sources: hydrolysed soya protein isolate, hydrolysed poultry liver. Carbohydrate source: rice.
Specialist veterinary diets may well be more expensive than standard dry dog foods that you can buy ‘off the shelf’. However there are often ways to save, such as buying online and shopping around to check where the prices are the best at the time.
Always seek advice from your vet if you are considering switching from one type of food to another.