Hypoallergenic dog food is a great starting place in the fight against dog allergies, but you will still need to take into account the list of undesirable
because I have found that items on that list can turn up in food with the "hypoallergenic" claim being made by some manufacturers!
I would also suggest that you have a look at the
grain free dog food
section of this website for some further information about dog allergies.
Don't forget that when you do change any dog food please do so gradually as per the guidelines in
switching dog food.
How do you identify a hypoallergenic dog food?
Primarily it is a limited ingredient dog food.
Some manufacturers either reduce meat content or remove it altogether. Often the removed ingredient/s will be replaced with grains which to me is strange as grains are one of the "suspects" when it comes to dog food allergies!
WARNING. I found some recipes that only had two ingredients before the named natural preservative (fat or oil) and we want a minimum of at least four ingredients prior to the natural preservative - if you are following my criteria.
Base point for hypoallergenic dog food is that any meat source from this limited ingredient dog food range has to be either free range or organic.
Meat sources defined as "acceptable" are lamb, wild game meats, chicken and turkey and again not forgetting they have to be free range or organic.
Fish that is wild caught is also acceptable EXCEPT mackerel, swordfish, shark, tilefish. Organic farm fish is okay.
Unwanted in the recipe.
What you DO NOT WANT to find in a hypoallergenic dog food are the following;
Other than the meats described above no other red meat or pork.
No corn, no wheat and no soy.
Look for dog foods without diary products such as cheese, yoghurt and eggs.
Recipes without shell fish such as shrimp, scallops, crab and lobster.
Fish as noted above ( mackerel, swordfish, shark, tilefish ).
Farmed fish UNLESS it is organic.
You might be wondering why lamb is allowed and the answer is that the animal is allowed to roam free - which means they are not fed growth enhancing formulated food. Such products will often include wheat and dairy within the make up.
Look for only natural preservatives and a food that has no artificial flavorings or colorings.
Perhaps consider one of the
homemade dog food recipes
or maybe even the
as a starting point option because that way you will be in complete control of ingredients.
I would suggest you are more likely to find a suitable food from a specialist dog food manufacturer, or you might even consider dropping meat altogether and starting with a
vegetarian dog food
(preferably organic ingredients) that you can introduce a hypoallergenic meat source to.
Don't expect an overnight solution because signs of improvement will likely take 6 - 12 weeks.
Dog allergies are a minefield so if you have any doubts, or unsure in any way, you may want to do your research on the dog foods and come up with your "plan of action" - then consult with your vet or a specialist dog food nutritionist and tell them what you are proposing to do in relation to feeding a hypoallergenic dog food.